On June 14, 34 boats sailed from Marion, Mass. headed on a 645-nautical mile trek to Bermuda in the 19th Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race.
At the starting line on Friday, the weather was less than favorable, concluding a week of Northeastern rain showers. But by Saturday morning, boats were sailing under blue skies.
Shindig flew a spinnaker right from the start, taking the lead immediately out of Buzzards Bay. In the first 24 hours, Shindig set a record pace, traveling about 250 nautical miles at an average speed of 12 knots. At 1600 hours on Sunday, Shindig was 161nm from the finish line when the wind died considerably, slowing her down for the final 100 miles.
In the end, Shindig took Line Honors with a finish time of 0455 hours and 13 seconds on June 18. The Andrews 68 needed to reach Bermuda before 1013 hours and 45 seconds on June 17 to break the current race record.
On board Shindig was skipper Michael Reney and a crew of cadets from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Former owner Arthur Burke, as well as Mass. Maritime Academy coach Chuck Fontaine, was also aboard the victorious vessel.
Lady B, a Swan 62, trailed Shindig from the start and finished second at 0659 hours.
The History of the Marion-Bermuda
The International Sailing Federation describes the Marion-Bermuda as, “A race of long distance, well offshore, in large unprotected bays, and in waters where large waves, strong currents, or conditions leading to rapid onset of hypothermia are possible, where yachts must be completely self-sufficient for extended periods of time, capable of withstanding heavy storms and prepared to meet serious emergencies without the expectation of outside assistance.”
The Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race kicked off in 1977 and has run every other year since. The first race had 104 starters, a number that steadily grew with each race until 1991. The race is the brainchild of W. David Kingery, a sailor from Massachusetts who was inspired by his completion of a single-handed trip to Bermuda in 1975.
An important aspect of the Marion-Bermuda is that the participants are competing offshore with family, friends, or crew. It is an opportunity for cruising boats and amateur sailors to experience bluewater racing.
The race is sponsored by Blue Water Sailing Club in Marblehead, Mass., Beverly Yacht Club, located at the start of the race in Marion, Mass. and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in Bermuda.
For details about past Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Races see http://www.marionbermuda.com/index.php?page=memory.