Record to Jamaica still stands

Published on January 25th, 2023

Ben Mitchell

Only three boats started the 35th Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, led by the modified Volvo70 Pyewacket70 which hoped to break the monohull course record for the 811 nm course from Miami, FL to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

However, after starting on January 22, their elapsed time finish on January 25 of 2 days 18 hours 20 minutes and 19 seconds missed the pace set in 2005 by the R/P 75 Titan 12 (02:10:24:42).

But it remained a good time according to Ben Mitchell, watch captain along with Gary Weisman, who figures they received their roles due to being the oldest on the boat, with a world class crew ready to make them look good. Here are Mitchell’s dockside comments:

It was a great race, super fun! We got out of Miami really fast, probably fastest crossing of the Gulf Stream we’ve ever had. For those of us that raced during the SORC era, in much slower boats, we recall how it took quite a long time to get across the stream. But in this boat, this race, it took us just three and a half hours out to Isaacs, and then to Stirrup.

So, the race started quite fast, and our goal was to try and match or improve the record set by Titan many years back. We had a pretty good exit; routing was looking good and were ahead of schedule all the way down through the Bahamas. As we passed Eleuthera we knew there was going to be a little high-pressure bubble sitting all around the Bahamas creating a convergence zone.

With good luck we might get through it without any problems, but as expected there was a problem and we kind of stopped for several hours, the wind got very light with a little rain. But soon we got back into the prevailing breeze as expected from the southeast and were moving along past Cuba last night, enjoying beautiful conditions with absolutely crystal-clear skies.

We thought maybe a six am finish was possible but then the wind gods decided we were a little ahead of schedule and they wanted us to finish in daylight so the committee could get nice photographs. We have a boat that was hitting 25-26 knots during the race, but our speed was 1.4 knots as we crossed the finish line this morning (at 08:20:19).

But other than that, we’re just super happy to be here, it was a great race. Clearly, we were disappointed other competitors didn’t make the effort to come out and attend such a great event and come to such a beautiful finish line and hopefully in the future everyone will put it on their schedules and do the race.


Note: Owner Roy P. Disney was unable to participate due to a leg injury. Here was the crew on board:
Mark Callahan
Rodney Daniel
Scott Easom
Peter Isler
Brad Jackson
Brian Jannie
Jan Majer
Ben Mitchell
Tony Mutter
David Tank
Gary Weisman
Daryl Wislang

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