During the 2012 race, Seahorse Magazine Editor Dobbs Davis is providing a twice-daily video commentary of the action.
The Bermuda Race, or Newport Bermuda Race, is a biennial yacht race from Newport, Rhode Island to the island of Bermuda (in odd years, the Marion-Bermuda Yacht Race occurs), a distance of 635 nautical miles (1175 km) across open ocean … read more @ wikipedia
Among the features of the 635nm Newport to Bermuda Race is the changeability of the race track. Between the Gulf Stream and the weather systems, what the 90-foot Rambler saw in route to crushing the elapsed time record was much different to what was seen later in the race.
Matthew Gregory was onboard Bretwalda 3, a Rogers 46 owned by Bob Pethick, which finished just over 19 hours after Rambler (39:39:18 versus 58:59:41).
Here was their race…
The highlight is the paradox of risk management from a routing perspective. Sail fast – really fast and furious – straight to the finish or sail an extra 30-40 mile to the west to go find (or maybe not find) a 40-60 mile long sliver of Gulf Stream that’s only 5-10 miles wide but would give your already 15 knots of boat speed a bonus 2-4 knot push towards Bermuda.
Sounds like a simple choice. However, all of the 160+ boats were told about the Gulf Stream gains to the west in the pre-start briefing. Hence many will go to the west of the rhumbline, and maybe, maybe stumble upon that sliver of Gulf Stream core.
So hence the paradox. Low risk is to point at the finish line right out of the blocks and focus on max VMC sailing based upon the boats sail inventory and performance characteristics. But since you’d be bucking the advice of the Gulf Stream experts, you’re probably going to lever up on the fleet by being one of the few rhumb liners. Hence the low risk move becomes the highly levered one.
Ultimately this Bermuda race came down to the low pressure system in the last 80 miles of the course (at least for our Class 8). That’s the position we played out of the blocks. For me, this race was about setting up for the wind condition (the low over Bermuda) at the end of the race, rather than it was to roll dice in the Gulf Stream.
Nearly all the boats are now finished, and by matching the elapsed time to the corrected time, the 2012 edition proved that the faster boats in each division tended to be the winners. This was certainly the case in Class 3, where Rives Potts’ McCurdy and Rhodes 48-foot ‘Carina’ won both their division and the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy as the corrected time winner of the entire amateur division
Newport Bermuda Race bermudarace.com