Gracie and Gryphonsolo2 strut their stuff.

Kodiak continues to lead St. David’s Lighthouse division

Hamilton, Bermuda - June 18, 2012 - By Talbot Wilson

Early Monday morning, Joe Harris and co-skipper Tristan Mouligne celebrated a fantastic race. The duo sailed Joe’s double-handed ‘Gryphonsolo2’, an Akilaria RC2 Class 40, to a massive lead over the other yachts in the Double-handed Division. Gryphonsolo2’ finished off St. David’s Lighthouse, Bermuda, at 4:40:26 Monday morning with an elapsed time of 60:20:26. By 1900hrs in the afternoon Monday, only two other double-handers had finished.

Kodiak skippered by Llwyd Ecclestone - Photo Daniel Forster/PPL

“We never eased up,” Joe exclaimed. “I hold the single-handed record in the Bermuda 1-2 Race from Newport to Bermuda at 62 hours and 37 minutes, but sailed that in the 50ft ‘Gryphon Solo’. We beat that time today by more than two hours in a 10-foot shorter 40 footer. We never slowed down. We blew out two spinnakers, but kept on going. Totally soaked and stoked”

“The boat was just awesome, and as much as we pushed her is as much as she responded with incredibly sustained planing at high speed,” he added. “ We are not sure where we are in the fleet, but we understand we are quite far ahead of our fellow Class 40's and the remainder of the double-handed fleet. It just remains to be seen where we come out on corrected time. We probably owe everyone a ton of time. Mother Nature gave us a gift in strong northeast winds nearly the entire way... a true anomaly at this time of year... and we were able to take advantage.”

On board ‘Gracie’, a solid 69-foot McCurdy and Rhodes sloop sailed by father and son Steve and Simon Frank and a family crew, who barely got wet. ‘Gracie’ still stands a provisional first in Class 7 with an elapsed time of 63:59:33 and a corrected time of 47:55:41.

“At about 10PM on Friday night [the first night of the race] we were sailing under a 3A spinnaker when it blew to pieces,” Steven Frank said. “We went to a double headed rig with our new high-clewed reacher on the outside and sailed very fast for 39 hours on port tack.”

“We hoisted a 2A spinnaker about 40 miles out as the wind got a little lighter. We were headed directly for North Rock Beacon, Bermuda. Near the finish we hoisted our #3 jib to head up to the finish. It was a fantastic race,” he added. “We’ve won our class two times in a row and we’ll be back in 2014.”

Llwyd Ecclestone’s ‘Kodiak’, the Reichel/Pugh 66 ex ‘Blue Yankee’, still holds on to the lead in Class 8, and is the current front-runner for the St. David’s Lighthouse for first in the amateur division on corrected time.

Joe Harris - Photo Talbot Wilson.

Steve Frank - Photo Talbot Wilson

“We don’t know whether that will hold. Where is ‘Sinn Fein’?” Ecclestone quipped. ‘Sinn Fein’ is a Cal 40 in Class 1 that has twice won the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy and is still on the course.”

Ecclestone said, “In this race the wind never let up. We were all out and it was difficult to eat, sleep or do anything else down below. One member of the crew just ate nuts and I had a hot dog on the last before we finished. Our lowest speed for a short time was 10kts and the most I saw was 22kts. We were fast because the crew was right on top of everything. We stopped once, hitting a shark that then wrapped around our rudder until it broke apart and ‘Kodiak’ had an elapsed time of 46:53:12 with a corrected time of 46:53:12. Her lighthouse lead will still face a challenge as only three boats in Class 6 and one boat in Class 5 had finished as of 5:00PM. No boats in classes 1-4 had finished at that time either.

2012 Newport Bermuda Race
The 2012 Newport Bermuda Race starts on June 15th off Castle Hill, Newport, RI and finishes several days later off St. Davids Head, Bermuda. The 170+ Competitors in the 635-mile race will compete in either the St. Davids Lighthouse (amateur) Division, the Cruiser (amateur) Division, the Double Handed Division, the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse (professional) Division, Open (professional) Division, or Spirit of Tradition Division.

About 40 boats included in both Newport Bermuda Lighthouse Divisions are expected to sail the entire Onion Patch Series. That five-race series begins with two races of the New York Yacht Club 158th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, includes the Newport Bermuda Race, and concludes with the two-race Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta presented by Butterfield Group.