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How To Train Your Dragon To Win The Bermuda 1-2

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  • How To Train Your Dragon To Win The Bermuda 1-2


    The Singlehanded, "down hill" portion of the Bermuda 1-2 nears completion as Michael Hennessy's Classe 40 Dragon prepares to finish and take the vaulted
    line honors trophy, Joe Harris in sister ship Gryphon Solo in a dead heat with Stanley Paris's FC53' Kiwi Spirit II 23 miles aft. The remainder of the 21 boat
    fleet are spread out for 140 nm, with Richard Rohrer's J-109 Rocinante bringing up the rear. There are 6 division's in the fleet, so plenty of bling to go around yet!

    The return trip back to Newport starts on June 17th and is a doublehanded event.

    Here are some excerpts from Bermuda 1-2 Website


    6/8 1236 Dragon emailed me that he is 90 minutes away from Mills, the finish line. Said he tried to hail me but I didn't hear him.

    6/8 1200 - Windswept emailed: I can almost taste the Ginger Beer. My GPS reports that I am 130 NM from Kitchen Shoals. Unfortunately, that is more or less dead to windward. If conditions hold, I should be in tomorrow afternoon. Besides starting in pea soup fog, having my navigation program crash irretrievably, and having my autopilot dissengage at random times, once or twice a day, this has been a relatively uneventful race. I have been on starboard tack since clearing the East Passage. See you soon.

    Glory emailed: I haven't heard anything from Relentless or Rubicon lately, but all is well on the good ship glory. 3 days ago I had to drop my main so I could fix the out hole, and yesterday I had to go up the mast to fix a batten pocket that had come loose from its track slide. I made the mistake of sailing straight into the high pressure system, but I appear to be in good company because I'm in regular contact with dauntless Highlander, and for quite a while adventure us and Cepheus is right in front of me by about 6 mi. Highlander wanted to relay that all is well with him as well, and he had what he thought was a sperm whale surface next to him during his rain squall this morning!

    6/8 0700 - Kiwi Spirit 2 emailed: Light breeze. Alls well.
    Melantho emailed: All good. Just a bit slower than the first few days. Conditions: Wind SSW 5 kts Seas 1 - 2 ft Partly cloudy Looking forward to arrival.
    Highlander emailed: Sailing last night was wonderful. Trucking right along. Caught up to Glory currently about 1.5 miles starboard beam. Had a short uneventful rain squall this morning. Wind dropped to zero. Have been visited by Bermuda Long tail birds this morning so first indicator of Bermuda approach. Saw a very large whale what I think was a sperm whale only 100 yards from the boat. Amazing to see. Till next time. Cheers Jon

    Kiwi Spirit emailed: Trucking east. Alls well.

    Adventure-us called: he had spoken with HIGHLANDER, who had been in touch with both GLORY and DAUNTLESS, who he could not hear as they were both well to the east of AVENTURE-US. He did not hear from RELENTLESS at this morning’s comm hour as he had tacked away last night and was now to the west of ADVENTURE-US. There were rain squalls earlier this morning, and after one of the squalls, HIGHLANDER reported seeing a sperm whale, which was quite close to him. Other than that, all is well with everyone mentioned here. While the weather has turned beautiful, the wind has unfortunately dropped considerably. At reporting, ADVENTURE-US had about 5.5 knots or wind, and remarked that, “seven knots of wind would be a gift right now!”

    Relentless emailed: “Everything is excellent this morning!" He is experiencing, "a beautiful morning with beautiful seas." Partly cloudy with a nice breeze from 253 degrees, and he said he was currently making 6.5 knots of speed.

    RELENTLESS had radio communications this morning with TOPAZ, who said that he had experienced radio issues, and therefore had not spoken with anyone for two days. But the radio issues seem to have been resolved, and everything OK aboard TOPAZ. RELENTLESS had no major issues to report, but hopes his course correction to the west would eventually pay off. He just wants to get to Bermuda before the high settles in… (Oops, its here!)

