The 2023 Marion to Bermuda Race, which departed Marion, Massachusetts, on June 16, will be remembered for a new course speed record and as one of the toughest endurance tests in the race’s long history. While line honors for sailing 705 nautical miles in 2 days, 17 hours, 16 minutes, 14 seconds went to the Reichel-Pugh 66 Boudicca owned by Richard Moody of Jamestown, Rhode Island, much of the rest of the fleet faced different weather entirely. Seven days after the start, the last of the 32-boat fleet crossed the finish line off St. David’s Lighthouse on Friday, June 23, marking 163 hours of elapsed racing time.
Great sailing conditions contributed to Boudicca’s impressive performance, as did skirting a big low and some very heavy weather through the Gulf Stream, while the rest of the fleet encountered everything from fast moving squalls to completely still air, with the lightest winds testing patience and skill. Boudicca sailed in the Performance Class, a new addition to the race that looked to expand race eligibility to more performance-focused cruising boats. Boudicca beat the previous record set in 2011 by the 76-foot Briand, Lilla, owned by Simon and Nancy DiPietro, of 2 days, 20 hours, 58 minutes, 45 seconds.
Although Boudicca held a commanding lead for fleet line honors and the Performance Class, Lyric, an X-Yachts X 49 skippered by Jay Hansen, also from Jamestown, finished second over the line and second in the Performance Class, while The Rover, a Swan 44 Mk II sailed by Steven Yang of Westbrook, Connecticut, was third over the line. The U.S. Naval Academy Offshore Sailing Team’s Navy 44 Defiance, skippered by midshipman Phillip Pacheco, was second overall on corrected time, while Mara, an Able Apogee 50 sailed by Alex Tarakhovsky of Newport, was third overall on corrected time and first in Founders Class A.
For many in the race, the distance between the top finisher and their own estimated time of arrival began to stretch on for many days.
“For those of us who have done a number of these races, we sometimes think getting through Buzzards Bay can be the most difficult part of the race, but not this time,” said Ray Cullum, a longtime event organizer from the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion as well as a competitor who sailed on his Dixon 44, Frolic. “The Gulf Stream was such that many of us went east of the rhumb line or along the eastern side, and we were then hit with some fairly significant weather. We had 40-mile-per-hour winds and 6- to 7-foot seas. We crossed the Gulf Stream and hit a major lull with very light, if any, wind. We had nine boats retire then, and we had two retire before the Gulf Stream. We then had a heavy weather system towards Bermuda. Ultimately, the weather took its toll on us and the boat, and we decided to retire after five days. We reached Bermuda on Friday, the day before the awards.”
Racers and their families and friends gathered at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in Bermuda on Saturday, June 24, to honor the top finishers and applaud a number of special awards given to different categories of racers and boats, including the boat with the best combined performances in consecutive Newport Bermuda and Marion Bermuda races, those navigated celestially, those raced shorthanded, those raced by crew from the same family, and the crew with highest average age.
“The Marion to Bermuda Race is a serious ocean race that allows sailors the ability to race against each other with their family and friends. We all love the Corinthian nature of this race,” noted Cullum. “We like that it is a purely amateur race and we do not have a professional class. We want to keep it a family and friend’s race. However, we do want to keep up with the technology, and we have seen cruising boats now that are far lighter and faster than those of old.”
The event has been organized by three clubs: Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in Bermuda, and Blue Water Sailing Club. Thirteen boats from the fleet retired during various points of the race due to equipment issues or lack of wind. Some returned to Massachusetts, others continued under engine power to Bermuda. Among these was the Spirit of Bermuda, which was also the only boat in the Sail Training Class. Therefore, no awards were given in that class.
