Shockwave and Bella Mente (Photo by George Bekris)

Shockwave and Bella Mente (Photo by George Bekris)

By Talbot Wilson

Three boats had finished the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race by late Monday afternoon

— Shockwave, Bella Mente, Caol Ila R

George Sakellaris’ big white Richel/Pugh mini-maxi Shockwave crossed the finish line off Bermuda’s St. David’s Lighthouse Monday morning at 5:34 race time EDT (6:34AM local time). Her elapsed time was 63:04:11. Bella Mente, Hap Fauth’s 72 foot Judel/Vrolijk mini-maxi, followed by seven minutes with her time at 63:11:25. The two had battled head to head within sight of each almost continuously for over 635 miles.

Shockwave heading for a dawn finish off St David's Lighthouse. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

Shockwave heading for a dawn finish off St David’s Lighthouse. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

Caol Ila R, Alex Schaerer’s 68 foot Mills IRC racer, crossed third at 8:33 local time, three hours behind Shockwave at 66:03:52.

Based on preliminary ORR results, Shockwave stands first on corrected time in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division, Bella Mente is second and Caol Ila R is third.

The next boat on the course, the US Naval Academy TP52 Constellation, is expected to finish more than 16 hours after the leader on Monday night. The remainder of the fleet is caught in the fickle winds of a frontal zone, waiting for the system to drift east-southeast and weaken. The picture is not pretty for boats still on the course. Light conditions will prevail through Wednesday and maybe longer.

Robbie Doyle sailed his 12th Newport Bermuda Race as the “stratitician” on board George Sakellaris’ Shockwave.

Doyle said, “Different guys called different things for the general strategy. The navigator made a lot of big calls. We had to hunt to find the (Gulf) Stream… we never found the 4 knot real road to Bermuda. It had broken up before we got there. Forecasters had predicted it might, but they suggested we might get there before it would start to dismember. The Stream was really breaking up pretty quick.”

“We got a knot and a half out of it.” He continued, “The stream came around (motioning to indicate a southwest to northeast direction to southeast direction) and what happened is that this part (flow) stopped and decided it was going to reconnect itself eventually and just become a smooth stream. We got through it.”

When asked about the cold core eddy predicted below the flow, Doyle said, “We caught that eddy, but it was only a knot and a half of current; still nice because we had it for 40 nautical miles. It wasn’t the three knots we had fought to get to that point for.“

Congratulations to George Sakellaris and the team aboard Shockwave for winning line honors in this year’s race. The win adds to Shockwave’s growing list of recent victories, highlighted by their division win in the 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race, the 2013 Montego Bay, and the 2014 RORC Caribbean 600 Race. Originally launched in 2008 as Alpha Romero 3, Shockwave continues her winning ways.

George Sakellaris, owner of the first to finish yacht Shockwave celebrates with Gosling's Dark 'n Stormy drink with his crew on arrival at the Royal Bermuda YC dock. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

George Sakellaris, owner of the first to finish yacht Shockwave celebrates with Gosling’s Dark ‘n Stormy drink with his crew on arrival at the Royal Bermuda YC dock. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

Commander’s Weather
1) Frontal zone is located from 35/65w to 33n/70w to Savannah early this morning
a) This front will continue to drift ESE and weaken

2) An expanding area of light winds will develop along and N and S of the frontal zone
a) The shower and squall activity will be diminishing this morning and will become at most isolated this afternoon and tonight
b) The nice SW winds in Bermuda will become much lighter late today and tonight

3) By Tue morning, the frontal zone will be located from 35n/60 30w to 33n/65w to a weak low near 32-33n/74w
a) Light NE-E winds north of the front and very light SW-W winds south of the front
b) Shower/squall activity will be at most isolated and possibly non-existent

4) Wed will see the light wind conditions continuing
a) The frontal zone will be drifting N with light SW and S winds also spreading slowly north during the day

For scratch sheets, crew lists, and other information about the boats, go to Race Documents & Rules.

Twenty-nine of the two Newport Bermuda Lighthouse Divisions’ entries are also sailing the 25th Onion Patch Series, a tough triathlon of offshore racing. These Onion Patch racers have just sailed the NYYC 160th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex in Newport and will form the core of the June 27nd RBYC Anniversary Regatta which now has 32 entries. The RBYC Anniversary Regatta is open to all IRC or ORR rated yachts over 25 feet in Bermuda. Anniversary Regatta entries close at noon on June 25th. Information is online at and at — carries Newport Bermuda Race rules, news, videos, photos, history, and expert advice. Race news is also posted on the Newport Bermuda Race 2014 Facebook page and on Twitter at @BdaRace.

