www.thebermudian.com SUMMER 2017 | 37
to behind us. We had regained the lead.
The last 30 nautical miles were agonisingly slow. We expected to finish early Tuesday morning, but the wind did not cooperate. Our only
thoughts were on keeping that boat moving as fast as possible across
the pale blue water toward Bermuda. Nobody said a word all morning.
The island slowly came into view with the sunrise, the first land we had
seen since Friday. We saw no boats between us and the finish line, but
the light air was slowing us down. We needed to finish before anyone
could catch us. We finessed the boat slowly downwind until, 88 hours,
27 minutes and 5 seconds after we started in Newport, we were the first
to cross the finish line off St. George’s, Bermuda.
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club had cleared their docks in anticipa-
tion of the fleet’s arrival. With 121 boats behind us, we were the only
boat there for several hours.
The next day we competed in, and won, the third part of the Onion
Patch Series on Bermuda’s Great Sound, the site of the next America’s
Cup. As we raised our sails, we watched the space-age-design America’s
Cup boats practice.
The awards ceremonies were held at Government House a few days
later, after all the racers made their way safely to Bermuda. Our whole
crew was properly attired according to local custom in knee socks,
Vineyard Vines Bermuda shorts, blue blazers and Bermuda Race ties.
We were given books and a boatload of silver trophies by the governor
of Bermuda and bottles of old rum from Mr. Gosling himself. The Race
Organising Committee had just created the Stephens Brothers Youth
Division and Trophy, honouring Rod and Olin Stephens, who won
the Bermuda Race with a young crew in 1932 on the Dorade. We were
particularly thrilled to be the first team to receive this trophy. The next
day, as the crew celebrated on the beach, my classmates were graduating
from Mamaroneck High School. I had decided to skip my prom and
graduation ceremony in order to do the race. It was the right decision.
We did it. After four summers of racing and dreaming, not only did
we sail in the Bermuda Race, we captured Traditional Line Honors.
Not even in our wildest dreams could we have imagined that a crew of
teenagers would finish first in one of the most prestigious distance races
in the world. But then again, why not?
High Noon berthed at RBYC after the race.