Seagull racers make it a race despite strong winds

The delayed 51st Round the Island Seagull Race took place on Saturday with strong winds and just over half the preregistered boats participating.

The race, which took a year’s hiatus last year because of Covid-19, attracted only 33 of the 60 boats that preregistered.

This was owing to a combination of weather – there were 12 to 18 knots of wind – and a change in the racecourse.

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Additionally, two boats were forced to abandon the race because of engine problems and a third boat was unable to start as a minor collision cause it to leak.

The racecourse did not go the full 36-plus nautical miles around the island due to Covid restrictions and had to be confined to two shorter inshore laps each of 16 nautical miles.

Martine Purssell, on-land manager for the annual event, said: “We were all outside, it was a safe event. It was good to see everybody out there.

“Overall, everyone was glad to be out racing and they cannot wait to be able to go around the island next year.”

The participating boats in this year’s race, which was delayed from June 19, spanned 10 classes.

The slower class of boats passed the starting line at 7.30am and the last began at 10am.

Some of the boats completed one lap only while others did not complete the course or broke down.

Of the 17 boats that finished, the first wooden dinghy past the line was If You See Kay captained by Chris Kulmala at six hours and four minutes.

Mr Kulmala was closely followed one minute later by Memory with Bill Tatem at the helm.

The largest fleet was the non-wood dinghies – of which eight started and six finished.

The class was won by an unnamed boat captained by Rosalind Wingate accompanied by two female crew members. They finished in four hours and 41 minutes.

The fastest elapsed time was two hours and 23 minutes in the Sports Engine class by an unnamed boat captained by Leon Simmons.

The Bermuda Sloop Foundation will benefit from $5,000 of proceeds raised through the race.

The race is for boats made or powered by British Seagull. It is sponsored by Heineken, the title sponsor, and Burrows and Lightbourn, and is supported by Rubis.