HIRO MARU and the Class 1 St. David's Lighthouse Division Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

HIRO MARU and the Class 1 St. David’s Lighthouse Division Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

It Was a Little Messy, but the Bermuda Race Fleet has Started

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

By John Rousmaniere

If it was more fun for  spectators than the sailors, the reason was the sea breeze that inched toward the starting line until it finally dominated the northerly.Newport. RI, June 20, 2014, 7 PM.  Who would have thought that spinnakers would be flown at the starts of two Newport Bermuda Races in a row?  The race did not gain its well-known nickname, “The Thrash to the Onion Patch,” because it’s a downwind sleigh ride, like the Transpac.  The 2012 start was a fast run before a fresh northerly for every one of the 165 boats in every class.  This year was a little more complicated for the 164 starters. As the five divisions in 14 classes got going over a period of two and one-half hours, the first half of the fleet in seven starts got away in a leftover northerly breeze under spinnaker.   Not so the last seven.  Like a typical summer day on Long Island Sound, the mouth of Narragansett Bay was full of confusion.

Some of the Class 2 fleet St. David's Lighthouse Division Start 2014  (Photo by George Bekris)

Some of the Class 2 fleet St. David’s Lighthouse Division Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

The afternoon’s winners appear to be the boats that started early, Classes 1, 2, and 3–the smaller and medium-size boats in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division.  With the light to moderate northerly on their stern, they tacked downwind to the buoy marking the outer reaches of Brenton Reef, and carried their chutes around the mark and onto the southeasterly course to Bermuda. When the southwester filled in like a light summer blanket, all they had to do was raise the jib, douse the spinnaker, and tack onto starboard, meanwhile holding the same course.


One of the biggest of those winners may be Sinn Fein, the Cal 40 that’s always sailed well by Peter Rebovich, Sr., and his crew of family and friends from Raritan Yacht Club, in New Jersey.  The two-time winners of the St. David’s Lighthouse Division (in 2006 and 2008), they’ve been preoccupied by other concerns since the 2012 race: rebuilding their boat after she was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Today they set the spinnaker promptly and effectively, found the right apparent wind angle, and pulled away. When last seen, Sinn Fein was on the far horizon, closehauled in the seabreeze and racing to Bermuda near the head of a clump of at least 50 other smaller boats. The Pantaenius tracker at 3 p.m. (about two hours after the Class 1 start) showed Sinn Fein slightly behind William Klein’s CC 40, Glim. We’ll know when we see later tracker readings (being sure to remember the 4-hour time delay) and a get a sense of the wind and wave conditions as the big fleet gets out into the Atlantic.

(Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

But at least everybody’s racing, and headed toward the Gulf Stream, where (the forecasters are telling us) they may find more to worry about than a shifty wind—such as squalls and big seas that could turn this race into a real thrash.The boats that started an hour or so later than Class 1 had any number of troubles as the seabreeze slowly pushed away the northerly. At one moment a Class 6 medium-size St. David’s Lighthouse boat with a red spinnaker up and pulling well on port tack was less than 25 yards abeam of another Class 6 boat with a green and yellow chute pulling well on starboard tack.  A few minutes later, the seabreeze reached the starting line in the mouth of Narragansett Bay just as Class 8 (large St. David’s boats) was making its final approach—some running in the dying northerly, others beating in the slowly building southerly.

(Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)


For More Photos of the Newport Bermuda Race visit George Bekris Photography HERE 



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Rambler 100 (Photo courtesy of

Rambler 100 (Photo courtesy of Storm Trysail Club)

Even though it moved along at only five knots for several hours and briefly “parked” three times when the wind switched off completely, Rambler 100, George David’s (Stamford, Conn.) rocket ship built for speed, broke–by 42 minutes and 45 seconds– Boomerang’s 2002 record in the Storm Trysail Club’s Block Island Race.  The 186 nautical mile race, a Long Island classic that has been held annually for 66 years, started on the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day Weekend and sent 59 boats in eight classes (six IRC and two PHRF) on a course from Stamford, Conn. (where host Stamford Yacht Club is located), down Long Island Sound, clockwise around Block Island (R.I.), and back. Rambler 100 finished early Saturday morning after sailing for just over 15 hours and 43 minutes, while the last boat finished Sunday afternoon just after 4 p.m.


Though gaining an edge in the Block Island Race typically means correctly choosing between two current-ridden passages –Plum Gut and “The Race”–for the fastest transport to Block Island (and then again coming back from it), this year’s key to success seemed to lie in getting to the Long Island shore as quickly as possible after the start.


