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Race Wrap Up – Historic 53rd Newport Bermuda Race Concludes with Prize-Giving

June 29, 2024

By Mark LeBeau


Final winners and awards announced on Saturday

Photo: Steve Cloutier

[Hamilton, Bermuda] - The 53rd Newport Bermuda Race officially came to a close this evening, as winners and award recipients were honored at the Race’s Prize Giving Ceremony at the Pier 6 Complex on Front Street. The ceremony caps off nearly two weeks of festivities in both Rhode Island and Bermuda surrounding the storied sailing race.

A full list of the top three finishers in each division can be found below, and a list of award recipients is linked here. A video wrap up of the race is available on the Bermuda Race YouTube channel, and professional photography from throughout the race can be found at photos.bermudarace.com, with more pictures from this evening's events to be uploaded soon.

This year’s Bermuda Race was as exciting and challenging as ever—featuring a series of fronts causing tricky conditions near the start and a characteristically choppy crossing of the Gulf Stream. Of the 162 boats that started in Newport, 147 crossed the finish line and docked at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) in Hamilton. 15 boats retired, including the two boats that abandoned ship on the course. All crew of each of the participating boats have arrived safely back on land.

“I'm incredibly grateful for the 1400 plus sailors who participated in this Race, the preparation that they put in, and the seamanship and safety skills that they demonstrated,” said Race Chair Andrew Kallfelz. “I'm really grateful for the over 100 volunteers both in Newport and Bermuda that made this happen. Particularly the Fleet Communications Office, that managed an extraordinary number of events and the support they got from the Coast Guard and the Rescue Coordination Center here in Bermuda. I'm very thankful for all our sponsors who made this happen for us and we really look forward to starting the preparations for 2026.”

For the first time in its 118 year history, the Bermuda Race started off the coast of Newport’s Fort Adams, extending the historic course by one mile. On Friday, June 21 the race’s start was broadcast live online to over 8000 spectators, with close to 2000 more joining a starting line party on shore at Fort Adams.

After leaving Newport, boats reported light winds and slow sailing speeds, thanks to weather patterns moving from the north off the coast of New England. Proteus, a JV72, reported a dismasting at approximately 1:50 a.m. on Saturday, June 22. All crew were safe and the boat motored back to Newport after retiring from the race. Later Saturday, the breeze filled in, and the boats began making quick progress along the rhumb line towards Bermuda.

At 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 23, the crew of Alliance, a J/121 reported a water ingress and ultimately made the decision to abandon ship. Fellow competitors came to the boat’s assistance, and by 4:00 a.m. all of Alliance’s crew had been brought safely aboard Ceilidh to sail onward.

Following Sunday morning’s rescue, other boats in the fleet reported choppy seas in and beyond the Gulf Stream. Throughout the day, anticipation built up for the arrival of the first boats in Bermuda. Roy Disney’s Pyewacket 70 was the first to cross the finish line at 1:37 a.m. Monday with a corrected time of two days 11 hours and 17 minutes. Also finishing Monday morning were Allegra (corrected time two days 13 hours and 31 minutes) and OC 86 (corrected time two days 12 hours and 19 minutes).

Several vessels completed the race on Monday, and the Live Results were able to project that Summer Storm 52—owned and skippered by Andy Berdon—would become the overall winner of the Gibbs Hill Division with a corrected time of two days 10 hours and 32 minutes. Navigator Chris “Lew” Lewis, who also won the 52nd Bermuda Race, attributed the win to getting off the coast of Rhode Island early and avoiding the weather that stalled other boats.

A unique aspect of this year’s Race was the Gulf Stream, as well as boats’ strategies to get and stay in the advantageous current. This year, sailors said they sometimes experienced close to a 5 knot push towards Bermuda. The trick then became exiting at the right moment.
 
“As much as we were all enjoying the ride, we needed to figure out when to get off the ride.,” said Lewis at the Navigator’s Forum—held as a debrief on Thursday after the Race. There is an old adage to not go east of the rhumb line but Lewis says they hedge their bets to stay in the Gulf Stream's meander longer at the risk of going more upwind as they got closer to Bermuda.
 
On Monday evening, family and friends gathered at RBYC to welcome their loved ones back ashore with Dark n’ Stormies and Rum Swizzles, a tradition of the Bermuda Race that continued through the week and highlights the joy and camaraderie of sailing.

