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An Early Pounding For Newport To Bermuda

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  • Photoboy

    "A wild ride": Elena Hight and Ian Walsh complete Newport Bermuda Race with 11th Hour Racing Team

    Bermuda June 19, 2022
    At 06:48 EDT, 11th Hour Racing Team crossed the finish line of the 2022 Newport Bermuda Race after a grueling 41 hours and 28 minutes 43 seconds at sea.

    Skipper Charlie Enright (USA) and Justine Mettraux (SUI) were joined by special guests Red Bull big wave surfer Ian Walsh (USA) and backcountry snowboarder Elena Hight (USA), alongside
    Media Crew Member Amory Ross (USA).

    It was a fast and bumpy ride to Bermuda with the crew onboard Mālama racing off the start line to escape the cold front that was chasing them down. Reaching in 20-30 knots of South Westerly wind for almost the entire way on a starboard tack, they sailed through the strong currents of the Gulf Stream, and into the rough and speedy conditions that led them to Bermuda.

    “A heated sea state”

    “This has been full on,” said Skipper Charlie Enright after crossing the finish line in Bermuda. “There has been no rest for anybody onboard. From the moment we left Newport we have been racing at speeds between 20-30-knots in a heated sea state.

    “Before completing this 635-nautical mile race, both Ian and Elena had 24-hours training with us in beautiful conditions back in Newport. They knew the forecast for this race would be very different but I am honestly amazed at how well they have adapted. They both exceeded all expectations in terms of performance, attitude and general contribution to life onboard.

    “I can only describe the last 41 hours as living in a washing machine, which, speaking of washing machines, we could all use one right now!”

    “It’s only been a day and a half but it feels like more”

    “We have been looking forward to this as it was our first major race of the year,” explained Justine Mettraux from below deck. “As a team we always really enjoy being in race mode because we’re constantly learning, even when it’s rough and uncomfortable conditions like we have had. We’ve only been at sea a day and a half but due to the lack of rest, it feels like much longer.

    “Ian and Elena were fantastic, contributing to everything onboard. I’m not sure they slept much or managed to stomach any food but they weren’t sea sick and they were a joy to have onboard.”

    Cumulatively, experienced sailors Enright, Mettraux and Ross have well over 200,000+ nautical miles behind them and have experienced most sailing conditions imaginable. However, it was a different story for Walsh and Hight, who between them experienced a different type of adrenaline to what they’re used to in their respective extreme sports.

    “Non-stop action”

    Backcountry snowboarder, Elena Hight, who had never been overnight on a sailboat before this week commented, “This has been such an amazing experience. Being so far out and experiencing the power of the ocean out there was incredibly humbling. I believe this type of experience, immersed in the full raw beauty of nature, truly connects us to our Earth. I know that this deep connection is what makes us all want to do our part to protect it.

    “Taking part in the Newport Bermuda Race has allowed me to have full exposure to what an endurance sport offshore sailing really is - it’s been full on, non-stop action, with very little rest since we left Newport. Even just existing on these boats is quite a task. Moving around, eating, sleeping, all things we naturally take for granted when we’re on land are really challenging. Add that to trying to win a race and it’s full throttle.

    “I am most impressed watching this crew take on anything that came their way in these conditions with ease and grace. Despite challenges they worked really well together and kept their calm.

    “This race has been relentless but truly an incredible experience. I have the utmost respect for this team and all they are aiming to achieve. It has been a pleasure to be a part of 11th Hour Racing Team.”

    “A wild ride”

    Red Bull big wave surfer, Ian Walsh, was enthusiastic about the 635-nautical mile race. “This experience has confirmed what I already thought, which is I have tremendous amounts of respect for this crew and all offshore sailors. The talent of these sailors to be able to read the ocean, the clouds, the wind shifts is inspiring and for me, it’s been a crash course in learning how to sail these highly technical boats.

    “I’m in awe of their skills, calm, and professionalism after sailing alongside them for just over a day. I find it amazing that this team will have to race like this for up to 35 days at a time during The Ocean Race. It’s just incredible to have experienced racing like this first-hand.

    “Experiencing the power of the ocean in this way is similar to how I feel when your surfing. You get a very intimate understanding of the ocean and it pulls you away from anything else in your life you might be preoccupied with. Whether you’re surfing a big wave or losing sight of land, you have no choice but to be focused on what is right in front of you. It helps you be more present and in the moment without distraction.

