Shockwave, skippered by George Sakellaris of Framingham MA, crossed the finish line in the Newport Bermuda Race at 6:34 Bermuda time Monday to take line honors in the 49th Newport Bermuda Race. All of the boats in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division have now finished. Based on provisional results, Shockwave can be confirmed as the class 9 and division winner, taking home his second Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy in a row. This is the first boat to win consecutive Gibbs Hill Trophies since the prize was dedicated to the grand prix,l division in 2002.

Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente and Caol Ila owned by Alex Schaerer finished second and third in the class and division.

For the St. David’s Lighthouse Division corrected time honors, first we thought the Class 2 Navy 44 Swift was the one, then as Class 1 boats began to finish. Five of the top 6 in the Division are in that class. Initially, it was the Tartan 41 Aurora, then the Cal 40 Flyer, before the Hinckley B40 Actaea stole the show.

Actaea is a classic cruising yawl owned by Michael Cone of Philadelphia Pennsylvania, PA.. Her crew are John Vj Chiochetti, Constance H. Cone, co-owner and watch captain, James Dalton, George J. Fallon, Rex Miyashiro, Stewart Rose, and Stanley Sneath. Cone is a member of Corinthian YC.

Bill Wagner wrote about the Cones in a 2011 Annapolis Capital Gazette article...

Michael and Connie Cone became enamored with offshore sailing in 1995 after buying a Bermuda 40-footer. The Philadelphia couple competed in the 1996 Newport Bermuda Race aboard Actaea and were hooked.

"We were bitten by the bug and haven't lost our mutual love of ocean racing ever since," Michael Cone said.

Inexperience and misfortunate made that first offshore passage a struggle, and Actaea was the last boat to cross the finish line in the 1996 Newport Bermuda Race.

"We won the Galley Slave Trophy and I swore that would never happen again," Michael Cone said of the dubious honor that is based on the fact that the cook at sea the longest, has to cook the most meals for the crew.

In the 16 years since, Actaea has become known for being one of the best-sailed boats on the Chesapeake Bay and beyond. The Cones have enjoyed enormous success aboard the classic cruiser-racer, placing high in class in such  offshore events as Newport Bermuda, Annapolis-Newport and Marblehead-Halifax.

Actaea was one of 125 Bermuda 40s designed by Bill Tripp and built by Hinckley Yachts. Launched in 1971, this particular vessel had one previous owner before the Cones bought her in 1989.

The provisional leader in the Cruising Division is Attitude, a Beneteau 423 in Class 10 owned by Shawn Dahlen of Duxbury, MA. Of the 34 starters, 17 in the division have finished, so the winner cannot be called. Jeroboam, a Beneteau 351, sailed by Jonathan Green and Russ Hancock leads the Double-Handed Division.

Sailors who found themselves in the ‘Happy Valley’ between the Gulf Stream and Bermuda were not happy Tuesday night. No records were set in one of the slowest Newport Bermuda Races ever for the majority of the fleet. Officials using estimated elapsed time calculations on the Pantaenius Race Tracker predicted a record 120 yachts would finish from dusk to dawn. As the wind went light, it was more like 16.

Through Tuesday night’s slow approach, boats slid into airless sink-holes on course to the finish off S.t David’s Lighthouse. They parked for dismal spells of time. On Wednesday, a large portion of the fleet finished, whistling up little bits of wind to move slowly through the final miles. Only a few competitors are left  to slog on into Wednesday night and Thursday.

Double-handed ocean racer Joe Harris wrote in what he hoped was his final blog— “GryphonSsolo2 and her fearless crew, me and Rob Windsor, are actually approaching the finish line of the world's longest race. OMG. Totally. 18 miles to the finish line and we actually have 7 knots of wind, which at this point feels like a frickin’ gale.”

The story on the dock is that the pre-race weather forecasts were less than accurate and that going a conservative distance to the west was the best choice. The Shockwave team went only slightly west and got through the upper Gulf Stream before the wind began shutting down in the frontal zone moving across the course. They snaked along in the southbound cold core eddy to the building southwest wind. They had to tack and jibe to reach it. Constellation had much the same story to tell.

The J44 battle was classic. Gold Digger’s skipper, Jim Bishop, has done Newport Bermuda 24 times. Vamp’s skipper, Lennie Sitar has done it 14 times, 12 in this Vamp. Vamp finished at 07:27:25 today. Gold Digger followed at 07:28:31 today. Vamp’s corrected time was 90:26:26. Gold Digger’s was 90:14:41 and Bishop won by 12 minutes. Sitar said, “I’ve raced this race 14 times and I still haven’t figured out how to win it.”

With the arrival of the sailors, friends and families who have been exploring Bermuda alone will now have time to celebrate the completion of another classic ocean race. The famous bar at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club will be hopping tonight and through the weekend, when it will be time to collect some prizes at Government House before heading back to sea and home.

Commander’s Weather Summary:

1) Dissipating cold front is just a tiny bit N of Bermuda at 0500edt this morning
a) Very light, just about wind direction winds are found N of the front this morning
b) Slight S, SW, and W winds are found just S of the front

2) There are a few isolated showers/thundershowers early this morning, but they will be dissipating later this morning
a) At 0500edt, there is a small thundershower over and E of Bermuda - this thundershower is moving very slowly E

3) S-SW winds will start to spread towards the N and NE this afternoon, starting from the southwest and west of Bermuda
a) There will be S-SW winds from Bermuda to Newport by this time Thursday. Wind speeds will be light around Bermuda. Wind directions will be S-SW

4) Cold front will move thru Newport Thu afternoon and Cape Hatteras Thu morning, but will be slow to move further to the SE