En Route from Marion MA to Bermuda- June 20, 2015: The 45-boat Marion Bermuda Fleet is out of sight, but not out of mind. By following the fleet on Yellow Brick Tracking, spectators on shore will be able to track the action offshore.
At 0900 on Saturday, the leader, ‘Mischievous’, the scratch (fastest) boat on handicap, was about 510 miles NNW of Bermuda sailing at around 7 kts velocity made good (VMG) to Bermuda. They are sailing in ENE winds around 12-16 knots. All in all very nice offshore sailing conditions to celebrate the Summer Solstice at sea.
Later in the day Saturday at 1500hrs EDT, the 65-foot ‘Mischievous’ was heading about 10º west of the direct “rhumb line” course to Bermuda. The wind was from 76º and their heading was 173º. From the information that Yellow Brick has to offer, they were clocking a nice 8.6 kts VMG to the St David’s Lighthouse finish line 456 miles SSE. They have covered just under 200 miles in just over a day.
The next Class A yacht chasing ‘Mischievous’ was ‘Defiance’ 485 miles for Bermuda. She is a Swan 56 skippered by Peter Noonan. Free Range Chicken, a Westerly Perry 59 skippered by Bruce Anderson, was next at 487 miles out.
‘Spirit of Bermuda’, the Bermuda Sloop Foundation’s sail training vessel chartered by Jim Butterfield, was showing good speed at 7.4 kts some 514 NM from Bermuda. She was on a more westerly course steering 205º.
Laurie Fullerton reported from ‘Spirit’ Saturday morning…
“Not only has the weather held, but also the fleet is still within sight of one another as we edge closer to the Gulf Stream. With a variety of factors in play, the ‘Spirit of Bermuda’ is choosing to sail about 60 miles west of the rhumb Line (direct course to Bermuda) in order to take advantage of anticipated conditions in the Gulf Stream that will enable the Spirit to make a nice turn towards Bermuda at a point of sail that favors this vessel. So far, the weather has been good, with some light air overnight giving way to a steady 15 to 18 knot breeze and a good pace.”
“The team from the ‘Spirit of Bermuda’ includes employees from Butterfield & Vallis,” Fullerton added, “its CEO Jim Butterfield, as well as Spencer Butterfield and the Governor of Bermuda. This provides the team with its natural leaders, as well as its captain and navigator.”
“Although each watch is unique, for those on their first time offshore there is something reassuring about listening to the Governor of Bermuda report back from the bow by radio if he sees any passing vessels. Today, those who were patiently watching the sea were rewarded with the shout that a school of dolphins were racing by the boat. The Governor was at the helm of the boat at that time.”
“I have to say that seeing the school of dolphins this morning was quite a sight, “ said the Governor Fergussen.
“For me, the start of the race was great. We loved seeing the sign on the race committee boat that pointed towards Bermuda. We were able to fire our cannon off from the Spirit as we crossed the start,” said Spencer Butterfield. “We enjoyed tacking and sailing up Buzzards Bay last night. We really enjoyed sailing up the coast at night surrounded by the mast lights of the fleet, which will likely not happen as we get closer to Bermuda. What is great is that everyone is feeling well and we are excited to be offshore.”
Winds and seas are expected to be moderate Saturday night and Sunday morning. Later on Sunday what’s left of Tropical Depression Bill is predicted to hook up with a frontal system moving east and pass into the åAtlantic in the afternoon and evening. Winds in the Gulf Stream are expected to be fresh, up to 30 knots, and the seas should build to over three meters.
For a look at wind and current predictions, go to www/passageweather.com and click on the Marion Bermuda race link.
– Talbot Wilson