As expected because of her 100-feet length overall, Speedboat continues to lead the 183-boat fleet in the Newport Bermuda Race. At 14:35 EDT she was 125 nautical miles from Bermuda sailing at 13 knots.
At that rate, she would finish at some dark hour on Monday morning. But a lot can happen in ‘Happy Valley’ the wonderland between the Gulf Stream and Bermuda. The ‘Open” Division record is 48hrs 28min 31sec set by Morning Glory in 2004. A new record setter would have to finish before 4:58:31 on Sunday. It’s no record breaker this year.
With all five of the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division boats- Beau Geste, Bella Mente, Rambler, Ran and Titan XV within 250 miles of the finish, the traditional elapses time mark for the race set in 2002 by Pyewacket of 53hrs 39min 22sec. To break the record a boat in Class 8 would have to finish before 20:39:22, Class 9 before 20:49:22 and in Class 10 before 20: 59:22.
The five boats in Class 10 were still within 15 miles of each other on Sunday afternoon, some 190 miles from the finish, but sailing well below the 11 knot average speed needed to break the traditional course record . The battle for divisional line honors is very keen even if a record won’t be broken.
Elapse time leaders in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division are the big boats in Class 8. Vanquish has a hefty lead. By 14:00EDT Sunday, the Bermuda/American crew sailing in memory of teammate Bill Riker was about 197nm from Bermuda and her closest rival is Aurora was about 31 miles behind.
While the focus of attention has been on the big, Open Division boats, Carina, a Class 3 McCurdy & Rhodes 48 skippered by Rives Potts, appears to have made the most of the Gulf Stream.
At 15:00 EDT, Carina was an incredible 60 miles ahead of Triple Lindy, the next boat in her class, and is now within 300 nautical miles of Bermuda. This is the biggest lead in any class at this time. With Potts at the helm, Carina finished first in Class 3 and fourth in the St, David’s Lighthouse Division in 2006. in 2008 she finished second in Class 3 and tenth in the division.
Another small boat to shine is Sinn Fein skippered by Peter S Rebovich. She has slipped 50 miles west of the rhumb line and by 1:00PM Sunday her speed over the ground, was 7.2 knots according to iboattrack ,while the other boats in his class were only making between 2.5 and 4 knots. Sailing a greater distance away from the rhumb line has paid off so far but with these top boats in the 2006 and 2008 races still 400 miles from Bermuda, time will tell, of course.