2018 Antigua Bermuda Race - Day Three
The turbo-charged Volvo 70 Warrior, sailed by Stephen Murray Jr., has set a blistering pace in the 2018 Antigua to Bermuda Race. Warrior has covered 770 miles in 45 hours of high speed racing in the Atlantic Ocean, and is due to finish the race in the early hours of Saturday 12th May.
At 1400 UTC on Friday 11th May, Warrior was under 200 miles from Bermuda. Jens Kellinghusen's German Ker 56 Varuna is second on the water, 34 miles behind Warrior, and starting to close in on Warrior. The leading two teams in the race are now experiencing downwind conditions, activity on board will have increased with numerous gybes required to optimise velocity to Bermuda.
High pressure is predicted to arrive for the chasing pack led by Eric de Turckheim's Nivelt-Muratet 54 Teasing Machine. The French team will need to stay in the breeze if there are to have any chance of winning the race after IRC time correction, and lift the Warrior Perpetual Trophy.
Chris Stanmore-Major's Canadian Volvo 60 Challenger is mid-fleet 550 miles from Bermuda. Chris is one of the most experienced sailors in the race. As of 2018, he has sailed approximately 300,000Nm (more than the distance to the moon) including two races around the world. For the Antigua Bermuda Race Challenger is sailing with just three crew.
“ For once I get an opportunity to visit my solo sailing roots and just 'be' with the boat while the sun goes down- I sail 20,000nm a year with Spartan and I think this is the first time I have been alone on deck and able to truly clear my head in two years. I have looked forward to sailing this route all year after the fantastic sailing we had last year- I don't think I'm going to be disappointed.”
After the first night at sea for the international fleet in the Antigua Bermuda Race the pace is relentless. The leading teams Warrior and Varuna are now over 300 miles offshore, blast reaching through two metre swell in the Atlantic Ocean. Warrior was observed to be hitting a top speed of 25 knots last night. At 1200 UTC on Day Two, the turbo-charged Volvo 70 Warrior, sailed by Stephen Murray Jr. had averaged 18 knots since the start of the race and will achieve a 24 hour run of about 450 miles; well inside record pace. Jens Kellinghusen's German Ker 56 Varuna is also set for a 400 mile run in 24 hours. Varuna is 30 miles behind Warrior but is estimated to be leading the fleet after IRC time correction.
The most easterly of the chasing pack is Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46 Pata Negra, skippered by Oliver Heer. Pata Negra's crew include Gareth Glover, two-time skipper in the Clipper Round the World Race and the rest of the crew are all Oliver’s friends from Switzerland, and will be celebrating his 30th birthday today: “I love to sail, but it does take me away from my friends and family, so when I knew I would be at sea for my 30th, what better way to celebrate than with friends racing to Bermuda!” commented Oliver before the race.
The most westerly team is Arnt Bruhn's German Class40 Iskareen.
The 2018 Antigua Bermuda started on Wednesday 9th May off Fort Charlotte, Antigua. Brilliant sunshine and 20 knots of trade winds combined to produce a spectacular start for the 14 yachts and 96 sailors competing in the 935 nautical mile oceanic race. Eager to begin the adventure, a highly competitive start saw the fleet fully powered up, beating into the Caribbean swell. At Green Island the fleet eased sheets, hoisting downwind sails and accelerating into a power reach that should last for at least 48 hours.
“We have a real variety of yachts racing this year, but the teams are peppered with some highly accomplished sailors,” commented Les Crane Antigua Bermuda Race Chair. “At the start Varuna, Teasing Machine and Warrior went right inshore to get the lifting pressure, but just about the whole fleet got away to a good start. The high performance yachts will be fast, but this race is not just about grand prix racing yachts. We have teams entered like the Volvo 60 Challenger which has just three crew, 20 feet each! Also Pata Negra which is heading to Newport for the race to Bermuda, and the all-Irish crew on Irene III who will be smiling all the way to Bermuda. Safety is also a key area; all of the fleet have trackers on board and if a team has a problem, there are nearby yachts to offer assistance. We had a great party in Nelson's Dockyard last night supported by Goslings Rum and another one to look forward to at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.”