Photo: Charles Anderson
The Classic Yacht Owners Association is proud to see so many of our members planning to take on the “Thrash to the Onion Patch”, officially known as the Newport Bermuda Race next month. On June 17th, eleven of our members will cross the starting line of this iconic ocean race co-organized by the Cruising Club of America and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. To honor the sailors taking on this massive undertaking, CYOA will present a new trophy for the Best Corrected Time for a CYOA Yacht in the Newport Bermuda Race at our end-of-year awards along with the winners of the summer’s Classic Yachts Challenge Series.
The CYOA recognizes that just getting to the starting line of the Bermuda Race is a feat in itself. Not only do these yachts have to navigate the 635-miles to Bermuda with a crossing of the tricky Gulf Stream, the safety requirements all boats must adhere to can create quite the work list for these owners in order to bring these classics up to modern safety standards.
Jesse Terry, owner of Abigail, recently shared his preparation story which started seven years ago. “I believe my work to prepare Abigail for this year’s Newport-Bermuda Race is a tribute to John Alden, a founding father of offshore racing,“ says Terry in his article for classicyachts.org.
Terry’s ketch will be joined by a few other Alden designs along with other noteworthy designers like Phillip Rhodes (Kirawan and Carina), Sparkman & Stephens (Black Watch, Revenoc,and Marionette), Aage Nielsen (Hound and Solution), and Ted Hood (Thora).
Dan Levangie’s Kirawan won the notorious 1936 Bermuda Race known for its harsh weather, culminating in a 40 knot SE gale that lasted for 4 days. Many attribute the win to Rhodes’ (who also sailed aboard) apt design. Levangie restored Kirawan for the 2020 Race which was ultimately canceled due to the pandemic (see our previous story on her restoration) and is ready to get out there this year.
“I am looking forward to the point-to-point nature of an ocean race like NBR rather than the buoy racing we did last season,” says Levangie. “I think Kirawan will perform very well and I’m excited to cross the start line on the 17th.”
Another classic Bermuda Racer, Black Watch, the custom Sparkman & Stephens 68-footer specifically designed for Bermuda Race in 1938, will take on her 12th Bermuda Race.
“This boat was the Maxi 72 of her day,” says Captain Kyle Dufur. “And the chance to continue to push this boat 84 years after her first race keeps it exciting.”
Dufur and the crew won their class in 2012, attributing the perfect reaching conditions to their victory, and they are hoping to repeat it a decade later. Be sure to check out this article from 2018.
“One of our biggest challenges for the Bermuda Race is the number of crew required to race,” added Dufur. Black Watch needs 15 people to sail offshore requiring large amounts of coordination both on and off water when that many are involved. (Especially in 2022, because Bermuda requires a negative test for COVID 48 hours ahead of the start).
“It’s all worth it though,” added Dufur. “The feeling of the boat offshore is pretty amazing. We look forward to kicking off the 2022 season with Bermuda then heading back up north for the whole Classic Yachts Challenge Series.”
Overcoming all the small and big challenges to finish off St. David’s Lighthouse is why CYOA is sponsoring this new award. So good luck, sailors. We will be watching you on the tracker!
Classic Yacht Owners participating in the 52nd Newport Bermuda Race.
|Black Watch||Black Watch Alliance llc.||Sparkman & Stephens||1938|
|Carina||Rives Potts||McCurdy Rhodes||1969|
|Hound||Tom Stark||Aage Nielsen||1970|
|Kirawan||Daniel Levangie||Philip Rhodes||1936|
|Marionette||Ron Breault||Sparkman & Stephens||1960|
|Restive||Rob McAlpine||Niels Helleberg||2006|
|Revonoc||Richard Herbert||Sparkman & Stephens||1946|
|Solution||Carter Bacon||Aage Nielsen||1963|
|Thora||Vince Todd||Ted Hood||1960|
|Towhee||Paul Jennings||C. William Lapworth||1967|
|Yankee Girl||Thomas J. Vander Salm||Chuck Paine||1990|