Running a tight ship
“Basically anything that floats is mine” is how Andy Burnett-Herkes responds when asked about his role in Bermuda's Tall Ships Host Port Festival. With an extensive background in race management, the former professional race officer and banking/marketing executive is well qualified for his Ship Management role when the 19 tall ships arrive in Bermuda waters to berth, first in St. Georges during the last week in May, and then in Hamilton Harbour from June 1- 5.
Andy managed the Newport-Bermuda race for 20 years and the Charleston — Bermuda Races over a six-year period. He has served as commodore of Sandys Boat Club, president of Bermuda Yachting, he is one of the founders of the J24 Class and he has participated in four world championships in Tokyo, Italy, and the UK.
His love affair with the sea began at the tender age of three, when he served as the third ‘man' on his Dad's three-man hornet in competitive sailing events. “My dad strapped me to the back as the third man,” Andy laughs. By the age of 10, Andy had saved enough money to buy his first boat, a Firefly. “I collected discarded rum bottles and Barritt's mineral bottles from the bushes near my house and took the bottles back to the store to claim the deposit. I got sixpence for each mineral bottle and threepence for each rum bottle!”
Andy is responsible for ship safety and security, including ensuring that arriving crew members have all the necessary immigration and customs documents such as valid passports and visas for their arrival and onward journey. He has continually liaised with each of the ships' captains to coordinate their shipping and provisioning needs while in Bermuda.
Andy will conduct the required captain's briefing in Sines, Portugal. And, as members of the STI race committee, Andy and STA-Bermuda chair, John Wadson, will witness the start of the race across the Atlantic to Bermuda. These duties will be repeated as the tall ships prepare to leave Bermuda on June 5 to race to Boston.