Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

The Marion Bermuda Race - it's never too early to start preparing

by Marion Bermuda Race 6 Aug 08:48 PDT June 16-24, 2023
Marion Bermuda Race © Marion Bermuda Race

Two-time skipper and four-time racer, Mark Gabrielson, shares his insights on what you can do now to prepare for June 2023!

"A few weeks ago, my wife and I sailed our Sabre 38 sloop from Newport to Block Island. I share the boat with Steve McInnis, another Blue Water Sailing Club member. It's an older boat with reasonable accommodations and good windward ability. The sail to Block was dead into a fresh southwesterly. We managed to keep our SOG at 6 knots or better with the apparent wind at less than 40 degrees off the bow through each of our four windward legs. We were pleased.

On starboard tack, our heading made good was 180 degreesM. I couldn't help but think how well the boat would sail if I fell off to 165 degreesM, the rhumb line from Nomans Island to Bermuda; or even to 170 degreesM to build in a little westing from the line. I began to believe that we could do well in the 2023 Marion-Bermuda Race with this 40-year-old performance cruiser!

I also thought about what the aspiring 2023 Marion-Bermuda skipper could do even now, eleven months in advance, to get ready for the starting gun.

First things first. "Who will be in my crew?"; the most important thing to get right and perhaps the most difficult. I'll need good sailors who can handle steep Gulf Stream seas without going green in the gills, and who can commit to a 10-day block of time in June of next year, plus a few practice day sails in the spring.

Next is "What safety gear do I have, can I trust it to be 100% operational, and what else do I need to rent or buy?". I've sailed in 4 Marion-Bermudas before, but I'll need to go to the race website to refresh my memory on what gear is required and recommended.

Then, it's "How's my rigging?" I don't have the data to prove it, but my hunch is that apart from crew issues, rigging failures are the most common cause of ocean race withdrawals. I'll need to plan to pull the mast this coming off-season and have a competent rigger go over every spar, fitting, swage, and wire rope to ensure soundness.

Finally, at this time of the pre-race year, I need to simulate sailing like a Marion-Bermuda competitor; practicing making the boat go fast on all points of sail, particularly upwind. On my summer and fall sails, I'll pay more attention to sail selection, trim, and helming like I mean it. What I practice and learn now can be shared with my 2023 race crew in shakedown sails early next season."

Related Articles

The Marion Bermuda Race returns!
Early bird registration available until December of 2022 Registration for the 2023 Marion Bermuda Race is now open, with early bird registration available until December of 2022! Posted on 2 Jul
2021 Marion Bermuda Race is on!
In just 11 weeks time we will be on the start line In just 11 weeks time we will be on the start line. The organizing committee has worked hard over the past 12 months to develop scenarios in which the race will go on as planned, albeit with adjustments. Posted on 11 Apr 2021
2021 Marion Bermuda Race registration is open
A number of exciting updates including enhanced allowable sail inventory It's official, registration is open for the Marion Bermuda Race! There are a number of exciting updates in 2021, including enhanced allowable sail inventory for both spinnaker and non-spinnaker classes, new performance curve scoring Posted on 16 Jul 2020
Marion Bermuda expanded sail inventory for 2021
Marion Bermuda Race has listened to feedback from past racers Large roach headsails are rated as a spinnaker due to their mid-girth percentage, so they will be counted as spinnaker inventory. If you select the non-spinnaker class for your rating, LRH's are excluded. Posted on 1 Jul 2020
Multihulls back for 2021 Marion Bermuda Race
The tris stopped sailing the event in 2009... until now In 2005, the Marion Bermuda Race was the first offshore race to offer a multihull class. That first year there were seven boats on the line with a Saturday start - monohulls started on Friday, as is the tradition. Posted on 1 Jun 2020
So, you want to race to Bermuda?
Login for this free seminar to learn more from the experts and ask your questions! The 2021 Marion Bermuda Race is for sailors who want the adventure and challenge of an offshore race, but in an environment that is very inclusive, friendly, welcoming and affordable. Posted on 28 Mar 2020
2019 Marion Bermuda Race overall
Wrap up, prizes and party The 2019 Marion Bermuda Race is in the books. 39 Founders Division entries and two Classic Division boats lined up for their starts in Buzzards Bay on Friday June 14. Posted on 24 Jun 2019
2019 Marion Bermuda Race day 8
Tabor Boy - Bermuda by the stars James Geil, Master of Tabor Boy, Tabor Academy's 92-foot iron schooner, was ecstatic about the outcome of the boat's first Marion Bermuda Race. Posted on 23 Jun 2019
2019 Marion Bermuda Race day 7
Cordelia - Racing with Roy and Gail What's it like racing offshore with Roy and Gail Greenwald on Cordelia, the overall winner of the 2019 Marion Bermuda Race? In a champagne cork-popping get-together in the cockpit of the 42 foot Valiant double ender, crewmate Daniel Begg pegged it. Posted on 21 Jun 2019
Marion Bermuda Race 2019 - Cordelia wins overall
Among other prizes, Cordelia will win the coveted Beverly Yacht Club 'Polaris Trophy' On Tuesday, Mark Riley's Kiwi Spirit, skippered by 18-year-old Jo Riley earned line honors as the leader from start to finish in the 2019 Marion Bermuda Race. The Farr 63 finished off St. David's Lighthouse at 2:27:59 Tuesday. Posted on 19 Jun 2019
North Sails 2021 Innovation - FOOTERVaikobi 2021 Boots - FOOTERArmstrong-Suptonic-728x90-2 BOTTOM