Wednesday Sunrise Welcomes Bermuda-Bound Racers

The fleet came in quickly on Wednesday, with the media team covering both ends of the starting line. By John Burnham

The majority of the 2018 Newport Bermuda Fleet crossed the St. David’s Lighthouse finish line either just before or after sunrise on Wednesday, June 20. Between 0400 and 0500 local time, the finish-line team stationed at St. David’s Lighthouse logged 38 finishers. Nearly the entire fleet of 168 boats were expected to finish by the end of the day.

A competitor approaches the finish line as dawn breaks on Wednesday off St. David’s Lighthouse in Bermuda.


Newport Bermuda Race finish line St. David's Lighthouse

The view from the inshore end of the finish line at St. David’s Lighthouse at dawn, on Wednesday. The finish line, with a series of boats approaching, is just to the right of the telephone pole. John Burnham photo

The race officials on station at the finish are a Royal Bermuda Yacht Club team led by past commodore Leatrice Oatley, standing rotating four-hour watches from Sunday through Thursday. When we visited their trailer this morning before dawn, the B Watch was on duty, and there were dozens of boats a mile or two offshore; green lights were the boats hard on the wind approaching the finish, red lights were the boats reversing course to head back around the island for Hamilton Harbour.

Instead of a race committee boat, the finish line team mans a trailer set directly beneath St. David’s Lighthouse where they can observe the finish line offshore. John Burnham photo

On a photoboat at the finish line, the media team’s Nic Douglass and her Adventures of a Sailor Girl camera crew took photos and livestreamed a video segment as soon as the light was sufficient.

In the meantime, the finish-line team had their hands full, recording finishes and then entering them in the online scoring program for display on the Newport Bermuda Race website.

Sighting finish line at St. David's Lighthouse

Scott Stewart and four others on the “B Watch” identify boats via VHF, tracker, binoculars and finally telescope, to mark their exact time across the finish line.

The results remained provisional, but what quickly became clear is that the smaller boats in most classes did best, and the smaller classes in each division. In the St. David’s Lighthouse Division, the provisional leader on corrected time was an entry in the smallest class, the Columbia 50, Grundoon, owned by James Grundy, three minutes ahead of Thomas Campbell’s Cal 40, Nicole. In the Finisterre Division, the smaller boats leading in Class 11 were correcting ahead of the bigger boats in Class 12 and 13. Peter Torosian’s Tartan 4100 Pinnacle was the provisional leader but with several boats still to finish.

Of the 169 boats that started, two had retired. Ruse, a Swan 44, dropped out early and began motoring and arrived in Bermuda this morning. Balliwick, a Blue Jacket 40, suffered damage to its steering system. At noon EDT, the boat was proceeding at about five knots under jury-rigged steering with 65 miles to go.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 1430, Wednesday, to correct the author’s mistaken reference to Tuesday’s sunrise, not Wednesday’s!

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