Former captain Chris Blake is back to lead Spirit of Bermuda in next month’s Marion Bermuda yacht race.
Blake, a member of the Order of the British Empire, is a master mariner with more than 45 years’ experience in the maritime industry and has sailed tall ships such as the Pelican of London and Royal Albatross. Captain Blake joined the Bermuda Sloop Federation in 2005 to oversee the building of Spirit in Maine and set up the charity’s youth development programmes before training Bermudians to take over.
Blake will be sailing alongside current Spirit captain Paul Bracken, who will be acting as first officer, in the Marion Bermuda, a hugely popular event that has not been held since 2019.
Spirit of Bermuda will sailing across the Atlantic to Marion, Massachusetts, for the commencement of the event before racing back to Bermuda. During both voyages, she will be crewed by professional and amateur sailors looking to improve their maritime skills and enjoy the pleasure of an Atlantic crossing.
Blake is delighted to receive the invitation to take to the waters once again and he is anticipating linking up with those who have previously sailed with him.
“It is a great honour to be invited back to sail as captain on board Spirit of Bermuda,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being back on the island and catching up with friends and shipmates who sailed with me in the past.
“The Bermuda Sloop Foundation continues to do an excellent job of taking young people of Bermuda to sea and giving them an experience that will assist them with their personal development and future lives.”
Bracken is delighted about being part of the crew.
“I’m very excited about sailing Spirit of Bermuda overseas this summe,” he said.
“She’s a wonderful vessel and handles well in all conditions. We have two great trips planned, first in the Marion Bermuda race and then a second a voyage to New York plus a small shipyard period in Rhode Island to give Spirit the attention she deserves.”
Bermuda Sloop Foundation chief executive officer, Robin Hamill, is pleased to have Blake as part of the Marion Bermuda race.
“We are very happy to have Captain Chris Blake aboard Spirit for the Marion Bermuda race,” Hamill said.
“His expertise and wealth of experience was fundamental to the development of our world-class experiential learning programme. Having both him and Captain Bracken at the helm will be a huge asset and a great opportunity for our current crew and amateur sailors to develop their navigation and sailing skills.”