    “It has been a wild ride.”

    “A shared experience”

    Media Crew Member, Amory Ross said: “Intense but great is how I would describe this race. There has been so much to do onboard, it’s been constant.

    “Ian and Elena were certainly up to the challenge, it was quite savage conditions coming out of Newport for about a day and a half but they showed progress the whole way. It was impressive to see how interested, engaged and willing to participate they were. It was certainly a shared experience.”

    After a quick turnaround, Mālama will sail back to Newport, Rhode Island, where the team is based until the end of July.

    Follow all updates from 11th Hour Racing Team via the website and across all social media platforms.

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  • Photoboy

    Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo takes the start of the Newport Bermuda Race. Credit: Daniel Forster/PPL

    HAMILTON, Bermuda (June 19, 2022)—Jason Carroll (New York City) and the crew of the MOD70 Argo outran every elapsed-time record associated with the Newport Bermuda Race when they completed the 52nd edition Saturday night at 2320:09 (ADT).

    Argo’s elapsed time of 33 hours, 0 minutes and 09 seconds is more than 30 hours faster than Carroll’s Gunboat 62 Elvis set in the first multihull division in the 2018 Bermuda Race. It is also 1h:42m:42s faster than the 100-foot monohull Comanche’s Open Division mark of 34h:42m:53s, set in the 2016 race. And it’s more than six and a half hours faster than Rambler 90’s mark of 39 hours and 39 minutes, which earned owner George David the Schooner Mistress Trophy in 2012 for fastest elapsed time by a monohull in the race’s four major divisions.

    Argo is the first-ever Saturday night finisher in the history of the storied Bermuda Race, co-organized by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

    Owner/skipper Carroll’s international crew aboard Argo included Chad Corning (New Rochelle, New York), Pete Cumming (Warsash, England), Thierry Fouchier (Marseille, France), boat captain Chris Maxted (Melbourne, Australia), Charlie Ogletree (Seabrook, Texas), Alister Richardson (Bournemouth, England), and Westy Barlow (Newport, R.I.). Not aboard for the race was navigator/sailing master Brian Thompson (Cowes, England) due to a positive COVID test; Chad Corning, the back-up navigator, assumed those duties for this race.

    “This crew has been on the boat a lot, we’ve all worked together for a lot of years,” said Corning, the 50-year-old crewman and program manager in a pre-race interview. “For the shorter 600-mile races we like to sail with eight. It just makes sail handling that much easier.”

    Crewmembers grind and tail aboard the MOD70 Argo. Daniel Forster/PPL photo

    Argo averaged 19.24 knots in setting the multihull course record, and sailed approximately 486 nautical miles in the 24 hours after the start. Argo sailed mainly to the west of rhumbline and took advantage of a meander in the Gulf Stream that gave it a favorable boost towards Bermuda.

    Argo started the Bermuda Race on Friday at 1420 ADT. Watching the boat do its pre-race preps one could see the mast canted heavily to starboard, indicating the crew knew it would be a starboard tack slog until they got within sight of Bermuda. The only two maneuvers were a tack to port and one back to starboard to the finish line off St. David’s Lighthouse in the final 10 miles of the course.

    In April, Argo set a record from Antigua to Newport of 3 days and 15 minutes, shaving five and a half hours off the previous mark set by sistership Phaedo. The Bermuda Race record is the sixth course record to go with two world records that Argo has set since Carroll purchased the foil-assisted trimaran in 2018.

    Argo’s preparations for the Bermuda Race included fitting a new rudder to replace one that was broken in April during training in Antigua prior to the record run to Newport.

    “We toasted the V2 rudder and replaced it with one of our first version rudders for the record run,” said Corning. “We’ve got two generations of foils and rudders, and the new rudder is a direct replacement of the first V2 rudder.

    The MOD70 Argo rode starboard tack all the way to Bermuda. Note the mast’s angle of attack to the wind. Daniel Forster/PPL

    Argo is as good as a MOD70 can be,” Corning continued. “The only development we’re considering is a switch to flip-up rudders instead of being destroyed. Things break when we hit things, and that’s a problem. In terms of how the foils and rudders work together, it’s as good as can get across the range. The underpinnings of the V2 foils and rudders are from our capsize in 2019. We wanted a safer boat. The boat’s a bit faster in some conditions, but better overall because it’s safer and more under control.”

    More under control likely means many more records for Carroll and the Argo crew in the future.

