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J/120 wins Bermuda One-Two Race, Leg 1

by J/Boats 17 Jun 03:21 PDT 8-12 June 2019
Pre-start action in the 2017 Bermuda One-Two © Image courtesy for the Bermuda One-Two / Bill Shea

Hosted by Newport Yacht Club in Rhode Island and the St. George's Dinghy & Boat Club in Bermuda, the 635.0nm Bermuda One-Two Race is one of the premiere shorthanded races in the USA. For the twenty-nine-boat fleet, the race started on June 8th at 11:00 AM in Narragansett Bay. The first leg is singlehanded out to Bermuda.

Winning PHRF 1 Class was Josh Reisberg's J/120 ABILYN in an elapsed time of 98:00 hours. Only the four Class 40s had quicker times and, at that, the winning Class 40 was just six hours ahead! An amazing accomplishment for Reisberg's J/120. His performance amounted to a 6.5 kts average, including traversing adverse currents in the Gulf Stream on his way to the Bermuda finish line off St David's Lighthouse on the northeastern end of the island.

On June 11th 0600 hrs, Reisberg suffered an electronics failure, commenting that "Autopilot computer down on Abilyn. Trying to figure out problem. Hove to. / Cannot repair pressing on for now. / Full electronics malfunction. Electricity is working. But no nav instruments. Can not identify issue. Boat can still be sailed...250 miles to Bermuda. / Update: have jury rig working on the autopilot. Bungees attached to spin sheets going through spin blocks to winches. Keeping sails full and me pointed to Bermuda."

On June 12th at 0800 hrs, Reisberg sent a note to Race Command, "I'm trying to chase these Class 40s down! About 35 miles to northeast breakers, then another six to the finish. Went through multiple sail changes this morning at around 0445 to keep the boat going fast in a light, clocking breeze. J3 to code zero to A3 to J3 to J1. Settled with the J1 (156%), which is keeping me going at around 8 knots VMG. Hope to see you folks in a few hours!"

On June 9th at 0130 hrs, about 12 hours into the race, sadly, David Southwell's race-leading position on his J/121 ALCHEMY was cut short by a wayward steel fishing cable that literally ripped the rudder out of the boat. Thanks to the built-in safety of an offshore hatch and waterproof stern bulkhead, Southwell was able to enlist the help of a US Coast Guard dive team to cut the rudder free, implement his emergency rudder setup, and motor back home to Newport at a 5.2 kts average to get his boat repaired. Also, taking a DNF was Thomas Amory's J/120 FLOW, mentioning to Race Command that he had too many things to sort out on the boat and decided to turn north and head back home to Maine.

The next portion of the race is the doublehanded leg back to Newport that starts on June 20th.

More information at bermuda1-2.org

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