Mr. Clean (Carkeek 40 “Decision”) and Rail Meat (doublehanded Class 40 “Dragon”) have already bet one bottle on the outcome of their Newport-Bermuda Race, and with a 20+ NE’er looking to make an appearance for much of this year’s East Coast Classic, it is going to be exciting enough for everyone to gamble on the outcome. With all the satcomms in the 170+ boat fleet we’re expecting quite a lot of info, including live (or nearly so) daily video reports from Clean and reports filed to the Newport Bermuda Race thread by plenty of the fleet. We’ll start it off with a Rail Meat view to the weather that has so many of the faster boats so excited, and so many slower boats not. Story title shouts to a Ziggy Marley cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic.
Surface forecasts are showing a low pressure moving across the Chesapeake and parking itself 100 miles off shore or so, right on the Gulf Stream. Its arrival coincides with our Friday start, and as a result we will be sailing through the north east quadrant of the low with some good north easterly wind pressure. The low picks up some power from the warm water of the stream, and moves slowly in a south easterly direction, paralleling the rhumb line and on a pace that is going to track nicely with the faster boats in the fleet.
If the models hold true, we are going to be in pressure the entire trip, and will see some serious broad reaching conditions. Right now, some of the routing models have us arriving in Bermuda on Sunday afternoon / evening… a staggering outcome if it were to come true. The longest trip I ever took to Bermuda took 10 days. The idea that we might be there inside of 50 or even 60 hours or so is so is difficult to get my head wrapped around.
One thing is true – if you don’t make it to the island before the low moves through then you are hosed. Behind the low is the aftermath – light and fickle wind. I don’t think that we are going to see a Sein Fein thing this year, with the slower boats catching back up to the front of the fleet. This looks to be a situation where boats that can stay in the system are going to see an epic sleigh ride, and the gap between the front of the fleet and the back of the fleet could be a very wide one.
We are going to have five Class 40’s in the race. Two are racing fully crewed in the Open Division, three are racing in the double handed division. The starts are going to be about 10 minutes apart, so we plan on effectively racing against each other since we know the ORR results are going to be a joke. Mike Dreese has generously offered a trophy for the Class winner, in addition to the bragging rights.
The INMARSAT has been repaired, so it looks like we will be able to send content along the way. Chris is going to be posting to the Bermuda Race website, and I will keep the rabble on SA up to date on our adventures. If you have anything in particular you want to hear about, let me know.