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Newport to Bermuda Race Updates

Spirit Update: NBR 23 June 2014 at 1750

Good Day Spirit of Bermuda Friends and Family,

Update from Captain Karen:

Our 0800 particulars:

Position: 33 50.0N 067 07.65W
Course: 179M
Speed: 7.4kts

Our 2000 particulars:

Position: 33 23.8N 066 52.5W
Course: 173 M
Speed: 4.0 kts

We have been struggling with light winds since late yesterday afternoon. Despite our 0800 speed, the wind dropped down again and we were then making 2-3kts over the ground. The weather forecast doesn't bode well for more wind. We are hopeful that we can maintain until the southwesterly fills in, albeit light, and allows us to head straight to Bermuda. Pray for wind!

Update on the watch competition (as of 0000 Tues.):

A Watch (Doughty, Baxter, Jim, Alan, Russ, Dek, Emmy, Parker and Scott Sr.) leads the pack at 227nm covereed. C Watch (Elijah, Dave, John, Clive, Alvaro, Sarah, Bill and Sears) is close behind at 212nm. B Watch (Mark, Tre, Gus, Nick, Darren, Reid, Nicole, Scott Jr. and Spencer) has some miles to cover, coming in at 171nm.

It's slow going out here. We've been tacking our way towards Bermuda with little wind coming right from where we want to go. The forecast is for the wind to become more south overnight or tomorrow morning, eventually becoming southwest. Still not a lot of wind, but the southwesterly will at least allow us to head straight to Bermuda.

We need to start doing some sort of wind dance!


Spirit Update: NBR 23 June 2014 at 1750

Good Day Spirit of Bermuda Family and Friends,

An update late yesterday afternoon (1750; 5:50 p.m.) from Navigator, Larry Rosenfeld

Spirit Seeking the Wind

Sitting here… Another windless patch… We prayed to the wind gods, got everyone forward and to leeward. Spencer had to bribe a bunch of his mates to pull him up the mast to look for wind. All of a sudden the dolphins showed up with the wind. Here we go – 2 kts, 4 kts, 6kts, and now 8 kts. Jim is on the helm watching his son twirl around the shroud and now the dolphins see the interest in a boat actually moving so they all play around the bow while the whole crew is up on the bow taking pictures and enjoying the show.

The tactics for this race are relatively simple. Jenifer Clark helped us (along with many others) map out the Gulf Stream. We have it on a laminated chart in the main salon for all to talk about at meal time. It was just like pin ball. We hit the top of the first clockwise warm eddy and got a nice 2 knot push in the right direction for 40 miles. Then we cut through the Gulf Stream core perpendicular to it, avoiding the counter current of the north flowing stream. Next we ricocheted off the counter-clockwise cold eddy and have been riding that and the little spur that flowed out of it for more than 100 miles, sometimes we got up to 3.5 knots but now its nearly run its course and down to a ½ knot of favorable current.

This is my 20th race and I swear it’s the most boats I’ve seen on a continuous basis in all the races I’ve done. Maybe it’s the AIS system keeping all the boats together with a herd instinct or maybe its just that there has been little beating where people would spread out on different tacks. We always seem to be in sight of about 6 boats.

The weather forecasts have been consistently variable. Yesterday’s showed a low that came out from Hatteras that was squished between the Azores high and another low up near the Great Lakes. That would have meant a nice quick transition from the Easterlies at the top of the low to the SW winds in the bottom half of the elongated low, like two trains passing on the tracks. This morning’s early forecast showed a widen low with two centers (a double yolk low) and that means a longer time in light northerlies while waiting to transition from the Easterlies to the SW winds. The mid-day forecast shows a wide area from Bermuda to Newport to Hatteras without a single isobar! That means light air all around from any direction. So we sit and we wait… looking for the next squall and the wind on the edges…

We’re all having a great time enjoying each other’s company and reflective time at sea.

Sail Fast!

Larry Rosenfeld, Navigator

Spirit Update: NBR 23 June 2014 at 0800 & 1300

Good Day Spirit of Bermuda Family and Friends,

The crew experienced a few rain squalls and some shifty wind for several hours, which required Captain Karen to be on deck, so today's updates were a little delayed.

As of 0800 (8:00a.m.) Spirit details were:

Position: 35 28.8N 068 01.8W

Course: 171 M
Speed: 4.8kts

As of 1300 (1:00 p.m.) Spirit details were:

Position: 35 02.3N 067 40.4W

Course: 186 M
Speed: 8.0

Update from Captain Karen...

