Laurie Fullerton gives us the story on the Bermuda Race.
For the 102nd year of its existence, the famed Newport Bermuda race started this past Friday with 10-12 knot breezes and an ebb tide that literally pushed the 198-strong fleet one step closer to Bermuda as many of the yachts were pushed over the line early by the tide. This epic, blue water classic puts sailors to the test as they must cover 635- nautical miles before reaching the tropical waters that surround Bermuda and the pursuit of its coveted trophies makes it one of the must-do events in an east coast sailor’s career.
While the bulk of the fleet is still en route to Bermuda, the honor of first to finish belongs to Alex Jackson’s, Juan K 99-foot "Speedboat", – possibly the fastest maxi hull ever built – which was the first to finish reaching St. David’s Light in 64 hours, 42 minutes and 56 seconds taking line honors in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse division. "Speedboat" is capable of reaching 22-knots and has a 44.3-meter deck-stepped, five spreader mast towering above its in-line rig and carbon fiber hull with its canting keel and daggerboards. With the winds and currents favoring east of the Rhumb line, this state-of-the art rocket ship still could not break the existing record of 50 hours from Newport to Bermuda set by Roy Disney aboard his Pyewacket in 2004.