Exit the Dragon

Exit the Dragon

Michael “RailMeat” Hennessy gives us his final report from the “part 1” of the Bermuda 1-2 ocean race aboard his Class 40 ‘Dragon’, and it rocks.  Check out the thread for more news and reports when part 2 of the race starts on the 18th.

The wind died, as described, going to 3 knots from dead astern with a light rocking swell when we were approximately 13 miles out. I tried the spin, the code and wing-on-wing and nothing worked. I ultimately out away all the headsails and kept the main up, drifting in a south easterly direction with wild eyes at about 1.5 knots an hour. It did not even matter what direction the bow was pointing – same speed no matter what. Then, about 1 am the wind filled in to about 4.5 knots and clocked around to the south west. Just enough to get moving in the generally correct direction. I initially moved as quietly as possible in the hopes Millard was sleeping through the shift. No such luck.

Ultimately, the wind kept shifting in a 20 degree band, and was between 4 and 6 knots. At 50 true, I could not fetch the mark, but was maybe 2 miles to the east of the reefs. The approach into Bermuda have you arrive at the north east corner of the reefs that ring the island. You then skirt the eastern side of the reefs until you get to the approach to St Georges harbor.

The net impact is that you first reach Bermuda at the light on North East breakers, but you have another 9 miles or so before you cross the finish line. And they can be the longest miles of your life. Wednesday morning was no exception. After we got rolling again, it took almost 5 hours to go the remaining distance. I pointed higher, and took the shorter path on the inside lane. Mike went out side by a fair amount, yet had more speed, although i don’t know if it was due to angle or if he had more wind when he was a bit further away.

Bottom line, when he finally tacked, he crossed me, and then made the final run down to the line about 20 minutes in front of me. Adding insult to injury, in my final 500 yards I had a wind shift that forced me to throw in one final tack. Net result, think I was about 25 minutes behind.

Mike did a great job, and earned the second place finish. It had been a blast to get to do that with him on Tuesday. And Alex did a fantastic job to earn the victory.

Once I got in, I checked into customs at 8, boat docked by 9, Sail dropped off the Doyle loft at 9:30, showered by 10, permission to leave the boat in bermuda for the week sought from customs by 11:30, lunch, clean the boat up, then airport by 2 and a 3:55 flight home. I was at a dinner party in Manhattan by 7:30. A very big thank you to Bruce Cathcart, Roy Guay, and Dave Christensen for the hand at the dock as well as Steve and Susan at Doyle for the assist.

I am working the next few days, then back to Bermuda on the 16th. Race back starts on the 18th, and I will try to do posts for that as well.

Hope you enjoyed it.