Two top competitors in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division, Carina (corrected time two days 16 hours 12 minutes) and Hound (corrected time  two days 16 hours 25 minutes), arrived in Bermuda overnight Monday and into Tuesday morning. As ratings were calculated on Tuesday morning, it became clear that Carina would win the division overall, due to a 30-minute penalty being added to Hound’s corrected time after having crossed the starting line early.

On Tuesday afternoon, the crew of Gunga Din, a Swedish Yachts 41 abandoned ship 80 miles off of Bermuda due to water ingress. The crew of 7 was taken aboard Desna, a Tartan 37, unharmed and continued along the course.

Both boats with rescued crews aboard—Ceilidh and Desna—arrived to applause and admiration on the docks of the RBYC. At the awards ceremony Saturday evening, these crews were presented with special plaques recognizing their heroic efforts to rescue their fellow sailors. The crew of Banter, which stood by to assist in the rescue of Alliance, was also recognized.

As the majority of the fleet continued to arrive on Wednesday and Thursday, overall winners were declared in the Double-Handed and Finisterre Divisions. Northeast Wind, a sloop, won Finisterre with a corrected time of two days 15 hours and 54 minutes. “We had the right boat, with the right conditions, and the right team,” said skipper Frank Sobchak of his crew’s win.

Fearless, a Sunfast 3300, took the Double-Handed title with a corrected time of three days four hours and 23 minutes. Phil Hayden and Alexander Brock Kraebel co-skippered the boat, which had over 500 virtual crew mates through Hayden’s non-profit Sail for Epilepsy. The organization works to inspire people with epilepsy and help them lead fuller lives, raise awareness about the disease, and support the search for a cure.

Seas The Day, a Bristol 35.5, was the last boat in the fleet to finish early on Friday, June 28 earning themselves the endurance prize. Crewmember Ian Moraino noted the strong storms encountered by the boat the night before their arrival, forcing them to heave-to for seven hours before continuing to Race. The boat and its crew received a warm welcome late Friday morning from cheering sailors and fans gathered at RBYC.
 
This evening’s Prize Giving marks the official end of the race festivities. Along with trophies for division winners, special awards and recognitions were given to various members of this year's fleet. Award winners include WaveWalker (William L. Glenn Family Participation Prize), OC 80 (Stephens Brothers Youth Prize), and Carina, Summer Storm, and In Theory as part of the Storm Trysail Red team (H. Irving Pratt Trophy). Many boats have already left to deliver back to the US, and the double-handed return race starts off tomorrow from St. George’s, Bermuda. 

The 54th edition of the Newport Bermuda Race will be held in June of 2026, which will mark 100 years since the Cruising Club of America became the Race's organizing authority.

Winners (BOAT, OWNER, SKIPPER)

St. David's Lighthouse Overall

  1. CARINA, RIVES POTTS
  2. HOUND, DAN LITCHFIELD
  3. GENTIAN, BEN SPERRY

St. David’s Lighthouse 1

  1. GENTIAN, BEN SPERRY
  2. NICOLE, THOMAS CAMPBELL
  3. SELKIE, SHEILA MCCURDY

St. David’s Lighthouse 2

  1. CARINA, RIVES POTTS, BARRETT HOLBY
  2. DRAGON FIRE, WILL APOLD, WILL APOLD
  3. COUCOU, ERIC WOLF, ERIC WOLF

St. David’s Lighthouse 3

  1. AMADEUS V, JAY TURCHETTA, JAY TURCHETTA
  2. IN THEORY, PETER MCWHINNIE, PETER MCWHINNIE
  3. BLUE SKIES, WILLIAM GUNTHER, WILLIAM GUNTHER

St. David’s Lighthouse 4

  1. ORION , GREG MORSE, GREG MORSE
  2. ZIG ZAG, ANDREW CLARK, ANDREW CLARK
  3. SUMMER GRACE, KEVIN W. KELLEY, KEVIN KELLEY

St. David’s Lighthouse 5

  1. HOUND, DAN LITCHFIELD, DAN LITCHFIELD
  2. ASSARAIN IV, STEVE BROWNLIE, STEVE BROWNLIE; TAYLOR NILES; MAX NEUBELT
  3. VAMOOSE, BOB MANCHESTER, BOB MANCHESTER

