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Skipper Hutchings hoping for a repeat of history

in Marion, Massachusetts

Spirit of Bermuda skipper Preston Hutchings hopes to be revisited by ghosts of the past in this year’s Marion Bermuda Race.

Hutchings seized line honours at the first attempt during his race debut in 2007 the 30th anniversary of the biennial event sailing aboard his 42-foot Swan,

Morgan’s Ghosts.

It’s a feat he hopes to duplicate in this year’s 645-mile ocean race from Buzzards Bay, Marion, Massachusetts to St David’s Head, Bermuda.

“I want to do it again for sure,” Hutchings told

The Royal Gazette.

The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) sailor has chartered the 118-foot schooner along with Patrick McGee of Texas.

Spirit of Bermuda is among the favourites to reach Bermuda first and early weather predictions suggest conditions could bolster Hutchings’ quest for line honours.

“The weather predicted absolutely suits

Spirit totally and it’s a question of when the low (low pressure system) goes through and how much after its passage we start,” he said. “If we can start more or less at the time that it goes through we can stay right behind it for a considerable amount of time and get a lot of distance on the clock.

“That would be really helpful because way behind it there’s light air and so we want to stay in that low for as long as we can.”

Hutchings will be joined on deck by a seasoned crew that includes sons William and Alistair, past local Olympic sailor Alan Burland as well as Oliver Sarkozy, brother of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“We have a well-drilled crew and I’d say the crew is excellent,” he said. “The challenge is that everybody here is used to sailing a boat by reference to the telltale signs on the jib. But here you can’t even see the jib, it’s so far forward so the helmsman has a different role and there has got to be very good communication between the sail trimmers, helmsman and tactician in terms of how the boat is behaving in order to sail her fully optimum. “

Spirit of Bermuda and her crew of 32 are the sole entry in the new Classic Yacht Division following the withdrawal of the 94-foot Fife Ketch,

Belle Aventure.

“Their withdrawal is disappointing,” Hutchings said. “Nevertheless, we will have a safe and fun time sailing

Spirit of Bermuda and competing for the Blue Water Sailing Club Board of Governors’ Trophy.”

The Governors’ Trophy is awarded to the yacht with the shortest elapsed time.

Preston Hutchings discusses strategy with Spirit of Bermuda's full-time captain Karen McDonald ahead of today's start of the Marion Bermuda Race. Photo by Jack Rhind

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Published June 14, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 13, 2013 at 9:11 pm)

Skipper Hutchings hoping for a repeat of history

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