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Newport Bermuda Race: Wednesday sunrise welcomes Bermuda-bound racers

by John Burnham 21 Jun 11:17 BST 21 June 2018
A competitor approaches the finish line as dawn breaks on Wednesday off St. David's Lighthouse in Bermuda © Nic Douglass / www.AdventuresofaSailorGirl.com

The majority of the 2018 Newport Bermuda Fleet crossed the St. David's Lighthouse finish line either just before or after sunrise on Wednesday, June 20.

Between 0400 and 0500 local time, the finish-line team stationed at St. David's Lighthouse logged 38 finishers. Nearly the entire fleet of 168 boats were expected to finish by the end of the day.

The race officials on station at the finish are a Royal Bermuda Yacht Club team led by past commodore Leatrice Oatley, standing rotating four-hour watches from Sunday through Thursday. When we visited their trailer this morning before dawn, the B Watch was on duty, and there were dozens of boats a mile or two offshore; green lights were the boats hard on the wind approaching the finish, red lights were the boats reversing course to head back around the island for Hamilton Harbour.

On a photoboat at the finish line, the media team's Nic Douglass and her Adventures of a Sailor Girl camera crew took photos and livestreamed a video segment as soon as the light was sufficient.

In the meantime, the finish-line team had their hands full, recording finishes and then entering them in the online scoring program for display on the Newport Bermuda Race website.

The results remained provisional, but what quickly became clear is that the smaller boats in most classes did best, and the smaller classes in each division. In the St. David's Lighthouse Division, the provisional leader on corrected time was an entry in the smallest class, the Columbia 50, Grundoon, owned by James Grundy, three minutes ahead of Thomas Campbell's Cal 40, Nicole.

In the Finisterre Division, the smaller boats leading in Class 11 were correcting ahead of the bigger boats in Class 12 and 13. Peter Torosian's Tartan 4100 Pinnacle was the provisional leader but with several boats still to finish.

Of the 169 boats that started, two had retired. Ruse, a Swan 44, dropped out early and began motoring and arrived in Bermuda this morning. Balliwick, a Blue Jacket 40, suffered damage to its steering system. At noon EDT, the boat was proceeding at about five knots under jury-rigged steering with 65 miles to go.

Complete results here

Tuesday tracker update and blogs from the boats

Several boats finished late Tuesday afternoon, including the first boats in the St. David's Lighthouse Division—Merlin, Kodiak, and Temptation – Oakcliff.

The boats in the second half of the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division Class 15 began to finish after a long wait on Tuesday, led by Privateer, Scott Innes-Jones' Cookson 50, and Young American – Gambler, the Reichel/Pugh 63 sailed by Young American Sailing Academy. Keeping pace with this group were the first three boats in St. David's Lighthouse Division: Merlin, the custom Bill Lee sled owned by Chip Merlin, Kodiak, Llwyd Ecclestone's Reichel/Pugh 66, and Temptation – Oakcliff, a Ker 50 skippered by Arthur Santry. The first Open Division boat, the experimental design Maverick, also finished, and very likely won the competition, as well, for the most Tweets achieved for the race. Read more

Tuesday evening dock interview with Kodiak owner Llwyd Ecclestone, second across the line in St. David's Lighthouse Division in his 23rd Newport Bermuda Race

Nic Douglass talks Merlin (the boat) with Merlin (the owner) after the famous Bill Lee custom sled cross the finish line first in the St. David's Lighthouse Division

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