July 10, 2020, St George’s, Bermuda:
Facing headwinds on their final approach to the finish, Andy Schell’s Swan 59 Icebear skippered by Sean Westoby is poised to be the first entry to cross the finish line in the inaugural Spirit of Bermuda Charity Rally organized by the East End Mini Yacht Club (EEMYC) and the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF). This team sailed the West leg of the course starting off the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on Monday afternoon at 1500 EDT, and with 28 miles to go at 1600 EDT, their anticipated finish time in St George’s is for just before 9:00 PM.
In the same upwind conditions on their final approach from the North leg of the course, Hank Schmitt’s Swan 48 Avocation is expected to arrive at the finish in the morning at 0630, followed at about 3 hours later by Andy Schell’s Swan 48 Isbjorn (ex-War Baby), skippered by Vincent Matiola.
Alessandro Pagani’s Spirit 47 Luna could cross the finish line at about 1230 tomorrow, but they expressed a wish at the start of this race to keep going: he and team mate Anthony Johnson indicated they may circumnavigate the island and its reefs and head back to the north to finish where they started south of Newport.
Yet their email to the race directorate this afternoon was not too upbeat in tone:
“Thank you for the update. Glad to hear we are doing well. But we are in a pickle. Swells picked up to 6-7 feet and I verified (I knew it but never wanted to admit) that flat-bottomed boats don’t track well. We are stuck doing a max 70 degrees to the wind and the wind is coming exactly from Bermuda: 1.5kts VMG and 110nm to go! on YB it will look as if we anchored in front of Bermuda! We were hoping to finish Saturday but if the wind does not shift it may be well into Sunday!”
The “doing well” reference is to news made to the fleet from Race Director Larry Rosenfeld that using his SYRF Offshore Scoring System Luna was winning on corrected time despite the slow going, ahead of Icebear by over an hour based on projected finish times for both yachts.
The winner in scoring on both the leg to Bermuda and the return will receive the Colin Clarke Memorial Trophy, shown below (photo Alan Burland).