The Atlantic hurricane season’s very first named storm, Tropical Storm Alex, shaped up just in time for the Annapolis to Bermuda Ocean Race—and the storm’s track was headed right towards Bermuda. But after a one-day delay, the racers were off.
A bucket list experience for many Chesapeake Bay sailors, the Mustang Survival Annapolis to Bermuda Ocean Race kicked off on Saturday, June 4, sending a fleet of 25 on a mad dash to the Onion Patch.
The Annapolis to Bermuda is a special race for East Coast sailors due to the unique nature of the event. The course includes both an inshore and an offshore portion, necessitating a greater skillset than many offshore races. As such, the 753-mile race is popular with sailors who aren’t necessarily your regatta regulars. Cruisers and amateurs are encouraged to take on the challenge.
The Annapolis to Bermuda has been co-sponsored by Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in Hamilton, Bermuda since 1979. On the mainland, EYC works diligently every two years to educate and train sailors before the race officially kicks off. When registration opens a year before the event itself, sailors have already had the opportunity to participate in Safety at Sea drills, race seminars, and offshore navigation trainings. Chesapeake Bay Magazine is a proud media sponsor.
This year’s running was delayed by 24 hours when organizers identified Potential Tropical
Cyclone One making its way toward Florida late last week. Torrential rains battered Cuba and
the southeast coast of Florida Saturday evening before moving offshore. When the race started
Saturday afternoon, the system had been upgraded to Tropical Storm Alex and was bound for
Bermuda, arriving there Monday morning but weakening in strength.
This year’s fleet has a special guest: the 156-foot topsail schooner Pride of Baltimore II is participating. Unfortunately, shortly after starting the race the schooner’s refrigeration system completely shut down, forcing skipper Jan Miles to signal to race organizers that they were withdrawing from the race. However, a quick on-the-water repair was possible and the schooner is motoring down the Bay to catch the fleet for the offshore portion.
The Annapolis to Bermuda Ocean Race typically takes 5-7 days for most sailors, barring any significant weather (or lack of wind). Racers are planning to make landfall during the later half of this week. The race can be tracked online at www.bermudaoceanrace.com/ and race updates can be found on the Annapolis2Bermuda Facebook page at www.facebook.com/annapolis2bermuda.