    Note: Since initial publication, this press release has been corrected to include a late crew change made due to a positive COVID test.

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  • Photoboy
    started a topic An Early Pounding For Newport To Bermuda

    An Early Pounding For Newport To Bermuda

    A fleet of 187 yachts is set to sail the “Thrash to the Onion Patch,” which may well live up to its name if the weather forecast holds

    A close start in 2018 among the fastest Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division boats, including Rambler 88. Daniel Forster/PPL photo
    NEWPORT, RI (June 16, 2022)—With a forecast that looks fresh to frightening for at least the first 36 to 48 hours of the race, a fleet of 187 sailing yachts is set to take on the challenge of the Newport Bermuda Race tomorrow beginning at 1310 hours.

    The pre-race forecast is predicting southwesterly winds between 17 and 22 knots at the start and lasting into the evening, with waves possibly 8 to 10 feet offshore. A cold front is predicted to pass over the fleet Friday night, bringing with it squalls and strong winds. After the front, the winds are predicted to shift to a northwesterly quadrant and remain in the 20s, with higher gusts. In sum, it’s all lining up for a “proper” Newport Bermuda Race in the ocean.

    Record Run a Possibility
    The record within the major divisions—Gibbs Hill Lighthouse and St. David’s Lighthouse—is 39 hours and 39 minutes, set by George David’s maxi yacht Rambler 90 in 2012, an average speed of 16 knots.

    The course record in the Open Division is 34 hours and 42 minutes (18.3-knot average speed), set by the 100-foot maxi yacht Comanche, skippered by North Sails President Ken Read, in 2016. (Open Division yachts are not eligible for the overall race prizes.)

    This year’s fleet includes two multihulls that are capable of some fast speeds, including Jason Carroll’s (New York City) MOD70 Argo and the 80-foot VPLP trimaran Ultim’emotion2, owned by Antoine Rabaste (Nimes, France) and skippered by Jacek Siwek (Overijse, Belgium).

    The Mod 70 trimaran Argo, shown here at the 2019 Transpac Race in Los Angeles. Sharon Green/UltimateSailing photo
    In the 2018 Bermuda Race, the first time that multihulls were entered, Carroll and crew sailed the Gunboat 62 Elvis to line honors in 63 hours. Carroll then upgraded to the foil-assisted trimaran Argo and has proceeded to set seven race or world records. The Newport Bermuda Race multihull record could well be next.

    “It looks like a rough race, but fast for us,” said 50-year-old Chad Corning (New Rochelle, New York), crew and manager of the program. “We should have a pre-frontal gusty breeze the whole time. Our elapsed time looks like 28 hours on the Global Forecast System and 26 hours on the European model. The hi-res model (HRR) is just coming into focus, but they all seem fairly consistent. We’ll have to balance prudence and speed, so we’ll probably be sailing at 92 percent of polars.”

    The notable, single entry in the Open Division is Mālama, the new foil-assisted IMOCA 60 campaigned by 11th Hour Racing and skipper Charlie Enright (Barrington, Rhode Island) for next year’s The Ocean Race, beginning from Spain in January, 2023. Could Mālama outrun Comanche’s Open Division mark?

    “Yes, it’s definitely attainable, but it’s never quite that simple,” said the 37-year-old Enright, who’s gearing up for his third race around the world. “A lot of it depends on the timing of the front, and the biggest variable is the sea state. I feel like we go 30 knots every time we leave the dock. We’ve reached a max of 38 knots, but record-breaking is more about high sustained average speeds.”

    A Race of Challenges
    Since its inception in 1906, the Bermuda Race has presented different sorts of challenges, including navigation, seamanship and personal limits. Navigation plays a huge part as the fleet crosses the Gulf Stream, the warm, northeasterly-flowing ocean current off the U.S. eastern seaboard. Sailing into favorable current where the Stream meanders and avoiding adverse current on the wrong side of the eddies is often key to victory.

    It’s a test of seamanship as you have to keep the boat, sails, and hardware functioning properly in order to finish and win, judging when to press hard and when to slow down a little to preserve the boat’s equipment. Similarly, it’s a test of personal limits because sleep deprivation and lack of sustenance become major factors for a crew when the going gets rough.

