This morning’s [June 16] race update said, “Sixteen hours into the 48th Newport Bermuda Race, the northeast wind that sent the fleet off at high speed under spinnakers on Friday has strengthened offshore and held up all night.
“Four boats have retired from the race due to damage, with no reported injuries. The races elapsed time records are under attack by a pack of five boats making 15- to 20-knot speeds one-third of the 635-mile distance from Newport to Bermuda.
“Four boats have withdrawn from the race and turned back toward shore. Cannonball (Charles Robertson, Class 7) has a damaged mast, Donnybrook (James Muldoon, Class 16) has a leak, and Meanie (Thomas Akin, Class 10) has unknown damage that the crew hoped to repair before restarting the race.
“The fourth boat, Oakcliff Racing (owned by Oakcliff Sailing, Class 16), lost her rudder and is making her way under emergency steering and a jury rig to Montauk, Long Island, on a 30-minute communications schedule with the U.S. Coast Guard. One entry did not start the race on Friday. This was Kiva (Mark Stevens, Class 14).
“There are no reports of injury on these boats or any other entries. In fact, there are very few reports at all from the boats, whether by Twitter or by email. This is an indication that the conditions are rough, the sailing is demanding, and the sailors are preoccupied with their chores and holding on.
“The lead boat as of 0730 is George Davids Rambler (Class 10). The Yellowbrick tracker (on a 6-hour time delay) shows her very close to the rhumbline with a 2-mile lead over Hap Fauths Bella Mente (Class 10).
“Less than 10 miles behind them are Shockwave (George Sakellaris, Class 10) and Team Tiburon (Mark E. Watson, Class 10, with a crew that includes many midshipmen from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy). Several miles back is Kodiak (Llwyd Ecclestone, Class 8), and then theres a big gap to the next group.
“Class 10 is for larger boats in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division, which is for boats with predominately professional crews. Class 8 is for big boats in the St. Davids Lighthouse Division, the races largest division reserved for boats with amateur crews.
“Any boat that finishes before mid-afternoon on Sunday has an excellent chance of breaking one of the races two elapsed time records, approximately 53 hours for the two Lighthouse Division boats and 48 hours for the boats in the Open Division (Class 16) with canting keels or water ballast.
“Its too early to form any judgments about the race standings, but if the weather behaves as has been predicted, with the wind fading on Sunday afternoon and evening and shutting the door on the smaller boats, the early finishers may very well also be the corrected time leaders. That would make this the first big-boat Bermuda Race in many years.”
Majority of photos courtesy of Barry Pickthall/PPL, click to enlarge images:
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