Chaos and Champagne in the 50th Newport-Bermuda Race

comanche bda

In this 50th edition of the famous ocean race, an early forecast threatened the fleet with nasty wind and waves in the Gulf Stream, but it didn’t stop ‘Comanche’ from setting a new course record. The rest of the racers now battle light air instead of gales, with most only halfway to Bermuda.

Comanche, the super fast 100-footer built by Hodgdon Yachts of Boothbay, Maine was built to shatter records and she has done just that with a new course record for the Newport – Bermuda Race. In this 50th anniversary running of the race, Comanche finished the 635 race in 34hrs 42min 53sec, almost five hours ahead of the previous record of 39:39:18 set in 2012 by George David in Rambler.

So champagne, then, for Comanche with her new course record and a full day and a half (or so) to drink Dark & Stormies, revel in the record and wait for the next fastest boats to arrive. And as you can see from this morning’s tracker (with a 4 hour delay), the fleet will arrive in a steady stream once they cross the finish line.

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Weather forecasts prior to the race showed a serious low pressure system building between Bermuda and the Gulf Stream, threatening to pile 40 knot winds on top of a 30 foot “chop” in the open ocean. Many of the lighter, more conservative boats turned back or didn’t start with the prospect of this forecast looming over the days and miles ahead. Over 45 boats were a DNS (Did not start), taking the once record number fleet back to a more typical entry list of 200 plus boats.

But that storm veered off to the east, leaving most of the fleet unharmed and the seas and breezes a manageable – even lighter – shade of the preferred 15-20 knot winds.

You can track the fleet here and keep track of their progress as they approach the island. This is when it’s nice to be an armchair sailor, even though I could really go for a Dark & Stormy….

A great graphic of the massive, early jump Comanche got on the fleet. And a good view of the number of boats who abandoned and chose "other" islands to visit, instead of Bermuda.

A great graphic of the massive, early jump Comanche got on the fleet. And a good view of the number of boats who abandoned and chose “other” islands to visit, instead of Bermuda. Yes – that’s Comanche in the light blue almost to Bermuda. Well done, Comanche!

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