    “It’s a real test, it’s a marathon, and requires something different in the sailor,” says Michael Cone (center). With his wife Connie and crew, Cone skippered the Hinckley 40 Actaea to victory in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division in 2014. Barry Pickthall/PPL photo

    “The appeal is the history of the race,” said 74-year-old Michael Cone (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.), who won the coveted St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy in 2014 with his vintage Hinckley 40 Actaea. “The competition is fascinating. It’s a real test, it’s a marathon and requires something different in the sailor. The athlete in the Bermuda Race has to understand that they’re tired and how to handle it.”

    The fleet is divided into eight divisions, effectively creating eight races in one among similar boats and crews: Double-Handed (16 entrants), Finisterre (40), Gibbs Hill Lighthouse (18), Multihull (2), Open (1), Spirit of Tradition (1), St. David’s Lighthouse (108), and Superyacht (1). Among the eight divisions, 19 classes have been formed. (Note: fleet size subject to change by start time.)

    The smallest boat in the fleet is Thomas O’Connell’s (Stonington, Connecticut) J/99 Finale at 32.6 feet, entered in the double-handed division. “She’s one tenth over the minimum length,” the 75-year-old O’Connell, originally from Sussex, England, said sprightly.

    Not only is he sailing the smallest boat in the fleet, but he’s also sailing his first Newport Bermuda Race. “I’d always wanted to do the race, but my previous boats wouldn’t have passed inspection. I’m tickled pink to do the race. Doing it double-handed just adds another challenge.”

    The largest vessel, the steel-hulled fishing schooner Columbia, owned by Martin Sutter (Austin, Texas), measures 141 feet in overall length. Columbia is built along the lines of the original 141-foot wooden Gloucester fishing schooner built in 1923.

    Legend has it that the original Columbia was the only American fishing schooner that could challenge the famous Canadian schooner Bluenose in the 1920s. Reportedly capable of sailing at 17 knots, the new Columbia would need powerful winds and perfect reaching conditions to sail the course at a record pace, as the forecast is predicting.

    The superyacht schooner Columbia. photo
    Among other monohulls, the maxi yacht OC86 (n?e Windquest) from Oakcliff Sailing, with Hall of Fame sailor Dawn Riley as the person in charge, is one to watch, as is the Volvo 70 Il Mostro, campaigned by Atlas Ocean Racing of Canada. Another contender is the well-traveled Mills 68 Prospector, owned by Lawrence Landry (Shelter Island Heights, New York), Paul McDowell (New York City) and Martin Roesch (Fulton, Maryland).

    “We’re feeling great about the boat and its preparations, thanks to our captain Terence Glackin,” said McDowell. “It’s looking like a tough slog for the first 24 to 36 hours, probably won’t be much fun but should be quick. We’ve logged more than 10,000 nautical miles with this boat since 2016, so we’re confident that we’re well prepared.”

    Youth is served—again
    Approximately 65 entrants from 2018 are back this year, including seven class winners. There are youth sailors spread throughout the fleet, such as 16-year-old Ella Orem (Belmont, Mass.), the E-steward on her grandfather’s Naiad 440 Wassail. The Mudratz Offshore Team returns for its second race, this time aboard the Corel 45 Spitfire. The seven youth sailors, among a crew of 11, average 18 years of age.

    One of the youngest crews in this year’s race—likely in the history of the Bermuda Race—is the 40-foot Oakcliff Blue – Team Bitter End. Skippered by 18-year-old Sophia Comiskey (Tiverton, Rhode Island), the crew of 10 includes eight young women from Rhode Island, aged 16-19, schoolmates together at the Lincoln School (Providence, Rhode Island), plus round-the-world sailor Libby Greenhalgh and Maya Hoffman as their onboard coaches.

    The girls, each sailing their first Bermuda Race, have been training for the race since last year. Together, they have logged more than 2,000 nautical miles in the buildup to the Bermuda Race.

    “Yes, I’m nervous, but more excited,” said 17-year-old Elizabeth Gardner (Newport, Rhode Island), the headsail trimmer. “In some of our training there’ve been moments when I’m on deck at night and it’s gusting and I’m thinking, ‘I don’t want to do this.’ I try to turn it around and tell myself, ‘I get to do this.’ That helps put it in perspective. We’re making history. It’s a one-time experience with us all together. Maybe it’ll be the last time together, depending who stays sailing. We’re very confident and we feel we’ve navigated the build-up to the race well.”

    For more information, and links to the Bluenose Yacht Sales YB race tracker and the live streaming show from the start line, visit the Newport Bermuda Race website.