Bermuda Ocean Race 1986

Start of the 1986 Bermuda Ocean Race (BOR), Annapolis to St. Georges
Ghosting at the Start
 In 1986 Tim Kirkpatrick entered his one year old Sweden Yacht 38, Saker, in the Bermuda Ocean Race (BOR) from Annapolis to St. David.  The crew on this race in addition to Tim and myself included Peter Bell, Cynthia (Chunkies) Chin, Don Deering, Fred Selover, Sean Kirkpatrick, and Howard (Pete) Parker.  The 1986 BOR was the first ocean race for everyone in the crew except Peter Bell.After ghosting across the starting line under spinnaker a light breeze filled in from the south and we started a slow beat down the bay.We entered the ocean the following morning along with most of the other boats in our class.  By that time the we were sailing under overcast skies and a freshening breeze.  We would not see the sun again until after we had docked at the St. Georges Sport and Dinghy Club in Bermuda
 The overcasts skies produced lots of wind and rain with occasional heavy rain
In Foul Weather Gear for Most of the Race

A Soaked Chunkies
 There were few watches that did not include at least one sail change down and one back up.  
In the ocean the breeze continued to fill out of the southwest.  Making for a beam reach in 15 - 25 knots wind.  We were routinely running at 8 - 9 knots of speed through the water.  Most of the fleet elected to sail well south of the rhumb line.  We elected to sail only far enough south of the direct course to allow for a northern push from the Gulf Stream.  This strategy reflected our inexperience with this race and we would pay for it at the finish.   
Peter Bell at the Helm, Flying Chunkies' Teddy
While beam reaching toward the Gulf Stream on the first day we were passed by a Swede 55 (completely different design and construction than the Sweden Yacht 38).  This boat would  be the first yacht to finish.  It is a boat built for a beam reach in a fresh breeze and they got their conditions all the way to the finish line. 
 We had elected to not rig any sea berths on Saker, but instead covered the cabin sole with foam panels.  We slept on that foam and sail bags the entire way to Bermuda.  Given the number of sail changes we were performing each watch, no one had trouble dropping off to sleep even when the berth was a soaking wet #3 Genoa.

Myself, Off Watch, Sleeping on a Wet Sailbag

Don Deering, Off Watch

Don, Getting Ready to Go On Watch

Bunkmates, Deering and Bell
Tim Kirkpatrick at the Helm
 On the other side of the Gulf Stream we caught the bottom half of a cold water eddy and got a slingshot push toward Bermuda.  In spite of being passed by the Swede 55 the previous day we were feeling really good about our speed and navigation.
Sean Kirkpatrick

St. Geoges Dinghy Club Dock
 We made landfall on Bermuda around 3:00 AM of the fourth day out and crossed the finish line off St. David just before sunrise.  We were elated to discover only three other boats at the dock in St. Georges when we entered the harbor.  One of those boats was not in our class and the other two owed us time (on PHRF) so we knew we had finished no worse than third in our class.
 After we were secured to the dock and had downed complimentary Heinekens we brought all of the wet sails and clothes on deck.  
Drying Out Saker

Saker, Moored to the St. Georges Dinghy Club Dock
At the awards ceremony two days later Tim received the 3rd place trophy for our class.  We also learned that two of the boats that finished ahead of us beat far south of the rhumb line before running to Bermuda under spinnakers.  One of those boats was the overall winner of the race.  Since we knew we were faster than both of these boats on a beat we believe we could have beaten both of them across the line if we had sailed the same course.    
Bagpipes at the Awards Ceremony

Presenting the Awards
 If that had happened we might have been the overall winner rather than 3rd in class.  Even then we only lost to the 2nd place boat by a few minutes (after 700 miles of sailing).  So one or two sail changes were the real difference.  Still we were very satisfied to win any kind of metal on our first ocean race.
After several days touring Bermuda we departed and cruised Saker back to the states. 

Royal Navy Dockyards

Anchorage Off the Dinghy Club
All of the pictures on this page were taken by Fred Selover. 
I brought a small Kodak Disk Camera (remember those things?) with me, but I put it in one of the sail lockers at the start of the race then promptly forgot about it.  When we got to Bermuda I found the camera swimming in salt water.  Needless to say whatever pictures might have been on the disk were lost.  Surprisingly I just washed the camera off with fresh water and it continued to take pictures for several more years.
Unfortunately I kept Fred's pictures on stock for over 10 years before I scanned them into a digital format.  Much of the color had faided by then.  I also wasn't that adept at the scanning process.  Thank god for digital cameras.

Fred Selover, Sailing Mentor to Myself and Many Others