Aggressive Starts at Bermuda Race

The Newport Bermuda Race fleet made their upwind starts in 16 classes over a period of more than two and a half hours on Friday afternoon. There now are 183 boats, after Avatar didn’t start. In addition, Blue sailed back to the shipyard to get her broken centerboard cable fixed; she’s expected to start again after the repair. (text continued below video)

The start found some skippers were surprisingly aggressive. Apparently forgetting that this isn’t a day race but a 635-mile marathon running several days, they also seem to have experienced a touch of amnesia about the tide table. As the new ebb tide ran with every great velocity out of Narragansett Bay, it pushed them inexorably toward Bermuda, but also over the starting line a little earlier than their tacticians had planned.

Of the 13 boats in Class 4 (St. David’s Light Division, 45-55 footers), four found themselves over early at the pin end, with Star Chaser getting what one of her crew reported to be “the best start in the fleet.”

“We were at the committee boat end of the line with some of the J-Boats but higher and faster. We all chose to be slightly late on the gun: no use being OCS on a race of 635 nm!”

In Class 8 (St. David’s Light, 65-footers) two boats were premature. One was Aurora (with Gary Jobson in the afterguard), and she had to pick her way back to the line, losing at least three minutes in the process.

For more on the race, click here.

To access the real-time race tracker, click here.

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