The new Classics join the Party
By Chris Museler
There are some wonderful National Geographic images framed of Bermuda Race starts of the past in the Newport Room of the RBYC. This is our press office and not only is it inspiring to overlook the massive field of code flags fluttering in the warm breeze outside, there are illustrated histories of this race all over the walls to help us make some important connections.
One start from 1964 in particular caught my eye. A wave of déjà vu came over me as I stared at the transoms of two or so Bermuda 40 yawls and a number of Albergs and the like laid over on starboard tack, racing past the old Brenton Reef tower. Then it hit me, the finger docks outside today have the same type of transoms, in fiberglass, hanging delicately above the clear water.
Start of 1964 Bermuda Race
The sight of the Sparkman and Stephens beauties Dorade, Isla and Black Watch is breathtaking. These boats have been classics since well before the Hinckley Company decided to create their centerboard yawl out of “frozen snot,” the snide reference of shipwrights to the then-new glass construction technique. Now, the Swans, Hinckleys, Columbias and Tartans of the 1960s and ‘70s have come into their own and are true classics in plastic, joining Isla and her ilk in that rarified atmosphere of antiquity. It’s wonderful to see them in Bermuda and as the woodies carry on every two years in the race, this “new” group of classics have their own torch to bear.
What’s next for classics in the Bermuda Race? The wider transoms of the 1990s are still a little tough on the eyes, and there really are few around the docks. So how about those duck-tailed IOR transoms of the 1980s? They’re starting to look pretty classy, aren’t they?
Click to enlarge
Selected transoms from 2012 Race