Please select your home edition
Edition
X-Yachts AUS X4 728 - 2

Marion Bermuda Race - The search for sunny days and starlit nights

by Talbot Wilson on 12 Jun 2013
Ron Wisner is looking for sunny days and starlit nights for this year’s Marion Bermuda Race. He and his crew aboard Hotspur II, his 1968 Columbia 50, will be entered in the Founders Division using only celestial navigation. Alexandru Baranescu
Ron Wisner is seeking sunny days and starlit nights in the 2013 Marion Bermuda Race. He and his crew aboard Hotspur II, his 1968 Columbia 50, will be entered in the Founders Division using only celestial navigation. With Ron electing to celestially navigate, Hotspur II will receive a 2% favorable adjustment to her ORR rating. Wisner and his crew will need to be sure of their position through the Gulf Stream and he can only use his sextant and dead reckoning to do that. Clear skies are important. 'I hope the third time is the charm,' Wisner said after completing his final registration requirements Tuesday at the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, MA. Hotspur II hails from Marion. 'This is the third time we have entered the Marion Bermuda Race. In 2009 we were sailing Hotspur I, a Pearson 41 yawl. We had 50kt winds in the Gulf Stream section of the race only to get stuck in a drifter at the Bermuda end. In 2011— sailing Hotspur II— we had 30kt winds at the start and broke a lower shroud. We went back into Marion and got it repaired in about an hour and sailed to Bermuda unofficially. This is the third time we’ve entered and the third year I’ve owned this boat.' 'We’ll need to get a good celestial fix going into the Gulf Stream,' Wisner explained. 'The current looks like it is strongest just west of the rhomb line (the direct course from Marion to Bermuda) so we will probably aim that way after reaching the ocean. We can’t look at the stream on our chart plotter because we rated for celestial navigation.' 'We can’t turn on our GPS until we are within 50 miles of Bermuda,' Wisner said, 'if we elect to do it then. We’ll know we are in the current when the water temperature goes up. We will be pushed to the east and we’ll have to vector our course with estimated set from the current vs. speed. We want to come out near the rhumba line below the stream. With good plotting sights, we can know our position within five nautical miles.' 'We choose to do the celestial sight reductions by hand, not with a computer.' Wisner added. 'I think real offshore sailing demands celestial navigation and I don’t feel like I’m really doing it properly unless I’m actually doing the calculations and sight reductions by hand. We will have three sextants and one 1830 vintage quadrant aboard. I’ll be teaching mini navigation classes to the crew at sea.' Wisner has been using all available data on the Gulf Stream and the weather to pre-plan his route to Bermuda. He is using data from the National Weather Service (NOAA), the Rutgers University Seas Surface Temperature charts and many more sources. The race from Marion is really a four-part process. One: Getting off the line and out of Buzzard’s Bay and past Sow & Pigs Reef; Two; Getting down to the Gulf Stream; Three: Crossing the Gulf Stream and Four: Reaching Bermuda after traversing the tricky currents and oft fickle winds of the ‘Happy Valley.’ For some of Hotspur’s II seven-member crew, this is their third try at a prize in Bermuda, but for teenager Bridget Higgins this is her first. When her father Richard, this year’s cook, first sailed to Bermuda on Hotspur I, she wanted to go. Wisner and her dad promised she could go when the time was right. Now at 16, the time is right and she will be aboard. She is the second youngest person in the 2013 race. According to race entry records, Jonathan Riley on Shindig is 13. He is the son of Mark Riley, a watch captain on the Andrews 68. Marion Bermuda Race website All in Bermuda are welcome to share in the post-race festivities and come down to the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club to walk the docks and see all of the yachts that have sailed from Marion in the classic ocean race. Celebrate the week of the solstice at RHSADC, Bermuda Style.
Pantaenius - Worldwide SupportFestival of Sails 2017 660x82Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

Audi Hamilton Island RW - Beau Geste takes title with a day to spare
The new format Australian Yachting Championship title concluded on the final windy day of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week The new format Australian Yachting Championship title concluded on the final windy day of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Saturday August 27, and two winners from the 2015 series returned to glory after five days of racing in the Whitsunday islands playground.
Posted on 27 Aug
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crew catch up - Meet Dhruv Boruah
After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations, some decide on a future in the marine industry, some take time out to assess their next move in life and others seek their next challenge.
Posted on 27 Aug
Changing of the Guard at Melges 20 Worlds, Freides takes over
The second day of racing at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship featured two races under shifty conditions 2016 Melges 20 World Championship - The second day of racing at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino featured two races under shifty conditions, shaking up the standings and making Drew Freides' Pacific Yankee the new leader with a one point advantage over Michael Illbruck on Pinta now seated in second place.
Posted on 27 Aug
Vendée Globe – Yann Eliès and his team relaunch 60-ft IMOCA in Lorient
Yann is now on the final stretch before the event and will be taking part in the three training courses. Yann is now on the final stretch before the event and will be taking part in the three training courses organised at the Finistère Ocean Racing Centre in Port-la-Forêt (Brittany). He will also take part in the Azimut Trophy. Yann Eliès tells us about the work that has been done and what lies ahead in the final part of his preparation.
Posted on 26 Aug
Audi Hamilton Island RW - Images and video from the supermaxi racing
Michael Chittenden and Bob Killick were on the water at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and provided these images Michael Chittenden and Bob Killick were on the water at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week and provided these images of the supermaxi battle between Wild Oats XI and Scallywag from Races 3, 4 and 5 Scallywag won the third and final race for the day (Race5). She should also have won Race 3 also but had a problem with their furler after leading by about a minute at the top mark.
Posted on 26 Aug
Vendée Globe – A long trip between France and Iceland for Heerema
After completing two solo transatlantic crossings in the spring, Pieter Heerema is currently on his third major trip. After completing two solo transatlantic crossings in the spring, Pieter Heerema is currently on his third major trip. Thanks to this voyage from France to Iceland and back, the Dutch skipper is finding out more about No Way Back, the new generation IMOCA on which he will line up on 6th November
Posted on 26 Aug
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - Offshore teams lead two divisions
The penultimate day played out in 12 – 15 knots SSE wind, gusting up to 19. All Audi Hamilton Island Race Week fleets contested passage races of varying lengths around the islands and this afternoon two of the championship divisions are being controlled by New Zealand sailing teams - Karl Kwok’s Team Beau Geste at the head of Rating division A and Simon Hull’s Frank Racing, which is running away with the first-ever Multihull Racing top prize.
Posted on 26 Aug
Best pictures of the first 4 Acts of the Extreme Sailing Series™
An influx of fresh talent have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40. An influx of fresh talent, new venues and a revised race format have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40 by a smaller, faster catamaran: the flying GC32.
Posted on 25 Aug
Return to Russia for the Extreme Sailing Series™
Joining the fleet as the season heads into its second half is Gazprom Team Russia, led by WMRT champion, Phil Robertson. With one week to go, the fleet returns to St Petersburg for the fifth Act of the season, presented by SAP, 35 of the world’s best sailors are getting their heads in the game and preparing for the one of the trickiest venues of the season so far.
Posted on 25 Aug
Championship momentum builds at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
Three windward/leewards for the two Rating Series divisions on the eastern course area started out in 10-12knot ESE wind Three windward/leewards for the two Rating Series divisions on the eastern course area started out in 10-12 knot ESE winds under overcast skies and as the day progressed the breeze turned SE and faded to 8-9kts.
Posted on 25 Aug