To the swift go the spoils, or so the saying goes, and the Shipman 63 Tucana – with her Charleston-based crew – was nothing if not swift, at least she was for much of this 777-mile race. Sailing under full main and genoa, she crossed the finish line just East of St. Georges’ Channel around 8pm EDT this evening. Her official time will be posted tomorrow.
Upon crossing the finish line, Tucana’s crew recorded their official finish time and doused the sails for the first time in a week. Afterward, the boat made a beeline for the reef-strewn channel that threads through the rocks and coral heads down the western side of the island toward Hamilton Harbor, the site of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.Tucana’s final hours of sailing must have been some of the most satisfying of the entire voyage. With easterly winds in the 10- to 15-knot vicinity, a rosy dusk descending, and the island of Bermuda to leeward, anticipation for the finish must have been palpable on board.
Despite their elation about finishing first overall in this contest, Hank Hofford, Susan Ford and the rest of Tucana’s crew won’t really relax until they learn the finish time of the OnDeck Farr 65 Spirit of Juno, their closest rival on the course. With a Performance Handicap Racing Fleet rating (PHRF) of -54 (Juno rates -33), Tucana must give her rival 21 seconds per mile. The race officials will multiply those 21 seconds by the course length to determine the margin by which Tucana must finish in front of Juno in order to beat her. Rough calculations indicate that Juno has to finish within four and a half hours of Tucana in order to secure victory. As of the 9:00 p.m. position update, the Spirit of Juno was still 36 miles from the finish, moving at only 4.5 knots. In the words of Lenny Kravitz, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
Meanwhile, the action elsewhere on the race course continues. Via a ship-to-shore phone call this evening, Bernie Schapiro, who is skippering his Beneteau 411 Pied-a-Mer related that he and his crew are intent on seeing this adventure through. “We intend to get to the finish line under sail,” he said. At the time, said Schapiro, they were reaching along on a port tack with 12 knots of wind still 160 miles out. Pied-a-Mer was moving at 5.2 knots through the water, but fighting about three quarter’s of a knot of adverse current. Schapiro said that fried Tilapia was on the menu for the evening, along with a little white wine.
Among the doublehanded entries, David Skidmore’s Eagles’ Wings was still 145 miles out, moving at just 3.5 knots as of the 9:00 p.m. position updates. Skidmore and his crew Barry Ling must finish no more than 38.4 hours behind Noel Sterrett’s J/130 Solarus in order to beat him on corrected time. Sterrett and his crew Matt Henderson were still 82 miles from the finish, moving at 5.5 knots.
Stand by for updates.