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Sailors set out for Bermuda in annual challenge

A total of 28 sailors yesterday set out from Rhode Island — all travelling solo — as part of the Bermuda One-Two.

The biennial race, which first started in 1977, challenges competitors to race from Newport to St George’s solo, and return to Newport double-handed.

One competitor, 55-year-old Michael Millard from Greenwich, Connecticut, recently told the Greenwich Citizen that he was looking forward to the competition.

“The Bermuda Race One-Two is my favourite yachting event because it represents, in my opinion, the true spirit of yachting,” he said. “It’s all about seamanship, the camaraderie of the competition and meeting the challenge. In other races that go on around the world, the race is about who wins. The competitors look for every advantage they can get.

“This event is really about the camaraderie, the shared challenge we all face. Nobody remembers who wins these events. We don’t really care.”

He said he has loved sailing most of his life, and has been a serious sailor since he was 16. This will be the eighth time he has taken part in the competition.

“The first year I wondered, ‘How will I manage to sleep?’. But sleep was a non-issue,” he said. “My biggest problem was a boat issue. The hull was coming apart so I couldn’t sleep. When I arrived in Bermuda the other competitors helped me repair the boat. When we arrive in Bermuda we are busy preparing the boat for the return trip.”

He said the worst trip took place in 2009, sailing with his son on the return leg when the pair encountered terrible weather.

“It was the most challenging of my career. That trip required all the perseverance and physical strength we could muster,” he said.

“We were 36 hours in the storm approximately midway. There were 35-knot winds and ten- to 15-foot seas. We hit something under us. We didn’t know what it was but it damaged the boat. This was followed with no wind for 48 hours.

“The main lesson my son got out of this is if you can survive this, there’s nothing you can’t do.”

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Published June 07, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 06, 2013 at 11:40 pm)

Sailors set out for Bermuda in annual challenge

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