Bermuda 1-2: Sailing solo half the time

Published on June 24th, 2021

Cole Brauer

Twenty-one teams began the doublehanded leg of the Bermuda One-Two on June 17, leaving St. Georges, Bermuda for the finish in Newport, RI to complete the lap which began with a reciprocal solo leg to Bermuda.

Peter Becker and Leah Sweet on the J/105 Young American were the overall winners for the second leg, while the Sigma 41 Reveille with Jim Hammitt and John Paulling claimed second overall in the leg, which was enough for Reveille to earn overall honors for both legs.

Finishing third overall in the second leg, and winning its combined class honors was Michael Hennessy’s Class40 Dragon. Racing with Hennessy for the return leg was Cole Brauer who shares this report:

The race consisted of 664 miles of cold fronts, weak lows, thunderstorms, squalls, and light light winds if any. We spent the majority of the race moving the stack forward or aft instead of side to side.

Our stack weighs about 400lbs, some of it consists of sails on the deck, extra hardware, tools, electrical and mechanical spares, provisions including water and freeze dried (the lightest thing on the boat), we move the jerry cans, the small anchor (Class40s must have two). We even move the med kit and our bean bag chair that we sleep on all around the boat to assist with weight placement.

We have two ballast tanks with the ability to pump hundreds of gallons of water into the boat (a scary thought sometimes), yet with all the stack stacked the two ballast tanks filled, and two reefs in the main, when a midnight squall came through we worked extremely hard to keep her upright and running down the rhumbline!

The weather and routing had 8 out of 10 models showing to go far west of the rhumbline and then connect back later yet Mike and I took a chance to just cut out miles and run straight down the rhumbline. We worked tirelessly with sail changes to make sure we kept her going in that same compass heading even through light and heavy air. It seemed to have paid off!

Michael Hennessy and I worked constantly to get as much rest as we could but still push the boat. Mike and I do our own sail changes throughout the race; if a sail change was necessary during ones shift it got done. Sometimes we assist with shaking reefs out because shaking a reef out is actually the most amount of work that comes from any sail change (I believe) on Dragon.

Anyways, I love working with Mike as we don’t see each other that often on the boat which is great since we both like to be alone … doublehanded sailing is just sailing solo half the time.

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