On Sunday evening, over 130 crew members from the 30 ARC Europe boats in St. Georges assembled at the Dinghy Club to enjoy an evening of celebrations marking the end of the first stage of their Atlantic crossing.
The evening began with Gosling’s Rum Brand Director Andrew Holmes welcoming participants and guiding them through tasting samples of rum and sharing the story of their brand’s historical production on Bermuda. Back in 1806, James Gosling, the oldest son of a British wine and spirits merchant sailed to the new world to start new ventures. They chartered a schooner for 90 days when Mid-Atlantic, battling storms and pirates, the charter ran out. ‘You’ve got two options,’ said the skipper. ‘We sail back to London, or I drop you at the nearest British port.’ Determined to make his father proud, the ship pulled into St. Georges harbor and landed with over £10,000. To the few thousand inhabitants of Bermuda at that time – who’d been without any sort of libation – it was like the second coming of Christ! Two hundred years later, the Gosling’s brand lives on and is known for its Black Seal Rum, the main ingredient in the famed Dark & Stormy drink (Black Seal and ginger beer), popular now with sailors the world over.
Participants got the chance to taste the classic Black Seal rum, the amber Gold Rum, and the rare and expensive Family Reserve 20-year aged rum. And, of course, the sailors got the opportunity to purchase duty-free rum, which will be available to collect after check out ahead of Wednesday’s departure for Horta.
With the crews all warmed up thanks to Gosling’s, the team at the St. Georges Dinghy and Sports Club laid on a fish fry dinner ahead of the Prizegiving awards for the first leg of their Atlantic crossing. Once empty plates were cleared, Lyall Burgess took to the stage to present the prizes. Recognised first were the 7 boats joining the rally here; each were introduced and received a few dark’n stormy’s and great applause from their fellowparticipants.
As well as the competitive prizes awarded for the top boats in each of the classes, prizes were also given out to participants who contributed to the first leg in other ways. This year awards were given for Best Log by Ngahue IV, Best Pirate Costumes for the Selkie, the new ‘Featured Flag’ award to Devona for their great flag and spinnaker photo taken on board during Leg 1.
It was a pleasure to have Frank Jennings past Commodore of the Dinghy and Sports Club attend the evening and Lyall called him on stage to present the ‘Bermuda Onion’ – traditionally awarded to the last boat to arrive. In their psychedelic crew shirts, the crew of Migaloo came to collect the honour.
Prizes were then given out for the corrected time class winners on Leg 1b: Portsmouth to Bermuda to Flying Dolphin in 3rd place, North Wind in 2nd and Himmel topped the class with a corrected time of 5 days, 18 hours and 52 minutes.
Moving on to boats from the Nanny Cay start, the highly competitive Multihull Division was won by the rally’s only catamaran on leg 1, Chat Eau Bleu. Lyall reminded them that with Makara joining the rally here, their completion has doubled for the passage to the Azores!
In Class B (the smaller yachts), Oyster 47 Jubilate Mare (Jooo-Be-Lar-Tay Mar-Ray) took 3rd, Zeeland sailing double-handed took 2nd and class victory went to Peter and Paul on Yachting World Humphries 42 Firefly. In Class A (the larger yachts), Blonde Moment took 3rd, and Jeanneau Sun Odysey 54DS, Devona came second on corrected time.
The yacht in first place on corrected time for Class A is awarded the Brian Oatley Trophy each year. Brian, a Bermudian and former Commodore here at the club for many years was a great sailor and racer himself. He was known for being out in his boat to welcome all the race boats to Bermuda and was a big supporter of ARC Europe’s visits since they began 30 years ago. Sadly Brian passed away in 2013, and is sorely missed at the Club. Brian’s wife, Susan, came to the front and presented the perpetual trophy to double-handed crew Janna & Jukka on their Swan 48 Lumikki concluding the evening’s ceremony.
Click here for the full results
It’s been a quiet day in the Rally Office on Monday as many crews have been off exploring; some took a ferry down to the Historic Dockyard whilst others rented scooters to get around. 10 lucky crewmembers were also given a private tour of Bermuda Radio this morning. The annual tour is always a highlight – crews get to see the inner workings of the remarkable people they first speak with on the radio when they make the initial approach. With great professionalism, the station manages all commercial and private marine traffic on the island, and coordinates the arrivals and departures of over a thousand yachts a year.
The Skipper’s Briefing is set for tomorrow evening, and we’re looking good for an on-time start on Wednesday!