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2014 Newport Bermuda Race - Carina goes for honors

by Talbot Wilson on 12 Jun 2014
Carina, one of the most successful boats in the history of the Newport/Bermuda Race, looking to score a 4th win in this year's race.. Barry Pickthall / PPL
2014 Newport Bermuda Race - 'Carina is a mid-sized boat in this race and hopefully will benefit if we see average conditions. If the wind blows harder early on and then lessens later, the big boats will do well. If the winds are lighter early on then freshen on Tuesday and Wednesday, the smaller boats will be smiling. We are hoping for fairly steady conditions that will not favor either end of the scratch sheet.' Rives Potts, skipper and owner of Carina

Carina, the sturdy black-hulled McCurdy Rhodes 48 foot sloop now owned by Rives Potts of Westbrook CT, has sailed the classic Newport Bermuda Race 20 times, more than any other boat. Under her original owner, Richard Nye she won the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy in 1970. Potts won the trophy with Carina in 2010 and 2012. Now he is poised for a triple. If he makes it, he will break or tie some records along the way.



The race starts in Newport June 20th off Castle Hill, in the mouth of Narragansett Bay.We’ll see what the outcome will be when Potts, Carina and crew cross the line off St. David’s Lighthouse in Bermuda. Only time will tell.



Here are the stats from race historian John Rousmaniere:

Most victories for a skipper:

3 (tie): John Alden in three Malabars (1923, 1926, 1932), and Carleton Mitchell in Finisterre (1956, 1958, 1960)

2 (tie): Robert N. Bavier Sr., Memory (1924) and Edlu (1934); Richard S. Nye, Carina (1952, 1970); Peter Rebovich, Sinn Fein (St. David’s Lighthouse Division 2006, 2008); Rives Potts, Carina (St. David’s Lighthouse Division, 2010, 2012)



Most victories for a boat:

3: Finisterre (1956, 1958, 1960), Carina (1970, and St. David’s Lighthouse Division, 2010, 2012)

2 (tie): Baruna (1938, 1948) and Sinn Fein, Peter Rebovich (2006, 2008)

Most successive victories in the same boat:

3: Finisterre (1956, 1958, 1960)

2: Sinn Fein (2006, 2008), Carina (2010, 2012)




If Potts and the Carina crew win, Potts will move into a tie for the most victories by a skipper, Carina will set a record for the most victories by a boat, and Potts, Carina and crew will tie with Carleton Mitchell’s Finisterre with three successive victories.

Like the Triple Crown of horse racing fame, the odds are against Carina. Potts mused, 'I think the odds are about 1:165 against us... just like everyone else. Everyone has the same weather and the same Gulf Stream info and just about everyone entered in the race is a good sailor. I believe it comes down to whoever makes the right (or lucky) decisions a few times during the race.'

'Carina is a mid-sized boat in this race.' Potts added, 'And hopefully she will benefit if we see average conditions. If the wind blows harder early on and then lessens later, the big boats will do well. If the winds are lighter early on then freshen on Tuesday and Wednesday, the smaller boats will be smiling. We are hoping for fairly steady conditions that will not favor either end of the scratch sheet.'

Potts hasn’t done anything to change Carina from her winning form. 'We’ve just checked and fixed things to avoid unnecessary breakdowns. Mistakes cost time,' he emphasized, 'and in this competitive fleet, one mistake or one gear failure can cost you several places.' Potts hasn’t adjusted his sail inventory for 2014, 'just replaced or repaired damaged and worn out sails.'

When asked why he thinks Carina has done so well in Newport Bermuda racing whether its design, preparation, crew work, sails or all of these, Potts replied, 'All these factors figure into any good finish. I do believe that Carina's design likes the ocean conditions.... she tracks well, is comfortable for the crew, and seems to like all (wind and wave) conditions. The crew is really terrific.... quite a few fathers and sons... all 'A' types who like to compete. They stay focused on the mission. And we have a good time.'



In 2012 Potts’ Carina was also on the winning Onion Patch Team getting one hand on the Onion Patch Trophy for the series. He would still like to finish as the top individual boat in the series and put both hands on the Henry B. duPont Trophy. Potts noted, however, 'It is tough to be the top individual boat in a series like the Onion Patch series. You have to do well in all conditions... inshore and offshore, windward-leeward and around government marks and laid buoys in Bermuda.'

Potts commented on the new Navigators Division of the Onion Patch Series, with round the cans racing in the New York Yacht club’s 160th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta in Bermuda.

'I love it!' he exclaimed. 'I have been lobbying for a good while to offer more family friendly courses. Older heavier boats like Carina, and many of the older Swans and the like, plus the classics, do not enjoy the rigors of thrashing around a WL course day in and day out. It beats up the boats and the crews. Good for many, but not good for all... so alternative navigator courses will get more people racing and make sailing more fun... seems like a pretty good outcome?'

Potts concluded by saying, 'The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee did a great job in pairing down many of the requirements for the race this year. They communicated with the competitors very well throughout. I believe that this year was the most user-friendly that I can remember. My hat is off to all of the dedicated volunteers who made this work for everyone. It is not easy.'

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