Race Blog 2: West Gains, But East is Poised

June 20, 2020

Thirty-three hours into the 2020 Online Newport Bermuda Race as the fleet contends with light and shifty winds, a small pack of Xp 55s in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division have broken into a leading position, approximately 30 miles west of the rhumbline course to the finish. However, recent forecasts indicate that boats 130 miles to the east (far right on the screenshot below) will make significant gains in the next day.

Gibbs Hil Lighthouse Division Xp 55s, spread across 130 miles of racecourse, sailed in light easterly winds on Saturday night, with the provisional leaders moving ahead (lower left).

East-west position mattered, but so did tacking to port at the right time, as a super-light easterly breeze replaced the southwesterly that had prevailed earlier.

The leading GHL boats as of Saturday evening, with about 400 miles still to go to the finish, were Juan Barclay/rafta, I.Jarvinen/ij, and rumskib. In the Finisterre (cruising) division sailing Italia 14.98s, Keith Cole/Lucky8s held the lead, also positioned on the western side of the fleet.

In the St. David’s Lighthouse Division, Michael O’Donnell/Modonnellaw had about a half mile lead aboard his Dehler 46. O’Donnell was scheduled to sail the 2020 Bermuda Race IRL (in real life) aboard the J/44 Monhegan.

The Sun Fast 3300s in the Double-Handed Division showed their ability in lighter and lighter winds, passing many of the larger boats ahead. Leading this group was Michael Herlihy/goddess, 35 miles east of the rhumbline. But as in other divisions, boats on both edges of the fleet were poised to make gains.

A view of the fleet on Saturday night, 517 registered boats—and while many had gained an edge on the west side of the fleet, the eastern group was poised to gain based on the forecast.

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