Line Honors, Top 3
* indicates Celestial Class
1. Boudicca, Richard Moody (Jamestown, RI) – Reichel-Pugh 66, 65:16:14
2. Lyric, Jay Hansen (Jamestown, RI) – X-Yachts X 49, 115:21:49
3. The Rover, Steven Yang (Westbrook, CT) – Swan 44 MKII, 117:14:11
Corrected Time, Top 3
1. Boudicca, Richard Moody (Jamestown, RI) – Reichel-Pugh 66, 65:16:14
2. Defiance, Phillip Pacheco and Dylan Medina (Annapolis, MD) – Pierson Composites Navy 44 MKII, 77:35:34 *
3. Mara, Alex Tarakhovsky (Newport, RI) – Able Apogee 50, 79:16:29
1. Boudicca, Richard Moody (Jamestown, RI) – Reichel-Pugh 66
2. Lyric, Jay Hansen (Jamestown, RI) – X-Yachts X 49
3. Scylla, Aneas Dodd-Noble (New Jersey) – Sirena Marine Azuree 46
Founders Class A
1. Mara, Alex Tarakhovsky (Newport, RI) – Able Apogee 50
2. The Rover, Steven Yang (Westbrook, CT) – Swan 44 MKII
3. Arkana, Bradford Gibbs (Newport, Rhode Island) – Jeanneau SunFast 3300
Founders Class B
1. Defiance, Phillip Pacheco and Dylan Medina (Annapolis, MD) – Pierson Composites Navy 44 MKII *
2. Yaquina, Charles Samuelson (Padanaram, MA) – Beneteau First 42 *
3. Integrity, Aidan Johnson and Jaden Tabak (Annapolis, MD) – Navy 44 MK II STC *
Founders Class C
1. Silhouette, David Caso (Duxbury, MA) – Cherubini 44
2. Wind Chime, Thomas Greaves (Boston, MA) – Bristol 35.5 CB
3. Yankee Girl, Thomas Vander Salm & Johnathan Bixby (Marblehead, MA) – Morris Justine *
Bermuda Ocean Cruising Trophy Pinaccle, Peter Torosian (Atkinson, MA) – Tartan 4100
Sponsored by SAIL magazine and awarded to the skipper who has the best finish time in consecutive Marion Bermuda and Newport Bermuda Finisterre Division Races.
• Goslings Founders Trophy Boudicca, Richard Moody (Jamestown, RI) – Reichel-Pugh 66
Awarded to the yacht with the best overall corrected time.
• Blue Water Sailing Club Board of Governor’s Trophy Boudicca, Richard Moody (Jamestown, RI) – Reichel-Pugh 66
Awarded to the yacht with the shortest elapsed time on the course.
• Celestial Trophy presented by Celestaire Pinaccle, Peter Torosian (Atkinson, MA) – Tartan 4100
Awarded to the celestial navigator who is judged ‘best’ according to the panel of Celestaire Judges.
• Navigator’s Trophy and Beverly Yacht Club Polaris Trophy Defiance, Phillip Pacheco and Dylan Medina (Annapolis, MD) – Pierson Composites Navy 44 MKII
Awarded to the navigator of the first-finishing celestial yacht.
• L. Bryon Kingery Jr. Memorial Trophy Silhouette, David Caso (Duxbury, MA) – Cherubini 44
Awarded to the first-finishing short-handed yacht, with three or four people aboard.
• Double-Handed Trophy Ventus, Henri Brink and Leon Brink-Bredella (Boston, MA) – Hanse 415
Awarded to the first-finishing yacht of two sailors.
• Beverly Family Trophy Leviathan, Dennish Walsh (Mattapoisett, MA), Queen Long Stevens Custom 47
Awarded to the first family-crewed yacht with either five or more or all but one member of the crew being members of a single household or family.
• Offshore Youth Challenge Trophy Defiance, Phillip Pacheco and Dylan Medina (Annapolis, MD) – Pierson Composites Navy 44 MKII
Awarded to the yacht with at least four youths aboard.
• Bartram Tophy Integrity, Aidan Johnson and Jaden Tabak (Annapolis, MD) – Navy 44 MK II STC
Awarded to the best-performing yacht from a U.S. service academy, maritime college or ROTC program.
• Ancient Mariners Golden Teapot Yankee Girl, Thomas Vander Salm & Johnathan Bixby (Marblehead, MA) – Morris Justine
Awarded to the crew with the highest average age.
• Hickley/Morris Mini Class Trophy Yankee Girl, Thomas Vander Salm & Johnathan Bixby (Marblehead, MA) – Morris Justine