Powerboaters smash Bermuda Challenge record
Chris Fertig’s mum didn’t really care that her son smashed The Bermuda Challenge record this morning, she was just he glad that he was back on dry land.
Noreen Fertig was among a small group of well wishers that greeted Chris Fertig and his navigator Tyson Garvin as they arrived in St George’s a little before 1am.
The pair powered across the Atlantic in a bruising 15 hours and 48 minutes dash that knocked an hour and 12 minutes off the previous record of 17 hours set by Italian Fabio Buzzi in September last year.
“I always knew he would do it, he’s always been focused,” said Ms Fertig. “The record wasn’t really important, I’m just glad to see him back on dry land.”
The US pair’s bid wasn’t without its set backs, propeller trouble early on, and then again when they were within 150-miles of Bermuda slowed them somewhat, but in the end a new record never looked in doubt.
Eventually crossing the finish line at Town Cut at 12.39am, Mr Fertig and Mr Garvin knocked nearly six hours off the record time they set last August of 21 hours and 35 minutes.
“I guess this shows that it’s never over until it’s over,” said Mr Fertig. “It’s 700-miles and anything can happen. Everything looked good, but we had a few mishaps.”
The pair had been planning an almost immediate turn around, with Mr Fertig revealing they were supposed to leave tomorrow morning. The broken propellers have changed their plans however, not that they are complaining.
“To get here at some time after midnight and to be greeted by so many people just shows what a warm and welcoming country this is,” said the skipper. “It’s great to be here, and we’d like to thank everyone for the warm welcome.
“It’s a beautiful place and beautiful people. We were planning on heading straight back tomorrow morning, but what with the broken propellers I guess we’ll have to stay in Bermuda for a while.”
Last night’s effort was made even sweeter for Mr Fertig considering his name was in the record books for less than a month before Mr Buzzi beat him by a massive four hours.
Speaking before the record-breaking crossing had been completed, team coordinator Tristan Collins said the US pair had been confident of victory from the start.
And she highlighted the physical and mental challenges of the race, pointing out that both Mr Fertig and Mr Garvin had had to remain constantly alert while being buffeted by choppy waters for more than 15 hours.
“Judging from their experience last year, it’s such a physically and mentally exhausting event,” Ms Collins said.
“You’re being bounced around in a boat for such a long time and all the while you have to stay mentally alert, aware to any dangers.”
Ms Collins put the fact that six hours had now been knocked off the record in the space of a year down to the competitive nature — and a degree of national pride — that existed between the American and Italian teams.
“We did meet with Fabio after he won the record last year and he made some comments about US technology not being so advanced, so it would be great to retain the record,” she said.
“It’s competitive, but it’s also really fun and done in a good spirit — it’s what drives everybody on.”
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