“Bucket List” Webinar Draws Crowd of Sailors

February 10, 2021

By Kate Wilson


On Tuesday night, 136 prospective bluewater racers attended the first of this winter’s Bermuda Race-Prep Series: “It’s on Your Bucket List.” Expert panelists who had sailed the race anywhere from one to 17 times took questions from the race’s chairman, Somers Kempe, about what it takes to do the race and why it’s worth the effort.

“Start preparing early” was a consistent message delivered by the panel, kicked off by five-time competitor Dick Holliday, who is the head of the race’s Ambassador program, pairing aspiring skippers with experienced racers in their area or with their type of boat. He said he has 25 to 30 ambassadors available for every race.

Hank Halsted, chair of the race’s Qualifications Committee said that his committee examines the experience of every captain, watch captain and navigator. The essential question, he said, is weather or not this crew will be comfortable and fully self-sufficient for 100 hours in the offshore environment without outside assistance. He also said that his committee works with those who may not have the experience to help them gain experience and sometimes find one or more capable sailors to build out their crew.

Panelist David Wilson, who captained his Catalina 36 to Bermuda and back in 2016, said he and his crew did training sails, including a 120-mile offshore voyage in advance of the race. He explained how he organized his lists in advance of the race and pointed to the hands-on training as worthwhile for the entire crew. 

Wilson offered two bits of advice: 1) Don’t put off race because you don’t have the right boat, and 2) Think of the race as races: 1) Get to the starting line with the boat and crew ready; 2) race to Bermuda; and 3) sail home. “Don’t forget the last part,” he said. “You’ll have your race crew to get to Bermuda but you need to have an ace crew coming back, too.”

The panelists covered other topics ranging from budget, to sailing double-handed, to different apps and programs to consider. For those who missed it, listen to the recording on our YouTube channel. A special thanks to Bermuda Tourism for sponsoring the evening.

Our next webinar will be hosted March 16th entitled March 16th – “Bermuda Race Tent Party – Sea Stories from Young and Old” presented by Goslings Rum. Registration is free for all our webinars. Sign up at bermudarace.com/webinar.

Helpful Links Mentioned in the Webinar:

Trello for creating collaborative lists among crew (see example from David Wilson)

Your First Bermuda Race page: Links to example NOR, Safety Requirements, and the Form to get in touch with our ambassadors.

CCA’s Marine Weather and Sea State II Symposium and Marine Weather University for learning more about weather, navigation and electronics.

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