by Talbot Wilson
Marion MA, June 13, 2019: When the race office at Beverly YC in Marion MA opened Thursday morning 12 of the 41 boats still had to do their final registration check-in and final paperwork. The rush was on.
Skippers also had to pick up their YB tracking transponders, so race officials, friends and families and other race watchers on land and at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, the Bermuda partner in the race, can follow them to Bermuda with the Race Tracking app.
It was Do-Day for all the Marion Bermuda racers, the day they did all the last minute chores they had left to do. And weather was nasty on Sippican Harbor in Marion, too. Yachts were tossing on their moorings and rain showers were preparing crews for the wetness of the Gulf Stream crossing that’s just over the horizon.
Crews were loading provisions from the Beverly YC pier into the harbor launch then off-loading on to their bucking boats. It was a struggle but this is ocean racing.
The final business for the day included the mandatory skippers meeting at Tabor Academy’s auditorium. The skipper and navigator were required to attend the entire meeting from start to finish. All other crew members were welcome and invited to attend.
Nan Johnson, Marion Race Operations Administrator, said, "We wanted everybody on all the boats to come because we think it is important for the crew to be involved and informed. The Tabor Academy auditorium is very large and well suited for them all."
The meeting included comprehensive briefings on the starting procedure, weather, the Gulf Stream and approaches to Bermuda. These briefings are the only ones sponsored by Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Racing Association.
The dangers on the approach to Bermuda was a particularly important part of the briefing. Yachts all have a specific list of marked reefs that they are warned to stay outside of on their approach to the finish line off St. David's Lighthouse. They were shown pictures of each one.
The reef vs. boat score, according to Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club Commodore Willie Forbes, stands at “Reefs 300+, yachts zero.” Yachts never win over rocks,
Racing begins Friday with the first warning signal at 12:00PM. The first start 10 minutes later features the Classic Yacht Division. That’s a match between Tabor Academy’s schooner Tabor Boy and the Bermuda Sloop Spirit of Bermuda. Spirit last sailed Marion Bermuda in 2015.
The warning signal for the first start of the Founders Division is scheduled for five minutes after the start of the Classic Yacht Division boats. Founders Division classes will start at 15-minute intervals. Fastest boats start first.
Races within the Race
Competition for special awards is a unique attraction for the Marion-Bermuda Race. The Notice of Race has all the details. Go to the website for photos and descriptions of the trophies and the competition for them.
The R&W Rope Rigging Solutions Team Trophy is offered for established Yacht Clubs or Sailing organizations that form a team of three member yachts. The team whose three yachts have the lowest corrected time total will be the winner.
Yachts sailing with a crew of two, a crew of three or four or an all-female crew of any number may compete in the double-handed, short-handed, and all-female competitions respectively. Prizes are the Double-Handed Trophy, the short-handed L. Bryon Kingery, Jr. Memorial Trophy and the Commodore Faith Paulsen Trophy for the ladies.
A “family” yacht racing for the Beverly Family Trophy is one with a crew of five or more with all or all-but-one being members of a single household or a single family may race for the family prize. Persons related to a common grandparent and spouses of these “family”, too.
The Offshore Youth Challenge Trophy encourages youth participation. A "Youth" yacht has at least four (4) youths aboard with at least 66% of the crew qualified as youths. A youth sailor must be 16 years of age or older but not more than 23 years old by June 14, 2019. One or more adults at least 23 years old by June 14, 2019 must be on board.
The Beverly Yacht Club Polaris Trophy is a prize for stargazers. If a yacht has elected to be celestially navigated, she will receive a 3% favorable adjustment to her ORR rating.
About the Marion Bermuda Race
The 2019 race is the 22nd Marion Bermuda Race and the 42nd year for the 645-mile open ocean challenge for cruiser type yachts.
The first Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race in 1977 saw 104 starters cross the line. Over the forty-two years since that first race the race has evolved into a true offshore challenge for cruising yachts, amateur, family and youth sailors. Special prizes abound to emphasis celestial navigation, short handed sailing, family crews and regional competition. The race is handicapped under the ORR rating system to assure the fairest scoring available for ocean racing yachts.
About the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association
The Marion Bermuda Race encourages the development of blue-water sailing skills on seaworthy yachts that can be handled safely offshore with limited crew. The Marion Bermuda Race is a 501(c)(3) organization and among other educational efforts, supports and encourages Youth Sailing programs. The Marion to Bermuda Race is organized and run entirely by hundreds of volunteering members of The Beverly Yacht Club (BYC), The Blue Water Sailing Club (BWSC) and The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) for the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association.