Bermuda Challenge powerboat record-breakers may do it again
US powerboat pilot Chris Fertig just set a new record for the Bermuda Challenge race from New York to St George's — and he's already contemplating trying it again.
Mr Fertig last week set a new time of 15 hours and 48 minutes for the more than 700-mile open ocean race, beating last year's record by an hour an 18 minutes.
“We may give it a try,” Mr Fertig, now back in the US, told The Royal Gazette. “We'll see if someone beats us.”
He added: “With the race getting more visible each year, there are going to be more and more competitive guys trying it.”
It's happened before: last year Mr Fertig and navigator Tyson Garvin set a new record of 21 hours and 35 minutes for the ocean crossing — only to have it beaten a couple of months later by Italian racer Fabio Buzzi, who reached Bermuda in 17 hours and six minutes.
Mr Fertig said he wouldn't be surprised if Mr Buzzi stepped up to the challenge once again.
“I think the best would be Fabio — if anyone breaks it, it will be him. He's certainly capable of doing it.”
He added that the two teams maintained a respectful contact, including wishing one another the best in the potentially dangerous race.
Currently, the US team's craft, Offshore Endurance, remains in St George's.
Mr Fertig and his team-mate plan to return in a few weeks to drive the high-powered vessel back to North Carolina at a more leisurely pace than the blistering speed with which they reached Bermuda last time.
The August 22 race saw two stops to replace propeller blades damaged by the high speed and rough conditions.
Bermudian Neil Burnie set the original record in 2002, at 22 hours and 23 minutes — and Dr Burnie maintains his original record stands, since the race started out as a challenge for outboard boats, not diesel craft.
Mr Fertig, who said he's friends with Dr Burnie, said his fellow mariner was correct — in a sense.
“I have tremendous respect for him,” Mr Fertig said. “I think he's partially right.
“The truth is, the technology has evolved since Neil ran it. If you're asking for my opinion, Neil still holds the record for the outboard class, and ours is for the surface drive class.”