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Marion Bermuda race begins in Massachusetts

Plain sailing: Spirit of Bermuda

Forty entries competing in five divisions will set sail in the 22nd Marion Bermuda Race to commence in Sippican Harbour, Marion, Massachusetts today.

Among the entries competing in the biennial 645-mile open ocean challenge for cruiser-type yachts are the 118-foot triple-masted schooner, Spirit of Bermuda, and the Farr 395, Cyclone.

Spirit of Bermuda and Tabor Academy’s 92-foot schooner SSV Tabor Boy are the only entries competing in the Classic Yacht Division while Michael Tucker’s Cyclone is among the nine entries competing in the Founders Class B.

This year marks Spirit of Bermuda’s third time competing, having made its debut in 2013 and competed again 2015, and the first competing against a rival boat in her class.

Spirit of Bermuda enjoyed its finest moment in the race from Marion, Massachusetts, to St David’s, taking third in line honours in its previous appearance.

The sloop was chartered by former Olympic rower Jim Butterfield, whose crew included then Bermuda Governor George Fergusson.

As well as the Marion Bermuda Race, the Bermuda Sloop Foundation’s sail training vessel has also competed in the Newport Bermuda Race and the Antigua Bermuda Race.

The sloop was built in Rockport, Maine and launched in August 2006 and is the brainchild of founder Malcolm Kirkland and co-founders Jay Kempe and Alan Burland.

Paul Hubbard’s Bermuda Oyster was the only Bermudian entry that competed in the previous Marion Bermuda Race.

Today’s start of the race promises to be lively with gusts of 30 knots in the forecast.

The first warning signal will fire at noon and will be followed by the start of the Classic Yacht Division and Founders Division.

The first Marion Bermuda Race was held in 1977 and has since evolved into a true offshore challenge for cruising yachts, amateur, family and youth sailors.