Fleet Perseveres as Three Boats Drop Out on Sunday
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (May 21, 2007)â€”As Monday dawned out on the
Atlantic Ocean, the majority of the fleet in the Charleston to Bermuda Race continued to
make slow but steady progress toward the finish line off St. Davidâ€™s Light on Bermuda.
Maintaining the lead heâ€™s held since 25 minutes after the start on Friday, Hugh Piggin
and his crew on board Joe Harrisâ€™s 10-year-old Open 50 Gryphon Solo were 239 miles
from the finish as of the 10:00 a.m. position update moving at only 4.8 knots. Pigginâ€™s
nearest rival, Buddy Darby and his crew on board the Sweden 70 Luna Danns, trailed the
smaller boat by some 56 miles.
At the time of that update, the four-person crew on Gryphon Solo was dealing with light
winds from the north and her iBoatTrack transponder registered only 3.3 knots of wind.
Meanwhile, Luna Dannsâ€™ crew had sailed into better conditions sailing at better than 7
knots. Not far astern of Luna Danns and slightly north, Will Hanckel and his crew aboard
the Charleston-based J/120 EmOcean were enjoying stronger westerly winds while
making 7.9 knots toward the finish.
Sundayâ€”the third day of the raceâ€”turned out to be a day of attrition due to light and
inconsistent winds. After wallowing in very little wind for most of the previous night,
Teddy Turner, Jr., and his crew on board the 46-foot catamaran Reason, decided to
â€œthrow in the towel.â€ Explaining his decision via phone on Sunday afternoon, Turner
said: â€œIâ€™ve got family commitments, and I have to be in Bermuda by Wednesday. The
weather forecast indicated that we wonâ€™t have much wind for about 30 hours, so we
unanimously opted to take the fastest way there.â€ Turner said he turned on the boatâ€™s twin
engines at 6:30 a.m. Sunday. At the time of the call, he felt his crew would arrive in
Bermuda by Tuesday night or early Wednesday.
Much further south, Richard Meunow and his crew aboard the Brewer 44 Ageless
Adventure made the decision to turn back for Charleston late in the day yesterday.
Meunow radioed ashore that he and his crew hadnâ€™t made much progress toward
Bermuda and were worried they didnâ€™t have sufficient fuel to get there under power
should the wind falter entirely. As of the 10:00 a.m. position update today, Ageless
Adventure was headed for home at 5.6 knots, still some 89 miles from Charleston.
The third withdrawal in the race was announced via phone at just after 9:00 p.m. last
night when Mark Weber called to say his that he and his three person crew aboard the
Swan 56 Nova had decided to head for shore, probably to Morehead City, N.C. â€œWeâ€™ve
enjoyed the first half of this race tremendously,â€ explained Weber, â€œbut we just didnâ€™t see
any weather coming our way in the forecast and several of us have commitments on
shore that weâ€™re obligated to meet.â€ Weber said that the wind had died at 6:00 p.m. that
night, and they opted to turn the engine on at 8:30 p.m. No daily position update was
available for Nova today.
Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet endures. As Hanckelâ€™s EmOcean maintains a strong lead
among the entries in Spinnaker Class A, three competitors in that class are experiencing
tight action. As of the 10:00 a.m. update, Beezer Moltonâ€™s J/120 Don Quixote held a slim,
12-mile margin over Dr. Kevin Hoganâ€™s C&C 44 Kintaro. And less than 5 miles astern of
Hogan, David Guggenheimâ€™s Beneteau 40.7 Piakea was in the hunt. (Fittingly, the crew
aboard Piakea related that they had seen a pod of pilot whales during the day on Sunday.)
But the pressure is on for Moltenâ€™s Charleston-based crew because his boat is the faster
rated vessel and thus owes each of the others time. He needs to beat Kintaro by 4.5 hours
and Piakea by almost 4 hours to preserve his spot ahead of them.
Except for Gryphon Solo, which is reaching in northerly winds, the rest of the fleet is
sailing downwind in moderate westerly breezes. Itâ€™s evident EmOcean, Don Quixote and
Kintaro, and perhaps others, have been making some jibes to preserve the best sailing
angle in the prevailing winds. This situation is expected to continue throughout the day,
and if it does, Luna Danns, Emocean, and many of the others in the fleet will close the
gap between themselves and Gryphon Solo. As of this morning, the iBoatTrack
performance data calculated that Piggin and his team would reach Bermuda by Tuesday
shortly before 4:00 p.m., but Mother Nature could have much to say about that.
The Charleston to Bermuda Race is sponsored by Bermuda Tourism, Goslingâ€™s Black
Seal Rum, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, the Charleston Harbor Resort, Bennett-
Hofford, and Charleston Boatworks. The event receives critical support from The Royal
Bermuda Yacht Club. The race is open to every seaworthy boat 30 feet and longer. Race
committee duties for the race are managed by the Charleston Ocean Racing Association.
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