Big Winner In Marion Bermuda Race: “Selkie”

June 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

[Written by Laurie Fullerton]

Bostonian G.J. “Chip” Bradish and his crew of three—Max Mulhern [Navigator], George Dyroff [Watch Captain] and Peter Sidewater [Crew] topped the overall awards list this year with the performance of his Class D, “Selkie”, a Morris Yachts Ocean.

They took home the Founders Trophy, awarded to the yacht with the best overall corrected time, and BYC Polaris Trophy awarded to the yacht with the best celestially-navigated performance.

‘Selkie’, Chip Bradish’s 1988 Morris Ocean 32.5 footer from Boston was the overall corrected time winner of Class D and the entire 40th Anniversary Marion Bermuda Race. She was the smallest boat in the race and was sailed using only celestial navigation winning the Beverly Yacht Club Polaris Trophy. Sailing with Bradish were Max Mulhern [Navigator], George Dyroff [Watch Captain] and Peter Sidewater [Crew]. Photo by SpectrumPhoto/Fran Grenon

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“Selkie” also won the L. Byron Kingery Jr. Memorial Trophy for the best performance by a short-handed yacht with a three or four person crew, First Place in Class D, and The Hinckley/Morris Class Trophy, along with the Navigator’s Trophy awarded to its navigator Max Mulhern of Cambridge MA who had the best celestially-navigated performance.

His excellency John Rankin CMG, the Governor of Bermuda and Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club Commodore Neil Redburn presented the trophies and awards at the Dinghy Club Saturday evening. Of the 50 entries, 38 completed the race. A full list of prizes and trophies is available here.

The 40th anniversary and the 21st running of the biennial Marion Bermuda Race will go down as a light air battle to the finish. With the Bermuda high shutting down the breeze about 100 miles from the finish, the racing was a test of patience among the classes with sail trim, good navigating and sniffing out the breeze ultimately giving the win to the most focused, light air masters.

“We prepared for quite a long time for this race, and spent a lot of winter and spring weekends going over the course, and then trained on the water as the weather got better,” Bradish said. “It is a very solid boat and we had an excellent crew and of course our navigator did an amazing job.”

As the Marion Bermuda race also encourages and recognizes youth sailors, the Offshore Youth Challenge Trophy went to “Integrity,” a Navy 44 MK II STC, skippered by first class midshipman Christopher Cantillo from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. This was Cantillo’s second Marion to Bermuda race, which he raced in 2015 as assistant navigator. He came back this year as skipper.

The navy team used dead reckoning and celestial navigation with midshipman Joshua Corbett and Cassidy O’Brien benefiting from the particularly still waters and bright night sky that characterized this year’s race.

“The crew did a phenomenal job, and I attribute all of our success to their hard work,” said Cantillo. “Our second in command Rob Thyberg did a great job through some of the most mentally taxing parts of the race.”

‘Jambi’, [50015] a new Hinckley Bermuda 50 skippered by John Levinson crossed the finish line off St. David’s Lighthouse at 12:47:00 ADT to take line honors in the 40th Anniversary Marion Bermuda Race. ‘Jambi’ had an unofficial elapsed time of 4 days 22 hours 52 minutes 11 seconds. Based on her starting time of 12:55 EDT on June 9, that is 118 hours 52 minutes and 11 Seconds. Photo by Talbot Wilson.

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“Our two navigators,” he added, “kept us exactly where we wanted to be using nothing but a sextant and dead reckoning. It was a really impressive display of practical navigation at sea, and their performance is a testament to their own skill as sailors and the quality of our training at the Naval Academy. All in all, I cannot express how happy I am for the crew. I did this race two years ago aboard NA-23 “Defiance” and my crew earned 2nd in class that year. It felt great to come back to Bermuda and to enjoy this beautiful island.”

The Marion Bermuda race has also brought many generations of the same family to its starting line over the course of this race. This year, the Beverly Family Trophy was awarded to the team on board “Faith and Hope”, a Le Compte Northeast 38 MkII, skippered by James Putnam and Frank Putnam from Hanahan, SC.

The family trophy qualifications consist of a crew of five or more members with all or all but one member from a single household or a single family which includes spouses and grandparents.

James Putnam, who lives in Keene, NH is one of six children. A tradition that brings cousins together began with his father and continues to this day. The cousins have been sailing together in some capacity since they reached the age of 12. This is the first time they had sailed in a race together, which included three generations from one family and three cousins.

“It is a very important glue for our family… being out on the ocean at the mercy of Mother Nature. It started at a young age,” said James Putnam. His son and nephews whose ages ranged from 29 to 48 also said that “it is something that connects us back to our grandfather and I know he would be proud of us.” In fact, this year the youngest member of the family was ten year old Asahel who said he loved being offshore and is looking forward to having his sister come in two years.

The next Marion Bermuda Race is scheduled for Friday, June 14, 2019.

The Marion Bermuda race recognizes the achievements of all women teams and this year was no exception. The Commodore Faith Paulsen Trophy was awarded to the crew of “Etoile” a Stellar sloop, skippered by Anne Kolker from New York City.

“Selkie”, a Morris Yachts Ocean 32.5, won the Founders Trophy, awarded to the yacht with the best overall corrected time, the BYC Polaris Trophy awarded to the yacht with the best celestially-navigated performance, the L. Byron Kingery Jr. Memorial Trophy for the best performance by a short-handed yacht, the First Place in Class D Trophy, and the Hinckley/Morris Class Trophy. The Navigator’s Trophy was awarded to her Max Mulhern of Cambridge MA for the best celestially-navigated performance. L-R George Dyroff [Watch Captain] Peter Sidewater [Crew], Chip Bradish [Skipper] and Max Mulhern [Navigator]. Photo by SpectrumPhoto/Fran Grenon

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For all the competitors, whether they are first timers or returning, the Marion Bermuda race is always filled with a sense of great acheivement. And, for those reaching Bermuda during an America’s Cup year, they were able to sail past a fleet of J Class boats, superyachts, and state of the art America’s Cup boats all competing around the Great Sound and waters off Bermuda.

“Coming down the south channel and passing everything from Jboats to foiling catamarans, there is still a lot of commonality among us – despite wildly varying budgets, we are all sailors,” said John Ring, of Beverly, MA who placed second in Class D.

“The Marion Bermuda race is very much a part of the history and success of the island,” said the Governor of Bermuda John Rankin. “We congratulate all of you who participated in this race.”

Dave Patton, Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association Trustee’s Chairman, invited the sailors to ‘save the date’ for 2019. “Join us on Friday June 14, 2019 for the 22nd Marion Bermuda Race.”

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