Please select your home edition
Edition
Kilwell - 5

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
Zhik Dinghy 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNorth Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

Italian crew wins J/70 European Championship at Kiel Week
The perfect final series of Stefano Roberti (Monaco) with three victories did come to an end with rank two overall. The number of participating crews for the second European Championship of the J/70 was impressive with 91 boats at the start line.
Posted today at 6:33 pm
470 Junior Worlds – Spanish women in gold, Spanish men in silver
Before the start of the Medal Race of the women, the podium places were not decided yet. The last of the five racing days sees another Japanese team make it to the podium.
Posted today at 6:13 pm
Clipper Race fleet makes a crucial decision to miss the Scoring Gate
The brakes have been put on the rollercoaster ride for now after the teams made the turn north around Ice Box perimeter. The brakes have been put on the rollercoaster ride for now after the teams made the turn north around the Ice Box perimeter and now find themselves caught in the lighter winds of the North Atlantic High, but they are at least now pointing towards finish destination Derry-Londonderry.
Posted today at 11:27 am
18ft Skiffs Fiji Fizz - Aussie's win on Practice day in Denerau
Perfect conditions welcomed the fleet to Fiji for the Mark Foy Championship and round three of the Triple Crown Trophy. Perfect conditions welcomed the fleet to Fiji for the Mark Foy Championship and round three of the Triple Crown Trophy. Sailing in a 12knot sea breeze and two windward/leeward races, Race 1 got underway with a clear start and Thurlow Fisher Lawyers stuck their nose out in front and lead till the finish. The fight for second was a good one with a group of boats all close together.
Posted today at 7:32 am
RORC IRC Nationals - Thunder and lightning - very, very frightening!
With micro-storms conditions for Day 2 of IRC National Championship resembled an episode from the Old Testament With micro-storms, intense, frequent deluges, thunder and lightning, conditions for day two of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's IRC National Championship resembled an episode from the Old Testament; the Great Flood perhaps.
Posted today at 5:33 am
Superyacht Cup - Win Win fastest of the fleet and overall winner
This year's 22-strong fleet is teeming with the latest flyers, carbon rockets, and offshore racers. This year's 22-strong fleet is teeming with the latest flyers, carbon rockets, and offshore racers. Moreover, most competing yachts boast having some of the biggest names in sailing on board. From America's Cup supremos to Olympic champions: stunning entries are handled by the world's racing elite.
Posted today at 5:13 am
RORC IRC National Championship - Day 2 - Life in the FAST40+ lane
The Fast40+ Class permits guests to sail on board, although not allowed to take part in the racing The Fast40+ Class permits guests to sail on board, although not allowed to take part in the racing, your reporter was permitted to 'sit at the back of the bus' and watch the action on board Sir Keith Mills Ker 40+ Invictus ...and there was plenty of it.
Posted today at 4:54 am
LBRW - Beautiful day on water – but a good day to stay out of water
Shark Week arrived a day early this year, muscling in on Ullman Sails LBRW with great white sharks sighted off peninsula Shark Week arrived a day early this year, muscling in on Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week (LBRW) with several great white sharks sighted off the peninsula this morning, prompting a marine safety advisory here. While the juvenile sharks (four to seven feet) fed in the shallows, there was another feeding frenzy going on offshore.
Posted today at 4:35 am
470 Junior World Championship - 'We love to fight'
The Spanish women’s crew will start starting as title favourites in the Super Sunday Medal Race. A protest in the evening brings excitement to the men's fleet. The Spanish women’s crew will start starting as title favourites in the Super Sunday Medal Race.
Posted today at 3:08 am
Sailors enjoy another day of challenging racing at the 14th Clagett
Day two of racing at the 14th C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta had a delayed start Day two of racing at the 14th C. Thomas Clagett, Jr. Memorial Clinic and Regatta had a delayed start when the race committee held the sailors ashore while they waited for the breeze to fill in.
Posted today at 2:01 am