Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik ZKG

Careful preparation yields Newport Bermuda silver

by Talbot Wilson on 14 Mar 2012
Three Cal 40s and Frolic (USA60217), a Sabre 362, at the start of Class 1 in the 2010 Newport Bermuda Race. Gone With The Wind (USA12) was over early. Sinn Feinn (USA1818) led the way over Belle Aurore (USA5191) and Frolic. Belle Aurore was 1st in class, Sinn Fein was 2nd and Gone With the Wnd was 3rd. Talbot Wilson - Copyright
Can Sinn Fein match Finisterre’s Bermuda Record?

Newport Bermuda Race Historian John Rousmaniere notes in Newport Bermuda Race Facts and Firsts, that only one skipper has won the Newport Bermuda Race three times. Carleton Mitchell won three in a row in 1956-58-60. And Mitchell won those three races all with Finisterre, the most famous of the Sparkman & Stephens centerboard yawls.


In 2010, Peter Rebovich was poised to repeat the feat in Sinn Fein, his classic 47-year-old Cal 40, but a sterling performance by Rives Potts and Carina swept away his chance for three St. David’s Lighthouse Trophies in a row. The first three boats in Class 1 were all Cal 40’s. Carina has won the Lighthouse twice, 1970 and 2010, but under different owners.

Sinn Fein has sailed six Newport Bermuda Races, winning her class in 2002 and 2004 and then taking the first place St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy in 2006 and in 2008. She took second in class and seventh in her division in 2010.

Rebovich still has a chance to match Mitchell with three wins in the same boat and with the same skipper, just not three in a row. He’ll be on the starting line June 15th in Newport, RI trying to do just that. He has been ocean racing on Sinn Fein almost forever and has honed his boat and regular crew into an efficient sailing machine.

In the early years Pete worked hard on crew selection to find a group that were all ‘captain quality’. Each person needed to be able to do more than one job. Actually they all needed to be able to drive in all conditions, understand strategy, be knowledgeable about navigation and currents, and be able to be part of making a race plan and following it down the course.

For years Rebovich was both skipper and navigator. He made an important change the Sinn Fein crew when he invited Kelley Robinson to navigate. This allowed Pete to concentrate on other essentials in boat preparation. The crew includes Pete’s two sons, Mark and Pete. Mark has sailed every race while Pete has missed only one. Henry Hennings, a holdover from Wednesday night racing, does everything, according to Pete, and Foster Tallman and Gary Gochal are both excellent helmsmen and sail trimmers. Joe Pasco filled out the crew that has been essentially the same since 2004.

No one aboard Sinn Fein is paid to sail. In the true sense of the word, they are all amateurs. They sail Newport Bermuda because they love to sail and sail well. All the crew live within fifteen miles of the Raritan Yacht Club. All but one race their own boats in the club’s Wednesday night and weekend racing series. The sailors are competitors at home, but a unified offshore crew on Sinn Fein.


Boat preparation is another element that wins trophies. Before the 2006 race, the year he won the St. David’s Lighthouse Division for the first time, Rebovich decided to use a boat rating optimization program. 'We were the only boat to take advantage of this technical program offered by US Sailing,' Pete said. 'With the help of Jim Teeters from the Offshore Office, we analyzed the rating numbers and performance predictions with various configurations of bow sprits, poles and sail inventories, especially various types of symmetrical and a-symmetrical spinnakers.'

'We also made a historical ‘point of sail’ survey of past races,' he added. 'We found that the majority of the races to Bermuda, from Marion as well as Newport, were sailed from points close on the wind… cracked off a little for speed… to a broad reach. There was very little running deep downwind at all. Finally, we made the choice to go with a-symmetrical spinnakers. That extra bit of research and preparation made a big difference in our performance to help us win in both the light air 2006 race and the 2008 upwind more traditional thrash to the Onion Patch.'

'Our most exciting time in a Newport Bermuda Race,' Pete said, 'was actually in Bermuda after the 2006 race. My son woke me up on Wednesday in Bermuda and told me we had actually won the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy for first on corrected time in our division. Princess Anne, The Princess Royal of the UK, presented the trophy to me and the crew of Sinn Fein. It was the highlight of the gala Centennial Race prize giving at Bermuda’s Government House.'

'Back on the water,' Rebovich added, 'the best time was in 2004. We were sailing southeast on a 175-mile meander. We had worked our way south and as we approached the southern tip of the meander our GPS indicated we were being swept east toward England. A 15-degree wind shift prompted a tack, pointing Sinn Fein toward Florida but with a course over ground toward Bermuda.

'We sailed southwest for about three hours, finally breaking out of the easterly current, then tacked back to starboard, pointing the boat at Bermuda. When the fleet called in position reports in the morning, we learned we had picked up 20 miles on our competition. That's exciting!'

Sinn Fein is one of the 169 boats in the entry process as of March 12th. The 2012 Newport Bermuda Race starts Friday afternoon June 15th just off of Castle Hill in Newport RI. Can Sinn Fein match Finisterre’s Bermuda Record? Time will tell.

