Bermuda 1-2 Race

Bermuda 1-2 is a 635 nm ISAF Category 1 race that is single handed from Newport to Bermuda then double handed back to Newport. Since 1977, it's run every other year and draws a lot of repeat skippers with very strong off shore racing skills and experience. This was Jeroboam's first entry in Bermuda 1-2 and first category one race ever so much was done to her in preparation that began in September 2008. Because Jeroboam was designed as a comfortable coastal cruising boat, the transformation to competitive racer is an ongoing effort but the safety requirements and gear for this race brought her to a whole new level.

Modifications, Equipment Additions/Replacements, Training and other race prep work:
1. Replace lifelines, without the plastic coating, conforming to specification
2. Lee cloths for sleeping heeled over
3. Emergency drinking water packets for abandon ship bag
4. A second permanently installed manual bilge pump
5. Mechanical bilge pump that runs off the engine
6. Masthead tricolor LED w/ emergency battery hook up
7. Emergency VHF antenna
8. New radar reflector with > 10m^2 reflection
9. Sail/race number painted on bow
10. Wood plugs for all thru hull fittings
11. Cockpit clip in points
12. New fire extinguishers
13. Waterproof flashlights with spare bulbs and batteries
14. Beefed up first aid kit and manual
15. Paper and electronic charts of Bermuda
16. Alternative rudder
17. MOB pole and all that goes with it
19. Liferaft
20. SOLAS flares, smoke signals
21. Heaving line
22. Cockpit knife
23. Storm jib & storm trysail
24. New autopilot
25. Another asymmetrical spinnaker
26. 90 Db alarm wired to boat systems
27. Upgraded navigation software
28. Satellite phone w/ data link
29. A bunch of new running rigging
30. GPS upgrade
31. New genoa and main sail
32. Weather cloths w/ race numbers

The race course (click on picture for larger sized image):

Leg one of the race turned out to be a rhumb line race, even with the large eddy just north of Bermuda. A review of class 4's track lines indicate that the first 40 hours were very close, with little separation among the group but on the morning of June 7, Jeroboam began to pull away slightly to the lead and by the time the doldrums set in on the in the wee hours of the 8th, that lead grew to about 30 miles over the closest boat, Panacea. By the time the wind filled in again that afternoon, a one knot favorable current had increased that lead by another 5 miles or so. This lead held for the next 30 hours as Williwaw kept on the heat, not letting me gain a inch over him. Class 4 began to tighten up a bit behind me with Mirari and Williwaw neck in neck for second place and Robin, Nimros, Bluebird and Panacea all very close to one another. In the final stretch, it was light air work and I had a half knot of current working with me as I slowly drifted toward the finish line on the afternoon of the 10th. The wind filled in and finally, at 3:55 PM, I crossed the finish line at Mills Buoy, just outside St George Harbour. The rest of the class came in that evening and early the next morning but the wild card boat, Robin, with a rating of 249, was unable to fetch the mark and was forced to tack into an unfavorable current to make the finish line, then got headed by a breeze out of the SW. The three tacks Robin was forced to make in the end and the unfavorable current is what allowed Jeroboam to hold the lead on corrected time, as there was only 3 hours 41 minutes between our corrected times.

Leg 2 was a different matter entirely. First off, I wasn't alone, my buddy Zoe did the race with me and did it very well. The first two and a half days were fairly straight forward with the entire class moving generally up the rhumb line at a good clip. Jeroboam tends to do well in plenty of breeze and this was no exception as we were able to slowly build a lead to 30 miles or so during this time period. Then things got ugly. As the squalls started to pound us, each boat opted for different strategies to maximize their forward progress while minimizing the stress and strain on their boats to avert equipment failures. By the morning of the 22nd, we increased our lead to about 50 miles and started chasing the warm water eddy above the North wall. By 5 that afternoon, we were well into the favorable current and heading North along the South side of the eddy where a 1.5 knot westerly current was helping. Tacking back that night and again the next morning allowed us play the eddy about as well as I could have hoped, with wind directions to our advantage on every maneuver. By the afternoon of the 23rd, we were well away from the center of the low that caused so much pain among class 4 and many others in the fleet while Jeroboam hammered North hard to the breeze, dramatically increasing our lead. By dawn on the 24th, we had close to a hundred miles between us and the rest of the class and started our battle to the finish line with Aggressive, a C&C 35 in Class 3.

The battle was lost tactically early on but I didn't realize it until we were in the "corner" of that little section of the course by Pt. Judith were the current was running about a knot to the West against us after we tacked back toward the finish line. Click here for a play by play analysis.

All in all, I would characterize the race as a very successful outing for Jeroboam and her crew. Given the amazingly talented sailors who come out for this race, it was a real honor to win Class 4. I'm particularly proud of beating the entire fleet on corrected time for Leg 1, a feat so far beyond my expectations that I still can't believe it!

This race is rather heavy in the awards department - between Leg 1, Leg 2 and the combined results, I think I counted over 70 awards presented so take it with a grain of salt when I list the awards bestowed upon Jeroboam:

Leg 1:
- First in Class 4 to finish on elapsed time
- First in Class 4 to finish on corrected time
- Goat Island Yacht Club Commodore's Cup - best single handed leg corrected time finish by a first time entrant
- Town of St. George Trophy - best single handed leg corrected time finish in fleet

Leg 2:
- First in Class 4 to finish on elapsed time
- First in Class 4 to finish on corrected time

Combined Results:
John & Judith Rebello Trophy - best combined corrected time finish in Class 4

Although there were no trophies presented, I'm proud to report that on Leg 2, we placed third in fleet on corrected time behind Cutlass and Dragon and on the combined results, we placed second on fleet behind Cutlass on corrected time.

Click here for some photos and video from the race