2024 Mustang Survival Annapolis to Bermuda Brings the Drama

A storm in the Gulf Stream created some drama for the 18 entrants in this year’s Annapolis to Bermuda Ocean Race sponsored by Mustang Survival

The 753-mile Mustang Survival Annapolis to Bermuda Ocean Race kicked off June 7 with an 18-boat fleet that represented a diverse collection of sailboats between 30 and 156 feet in length. The challenging course offered both inshore and offshore racing, with the fleet navigating its way down the Chesapeake Bay before heading into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The A2B is a technical race that involves navigational skill and a variety of abilities, and no matter the weather, always proves to be a challenge.

At the helm of Harmony, coming through the Gulf Stream gale. Photo courtesy Harmony crew.

For the 2024 running, boats hit the line with beautiful breeze, blowing 10-15 knots off the Bay’s western shore as the fleet raced down toward the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. The breeze stayed behind them the entire time, picking up as they got closer to the open water. Once boats exited the Bay, however, things got a bit squirrelly.

On Monday, the wind began to intensify. Coupled with big swells and patchy thunderstorms, there were moments when the race seemed intent on bringing a damp, miserable experience for sailors. Tuesday, conditions worsened and gusts were steadily in the 40s, with Team Iris reporting a top out of 54kts.

Caught at the start by Will Keyworth

Line honors went to John Haiges and the crew of Verissimo, a J/160 out of Riverton Yacht Club in New Jersey that finished Tuesday around 4pm. This is Haiges’ first attempt at the A2B, after a successful completion of the Annapolis to Newport last year.

“After doing the Annapolis to Newport last year, we decided to up the ante,” he says. The J/160 was originally raced out of Halifax, and won the Newport to Bermuda in the early aughts. Haiges bought the boat in 2010, and cruised the boat up and down the Eastern Seaboard. “We started just started casually racing her last year. In February, we took her down to Annapolis and got her all new rod and standing rigging. We managed to do one practice race, then said, ‘That’s all the time we’ve got. It’s time to go to Bermuda.'”

After corrections, Verissimo fell to fifth place in the ORC 1 class. First overall in ORC 1 was awarded to Allegiant, the Annapolis-based J/42 owned by Albert Bossar and Maryline O’Shea.

One of the most exciting entrants this year was Pride of Baltimore II, helmed by Captain Jan C. Miles. While Pride led the fleet into the Atlantic, she had to retire early due to a crew member’s medical needs. Pride, and all of her crew members, made it safely to Bermuda.

Remarkably, the entire fleet, in fact, made it to Bermuda, where Dark and Stormies were waiting for them on the dock. After a rough night, who could ask for anything more?