Applications for Entry into this invitational adventure are being taken under 'Entry Process' on the race website. The classic 635-mile race offers racing in five divisions— The St. David’s Lighthouse (amateur) Division, The Cruiser (amateur) Division, the Double Handed Division, the Gibbs Hill (professional) Division and the Open (professional) division. There is great competition for all levels of commitment and experience.

About 40 of the two Lighthouse Division entries are expected to sail the Onion Patch series, a tough triathlon of offshore racing. Boats compete in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta in Newport, then race to Bermuda, and finally sail in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. Information is online at www.onionpatchseries.com.

Bermuda Race website

North Technology - Southern SparsAncasta Ker 40+ 660x82Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

EFG Bank Monaco wins fourth consecutive EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
French sailing star Thierry Douillard today led his EFG Bank Monaco (MON) team to their fourth consecutive title French sailing star Thierry Douillard today led his EFG Bank Monaco (MON) team to their fourth consecutive title as the Arabian classic came to a thrilling climax.
Posted today at 5:02 pm
Countdown to the St Barths Bucket Regatta
The magic takes place both on and off the water, when the owners and crews fill the yacht haven before and after racing, The magic in St Barths takes place both on and off the water, when the owners and crews fill the yacht haven before and after racing, with the special Yacht Hop taking place on the Saturday evening.
Posted today at 2:51 pm
St Petersburg to Habana Race gets underway after 58 year hiatus
The St. Petersburg Yacht Club has made history again as the St. Petersburg-Habana Race got underway on Tuesday The St. Petersburg Yacht Club has made history again as the St. Petersburg-Habana Race got underway on Tuesday, after after a 58-year hiatus. The 107- year-old Yacht Club last staged the race in 1959. It was a major annual event from 1930 until that year, when political upheaval in Cuba ended the tradition.
Posted today at 12:46 pm
JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff – Thurlow Fisher continues excellent form
Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor and Trent Barnabas produced a faultless exhibition in the light East to ESE wind The recently crowned Australian champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers continued the excellent form the team have shown recently with an outstanding victory in today’s Race 4 of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour. Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor and Trent Barnabas produced a faultless exhibition in the light East to ESE wind to bring Thurlow Fisher Lawyers home a 2m2s winner.
Posted today at 9:31 am
Vendee Globe - Heerema - 'Like the Southern Ocean'
Pieter Heerema has got moving again. This afternoon, he told us about some “incredible waves”. Pieter Heerema has got moving again. This afternoon, he told us about some “incredible waves”. He now only has 500 miles left to sail in these tough conditions to complete his Vendée Globe, which he is expected to finish on Thursday. Meanwhile, Sébastien Destremau is about to enter an area of light winds.
Posted today at 7:15 am
Olympic champions announce pools for Red Bull Youth America’s Cup
Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher have announced the lineups for the two pools of top national youth teams Two-time Olympic Gold Medalists Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher have announced the lineups for the two pools of top national youth teams that will compete in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Bermuda this summer.
Posted today at 3:50 am
JJ Giltinan 18ft skiffs - Replay Coverage of Race 4
Catch the latest race of the JJ Giltinan Trophy for the 18ft Skiffs, sailed on Sydney harbour. Catch the latest race of the JJ Giltinan Trophy for the 18ft Skiffs, sailed on Sydney harbour. Great coverage from the very knowledgeable team on the Camera Cat, including commentary from Peter Shipway, Bob Killick and Andrew Buckland.
Posted today at 2:43 am
JJ Giltinan 18fters - Images from the calm and tempest of Race 3
Michael Chittenden was back riding in the shotgun seat/deck behind the video camera on board the Camera Cat. Michael Chittenden was back riding in the shotgun seat/deck behind the video camera on board the Camera Cat. He shot this gallery of images as Race 3 started in moderate winds, which increased dramatically as a rain squall hit the fleet on the first downwind leg, before easing to a calm as the boats outside the top three overall struggled to finish inside the one hour time limit.
Posted today at 2:11 am
JJ Giltinan 18fters - Yamaha granted redress after collision in squall
The winner of the first two races in the JJ Giltinan Trophy has been awarded average points for her scoring races The winner of the first two races in the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18fter Championship has been awarded average points for her scoring races in the series after a Hearing by the protest committee in Sydney this morning. Yamaha NZ was forced to withdraw after taking evasive action to avoid a give-way boat, suffering damage and later capsizing just before a 22kt rainsquall hit the fleet.
Posted today at 12:51 am
52 Super Series Miami Royal Cup – Nowhere to hide
Gulari raced as strategist in Key West partnering with tactician Terry Hutchinson but this will be his debut at the helm In Miami, 2016 US Olympian and multiple World Champion helmsman, Bora Gulari, steers championship winner Quantum Racing for the first time ever in the white heat of competition. Tony Langley’s British-flagged team will be getting to grips with their new Gladiator, which debuted at Key West as Interlodge – the latest Botín Partners design.
Posted on 28 Feb