    Dragon emailed: Does anyone else find it intriguing that the three boats in the lead of this leg are named after mythical creatures. Sure, Kiwis exist but they give off a mythical vibe. 25 miles to go with clear skies, 5 to 8 knots of (finally) a SE breeze. The SE was predicted way back in our pre-race prep and has always been part of the Dragon plan, setting us up a clean line into the finish. Taking the east side of this course is always tempting, particularly if the meander does lure you away. Doing the initial half of the course on a broad reach is a tempting way to build an early lead. But too often it sets you up for a slow uphill beat to the finish, giving up all your early gains and then some to boats coming in from the west side which is exactly what happened in the 2019 edition of this race. In 13 outbound legs to Bermuda, I went east one other time. This time, however, it all lined up. The broad reaching, advantageous current from multiple eddys, and a SE to finish in. I have had my doubts in the leg, all the way until this morning when the South Easterlies finally kicked in. A couple more hours will tell the tale, and answer Stanley Paris' question. Can Dragon's slay Kiwis and Gryphons?

    Rocinante called: He started motoring at 2300 last night. At 0500 this morning he noticed he'd made little progress and that there's a heavy current against him. His usual 10 miles per gallon is down to 5 miles per gallon. At that rate there won't be enough fuel because he's still 148 miles out. So he's back to sailing now. Has unreefed his main while he's in light winds (when the unbalance problem shouldn't matter ) and is proceeding under the wind vane. He plans to sail till he's about 30 miles out, when there will be sufficient fuel to get in.

    6/7 1900 - Kiwi Spirit 2 emailed: Bugger!!!!
    Rubicon emailed: A very revolting development on Rubicon. Lower housing around steering column has cracks and is flexing. Steering ok but sounds wonky. Took ugly video & jury rigged a fix. Moving well now. Thank God conditions are benign. Will need prof expertise in B. Fingers crossed for a quick repair. Other than that it's been quite the sail! Will probably have to change my plan to anchor out and find dockage or a boatyard, but that's not today's problem.
    Adventure-us called: Light air no problems, spoke Highlander, Relentless, Glory.

    Dragon emailed: If you let me choose between a day of 35 knot sailing or a day of 3 knot sailing, I would pick the gale over the calm every time. In the gale you gear up, reduce sail, and hunker down. Other than the fear, it's pretty simple. The calm is a misery. It's hot, it's frustrating and it's never ending work trying to squeeze even a knot of boat speed out of the whispers of wind. You are constantly looking for cats paws of wind on the water's smooth surface and wishing you could teleport the boat to those patches of good fortune. And when it gets below 2 knots, often the best you can hope for is to keep the bow of the boat pointed in generally the right direction. For more specifics, I have fought for the past 18 hours to ouch my way generally south. Not able to point at the island, but generally close. I had a half knot of favorable current for most of the day, but that was about the only gift. Otherwise I am waiting for the forecasted shift to the SE, one that I can use to tack towards the mark and that will also put the whammy on my pursuers given their more westward location. But that shift is proving to be coy and my patience is tested. was your day? Sorry, I should add that there still is no one within hailing distance for the chat window.

    Highlander emailed: All is well aboard Highlander. Lighter winds today changing between 7-12 knots more from the southerly direction. Seas less than 1 foot. Currently about 140 miles out from Bermuda. Another amazing sunset. Talked with Adventure-us and all is well there. Was visited by Bermuda Longtail who left gift on the deck of Adventure-Us. Can see Glory off my bow about 5 miles out. Have not been able to reach via VHF but can see his AIS signal.

    Cepheus emailed: hope you are now able to enjoy Bermuda. I look forward to getting there. One day. All is well out here. Slowly making progress. Cheers Phil

    Choucas3 emailed: Had a chat with David from Alchemy this evening. He lost his AIS system but we were sailing with eyesight of each other. All is well for both of us.
    A little frustrated of the slow finish considering the fast conditions of the first two days. But at least this gives us the opportunity to see another beautiful sundown. But looking forward to a dark and stormy in Bermuda.

