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Marion Bermuda Race - Dates set for 2015 Cruising Race

by Talbot Wilson on 1 Jul 2013
Alibi, a J120 sailed double-handed in the Marion Bermuda Race, finishes off St David’s Lighthouse. Co-skippers Gardner Grant and Stephen Fisk sailed Ailibi to first in Class A and 12th in the 33-boat Founders Division. SpectrumPhoto/Fran Grenon
The 20th biennial Marion Bermuda Race is set to start on June 19, 2015. The Board of Trustees of the Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association (MBCYRA) made the decision as they met at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in Bermuda in their post-mortem meeting following the 2013 race. The starting date was announced at the 2013 prizegiving.

Commenting on the date, His Excellency the Governor of Bermuda Mr. George Fergusson said he was pleased that the 2015 race would start on June 19th. This year the race conflicted with Bermuda’s National Heroes Day and the Queen’s Birthday, so he had to stay on the island for official duties. 'In 2015 the holiday will fall on the previous weekend,' he noted. And to loud applause from the sailors, Governor Fergusson said, 'I’m making plans now to sail with you in the next Marion to Bermuda Race.'

In setting the date, the trustees decided that the start should return to the traditional third weekend in June to avoid this year’s conflict with the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta held in nearby Newport RI on the second weekend. This will allow more cruising yachts that enter the Annapolis Newport Race or the NYYC event to participate in Marion to Bermuda. Trustees confirmed that at a minimum, the race will have the same divisions as 2013 — Founders for boats 32-80 feet, Celestial navigation for star gazers, Big Boats for boats 65 to 100 feet with relaxed sail restrictions, and a division for Classic Sail Training Vessels. There may be more.

The organizers and sailors agreed that the 2013 race was a fantastic success with all entries finishing, possibly a first for Marion Bermuda. With the addition of the Spirit of Bermuda, the boats ranged from 34 feet to 118 feet. All of the entries except the Andrews 68 Shindig, sailed by the Mass Maritime Academy team, and the classic replica Spirit of Bermuda owned by the Bermuda Sloop Foundation were factory production boats designed mainly for family cruising. The overall winner of the Founders Division was Roust, a Sea Spirit 34. Roust was the smallest boat in the race. She was also sailed double-handed.

'We were extremely pleased with the caliber of race competitors and boats that participated within the Marion Bermuda Race this year,' said Dave Patton, Chairman of MBCYRA, 'They took advantage of our various divisions— the Founders, Celestial, and the Classic Yacht Divisions. This provided many levels of competition for various types of yachts both large and small, moving the Marion Bermuda Race forward in line with its Founders’ vision, spirit and objectives.' Patton indicated that innovative changes will be implemented over the next two years.

The Board of Trustees issued the following statement, 'Several ideas and issues surfaced during the preparation for the 2013 race and more were provided by our race participants in Bermuda. These provided good, insightful, and provocative discussion points on many levels about how to keep the Marion Bermuda Race moving forward in line with its Founders’ vision, spirit and objectives and how to grow its participation while keeping the race viable, emphasizing the wonderful destination— Bermuda and the RHADC. Objectives and broad action items were recently approved by the Trustees to lay the groundwork for productive discussions in our upcoming meetings in Marion on September 7th.

Every boat will receive a commemorative plaque for finishing the race. Over 35 individual trophies were presented. Full Results are posted at Marion Bermuda

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