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Five boats ahead of a tightly packed fleet in the Newport Bermuda Race

by John Burnham 17 Jun 2018 14:38 BST 17 June 2018
Rambler 88, a Juan K custom 88-footer, sets a huge spread of sail at the start © Daniel Forster / PPL

After a day of relatively light winds in the 51st Newport Bermuda Race, the competitors had made moderate progress down the 635-mile course toward the finish line at St. David's Lighthouse on the northeast corner of Bermuda.

Led by Rambler 88, George David's 88-foot Juan K design, five boats crossed the Gulf Stream and opened up a significant gap on the rest of the 169-boat fleet, many of whom were sailing in lighter winds.

Early in the day, David Askew's Wizard, a Volvo 70-footer, may have found better winds and a good wind shift on the west side of the rhumb line, as it passed Rambler at one point, before being overhauled again by the larger boat. Also in this group were two other big boats in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division—Steve Murray, Jr. and Stephen Murray Sr.'s Warrior and Reginald Cole's Proteus—as well as Elvis, Jason Carroll's Gunboat 62, which had built a strong lead on the other two boats in the Multihull Division.

There are a total of seven divisional trophies, and each division has its own race and intrigue. With light winds forecast as most boats cross the Gulf Stream tonight and plot their approach to Bermuda, sailors will focus on nursing best speed from their boats while eying their competitors and hoping they are well positioned for the winds that develop in the next few days.

"It is rare to see your competitors on ocean races after the start, but this race has been very different," wrote Mark D'Arcy from aboard Inisharon, James Murphy's F&C 44, racing in the Finisterre Division. "Many folks are targeting the same Gulf Stream crossing point and because most are along the rhumbline, we have seen a lot more boats this race."

For much of the day, the race boats made faster progress towards Bermuda than the Media Team, which was delayed at Boston's Logan Airport while its Delta A319 waited for a replacement engine part. However, we received a number of reports from boats via tweet, email, and satellite tracker and kept up a steady flow of activity on Facebook, Twitter, and Bermudarace.com.

Our social media commentator, Nic Douglass – Adventures of a Sailor Girl recorded most of her wrap-up of the day for Facebook while at the airport and then aired it in the evening after landing in Bermuda.

Tweets and text from the boats

Updates from the fleet came in on Friday night and Saturday in a variety of media formats, including quite a few tweets (see @bdarace and search at twitter.com on #bermudarace) and longer blog reports from Inisharon, Shearwater (Mason 43), and Dreamcatcher. Read more here.

Follow the progress of each boat in real time via the Pantaenius Insurance Official Race Tracker

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