Prize-giving brings Newport Bermuda Race to a close
The 52nd Newport Bermuda Race drew to a close on Saturday night with the prize-giving ceremony at Government House.
At the outset, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club commodore Craig Davis asked the assembled guests to observe a one-minute silence to acknowledge and reflect on the passing of Morgan of Marietta’s owner Colin Golder during the race.
More than 100 awards were presented for top finishers in each of 19 classes, as well as overall fastest and slowest elapsed times, youth teams, family crews, and club and service-academy teams.
The prize-giving culminated in the race’s trademark sterling silver St David’s and Gibbs Hill lighthouse trophies being presented to the winners.
Rena Lalgie, the Governor, hosted the ceremony and presented prizes alongside Davis and Chris Otorowski, commodore of the Cruising Club of America. Stephen Kempe, the RBYC honorary secretary, served as master of ceremonies.
The coveted St David’s Lighthouse Trophy, a silver and gold replica of the lighthouse awarded since 1954 to the winner of the largest division, was presented to Sally and Stan Honey, for the performance of their 56-year-old Cal 40 Illusion.
With a crew including Carl Buchan, Don Jesberg and Jonathan Livingston, Illusion posted the fastest corrected time in the division in the past 20 years.
The Illusion crew made repeated trips to the stage during the ceremony, earning half a dozen other prizes including largest margin of victory in class, the top-performing vintage yacht, and the fastest yacht from the Pacific Coast.
The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy, a silver replica of Bermuda’s tallest lighthouse awarded regularly since 2002, was presented to Christopher Sheehan and his Pac52 Warrior Won for victory in the higher-performance, professionally crewed Gibbs Hill Division.
Sheehan enters the record book as the first owner to win both the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse and St David’s Lighthouse trophies. In 2016, he won the latter with his Xp44, also called Warrior Won.
Charles Swanson, Chris Sheehan and Chris Lewis received the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy from the Governor.
“It’s very humbling,” Sheehan said. “There are so many wonderful records and legendary sailors in this race.”
The Bjorn R Johnson Castle Hill Trophy for the corrected-time winner in the Multihull Division was awarded to Jason Carroll, whose MOD70 Argo set a course record of 33 hours and became the first Saturday finisher in the 116-year history of the race.
The trophy was newly minted in 2018 when multihulls were invited to compete in the race for the first time, and Carroll won it that year as well in Elvis, his Gunboat 62 catamaran.
The Finisterre Division Trophy was awarded to Dudley Johnson, who triumphed over 39 other boats with his high-performance cruiser Prevail, a Tripp 65.
“The boat has the right name,” said Darris Witham, skipper of Prevail. “The race is a liquid Everest, and it had to be climbed. Dudley had done the race once before, and he really loved it and wanted to do it one more time.”
The Double-Handed Division trophies, the Moxie Prize and Philip S Weld Prize, went to 20-year-old Zachary Doerr and 53-year-old Vladimir Shablinsky, sailing together on the Figaro Custom Groupe 5 in class six.
“We were hesitant to believe we were doing too well, so we pushed all the way through to the end,” Doerr said. “The only time I got excited was when we finished in Bermuda and got cell service; the first text that popped up was from my parents, saying, ‘You guys are almost definitely going to be first.’
“The whole experience feels kind of surreal being on the island now.”
The William L Glenn Family Participation Prize, for the top team with four or more family members on board, was won by Brian Bush on Toujours, which also won class seven in the Finisterre Division.
The Corinthian Trophy for the top-finishing all-amateur crew went to Froya co-skippered by Lane Tobin and Bill Gunther. Froya finished second in class 11.
Wasp, a US Naval Academy boat skippered by John Neubauer, won the Stephens Brothers Youth Trophy. The award is for the top boat in the St David’s Lighthouse and Finisterre divisions crewed by sailors more than half of whom are between the age of 14 and 23. Wasp also won the Battle of the Atlantic Trophy with the third best corrected time among boats from service academies in the St David’s Lighthouse Division.
The George W Mixter Trophy is awarded to the winning navigators in the St David’s Lighthouse and Gibbs Hill Lighthouse divisions, and this year the trophies went to California sailors Honey of Illusion and Lewis of Warrior Won.
“This is really special to me,” Lewis said. “We’re both members of the St Francis Yacht Club, and Stan has been my mentor for many years.”
The 53rd edition of the race will be held on June 21, 2024.