Reports from Boats, June 25

Black Watch starting the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race. (Daniel Forster/PPL)

Black Watch starts the 2012 race. (Daniel Forster/PPL)


From Black Watch, Skipper John Melvin explains why they stood by Wandrian (with serious steering problems) for more than two days until they reached Bermuda:

“Dorade came over when we came over and we decided we were the better platform to take people off. I sailed a little Concordia yawl, Westray, for a long time, so I know what it’s like to have everybody pass you and leave you alone.”  Dorade and Black Watch are 1930s-era Sparkman & Stephens yawls and the oldest boats in the fleet. Black Watch won her class in the 2012 Bermuda Race.

From Bella Mente, Jeroboam, & others: Racers’ Blogs

From Rima2, John Brim

We followed the forecasts and met the recommendations and went west. Later we were surprised to find Constellation 40 miles ahead of us on Saturday morning. The Navy crushed us. I think we passed 80 boats from there until we finished a 1:52 Wednesday morning. “It did not work to go west and hunt for the southwesterly. It left us feeling a little pathetic.  We did three Crazy Ivans. The absolute nadir, when we were about 330 miles out, was when we found ourselves in an absolutely flat, clear river of water flowing 2½ knots to the west. It was like the Sargasso Sea, with Men of War along the edges.  It was an an ocean river flowing west. That was about when we were exactly equidistant from Newport, Bermuda, and Annapolis. We were near Spirit.


Karen McDonald (Talbot Wilson/PPL)

Karen McDonald (Talbot Wilson/PPL)

From Spirit of Bermuda, Captain Karen McDonald

We have been struggling with light winds since late yesterday afternoon.  Despite our 0800 speed, the wind dropped down again and we were then making 2-3kts over the ground.  The weather forecast doesn’t bode well for more wind.  We are hopeful that we can maintain until the southwesterly fills in, albeit light, and allows us to head straight to Bermuda.  Pray for wind!

Update on the watch competition (as of 0000 Tues.): A Watch (Doughty, Baxter, Jim, Alan, Russ, Dek, Emmy, Parker and Scott Sr.) leads the pack at 227nm covered.  C Watch (Elijah, Dave, John, Clive, Alvaro, Sarah, Bill and Sears) is close behind at 212nm.  B Watch (Mark, Tre, Gus, Nick, Darren, Reid, Nicole, Scott Jr. and Spencer) has some miles to cover, coming in at 171nm.

It’s slow going out here.  We’ve been tacking our way towards Bermuda with little wind coming right from where we want to go.  The forecast is for the wind to become more south overnight or tomorrow morning, eventually becoming southwest.  Still not a lot of wind, but the southwesterly will at least allow us to head straight to Bermuda. We need to start doing some sort of wind dance!


Joe Harris (Talbot Wilson)

Joe Harris (Talbot Wilson/PPL)

From Gryphon Solo2,  Joe Harris, June 25

Good morning sports fans, GS2 and her fearless crew are actually approaching the finish line of the world’s longest race. OMG. Totally. 18 miles to the finish line and we actually have 7 knots of wind, which at this point feels like a frickin’ gale.

So at this point, with a few spare minutes in darkness before we engage the battle with the 50 other boats converging on the finish line, I thought it would be fun to come up with my Top Ten takeaways from this race:

  1. Getting to know the force of nature that is my co-skipper Rob Windsor. Let me just tell you, my friends, this man is a piece of work. A true FLID (Frickin Long Island Dooshbag) and all of my lacrosse buddies from Long Island know I say that with full affection. Awesome sailor and great shipmate. Our first voyage  together but hopefully not our last.
  2. Sailing in light wind is just plain stupid. ‘Nuff said
  3. Sailing with good wind is a ton of fun and everyone should try it.
  4. Sailing offshore at night renews your sense of wonder in the universe;
  5. Irish Coffee is God
  6. After your Irish Coffee, take the opportunity to relieve yourself off the stern of your boat. . . . .
  7. Watch “Talladega Nights, The Legend of Ricky Bobby” the night before the race for inspiration and then say all the best lines 100 times to your co-skipper.
  8. Double-handed sailing is where it’s at. We have sailed past these big boats with a dozen people perched on the rail and they probably haven’t left the rail for most of the race. Huh? At least after 50 years on the planet I am self-aware enough to know that an anti-social (character) of my caliber who is known not to play well with others in confined areas for extended periods has no business on a big boat going to Bermuda with 20 of my closest friends.
  9. Try your best to break your boat, so that you and your co-skipper can fix it. Very bonding. Use as many tools, glue and duct tape as possible and then don’t clean up. It’s a guy thing.
  10. Have an understanding wife… this probably should have been at the top of the list. As mine waits for me in Bermuda, I thank her for putting up with me.

So, there you have it. I’m sure there are quite a few we missed, but we will have to save those for another day. Back to the business of actually finishing this race after 5 days of trying.



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