The ‘06 Race was a terrific event for us, even though it was one of the slowest in my experience. The last 12 hours were frustrating, as we dropped from a maybe fourth to a definite sixth. I know that is what we all said when we got to the bar! This race was the first time that I went in the Cruising Class, a decision based primarily on the ability to use a downwind sail. The cruising class also now has its own trophy. The Cruising Class can’t be considered “Newport Bermuda 101.”
I have done all of the last five races, three on my own boat. Other eventful races were the ‘02 race when the gulf stream really taught us a lesson and hardly any of us, even the most experience blue water sailors, failed to make a trip to the rail… “Don’t tell me that I have a weak stomach, I threw up just as far as you did.” An the ‘04 race when I was on Garry Fischer’s Diva we turned right around after Bermuda and sailed on to Ireland.
Those thinking of doing this race in their boat for the first time should know that it takes some experience, and also a considerable amount of preparation. You should start serious planning at least six months in advance, but it is definitely worth the effort.