Big week for Marion Bermuda race
By Barbara Veneri
There’s a lot going on this week as more than 45 cruising yachts prepare for the 20th Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race which takes off from the starting line off Centerboard Shoals outside Sippican Harbor in Marion Friday.
Tonight the 'Spirit of Bermuda', a 118-foot three-masted schooner used for youth sailing programs in Bermuda will berth at State Pier in New Bedford for a media reception and tour. The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club of Bermuda, along with the Beverly Yacht Club and the Blue Water Sailing Club sponsor the biennial race which takes competitors 645 miles due south, crossing the Gulf Stream before finishing at St. David’s Light off the shores of Bermuda.
There’s a dinner and reception for visiting Bermudan officials and sailors on Wednesday, June 17, at the Beverly Yacht Club (reservations required). Following the skippers’ meeting on Thursday, the BYC hosts a crew grill and picnic.
Shindig took Line Honors in the 2013 Marion Bermuda Race. According to finish line chairman Eugene Rayner, the big blue Andrews 68 finished the 645 nm course at 4:55:13 ADT/3:55:13 EDT on Tuesday morning June 18. Although this looked to be a fast race for the first 48 hours, it became painfully slow as the boat inched its way in the last 100 miles approaching Bermuda.©Spectrum Photo
First signal outside Sippican Harbor is at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
BYC Commodore Larry Hall had this advice for this year’s Marion Bermuda racers: "Whether it’s a beat or a run down Buzzards Bay, then the rounding of the Sow and Pigs buoy as you head out to sea, you will be off on a great adventure."
Past Marion Bermuda races have drawn as many as 170 or more boats, but the numbers have dwindled in recent years. Fifty boats entered the 2013 race, with several retiring before the finish.
Among the local boaters heading for Bermuda this year are David Risch of Marion in his C&C 40 Corsair; Ron Wisner aboard his Columbia 50 Hotspur II; Shaun Ensor of Mattapoisett in his Baltic 55 Fearless; Chip Johns of Mattapoisett in his Baltic 48 Margalo; Shawn Dahlen of Marion in his Beneteau 423 Attitude; Wes McMichael of Marion aboard his J-44 Ballyhoo; Bill Bowers of Marion in his Tillotson-Pearson 42 ConverJence; Tom Bowler of Marion in his Morris Ocean Series 46 Escapade II; Adrian Ravenscroft of Marion aboard his Sabre 426 Oronoco; and Barry Feldman of Marion in his Baltic 47 Scarlet.
Returning for a deja vu, Ian Gumprecht of Oyster Bay NY and Mark Swanson of North Creek NY,
co-skippers of Roust sailed their little Sea Sprite 34 to first place in Class C and for
first place in the entire Founders Division won the top prize for the race,
the FOUNDERS TROPHY.
Along the way they snagged the DOUBLE-HANDED TROPHY.
They are back again for 2015
Priscilla Stoll of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy will skipper an all-female crew on one of two MMA entries, Spirit, a J-44. Charlie Cahill will steer the other MMA entry, Mischievous, a Meriden 65. The U.S. Naval Academy has two entries: Defiance, skippered by Jared Valeske and Integrity, skippered by Tom Wester, both Navy 44’s. Anne Kolker of Tiverton, Rhode Island, is back skippering Etoile, a Stellar 52-ft. sloop.
In the last Marion Bermuda race in 2013, Shindig, an Andrew 68 from Mass. Maritime, crossed the finish line first in the wee hours of Tuesday, four days into the race.
About the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association
Since its inception in 1977, the biennial Marion Bermuda Race has been a premier 645 mile ocean race and sailing event which appeals to a broad range of cruising and racing enthusiasts. The spirit of the race is one focused on Family and Fun, and all yachts and crew are participating for the joy and pleasure of sailing, competition, and the camaraderie that accompanies such an offshore event. The Marion Bermuda Race encourages the development of blue water sailing skills on seaworthy yachts that can be handled safely offshore with limited crew. The Marion Bermuda Race is a 501(c)(3) organization and among other educational efforts, supports and encourages Youth Sailing programs. The Marion to Bermuda Race is organized and run entirely by hundreds of volunteering members of The Beverly Yacht Club (BYC), The Blue Water Sailing Club (BWSC) and The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) for the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association.