Newport Bermuda Race - From Spirit of Bermuda, Captain Karen McDonald

Spirit of Bermuda starting Friday - Newport Bermuda Race 2014
Daniel Forster/PPL
Newport Bermuda Race 2014 - Saturday, June 21, 0800. It was an exciting yet slow start to the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race yesterday.

At 1300, Spirit’s start time, the gradient wind (NW) was being overtaken by the sea breeze (S). We made it across the line a few seconds after the gun.

Once we cleared Narragansett Bay, the sea breeze won out and gave us a decent breeze till sunset. As the wind dropped out, it became very shifty, with much sail handling. After midnight we found ourselves in the midst of the fleet, with some large commercial traffic passing through as we crossed the Nantucket to Ambrose traffic separation scheme.
The breeze has filled in again this morning and we are back up to seven plus knots. The wind is expected to lighten again later, before we begin to feel the wind effects of a low pressure and associated front moving off of Cape Hatteras tomorrow. Watch to watch competition is fierce on who will cover the most miles before we get to Bermuda.

Sunday, June 22, 0800. We had more wind than expected during the day yesterday morning and were able to maintain six-eight knots until the wind began to drop out around 1400. In the evening and overnight, the wind dropped out completely and set us and the rest of the fleet nearby adrift in the Gulf Stream. We had a few close quarters situations with other participants, which was only an issue due to the lack of maneuverability for all parties involved. Significant precaution was taken on all ends and we have carried on safely. Around 0600 this morning the breeze filled in out of the east at 12-15kts, and we have been making seven and half to eight knots under full sail. Spirit is slowly beginning to pass much of the fleet that has been surrounding us over the past two days. . . .

Everyone is having a good time despite the frustration about the drop in wind. The energy on board has picked back up now that we have some wind in our sails. Watch out fleet! Here we come!! The competition between the three watches continues to be exciting….we will see who wins!

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