50 Yachts Start Marion Bermuda Race

June 9, 2017

[Written by  Talbot Wilson]

Fifty boats are now hard on the wind in Buzzards Bay or just reaching the Atlantic Ocean. They are racing from Marion to Bermuda in the 40th Anniversary of the Marion Bermuda Race. This classic ocean race is always a challenge.

Paul Hubbard skipper of ‘Bermuda Oyster’ [435] the only Bermuda boat in this year’s race got off to one of the best starts of the day leading the 12 Class D entries over the line the second of four starts today.

Hubbard first did this race in 1987. He said, “ Our boat is in good shape. We had a few things break on the delivery up [sailing the 645 miles from Bermuda]. We got that sorted out at the boatyard here. This year looks to be a good trip shaping up.”

Paul Hubbard skipper of ‘Bermuda Oyster’ [435] the only Bermuda boat in this year’s race got one of the best starts of the day leading the 12 Class D entries over the line the second of four starts today. Photo by Talbot Wilson

Marion Bermuda Race June 9 2017 (1)

Bermuda Oyster navigator Stephen Benn was primed for the trip at the Thursday night skipper’s briefing at Tabor Academy and the crew reception at the Beverly Yacht club in Marion. He said, “I’m into last minute prep – just looking at all the data I can, as always. The weather forecast looks good, other than the high pressure in Bermuda that promise slow going for the last 100 miles, as usual.”

“When we arrive,” he added, “It could be a bit of a parking lot out there maybe 100 miles from Bermuda. The Gulf Steam should be pretty straightforward this year. This will be more of a wind race than a current race.”

The scratch [fastest] boat ‘Jambi’ [USA 50015], a new Hinckley Bermuda 50 skippered by John Levinson should reach Bermuda by late Monday but that depends on where they park and for how long on the sail to Bermuda. Photo by Talbot Wilson

Marion Bermuda Race June 9 2017 (2)

Hubbard has a crew of regulars aboard— Barbara and John Ashfield from the UK. Steve Musicant, Stephen Benn and Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club [RHADC] Commodore Neil Redburn, and new crew member Scott Snyder from Denver, Colorado.

The race got off to a good on time start with a building southwesterly breeze that was about 8kts for the first start at 12:10 EDT for the slower Class D Boats. Winds built to a sunny 15kts by the time the fastest A Class boats got off at 12:55.

Only one boat, the Class C Morris 46 ‘Escapade II’ skippered by Tom Bowler pushed the line and was over early. He had to turn back to re-cross the line. That’s not a happy way to start a 645 nautical mile ocean race.

The scratch [fastest] boat ‘Jambi’, a new Hinckley Bermuda 50 skippered by John Levinson should reach Bermuda by late Monday but that depends on where they park and for how long on the sail to Bermuda.

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