By John Rousmaniere
Newport, RI. June 18, 2016. 10AM. The first night of the 50th Bermuda Race found the 130 boats in the fleet reaching comfortably in a light westerly wind, most tightly bunched well behind the leader, Comanche. Jim and Kristy Clark’s 100-foot all-out racing sloop covered the first 181 miles in 13 hours. Some 80 miles behind her was the Hubbard family’s Siren, and then the pack. Surrounding them all was concern about upcoming weather.
Sheila McCurdy’s 38-ft Selkie, one of many smaller boats in the Newport Bermuda Race, crosses the starting line in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division. (Daniel Forster/PPL) The New York Yacht Club race committee, which started the race in 16 classes over three hours on Friday afternoon, reported a total of 133 starters in flat water and a 10-knot breeze gradually clocking from South to Southwest. Three boats later withdrew—Challenger, Momentum, and Soulmates—leaving 130 in the race on Saturday morning. Most are directly in Comanche’s wake, but a few have sailed off to the west, undoubtedly with a strategy of making the best of Sunday’s changing weather that has been anticipated all week in forecasts.