Bermuda Invitational

From November 17-19, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club hosted the Bacardi XL Catlin Bermuda Keelboat Invitational. On Thursday, a harbor postponement was posted for a few fleets, including the J/105s. It became clear it was a good decision as by 11am, gusts at Pearl Island were in excess of 45 knots with intermittent rain squalls flooding the streets. By noon, the RBYC PRO canceled racing for the day. The regatta is a unique format, as it’s invitation-only. Local Bermuda J/105 teams invite a non-Bermuda team to join them, so three "foreigners" join three "locals" to form a team of six crew. Then, the skippers of each group (Bermuda/foreigner) take turns skippering each race. Awards are given for the top three Bermuda skippers, the top three foreign skippers, and for the overall team leaders. It is a fun regatta format that produces camaraderie between the crews, particularly since the event sponsors include Bacardi. Friday dawned partly cloudy and sunny with a 10-12 knot westerly breeze. As the teams took off to get some early practice, it was evident it was going to be a difficult day to get in four to five races (the race day’s schedule). Over the course of the day, the wind direction changed 70 degrees at least twice, and during the racing there was little rhyme or reason to the wind shifts as the cloud lines passed by, often producing 30-45 degree shifts per leg and at least twice per race. After four races on Friday, local Star World Champion Peter Bromby’s team on AIRFORCE from the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club posted a very consistent 1-2-3-1 to take the lead with 7 points total. Just behind them was Jon Corless’s MAYHEM from Royal Bermuda YC posting a 4-3-2-3 for 12 points and James Macdonald’s PASSION from RBYC in third with a 3-7-1-2 for 13 points. Saturday dawned with one rain squall after another sweeping the Great Sound. Forecasted was a rapid increase of breeze from 10-20 knots to 20-35 knots, accompanied by massive rain squalls. The RBYC PRO took no chances and simply postponed for one hour. As expected, the weather did not improve at all and got dramatically worse. At that point, it was time to put the boats away and celebrate the coronation of the winners of Friday’s racing by early afternoon. For more information, visit http://rbyc.bm/.

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