Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 40+ 728x90

A slice of Marion Bermuda Race history

by C. Barnes Davis on 26 Feb 2014
2013 Marion Bermuda Race ©SpectrumPhoto/Fran Grenon
Learn about the history of the Marion Bermuda Race which began in 1977 with 104 starters on the line.

I was 19 years old in the summer of 1977 and crewed aboard Abraxas in the first Marion to Bermuda yacht race. I had lots of coastwise experience cruising, as well as some offshore experience aboard the Tabor Boy, including a passage to Bermuda, but this was my first blue water yacht race. It was fate.

I received a call early in the morning on the day of the race from a friend of mine who was operating the launch at the Beverly Yacht Club. He informed me that one of the boats, Abraxas, had lost a crewmember due to a family emergency. He suggested if I wanted to race I had better get to Marion right away. I put some gear in a bag, left a note for my parents, and drove the 30 miles from my home in Duxbury to Marion as fast as I could. When I arrived at the Yacht Club, I hopped on the clubs launch my friend was running and he took me straight out to Abraxas. She looked fine to me from the launch; engine running, jib hanked on, crew busy preparing for her imminent departure. As the launch came alongside, I asked if they were still looking for crew. The owner and mate came to the rail and asked me what experience I had. In hindsight, it might have been prudent of me to ask the same of them - but I was young and eager to get to sea. They invited me aboard, and before I could stow my bag I was already casting off the mooring pendant!

I learned a lot of things on that race, as well as the return passage. I learned that it is always best to shorten sail when you first think about it. In the stream, we blew out our two largest jibs. I learned how to sail bare pole with the wind on the quarter in the dead of night; listening to the sea approach from astern and the wind singing in the rigging. I learned that if the oven door is not secured properly, the white metal hinges will snap off. I learned that you should prepare something other than just casseroles for an offshore passage. I learned that a storm jib is worthless when approaching the Bermuda high; lots of red and green lights astern of us became white lights ahead of us. I learned that I love Bermuda, but a race isn't just about the destination.

I have been fortunate to participate in a few Marion to Bermuda and Newport/ Bermuda races over the years and hope to do it again in Event Website
Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82Mackay BoatsSouthern Spars - 100

Related Articles

Quantum Key West Race Week - Day 3 images by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week and provided this gallery of images from Day 3 action Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week and provided this gallery of images from Day 3 action.
Posted today at 7:39 am
Vendee Globe - Le Cleac'h flying home
Vendee Globe race leader Armel Le Cleac's is on the final tack for the finish of the 2016/17 Vendee Globe Race. Vendee Globe race leader Armel Le Cleac's is on the final tack for the finish of the 2016/17 Vendee Globe Race. At the 0400UTC position report he had 145nm to sail to the finish at Les Sables D'Olonne and was expected to be greeted by a crowd of hundreds of thousands of French sailing fans on Thursday afternoon or early evening local time.
Posted today at 7:14 am
Le Cléac'h closes in on Vendée Globe finish line
French sailor Armel Le Cléac'h has one hand on the Vendée Globe trophy this morning as he bears down on the finish line French sailor Armel Le Cléac'h has one hand on the Vendée Globe trophy this morning as he bears down on the finish line in Les Sables d'Olonne, France. At the latest position update Le Cléac'h, skipper of Banque Populaire VIII, was 146 nautical miles from finishing the solo round the world race with a lead of 87nm over second-placed Alex Thomson.
Posted today at 6:05 am
Vendee Globe Race - View the finish live
The arrival of the Vendée Globe will be broadcast LIVE on January 19 between 5.30 p.m and 8.00 p.m (GMT) French skipper Armel Le Cléac'h and British skipper Alex Thomson will finish their non-stop solo round the world race on Thursday afternoon or evening local time. The arrival of the Vendée Globe will be broadcast LIVE on January 19 between 5.30 p.m and 8.00 p.m (GMT) on the event's channel
Posted today at 5:10 am
Quantum Key West Race Week - Day 3 action-shots by Nico Martinez
Nico Martinez was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week, 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images. Photographer Nico Martinez was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week, 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images from Day 3 action.
Posted today at 4:53 am
Quantum Key West Race Week - Tied at the top after moving day
At Quantum Key West Race Week Wednesday is known as “moving day”. It is, in the middle of a regatta, a pivotal stage At Quantum Key West Race Week Wednesday is known as “moving day”. It is, in the middle of a regatta, a pivotal stage, when consistency starts to show, the cream rises to the top, and a real insight into the possible hierarchy at the end of the week is gained.
Posted today at 4:34 am
Mount Gay Round Barbados Series - Spectacular competition on Day 2
The second day of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Coastal Series produced spectacular competition once again. The second day of the Mount Gay Round Barbados Coastal Series organised by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, and Mount Gay, produced spectacular competition once again. Although it was an unusually damp day with rain squalls passing through for most of the race, the wind built under the clouds to 15-16kts
Posted today at 4:01 am
Quantum Key West Race Week - Day 3 action-shots by Max Ranchi
Max Ranchi was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week, 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images. Photographer Max Ranchi was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week, 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images from Day 3 - Race five/six and seven action.
Posted today at 2:53 am
Azzurra is tied for the lead in the 52 Super Series in Key West
Azzurra is tied with Platoon for the lead in the provisional results at two days from the end of the first event Azzurra is tied with Platoon for the lead in the provisional results at two days from the end of the first event in the 2017 52 Super Series. Provezza is currently third.
Posted today at 2:32 am
Vendee Globe - Both leaders tack setting up an intense finish battle
According to the official tracker, Vendee Globe Race leader, Armel Le Cleac'h has tacked in what could be the final move According to the official tracker, Vendee Globe Race leader, Armel Le Cleac'h has tacked in what could be the final move of the Vendee Globe race for 2016/17. Rival Alex Thomson has responded. At the latest report, the French sailor was attempting to cross ahead of his rival, Alex Thomson - who still had the option to tack underneath and then take his chances on the final 24 hours.
Posted on 18 Jan