Race Blog 5: “rafa” Earns Line Honours by 99 Seconds

June 22, 2020

Juan Barclay/rafa captured first to finish honours and first place in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division by crossing the line off St. David’s Lighthouse in Bermuda at 23:08:01 UTC tonight, about 8:08 local time. rafa sails under the flag of Peru, and is likely the first boat to win a race to Bermuda from that country. How did he feel to win? “Relief!!” then added “Congrats ij, robert and top finishers in all divisions. Happy to see so many “new” boats racing. Hope everyone enjoyed the experience.”

Making a textbook finish at the port end of the line, rafa took line honours and first place in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division, beating ij by 99 seconds.

Ilpo Jarvinen/ij finished second, a mere 99 seconds behind. While ij almost took the lead at one point Sunday, rafa‘s position closer to the rhumbline gave him a windward position, and he could sail a little lower and faster on the long reach to Kitchen Shoals on Monday. In the process he built a slightly more comfortable lead of 0.2 nautical miles!

After finishing, Barclay/rafa said, “The critical moment was when we encountered a very unstable weather forecast and the router started to point to a long course towards east…”

“In this situation I thought that having a forecast of light air blowing from many directions and for at least 24 hours is almost as bad as having no forecast at all. Consequently, I decided to disregard the router and sail towards Bermuda as close as the rhumbline as possible in order to be closest to the finish when the stable conditions would return. And it worked!!

“When I finally exited the variable light-air area, I was in position No. 1, but by very little distance. We had still more than a day before finishing. In second place was ”ij” from Finland, who is an excellent SOLer and besides understands really well how the software works, so I had to concentrate to maintain my slight advantage as much as possible.”

Third place among the Xp 55s of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division went to Robert Schön/robert1, finishing 13 minutes, 24 seconds after rafa, at 23:21:25 UTC. Asked how it compared to his other Sailonline finishes, he said, “One of the best! Competition on SOL is fierce, to say the least, and with all you guys [the regular Newport Bermuda racers] it was worse than ever, so I rate this very high!”

A little farther back in the fleet, the battle of Bermuda was won by the Vice Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Craig Davis/cdavis, finishing 14th, about five miles ahead of Online Race Chair Somers Kempe/smokin.

We also received this exclusive photo from the helm station of Chris Connors, who was also sailing an Xp 55. He wrote: “I was hoping to be pulling into Bermuda IRL sometime Tuesday onboard Jay Turchetta’s Xp38 Amadeus V. This has been fun online. My boat is AmadeusV-Chris and I’ve been from 20th to 80th and back to 44th with 25 miles to go. My navigating partner in crime Brad Turchetta is also sailing as AmadeusV-Brad. And lastly my 16-year-old son Will is sailing a bit farther back as wconnors03. Thanks for the fun!

The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division is sponsored by X-Yachts/ X-Yachts USA

Results for all classes are available at Sailonline.org’s Races tab under the “leaderboard” for the Newport Bermuda Race.

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