Experience Tested to the End
By Chris Museler
After more than 50 combined Bermuda Races of experience, the crew aboard Kodiak were celebrating the end of a cracking run from Newport when they faced an unexpected challenge as they made their way to Hamilton on Sunday afternoon. Thanks to some pre-race safety tests, the team avoided what could have been a nightmare.
Kodiak at the start (credit: J. Rousmaniere)
“We were more than half way down the North Sound when it blew up to almost 50 knots,” said Ike Bowen, a crewmember. “It was raining so hard we couldn’t see much past the bow.”
Kodiak, sails down, was making little headway away from the edge of the channel under power. The crew began to prepare their emergency anchor and rode and awaited the captain's instructions. The engine stalled, then regained power before the squall dissipated and the crew carried on to Hamilton.
“Everything went very smoothly,” said Peter Eagan, a rigger aboard Kodiak. “We have people like Llwyd Ecclestone. He’s done more than 20 Bermuda Races. The older generation has a lot of knowledge and it helps.” Eagan said the crew was “boiling up hot dogs and drinking beer,” when the squall hit.
What the Kodiak crew did before the race, said Eagan, made all the difference in calmly handling the situation that saw the boat blown out of the channel for a moment. “A few weeks ago we sailed out the rum line 100 miles and back 100 miles,” said Eagan. “It was the best practice for this race. We went through most of the safety requirements. It was much better than just doing a long a Block Island Race or some shore distance race.”