Please select your home edition
North Sails 2021 Innovation - LEADERBOARD

Short-handed Racing to Bermuda on the Jeanneau Sunfast 3300

by Newport Bermuda Race 8 Dec 2021 07:55 PST June 17, 2022
Ken Read and Suzy Leech aboard the Sunfast 3300 Alchemist. © Bermuda Race Media

Over the last few years, double- and short-handed racing has gained significant popularity. Double-handed classes have been added to major races like the Rolex Sydney Hobart, and the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race had 91 DH entries.

The Newport Bermuda Race was ahead of this curve, adding a dedicated class in 1994, and next year's race could see 20-plus boats registered in this class, with 15 signed up already.

Those registered include a Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 (Sea Bear) with another Sunfast 3300 (Alchemist) registered to sail short-handed in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division. Purpose-designed boats such as the Sunfast and others have supported this rise of short-handed sailing, especially as our new Covid environment amplified the recognition that large crews were unnecessary. It's always easier to find a crew of one to three, rather than eight or ten.

Bluenose Yacht Sales in Newport is pleased to financially support the Bermuda Race as the exclusive sponsor of the race's YB trackers. As a Jeanneau dealership, the company has two more Sunfast 3300s arriving at the end of 2021 in time for the race, available for sale and charter.

Glenn Walters, avid sailor for over 50 years and founder Bluenose Yachts, promotes the Sunfast 3300 and owns one himself. His Alchemist has been extraordinarily successful in the racing scene over the last two years sailed by Ken Read with Suzy Leech or Brad Read. Alchemist has 10 first-place wins in 11 races and regattas, mostly double-handed. (For more from Ken, including his love for double-handed racing, check out this North Sail's blog and Ken's Double-Handed Debrief video below.)

We asked Glenn why the SF3300 is well suited for a race such as the famous "Thrash to the Onion Patch" across 635 miles of ocean—notorious for high Gulf Stream waves and hammering winds—despite being one of the smallest boats in the fleet. He said, "The Sunfast 3300 was designed for transoceanic and long-distance races, with a high-volume reverse bow and full-length chines. In the Fastnet Race and many others, 3300s have always done well—the boat is built for offshore performance."

Specific to short-handed sailing, Glenn says, "It's a manageable size and the sail controls are readily at hand and easily adjusted. The sails are relatively lightweight, the sheet loads are modest to low, and it's reasonably comfortable for that size boat. And it's fast! While fast is fun, safety is also important, hence a purposely designed and engineered boat for short-handed racing is key."

Glenn says he enjoys participating in this type of racing because he's more engaged and focused on working as a tight team. "You have to be in the moment at all times. Sending a SF3300 to as much as 20 knots of boat speed with a Code Zero and full mainsail challenges all of your skill sets."

"It's more intense and you are reliant upon one to three other people to sail the boat. That level of 'in-the-moment' intensity is what I find fun," Glenn explains, then adds, "it requires effective communication with your crewmate(s) in order to complete sail changes, maneuvers, and planning to race fast, safely." Glenn stresses the "safely" part, just as the race organizers do. "Safety first," he says. "There's as much prep that goes into meeting the race's safety requirements as there is preparing the crew to know the boat and to handle it in a safe fashion."

Walters is participating in the 2022 Newport Bermuda Race on Alchemist alongside his son, Darren Walters, and two other crewmembers. "I'm no longer in a place in life where I'm looking to prove something to myself," he says. "I've done a Bermuda race double-handed before and am now looking forward to racing with an accomplished, short-handed crew. The camaraderie and teamwork required for this Bermuda Race is an important component to my life and pursuit of this passion, especially with my race-experienced son. Darren has multiple Bermuda races behind him, plus a Transatlantic race, so I am in good hands."

Related Articles

Bermuda and back
Sun Fast 3300 again proving itself on the ocean Team Alchemist sailed first in the 52nd Newport Bermuda Race with a crew of four—Darren and Glenn Walters, Ryan Novak-Smith and James Harayda. Posted on 30 Jun
52nd Newport Bermuda Race prize-giving
More than 100 prizes were awarded at Government House on Saturday evening The 52nd Newport Bermuda Race drew to a close Saturday night with the Prize-Giving ceremony, held at Government House, starting in rain and ending with the glow of a setting sun. Posted on 28 Jun
J/Teams garner silverware in record twelve classes
193 boats from 23 countries were anticipating a challenging start This year's Newport Bermuda Race was the 52nd running of the biennial offshore race and the first since 2018 when the 2020 event was canceled due to that pandemic thing. Posted on 25 Jun
US Sailing inquiry to report on overboard incident
After the tragic loss of Colin Golder on Sunday in the Newport Bermuda Race Since the tragic loss of Colin Golder on Sunday and our statement that evening, the ensign at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club has flown at half mast and been solemnly observed by members and visiting sailors at colours each evening. Posted on 24 Jun
Bermuda Race winners
Yesterday's provisional divisional leaders have all been confirmed as the winners Overnight, the great majority of the 186-boat fleet arrived in Bermuda and yesterday's provisional divisional leaders have all been confirmed as the winners in the 52nd running of the Newport Bermuda Race. Posted on 22 Jun
Warrior Won & Callisto duel to finish in Bermuda
Provisional leaders of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse and St. David's Lighthouse divisions A pair of Pac52 class boats, Christopher Sheehan's Warrior Won and Jim Murray's Callisto, renewed a lively rivalry in a race to the finish of 52nd Newport Bermuda Race last night. Posted on 20 Jun
Sailor dies in Newport Bermuda Race
Captain of yacht Morgan of Marietta loses life after going overboard We regret to report that our Fleet Communications Office for the 52nd Bermuda Race received a report of a crew overboard on the racecourse this afternoon. Posted on 20 Jun
Argo had a rough Bermuda Race record run
"The whole crew is wiped out. We're tired." Small jibs and reefed mainsail were sails of choice for both Jason Carroll's MOD 70 Argo and second-place finisher Malama from 11th Hour Racing. Posted on 19 Jun
Argo sets new Newport Bermuda Race record
MOD70 trimaran is the first Saturday finisher in history of storied race Jason Carroll (New York City) and the crew of the MOD70 Argo outran every elapsed-time record associated with the Newport Bermuda Race when they completed the 52nd edition Saturday night at 2320:09 (ADT). Posted on 19 Jun
Argo on Record Pace in 52nd Newport Bermuda Race
Carroll and crew aim to be first-ever Saturday finishers in legendary race At 1130 hours this morning, Jason Carroll's MOD70 Argo was setting a blistering pace in the 52nd Newport Bermuda Race. The foil-assisted trimaran was making 18 knots on a heading due southeast just to the west of the rhumbline. Posted on 18 Jun
North Sails 2021 Innovation - FOOTER