    Rocinante called me: Looks he will be turning on the iron geny to get home and get his sail repaired for the trip back. Sails left are not good for beating into light winds.
    Relentless called: He apologized for calling in so late, but said that he had experienced several distractions. He reported being a call with ADVENTURE-US, and could hear but not communicate with DAUNTLESS. Reported that all is well, with no significant activities to report. The weather conditions had gone flat and the wind was very light from 180 degrees. Partly cloudy, but no storms currently in the area. “Just trying to make my way to Bermuda…”

    6/7 1300 - Windswept emailed: The past 20 years of using navigation programs have apparently eroded my manual skills! The old rhyme "West is best, East is least" refers to whether to add or subtract the variation to (from) the true direction to find the magnetic course. Well, I screwed up resulting in my compass course being in error by about 30 degrees. I couldn't understand why I kept getting farther and farther to the left of the rhumb line. I discovered my error using a free compass app that I had loaded on my phone as a hail Mary contingency!
    Now, with the wind slowly backing to the South, it is unlikely I will be able to make this up without a long corrective port tack.
    Anyway, the weather is beautiful today. Last night I saw the most amazing shooting star against the back drop of the Milky Way!

    Young American emailed via Joe Cooper: the update for today is the weather 1 started off nice then the wind crapped out and headed. there a bunch of thunder clouds and only one did i get to intersect to get better wind for 20-30 min, now back to light but direction is better and holding the A3. the short bit of rain was nice. still cant get the expedition to down load position reports so blind. the 7:00 radio chat i could hear someone but not the other party they were talking to.. I called out 2x both 72 and 16 with no reply. I must be monkey in the middle. Tim Kent showed up briefly on AIS as the wind was dying and he was 15 nm at a bearing just fwd of the beam. I was 1 kts faster SOG He was in foul current. Hope all is well ashore - looks like I maybe out for an extra day.

    Kiwi Spirit 2 emailed me twice: 1. 3 kts, 2. No wind. Auto-helm not able to steer. Sailing southeast at present. All's well.

    Kent Racing text: Glad to be back...I think that the earlier texts did not have +1 on your number. User error. LIGHT wind - have been using a combination of had and APst (huhn).
    Corvus text: 1000 fy (ft?) of sail that wants to sweep you overboard is to drop it in the ocean and winch it back aboard. back to the race.
    Reveille emailed: doing well. on port. Wind is light, SSW at 170⁰. Wind direction does not correspond with what his GRIB file said it would be. not been able to raise anyone at radio check in, but in good spirits and sleeping a lot.

    6/7 0700 - Melantho emailed: Got woken up with a squally wind pattern this morning. All is well. Conditions: Wind W 14 kn Seas 2 - 3 ft. Partially overcast with rain showers visible Water temp 82.0 deg
    Dragon emailed: Good morning. Tough night out there. Wind faded around 0100 and went pretty variable at various points. Several tiring sail changes. Weather is slightly cloudy, minimal wave state and slightly shifty winds. We are in the final push.

    Corvus text: nobody in range for radio chat today. All's well on Corvus, am flying the Code zero. Wind 12 kts at 263.
    Adventure-us called: he had been in communication with DAUNTLESS, GLORY, RELENTLESS and HIGHLANDER. He said that all conditions were OK among those boats with whom he had spoken. After a night with light and very shifty winds, the breeze had picked up to 17 knots, so he was hoping to make up time now that the wind has freshened.

    Relentless called: confirming that he also had been part of the communications with ADVENTURE-US, DAUNTLESS, GLORY and HIGHLANDER. He reported that weather conditions as “wonderful" at the moment as the winds had shifted and began to pick up between 5 and 6AM, and that it currently is at 272 degrees. He also said that the sky was overcast, but that he is waiting for more squalls to come along, with his hopes that they will help to keep the "Bermuda High" away from the fleet.
    Kiwi Spirit emailed: All's well. Lost some ground overnite but breeze now back in. Many friends watching a yellow brick.
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