Toronto's Diane Reid is counting the 'sleeps' until the start of the Bermuda 1-2 Race where she will be racing her Mini 6.5, One Girl's Ocean Challenge, on June 3rd. The race, a biennial tradition on the eastern seaboard since 1977, is a grueling 635-mile single-handed race from Newport, Rhode Island to St. George’s, Bermuda, followed by a double handed return on June 16th; Toronto's Nick Sellars will accompany Diane on the return leg. Diane and Nick will be driving down today with the 21-foot yacht on its trailer in order to be in Newport in time for the mandatory safety inspection on Saturday.
The Bermuda 1-2 is usually a navigator's race as it crosses the Gulf Stream. This year is no different as the Gulf Stream is building up for an unusual bend, accompanied with a significant amount of current; racers will have to contend with current and a large cold water eddy spinning right on the rhumb line. Their challenge will be to find the fastest route through this maze of wind and currents.
The Gulf Stream meandering currents on May 26, 2011 -
This year, four Mini 6.5 will take part in the event; they will be smallest of the 31 yachts in the fleet with sizes ranging from 21 to 46 feet. The event is opened to all types of yachts; they once again cover the full gamut from older cruisers to modern race boats.
Roy Guay states on the Bermuda 1-2 website: 'The objective of this particular race is and remains the making of a single-handed/shorthanded passage, which encourages safety, good seamanship, communication, and on-going gear and technique development and testing. It is an event designed to accommodate and challenge both single-handed cruisers and racers alike – from the 'rock star' to the Corinthian 'every man'. The race is sailed in two parts: Leg One by a lone skipper from Newport to Bermuda, and, following a brief layover, Leg Two back Newport with one crew member – hence the origin of the event’s name.
The original intent of event organizers was to formulate a race that would be attractive to racing and cruising sailors alike who seek the adventure, camaraderie and experience of single-handedly undertaking a 635-mile blue-water passage. One measure of the organizers’ success is the continually growing list of new participants who each year are added to ranks of race veterans. Several skippers have been repeating entrants of the race 0 and one gentleman has successfully finished all of the past single-handed legs!
Not surprisingly, the experience gained from the Bermuda One-Two has led some of its alumni to embark on longer single-handed voyages, such as the Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race (STAR), the Europe Two-STAR, and the BOC, Round Alone single-handed circumnavigational races. Illustrious alumni include Steve Pettengill, Floyd Romack, George Stricker, Neal Petersen, Nigel Rowe, Josh Hall, and the late Harry Mitchell, who was lost at sea in a BOC race while trying to achieve a long-time goal – rounding Cape Horn alone. Three veterans, Brad Van Liew, Derrick Hatfield, and Alan Paris have competed in the Round Alone Race. Two recent Bermuda One-Two participants, Joe Harris and Kip Stone, are participating in long offshore short-handed racing and have goals of single handed around the world racing.'
Diane is thankful to her many sponsors who have permitted her to make it to the start line, she comments; 'We're going with great support from Toronto's UK Halsey loft for sails; Guarantee Company of North America for great foul weather gear; Lori Mason from The Store has provided safety equipment; The Rigging Shoppe has outfitted the yacht with all new standing rigging and Aquafolia provides skin care and sun tan lotion.'
One Girl's Ocean Challenge's progress on the way to bermuda can be followed on-line through the race sponsored iBoat tracking solution; all the details are available on the race website at http://www.bermuda1-2.org/
One Girl's Ocean Challenge is at http://www.onegirlsoceanchallenge.com