Lessons of a Bermuda Race skipper
Published on September 22, 2015
The Newport Bermuda Race entry process may seem daunting. But as this report by a former first-timer shows, it’s not all that difficult when done with care. Philip Dickey, the author, skippered his Swan 46 Flying Lady in the 2012 race (they raced again in 2014)…
PDI learned valuable lessons. Most important, I learned that the safety and health of the crew are a skipper’s most important concerns. You are unlikely to win your class in your first race, but you are certain to face awesome responsibility for your crew and their loved ones as you race your boat over 600 miles offshore on the way to Bermuda.
Not only is the Newport Bermuda Race the oldest and arguably the most prestigious of the popular offshore races open to amateurs, it is especially challenging because it takes you far offshore and out of range of rescue helicopters and Coast Guard vessels. This race is the Everest of offshore racing. Most of the Bermuda Race is beyond coastal helicopter range, so if you need outside assistance beyond advice by satellite phone, you likely will need to call a commercial vessel to rescue you, your crew, and your boat.
The best way to avoid having to be rescued is to engage in meticulous preparation. To prepare for this race you must do three things: Prepare the boat for safety, prepare the crew for safety, and prepare the skipper for the responsibility for the health, in addition to the safety, of the crew. Read more