“Whoever got there got the new breeze first,” said Event Chair Ray Redniss, explaining that the fleet started upwind in 9-12 knots when in past years spinnaker starts have prevailed.   Rambler’s class was the last to start, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s (Kings Point, N.Y.) Reichel/Pugh 65 Vanquish, sailed by the youthful Oakcliff All American Team, made the move to shore first, while others who were in the middle of the Sound seemed stuck.  According to Rambler 100’s manager and crew member Mick Harvey (Newport, R.I.), his team was becalmed just a half hour after the start but overtook Vanquish about 1 ½ hours into the race after the southwest breeze kicked in and “surprisingly held steady” enough to carry the team out of the Sound and around Block Island.  Rambler 100’s navigator Peter Isler chose to pass through Plum Gut both coming and going, but it was during the return from Block Island to the Gut where the wind lightened to 5 knots or so for a couple of hours.


According to George David, who steered the boat, “We thought our chances (for breaking the record) were gone over the last 12 miles coming back into the Gut.  This was the lightest sustained air for us…then it changed right at the Gut, and we carried 12+ knots (at the masthead) all the way past Stratford Shoal and up to three miles from the finish.  The record looked more and more likely as we came down the Sound and the breeze held, which we hadn’t expected at all.”


Breaking the record despite some light breezes may have had much to do with Rambler 100 being 20 feet longer and 10 tons lighter than Boomerang, with a mast 30 feet higher to harness more wind aloft, but the accomplishment also had sentimental meaning for David. “We had three runs at it with the 90 footer (Rambler), so we’d have to say we were looking for it,” said David.


Noting that Rambler 100’s mission is to break existing records and establish a new record from Newport to The Lizard (Cornwall, U.K.) in the 2011 Transatlantic Race later this summer, Mick Harvey added, “If we had had breeze the whole way in the Block Island Race, we might have taken only 10 hours to get around.”


Peter Rugg (New York, N.Y.) on the J/105 Jaded, also saw the advantage of going to the Long Island shore right away, but since he started first in the 11-boat double-handed class (sailing with Dudley Nostrand of Hamilton, Mass.), he had no other classes to follow there. “The NOAA forecast said five knots out of the southeast for the next couple of days, but because we didn’t have that at the start (it was out of the east and even a bit north of that), we didn’t think it would hold.  We were the first boat to tack to the Long Island shore, and when we saw other boats sailing there in a 15-knot southerly to southwest breeze, we said ‘holy smokes this is important.’”


About a mile from Plum Gut, Rugg noted that only those with code zero sails were able to stay high enough on shore to avoid “running into competing doldrums” in the middle of the Sound.  “When we got close to the Gut, the breeze died, but we had just enough wind to squeak around the corner and be flushed through the Gut on a fair current,” said Rugg.


Rugg said Jaded ran into a bit of a drifter on the north side of Block Island, but the south side greeted them with more wind, some chop, and the lasting impression of baby nurse sharks all around.  “The last two miles to the finish were the worst,”  said Rugg. “The wind dropped, the tide was taking us away from the mark, and we were rolled by another double-handed boat.  We just had to finish before we gave away our time to the other boats.”

Jaded did that successfully, winning not only the Gerold Abels Trophy for the best performance by a double-handed team but also the Harvey Conover Memorial Overall Trophy, awarded to the boat that has won her class and, in the judgment of the Flag Officers and Race Committee, had the best overall performance.


Rambler 100 won both the Governor’s Race West Trophy for best elapsed time in the IRC fleet and the William Tripp Jr. Memorial Trophy for best corrected time. It also won the Commodore’s Trophy, which goes to the boat that has won her class and has beaten the 2nd and 3rd place boat by the greatest margin of time.


In PHRF class, Threebeans, owned by Christopher Rosow (Fairfield, Conn.), won both the Terrapin Trophy and the Governor’s Race East Trophy (best corrected and best elapsed time, respectively)


The Block Island Race was first held in 1946 and is a qualifier for the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the Double Handed Ocean Racing Trophy (IRC), the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF), and the Gulf Stream Series (IRC). The Block Island Race is also a qualifier for the Caper, Sagola, and Windigo trophies awared by the YRA of Long Island Sound and the ‘Tuna’ Trophy for the best combined IRC scores in the Edlu (40%) and the Block Island Race (60%).

About the Storm Trysail Club

The Storm Trysail Club, reflecting in its name the sail to which sailors must shorten when facing severe adverse conditions, is one of the world’s most respected sailing clubs, with its membership comprised strictly of skilled blue water and ocean racing sailors. In addition to hosting Block Island Race Week presented by Rolex in odd-numbered years, the club holds various prestigious offshore racing events (among them the annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race and the Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race); annual junior safety-at-sea seminars; and a regatta for college sailors using big boats.