St. David’s Lighthouse 6

  1. PHANTOM, CHRIS SCHOEN, CHRIS SCHOEN
  2. ENTROPY, PAUL HAMILTON AND PATRICIA YOUNG, PAUL HAMILTON
  3. CEILIDH, JAMES COGGESHALL, JAMES COGGESHALL

St. David’s Lighthouse 7

  1. POLARIS, WILL PASSANO, WILL PASSANO
  2. COUGAR, LEONARD SITAR, LEONARD SITAR
  3. POSEIDON, NAVY OFFSHORE SAILING, NICHOLAS GIBBONS

St. David’s Lighthouse 8

  1. BOUDICCA, RICH MOODY, TIMOTHY BROWNELL & RICHARD MOODY
  2. SIREN - OAKCLIFF, OAKCLIFF SAILING, WILLIAM HUBBARD & ALEXANDER FREIHERR VON PERFALL & WILLIAM HUBBARD & RYAN NOVAK-SMITH
  3. FINAL FINAL, JON DESMOND, JON DESMOND

Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Overall

  1. SUMMER STORM, ANDREW BERDON, ANDREW BERDON
  2. PYEWACKET 70, ROY DISNEY, ROY DISNEY
  3. DENALI 3, BILL MCKINLEY, BILL MCKINLEY

Gibbs Hill Lighthouse 1

  1. WAVEWALKER, WOODY CULLEN, WOODY CULLEN
  2. RIKKI, BRUCE CHAFEE, BRUCE CHAFEE
  3. INCEPTION, NEKA SAILING, RICHARD A ROYCE

Gibbs Hill Lighthouse 2

  1. SUMMER STORM, ANDREW BERDON, ANDREW BERDON
  2. PYEWACKET 70, ROY DISNEY, ROY DISNEY
  3. DENALI 3, BILL MCKINLEY, BILL MCKINLEY

Finisterre Overall

  1. NORTHEAST WIND, FRANK SOBCHAK AND PATRICK POWERS, FRANK SOBCHAK AND PATRICK POWERS
  2. TRAMONTANA, TODD BARBERA, TODD BARBERA
  3. NAVICULAR, DOUGLAS WISCH MD, DOUGLAS WISCH MD

Finisterre 1

  1. NORTHEAST WIND, FRANK SOBCHAK AND PATRICK POWERS, FRANK SOBCHAK AND PATRICK POWERS
  2. NAVICULAR, DOUGLAS WISCH MD, DOUGLAS WISCH MD
  3. ELIXIR, SOREN SCHRODER, SOREN SCHRODER

Finisterre 2

  1. INISHARON, JIM MURPHY, JIM MURPHY
  2. CAPELLA, DAVID MILLET, DAVID MILLET
  3. RESTIVE, ROB MCALPINE, ROB MCALPINE

Finisterre 3

  1. TRAMONTANA, TODD BARBERA, TODD BARBERA
  2. TRUE, HOWARD HODGSON JR., HOWARD HODGSON JR.
  3. STARLIGHT, LUCIA MARSHALL, JOHN MARSHALL

Double-Handed Overall

  1. FEARLESS, PHIL HAYDON, PHIL HAYDON
  2. GROUPE 5, NEKA SAILING, ZACH DOERR
  3. JANE SAYS, ROBERT DUNIGAN, ROBERT DUNIGAN

Double-Handed 1

  1. FEARLESS, PHIL HAYDON, PHIL HAYDON
  2. ARTEMISIA, DREW PLOMINSKI & BONNIE HEIPLE, DREW PLOMINSKI
  3. YOUNG AMERICAN #146, PETER BECKER, PETER BECKER

Double-Handed 2

  1. GROUPE 5, NEKA SAILING, ZACH DOERR
  2. JANE SAYS, ROBERT DUNIGAN, ROBERT DUNIGAN
  3. RESOLUTE, SCOTT MILLER, SCOTT MILLER

Multihull

  1. ALLEGRA, ADRIAN KELLER, PAUL LARSEN

Super Yacht

  1. ARABELLA, MANHATTAN YACHT CLUB, MICHAEL FORTENBAUGH & SHANNON EARLE

Stories of interest:

Social Media Links:

For media inquiries, please contact:
Kate Somers
Media Director
+1 401 864 8424
[email protected]

For more information about the Newport Bermuda Race, visit bermudarace.com.

Photos Available here. Captions are in File Name.

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