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Kiwi Spirit Takes Line Honors in Bermuda

Kiwi Spirit barrels toward the starting line in the 22nd annual Marion Bermuda race

Kiwi Spirit barrels toward the starting line in the 22nd annual Marion Bermuda race

Mark Riley’s Farr 63 Kiwi Spirit secured line honors yesterday in the Marion to Bermuda race, finishing off St. David’s Lighthouse at 0227 local time. Francis Seldorff’s Kinship, a Baltic 52, was second in the 40-boat fleet, crossing the line at around 0500.

With 18-year-old Jonathan, or "Jo," Riley at the helm and father, Mark, as navigator, Kiwi Spirit looked at press time to be correcting out in seventh place in Class A. However, that hasn’t daunted Jo’s enthusiasm for their outstanding passage.

Jo is 18. This is his fourth Marion Bermuda Race. Of his four 645-mile rides to Bermuda, three have been line-honors winners. Better still, this latest line-honors finish means the young skipper is the winner of this year’s Blue Water Sailing Cub Board of Governor’s Trophy.

The young crew of the 92ft schooner Tabor Boy sailed a smart, consistent race from start to finish

The young crew of the 92ft schooner Tabor Boy sailed a smart, consistent race from start to finish

Kiwi Spirit (originally built for Stanley Paris as part of his failed attempt at Dodge Morgan’s 150-day solo, cruising boat circumnav record) was very much a family effort time, with Mark’s daughter plus three cousins and a brother-in-law making up the better part of the crew. Also aboard was Chuck Fontaine a lifelong friend who has run the Mass Maritime Sailing Program and is a kind of adopted member of the Riley family.

"We bought the boat for the reason we are doing this race. It is manageable with limited experienced people, yet big enough that we could take a lot of family and friends on board and enjoy some nice bluewater sailing," Mark said prior to the start.

Jo added, "It was meant for shorthanded sailing. Since we are taking so many family members it met all of our needs. We want to go fast and finish in our slot."

Also finishing on Tuesday was the Tabor Academy flagship Tabor Boy, a 92ft gaff-rigged schooner. Unfortunately, her main competition, Spirit of Bermuda was disqualified early on because she was outside of the yellow pin, beyond the starting line, which caused her to be ruled a non-starter.

As it was, Tabor Boy sailed a consistent race in the celestial navigation class and participated in the Youth Challenge Cup, as two-thirds of her 23 alumni and student crew were under the age of 23.

For more on the race, which is organized by Beverly Yacht Club, the Blue Water Sailing Club and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, as well as complete results, click here.  

June 2019

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