by Joe Harris
Newport Bermuda Race 2012, organized by volunteer members of the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, is currently underway. Joe Harris onboard GryphonSolo2 provides a progress update after the first day of racing:
GryphonSolo2 position on Day 1 - Newport Bermuda Race 2012
We are off and running. Our day began with a weather briefing from Ken Campbell and team at Commanders Weather. He basically promised us lots of wind from behind us, but said the low pressure system would pass to the East on Sunday night and would be followed by southerly winds and then no wind, so you need to hustle to get into Bermuda before the wind shuts down, so the guys from the big boats who finish early won't get all the women and all the rum. Nuff said. Off we go with a mission.
So we loaded up with food, water and diesel and headed for the start line, but our start was not until 3:30 in the afternoon, so we chilled and watched the other 14 classes start before us. When our turn came, we thought we had the hang of it, and we won the start pretty easily as the double-handed guys don't tend to get too aggressive at the start for fear of breaking something. So we set our A3 spinnaker and started marching past the large crowd basking in the sun on the lawn at Castle Hill and then past Block Island and off into the deep blue. The wind did build to about 20 knots and we were honking along at about 14k with the auto -pilot driving just loving life, when the wind went down to 9 knots. Outrageous! Get me Ken Campbell on line one stat. After our outrage subsided, we went back to sailing and four sail changes later, we are now back in the breeze and moving well again. We are coming through a pack of about a dozen boats all lit up with their masthead lights and it is fun to blast through them fully water ballasted and powered up.
So we are trying to make hay while the wind lasts and hopefully get to and through the gulfstream (about 200 miles) in less than 20 hours.
Hope springs eternal.
Hope you slept well for us as we didn't sleep much last night.
Newport Bermuda Race website