Lawyer Amanda Mochrie is on course to make Newport Bermuda Race history.
Barring a late withdrawal in the final lead up to this year’s race Mochrie, a seasoned offshore sailor, will become the first female to skipper a Bermuda yacht in the race’s 106-year history.
Mochrie will be at the helm of Icarus, a Class 40 yacht, that is competing in the Open Division in this year’s ‘Thrash to the Onion Patch’ that gets underway June 15 in Newport, Rhode Island and concludes several days later in St David’s, Bermuda.
'I am absolutely thrilled to know that I will be the first female skipper of a local boat in the Newport Bermuda Race and our goal is to sail the boat fast and have fun,' she said. 'I’m looking forward to doing the Newport Bermuda Race because I’ve done a number of Fastnet and Blue Water Races in Europe but haven’t done that many races in this part of the world, so I’m excited about it for that reason.'Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) commodore, Jonathan Brewin, is also thrilled to see a female skipper at the helm of a local boat in the prestigious race.
'We are excited that one of the Bermuda entries will feature a lady skipper supported by some good crew,' he said. 'And we look forward to their swift, safe and successful arrival in Bermuda.'
Mochrie, 42, made her Newport Bermuda Race debut aboard a Swan 42 (Eagle) in 2006.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club member, who hails from London, England, has a great passion for Blue Water racing.
'After 24 hours you settle into a rhythm of being on the boat offshore and the watches,' she said. 'You get to sail at night which is one of my favourite things and is one of the few experiences you can still have today as people had a couple of hundred years ago.'
The Bermuda Offshore Cruising Association vice- commodore will make the 635 mile journey from Newport to Bermuda with a crew of six hailing from the UK, USA and Bermuda.
Among the crew is Trott and Duncan Ltd co-worker Henry Tucker and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) vice-commodore Somers Kempe.
Kempe is keen to see Mochrie break new ground in the biennial race.
'I think it will be good and just goes to show that anyone can participate and we are not a gender biased sport,' he said. 'I’m looking forward to doing the race again with the crew that has been put together and hopefully we can put in a good performance.'
A total of 167 yachts that will compete in six divisions have registered for this year’s Newport Bermuda Race.
There are 96 boats registered in the St David’s Lighthouse Division, 30 in the Cruiser Division, 18 in the Double-Handed Division, 16 in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division, six in the Open Division and one in the new Spirit of Tradition Division.
Flying the Island’s banner are Nasty Medicine, Tiburón, Spirit of Bermuda and Icarus.
In all, there are 45 local sailors involved in the race co-hosted by Cruising Club of America and RBYC.
by Colin Thompson - The Royal Gazette
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5:12 AM Fri 8 Jun 2012GMT
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