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Pyewacket 70 expected to claim Newport Bermuda Race line honours

Bermuda’s Brian Hillier and crew set sail on Crossfore in the 53rd Newport Bermuda Race from Narragansett Bay in Newport on Friday (Photograph by Mimi Whitmarsh)

The first yacht in the 53rd Newport Bermuda Race is expected to cross the finish line on Sunday night or early on Monday morning.

Setting the pace in the battle for line honours is Roy Disney’s Pyewacket 70, which also holds pole position in the Gibbs Hill Division but is closely trailed by Andrew Berdon’s boat, Summer Storm.

Disney has already enjoyed success in the biennial race having claimed line honours twice in his 75ft Reichel-Pugh boat and he has previously held the race record, which has since been eclipsed by rival maxis Rambler and Comanche.

Sailors encountered very light conditions off the coast of New England on Friday night after setting sail from Narragansett Bay, Newport, as passing thunderstorms on land diminished the wind.

The breeze filled in on Saturday with the racing fleet now making quick progress along the rhumb line towards the finish off St David’s in Bermuda.

“We have had every headsail up in the inventory except the storm jib,” said Peter Isler, who is among the crew of pacesetters Pyewacket 70.

This year’s race has not gone without incident as one boat was dismasted, another abandoned and a few others have retired.

George Sakellaris’ JV 72, Proteus, was dismasted on Saturday in moderate conditions due to a failure at its base. The rig was cut away and the unharmed crew safely returned to Newport.

The crew aboard Eric Irwin and Mary Martin’s J-121, Alliance USA 52770, was then forced to abandon ship on Sunday due to water ingress via a rudder post.

Multiple competitors stopped racing to assist, with all crew now safely aboard rival J-121, Ceilidh, which has resumed racing with the Alliance crew.

Three-times race winner Carina and Hound, who have a long history as powerhouses in the Bermuda Race dating back 50 years, are battling for the top spot in the St David’s Lighthouse Division.

Flying Bermuda’s flag are Brian Hillier and Stephen Sherwin who are competing in the St David’s Lighthouse Division.

Sherwin’s Corby 41.5, Nasty Medicine, was last shown third in its class, 28th in the overall St David’s Lighthouse Division and 27th in line honours among monohull yachts.

Hillier’s J-125, Crossfire, was tracked seventh in its class, 80th in the overall St David’s Lighthouse Division and 54th in line honours among monohull yachts.

Jason Carroll’s AQ MOD70, Argo, holds the race’s multihull record of 33hr 0.09sec and Ken Read’s 100-foot supermaxi, Comanche, the monohull record, which stands at 39hr 39min 8sec.

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Published June 23, 2024 at 12:13 pm (Updated June 23, 2024 at 12:13 pm)

Pyewacket 70 expected to claim Newport Bermuda Race line honours

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