Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bermuda One-Two- J/133 and J/35 Triumphant

J/133 sailing offshore (Newport, RI)- Over the past fortnight or so, a small fleet of intrepid adventurers partook in the 635nm Bermuda One-Two Race, an event that starts in Newport off Fort Adams, finishes off St David’s Head Lighthouse in Bermuda, then returns to Newport. The first leg out to Bermuda is singlehanded and the return trip is doublehanded.

The two J/teams that took place in this year’s event both placed in their respective divisions.  Clay Burkhalter and Rod Johnstone sailed the J/133 J-HAWK to a 2-4 record for 6 pts ended up third place in Class 1.

Meanwhile, Paul Grimes sailed the J/35 BREAKAWAY to a 1-2 tally for 3 pts for first place in Class 2!

Here is the report on how the second leg of the Bermuda One-Two race took place, as observed by Rod Johnstone on the J/133 J-HAWK:

“The doublehanded leg was a great ride during which we took an early lead in fleet by heading NNE on port tack to get to the frontal easterly breeze first. We slowly got ground down on day two by the water ballasted Class 40s and the daggerboard and canting keeled Elliot 35 once the breezy easterly kicked in. At one point, we were leading the fleet by over five miles late the first night.

J/35 - Paul GrimesStarting Friday night, we sailed bare-headed for twenty hours after wrapping our chute tight around the genoa. We used all our spare halyards to wrap up all the air bubbles in 20 knot winds and big choppy seas. We were Main only for twenty hours, it was too dangerous to fix the problem sooner. Then, we ran under barepoles downwind for over half an hour late Saturday afternoon, while I hoisted Clay aloft to retrieve the halyard off the top of the wrapped A-sail. The YB tracker shows how slow we were going bare-headed. I figured we lost over two knots on average when we only had the main up. That would be about fifty miles or more counting the final three hours of the race where we probably lost more. Would that have been enough to win our class, fleet, and the whole thing? Maybe not, but it would have been close.

We then hoisted our big reacher A-sail and flew it as tight as we could for over 24 hours in a SW wind for over 200 miles directly for Newport. 23 miles from the finish going 10-14 knots we realized we would not fetch. So we doused the A-sail, headed up, and slogged to the finish in the fog for the next three hours at about seven knots.

On the bright side, we never had to go upwind without a headsail in light air. We would probably still be out there flipping to see who would get to eat the last pretzels!

I had a great time doing this race with Clay, as I always have sailing with him on many occasions in the last 53 years!”  For more Bermuda One-Two Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.