2004 Newport Bermuda Fleet On Their Way


Amory Ross

After a morning that saw little wind and heavy fog, the 159 entries in the 2004 Bermuda Race left Newport, R.I. this afternoon with relative ease. The thunderstorms and rain that had been forecasted never came and sailors were greeted instead by a 5- to 10-knot northerly for exciting downwind starts. The waters off Castle Hill were filled with spectator boats, and a large number of people watched from shore, all hoping to get a glimpse of this year's excellent turnout and the latest maxis and IMS boats. The smallest entrants led the southbound procession, but soon after the larger, faster, entries were catching up. The maxZ86s were the last to go, sailing as the Big Boat Demonstration Class. With the potential for an all-downwind trip, each of the three maxis-Pyewacket, Morning Glory, and Windquest-have a good chance to set a new course record. The race is essentially broken down into two strategic parts. The first is getting to an ideal crossing point of the Gulf Stream while staying away from harmful eddies and adverse current. The second is exiting the Gulf Stream and focusing on VMG sailing during the final sprint towards Bermuda. Sailing World senior editor Stuart Streuli (onboard the Transpac52 Lightwave) and Tony Bessinger (onboard the Swan 45 Plenty) will be sending periodic reports during the race and upon their arrival in Bermuda. You can also follow the race at www.bermudarace.com