For more information on the Storm Trysail Club and its events, including the Block Island Race, visit the official website


Storm Trysail Club’s 66th Block Island Race
Overall Results

Finish Position, Yacht Name, Yacht Type Length, Skipper, Hometown


IRC Doublehanded (IRC – 11 Boats)

1. Jaded, J 105, Peter Rugg , New York, NY, USA – 1, ; 1

2. Choucas, Jeanneau SF 36, Frederic Cosandey , New York, NY, USA – 2, ; 2

3. Skye, Farr 395, James T. Anderson , Riverside, CT, USA – 3, ; 3

IRC-35 (IRC – 6 Boats)

1. Carina, Custom 48 48′, Rives Potts , Westbrook, CT, USA – 1, ; 1

2. Afterglow, Express 37 37, Bill Walker , Easton, CT, USA – 2, ; 2

3. KYRIE, Tartan 4100 41.25, John DiMatteo , Centerport, NY, USA – 3, ; 3


IRC-40 (IRC – 12 Boats)

1. Beagle, J 44, Philip Gutin , New York, NY, USA – 1, ; 1

2. Christopher Dragon, J 122, Andrew Weiss , Mamaroneck, NY, USA – 2, ; 2

3. Soulmate, J 120, Joseph Healey , Chestnut Ridge, NY, USA – 3, ; 3


IRC-45 (IRC – 4 Boats)

1. Dragonfly , J 130, Colin McGranahan , Larchmont, NY, USA – 1, ; 1

2. Xcelsior, IMX-45, Todd LaBaugh , Rye, NY, USA – 2, ; 2

3. Tiburon, Swan Club 42, M/N Kevan Stoekler , Kings Point, NY, USA – 3, ; 3


IRC-50 (IRC – 8 Boats)

1. Bombardino, Santa Cruz 52, James Sykes , New York, NY, USA – 1, ; 1

2. Gracie, MH Sloop 69, Stephan Frank , Darien, CT, USA – 2, ; 2

3. Magic, Santa Cruz 52, Kenneth Laudon , Croton on Hudson, NY, USA – 3, ; 3


IRC-ZERO (IRC – 3 Boats)

1. Rambler 100, JK 100, George David , Hartford, Ct, USA – 1, ; 1

2. Vanquish, Reichel/Pugh 65, Oakcliff All American Offshore Team , Kings Point, NY, USA – 2, ; 2

3. Zaraffa, Reichel/Pugh 65, Huntington Sheldon , Shelburne, VT, USA – 3, ; 3


PHRF-1 (PHRF – 11 Boats)

1. Patience, Tripp 33, Rick Royce , Glen Cove, NY, USA – 1, ; 1

2. Gringo, Pearson 37, Michael McGuire , Darien, CT, USA – 2, ; 2

3. Audacious, Frers 33, Robert Farnum , Oxford, CT, USA – 3, ; 3


PHRF-2 (PHRF – 5 Boats)

1. Threebeans, Santa Cruz 37, Christopher Rosow , Fairfield, CT, USA – 1, ; 1

2. Red Stripe, Flying Tiger 10M, Charlie Reynolds , Southport, Ct, USA – 2, ; 2

3. Eagle, J 120, Steven Levy , Greenwich, CT, USA – 3, ; 3



66th Block Island Race – Overall Trophies


George Lauder Trophy – Best performance by a Vintage boat (15 years old +)

Carina Rives Potts


Commodore’s Grail Trophy – Best corrected time in IRC below 1.08

Carina Rives Potts

Governor’s Race West Trophy – Best elapsed time in the IRC Fleet

Rambler 100 George David


William Tripp Jr. Memorial Trophy – Best corrected time in the IRC Fleet

Rambler 100 George David


Terrapin Trophy – Best corrected time  –  PHRF

Threebeans Christopher Rosow

Governor’s Race East Trophy – Best elapsed time – PHRF

Threebeans Christopher Rosow

Gerold Abels Trophy – Best Performance Double-Handed

Jaded Peter Rugg / Dudley Nostrand


Roddie Williams Team Race Trophy

Storm Trysail Red      Gracie / Skye / Dragonfly


Tuna Trophy for the best IRC combined scores in the Edlu (40%) and the BI Race (60%)

Christopher Dragon Andrew Weiss


Commodore’s Trophy – To the boat that has won her class and has beaten the 2nd and 3rd place boat by the greatest margin of time.

Rambler 100 George David


Harvey Conover Memorial Overall Trophy – Awarded to the boat that has won her class and, in the judgment of the Flag Officers and Race Committee, had the best overall performance.

Jaded Peter Rugg / Dudley Nostrand

Jaded (Photo courtesy of )

Jaded (Photo courtesy of Storm Trysail Club)