The wind stayed up overnight out of the east and allowed us to carry further south through the cold eddy, giving us a lift with the stream. At 1000, significant squalls just to our east pulled most of the wind out from where we were and we struggled with shifty light winds for a couple of hours. The wind has filled in again and we are tracking SSW with the expectation of light SW'erlies off Bermuda.

There were a few bouts of sea sicknesses yesterday and into last night as the seas picked up due to the wind opposing the current. Everyone has made a full recovery and spirits are high. Ben made homemade donuts this morning, which happily filled many empty stomachs.

Hope to be home soon.


Spirit Update: NBR 22 June 2014 at 1400

This afternoon's update was from Chef Ben Bernardo

As of 1400 (2:00 p.m.) Spirit of Bermuda Details:

Position 37 34.8N
069 15.1W

Course 175
Speed 8.5knts

Today has been a good day of sailing so far and the spirits are high.
B watch has been dealing with shifty winds, but have managed to keep up with it, the speeds have also been nice with an average of 8.5knts - 9knts. Lunch today went down well with some nice Asian turkey wraps and chocolate galore. Jim and friends have been busy for part of their watch shining the brass on deck, taking great pride in making it all shine!

The wind will slightly increase tonight and we look forward to increasing or maintaining our speed as we get closer to Bermuda.

I've been scurrying around all day getting my hands dirty on deck, but dinner will be peanut crusted chicken, asian glass noodles and sesame salad.

Until the next update....


Spirit Update: NBR 22 June 2014 at 0800

Good Day Spirit of Bermuda Family and Friends,

As of 0800 (8:00 a.m.) Spirit of Bermuda details were:

38 24.3N
069 41.0W

Course: 166 M
Speed: 8.5kts

Update from Captain Karen...

We had more wind than expected during the day yesterday morning and were able to maintain 6-8kts until the wind began to drop out around 1400. In the evening and overnight, the wind dropped out completely and set us and the rest of the fleet nearby adrift in the Gulf Stream. We had a few close quarters situations with other participants, which was only an issue due to the lack of maneuverability for all parties involved. Significant precaution was taken on all ends and we have carried on safely. Around 0600 this morning the breeze filled in out of the east at 12-15kts, and we have been making 7.5 -8 .0 kts under full sail. Spirit is slowly beginning to pass much of the fleet that has been surrounding us over the past two days.

The easterly is expected to build as we progress towards the northern side of the front coming off Hatteras. We expect squally conditions, building seas and increased wind as we go through the front this evening into tomorrow....all of which bodes well for us against the rest of the fleet. The wind is expected to lighten after the frontal passage the build from the southwest as we approach Bermuda.

Everyone is having a good time despite the frustration about the drop in wind. The energy on board has picked back up now that we have some wind in our sails. Watch out fleet! Here we come!! The competition between the three watches continues to be exciting....we will see who wins!

Captain Karen

Spirit Update: NBR 21 June 2014

Hi Spirit Family and Friends,

I have received the first update from Captain Karen on Spirit of Bermuda. You can track the race progress on

At 0800 (8:00 a.m.):

40 07.27N
070 11.27W

Course: 155 M
Speed: 7.5kts

It was an exciting yet slow start to the 2014 Newport Bermuda race yesterday. At 1300 (1:00 p.m.), Spirit's start time, the gradient wind (NW) was being overtaken by the sea breeze (S). We made it across the line a few seconds after the gun. Once we cleared Narragansett Bay, the sea breeze won out and gave us a decent breeze til sunset. As the wind dropped out, it became very shifty, with much sail handling. After midnight we found ourselves in the midst of the fleet, with some large commercial traffic passing through as we crossed the Nantucket to Ambrose traffic separation scheme.

The breeze has filled in again this morning and we are back up to 7+ kts. The wind is expected to lighten again later, before we begin to feel the wind effects of a low pressure and associated front moving off of Cape Hatteras tomorrow. Watch to watch competition is fierce on who will cover the most miles before we get to Bermuda.


Just some context for family and friends at home... So, the group on Spirit is divided into 3 watch groups. It looks like they have created a competition amongst themselves to see who gets the most out of the light wind and who can cover the most miles. Stay tuned for Karen's next update. Can't wait until they get home next week so we can see which watch won! :-)

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