As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, the powerful 100-foot grand prix Comanche, to the surprise of many they were led by an unusual boat and crew. High Noon, at 41 feet, is fully 59 feet shorter than Comanche and tens of feet shorter than many other entries.
Yet High Noon was the second boat to finish this Newport Bermuda Race. She also was the first finisher to have a traditional design, very unlike the one of the extreme stripped-out Comanche. And consider High Noon’s unusual crew. Of the 10 sailors, seven are teenagers between ages 15 and 18, sailing alongside three adults.
The story of High Noon 2016 is about new ideas in training young sailors. For decades they sailed only small boats. Enter Peter Becker, who sails out of American Yacht Cub, in Rye, New York. He was an eager 15-year-old when he sailed his first Newport Bermuda Race. “I was the kid on the boat, up on the bow changing sails,” he recalls. Since then he’s done 16 more Bermuda Races and a race from New York to Barcelona, Spain.