This year's race from Newport, RI, to Bermuda opened with two of the fastest and most delightful days and nights of sailing I have ever had. Close-reaching in a 20-knot southwesterly breeze, under a full moon, Kirawan
made over 200 miles in her first 24 hours at sea and then again in her second. The moon and breeze waned on the third day, and the fun eventually was replaced by frustrationbut not without an amazing bit of seamanship that I'll soon describe. When we finished the 635-mile course in three days and 22 hours, we had every reason to believe that we'd seen almost everything.
The 176-boat fleet was a near-record turnout. This attendance can be attributed in part to the good economy, but largely to the challenges of the course, the joys of Bermuda, and the superb organization of the race sponsorsthe Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Cluband their assiduous attention to encouraging good boats and good seamanship. This race lures the same boats and sailors back, race after race. Nobody has raced to Bermuda more often than my friend Jim Mertz, who started out in a big schooner in 1936 and this year competed in his 28th race aboard his J/44. Large numbers of sailors who first went to sea as youngsters bashing across the Gulf Stream are now going out there with their own children.