Crossing the Valley to Bermuda

Published on June 11th, 2017

(June 11, 2017; Day 3) – Forty-seven boats are enjoying a pleasant sail so far in the 40th Anniversary of the Marion Bermuda Race.

Peter Bacon’s XP44 Lucy Georgina was leading the fleet with some 265nm remaining to the finish as of 1700 EDT, allowing for the possibility of reaching Bermuda by late Monday (Jun 12) but that depends winds in the ‘happy valley’ between the Gulf Stream and Bermuda, especially the last 100 miles to the rock.

Some of the boats behind them are finding calms, the ‘parking lots’, and shifty winds. Wind in the vicinity of the leaders was dropping from 12kts to 5kts and should be swinging from the SW to the NE as they head south. From there, it is variable and light.

Three boats, ‘High Cotton’, ‘Momentum’, and ‘Black Mallard’, who had engine problems, returned to ports on the east coast. There were no reasons given why ‘Momentum’ and ‘High Cotton’ retired.

‘Wind Tango’,a Beneteau Oceanis 430 skippered by Ed Redmond, had a problem before the start and returned to Marion for repairs. Skipper Ed Redmond phoned race headquarters from their mobile phone at 18:50 on Saturday. He said that Kingman Yacht Center had replaced a cracked thru hull and they were on their way. Redmond was very pleased by the service of Kingman. At that time ‘Wind Tango’ was headed for Cuttyhunk.

The race officer asked them to confirm that they are still on route for Bermuda and they said that they aren’t going to win anything at this point and “are just cruising”. They did not say that they are withdrawing from the race.

Later a caller from ‘Wind Tango’ reported that they are “officially pulling out of the race”. He said he was “flying to Bermuda tomorrow and “would be attending the dinner”. Their position on the YB screen is back in the harbor at Marion.

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Background: The first Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race in 1977 saw 104 starters cross the line. Over the forty years since that first race the race has evolved into a true offshore challenge for cruising yachts, amateur, family and youth sailors. Special prizes abound to emphasis celestial navigation, short handed sailing. Family crews and regional competition. The race is handicapped under the ORR rating system to assure the fairest scoring available for ocean racing yachts.

Source: Talbot Wilson

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