Shockwave Wins The Newport Bermuda Race

June 23, 2014

[Written by Talbot Wilson]

George Sakellaris’ Shockwave claimed first place in the Newport Bermuda Race this morning, with Hap Fauth’s Belle Mente coming in at a close second.

For many of the 1500+ sailors on 162 boats on course to Bermuda in the 49th Newport Bermuda Race, yesterday’s Summer Solstice must have seemed like the longest night ever. Shockwave, the line honors leader at noon Saturday then 438nm from Bermuda, was still 336nm from Bermuda at 2:00 AM Sunday.

The 2012 Gibbs Hill Lighthouse winner was averaging a velocity made good to Bermuda of 8.3kts, compared to 9.2kts up to noon Saturday. At 2:AM Shockwave was doing 10.3kts making a good course of 152º toward Bermuda.


For those 14 hours, Shockwave had averaged 7.2kts. George David’s Rambler had averaged 16.1kts on the way to smashing the record in 2012. Rambler sailed the entire course in 39hrs 39min. The mini-maxis are well beyond that now, so no record will fall in 2014.

The 2:00 AM snapshot of the fleet on the Pantaenius Race Tracker, online for everyone to see, showed the back of the fleet taking a hard right turn. Hard in the sense that it is a 90º turn to the west, but harder still insomuch that these boats are sailing a bad tack to Bermuda or just drifting at less than 1kt. Dock talk in Bermuda will be stories about no wind or a big bad windshift during this long Summer Solstice night.

Christopher Dragon, estimated to be in the lead for best corrected time at Noon Saturday, still held that position. Then she was 477nm from Bermuda. At 2:00AM this morning she was 396nm out, making only 81nm in 14hrs, averaging 5.7kts She was reported as doing 8.2kts heading 141º.

Shockwave on the wind at the start [Photo Daniel Forster/PPL]


Carina, winner of St. David’s Lighthouses in 2010 and 2012, was 457nm away reported doing 2.1kts steering 138º and just out of the pack drifting west. Carina had covered only 33nm toward Bermuda in 14 hours but appears to be breaking out of the drifting pack at 2:00AM.

The big difference between the faster, leading boats and those further back is the Gulf Stream. Carina and Christopher Dragon, two of the leading boats on corrected time, are nearby and in the axis of the Gulf Stream which is flowing west to east. The current may actually be making wind for them, giving them additional apparent wind to sail with.

At 2:AM today, the leading mini-maxis had reached the southbound cold core eddy, and were picking up a free ride toward Bermuda. The slower boats in the drifting conditions are north of the current and will suffer till the wind builds today, maybe this afternoon.

Hap Fauth’s Belle Mente leads George Sakellaris’ Shockwave in early action [Photo Daniel Forster/PPL]

2014 Newport Bermuda Race - Goslings Rum Crew Party at Newport Shipyard.

At noon Saturday, Sinn Fein, the other two-time St. David’s Lighthouse winner (2006-2008), had been in second place based on estimated corrected time. She was 458nm out at noon Saturday and by 2:00AM was sailing at 1.9kts heading at 124º.

Selkie, sailed by Sheila McCurdy, past Commodore of the Cruising Club of America, was stuck in the back half of the fleet in a drifter doing a painful 0.3kts and drifting at 249º. Newton Merrill’s Finess a J42 just west of Selkie was doing 1.1kts at 90º drifting painfully the other direction.

Joe Harris in Gryphon Solo2, a double hander, was just picking up a breeze and the eastbound current. He was doing 7kts at 158º.

Weather Update: Commanders’ Weather

  • We have a front lying close to 35-35 30n. Weak ripples of low pressure will move E along the front today and Monday
  • Satellite imagery shows a band of showers/squalls/t-storms from 34-36n. The cells are moving mainly from W to E, or a shade N of E. There may be some gusts to 40 kts near some of the heavier t-storms along the frontal boundary along with lots of lightning
  • In general, increasing ENE and E winds to the N of the front, nearing 36-37n [with a rather narrow band of 20-30 kts] and also a band of 20-30 kts of SW flow a little S of the front
  • Flow then settles to the SW closer to 14-20 kts further S
  • Seas building to 7-8 ft thru the southern part of the Stream later today-tonight and 5-7 ft further S
  • Winds will diminish a few kts on both sides of the front Mon aftn-night
  • Front settles further S, closer to 34n Mon night-Tues. Lighter SW winds Mon night and Tuesday
  • Flow may be under 10 kts Tues-Wed

Day 3 race analysis from Sunday, June 22:


  • Toothface2, in the Double-Handed Division, returned to Newport Friday night. Michael Dreese, her captain, reported a broken pump in her water ballast system.
  • Next Boat, in the Double-Handed Division, owned by Mark Ellman, withdrew on Saturday morning due to concerns about possible damage and is returning to New York Harbor.
  • Happy Valley, Class 10, Cruiser, Richard J. Maddock, withdrew from the race at 5 a.m Sunday due to slow progress and is returning to Easthampton, NY, via Block Island.
  • Wandrian, Class 3, St. David’s Lighthouse Division, William Tucker, withdrew on Sunday with steering problems.

For scratch sheets, crew lists, and other information about the boats, go to Race Documents & Rules.

Twenty-nine of the two Newport Bermuda Lighthouse Divisions’ entries are also sailing the 25th Onion Patch Series, a tough triathlon of offshore racing. These Onion Patch racers have just sailed the NYYC 160th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex in Newport and will form the core of the June 27nd RBYC Anniversary Regatta which now has 32 entries. The RBYC Anniversary Regatta is open to all IRC or ORR rated yachts over 25 feet in Bermuda. Anniversary Regatta entries close at noon on June 25th. Information is online at and at carries Newport Bermuda Race rules, news, videos, photos, history, and expert advice. Race news is also posted on the Newport Bermuda Race 2014 Facebook page and on Twitter at @BdaRace.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Gulf stream always did provide sweet sailing ,fast and abaft,going low and east to turn abruptly north seems to be par for this course…sweet sailing indeed…you just have to contabd with the occasional alien aircraft,and …well…mermaids…see…they don’t ear any clothes….and …well….dey swim up late at night and early morning and becon to you……they are not easy to deny…

  2. Contabd…contend… vey i wrote it!

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