It hasnt been an easy run for the 182 boats that entered this years Newport Bermuda Race. “This is one of toughest ones Ive tried,” said Sailing World associate editor Tony Bessinger, a veteran ocean racer whos navigating for George Davids IMS 50 Idler. “Its a really tight reach and its blowing hard. Id say theres a lot of people in this fleet whove never been seasick who are sea sick.”
Bessigner was about 45 miles from the finish line when he checked in at just before 8:30 a.m. Monday. According to the race website (www.bermudarace.com) Roy Disneys Pyewacket was the first boat to finish, crossing the line Sunday evening just before 8 p.m. for a total elapsed time of 53h:39m:22s, nearly four hours better than the previous record. George Coumantaros Boomerang, which held the former record, also finished inside its former time, coming in 20 minutes or so after Pyewacket.
As might be expected with record breaking conditions, some boats have struggled in the strong southwesterly breeze. No fewer than seven boats have had to drop out. Fred Detwilers Trader, an Andrews 70, had its mast break in three different places Sunday night when it fell off the backside of a wave. Two boats have reportedly lost crew members over the side, but both were recovered.