Bermuda bragging rights battle down to wire
The battle for local bragging rights in the Antigua Bermuda Race between Morning Star and Spirit of Bermuda is shaping up to be an intriguing one.
At one stage yesterday five miles separated local leader Spirit of Bermuda from Carl Soares's Paradise 60, Morning Star.
Spirit of Bermuda was third in the Classic division at press time and Morning Star seventh in the Monohull division.
The remaining local entry in the fleet, the Farr Pilothouse 56, Monterrey, owned by race chairman and past Royal Bermuda Yacht Club commodore Les Crane, is among a trio of yachts that have declared using their engine for propulsion and have retired from IRC, but are still racing under the CSA Rating Rule with a penalty to come.
Meanwhile, line honours winners for multihull and monohull are expected to be confirmed today.
The first yacht expected to cross the finish line of St David's today is the US Merchant Marine Academy's Volvo 70, Warrior, skippered by Stephen Murray, of Southern Yacht Club from Metairie, Louisiana, which at one stage yesterday was racing towards the island around 20 knots.
“Another day of champagne sailing on the Warrior,” Will Oxley, Warrior's navigator, wrote in an e-mail. “As we rotate around the high, maximising downwind VMG consumes the majority of our focus.
“Three freeze-dried meals to break up the trimming, driving and sail changes, keeps the time moving along. Every now and again a striking blow of reality reminds us all how privileged and fortunate we are to be out here.
“The full moon last night making a headlamp unnecessary or the pod of whales playing off our bow today!
“This is not our ocean, and to be a guest is a privilege well beyond the average.”
Warrior is tenth in the Monohull division and seventh in IRC.
Murray and crew have led the fleet since starting the 935-mile offshore race just outside of English Harbour, Antigua last Friday.
The second entry expected to cross the finish today is the Nigel Irens-designed catamaran, Allegra.
The multihull yacht is roughly some 30 miles astern of Warrior with Paul Larsen, the world speed sailing record-holder, among the boat's crew.
A total of 21 boats from nine nations are competing in the race, organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, in association with Antigua Sailing Week.
The race is open to monohull and multihull yachts that will be competing for class honours and is designed to offer an exciting passage race to Bermuda, the home of the 35th America's Cup this year.
“The variety of the fleet shows the wide appeal of the race and bodes well for the Antigua Bermuda Race to grow in future editions,” Crane said on the eve of last week's start.
“The America's Cup in Bermuda has ignited interest in the race this year, however it is a well-known route for yachts leaving the Caribbean bound for the Eastern Seaboard of the United States as well as destinations in Europe.
“Our intention is that the Antigua Bermuda Race will be an annual event, popular with a wide variety of yachts.”