First leg finalized for Bermuda Rally

Published on July 12th, 2020

St George’s, Bermuda (July 12, 2020) – After a difficult leg of nearly five days of light air and upwind sailing, all four teams have finished their first leg of the Spirit of Bermuda Charity Rally, organized by the East End Mini Yacht Club and the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF). Proceeds from this race benefit the Bermuda Sloop Foundation and the sail training vessel Spirit of Bermuda.

First in to the finish at St George’s at 10:31pm Friday (July 10) was Andy Schell’s Swan 59 Icebear skippered by Sean Westoby, followed by Hank Schmitt’s Swan 48 Avocation at 3:06pm yesterday, then fellow North leg competitor Alessandro Pagani double-handing with Anthony Johnson on his Spirit 47 Luna at 8:35 pm, with Andy Schell’s Swan 48 Isbjorn skippered by Vincent Matiola crossing the finish later that day at 9:56 pm.

This race was unusual in allowing starts on July 6 from two locations – the West leg at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay (Icebear and Isbjorn) and the North leg from south of Newport, RI (Avocation and Luna). All four teams finished at Mills Buoy close to the mouth of Town Cut in St George’s, Bermuda.

Additionally, motoring was permitted at the discretion of the teams when the wind quit or some other obstacle to progress. The time spent motoring was then deducted from the elapsed time used for scoring the race. These times varied greatly among the teams: Icebear motored the least at 2 hours 48 min, whereas Avocation motored the most: 21 hours 22 min.

Using the SYRF Offshore Scoring System and each boat’s polars from their ORC certificates, Race Director Larry Rosenfeld then calculated the optimized route time to sail from each boat’s start to the finish based on the Expedition routing program and weather GRIB files. The optimized time was then compared to the actual sailing time to determine “efficiency,” which was then used to rank the finishers.

With this approach, Icebear won with a corrected time of 4 days 9 hours 53 min, for an efficiency rating of 75%. Runner-up was Isborn with a time of 4 days 22 hours 4 min, for an efficiency rating of 68%, with Luna in third with a time of 5 days 1 hour and 40 min and an efficiency rating of 66%.

“This was an encouraging start to learning more about this complex but potentially more fair approach to offshore race scoring,” said Rosenfeld. “We will score the return legs in the same manner and look forward to evaluating those results too.

Currently the teams are relaxing in Bermuda before returning to sail back to their start points, although this afternoon Luna had decided to get an early start back by leaving for her return leg to Newport.

She is starting her journey by sailing first clockwise around the island and the perimeter of reefs before heading north. The weather ahead for her indicates quite favorable southwest winds to push her quickly home once she is north of the island.

The other teams are spending a little more time enjoying Bermudian hospitality and will head back in the next few days.

To learn more about the event, examine their scores and see the team’s tracks on the first leg, go to the event website at

Source: SYRF

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