YYZ Victorious in the 2018 Newport Bermuda

yyz Celebrates victory in the newport bermuda race 

yyz Celebrates victory in the newport bermuda race 

On June 19th, after 108 hours elapsed time crossing the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, in the faint light of the early dawn, we crossed the finish line bearing 276 degrees True from Saint David’s Lighthouse, to win the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race. 

In addition to First in Class, we won the Saint David’s Lighthouse Overall Performance Trophy, which is awarded to the yacht with the best corrected time over the 2nd and 3rd boats across the largest division in a fleet of almost 200 racing yachts.  

Click for the Race Recap and the YYZ NBR 2018 Video

YYZ Completes the 50th Anniversary Newport Bermuda Race

This past June, YYZ successfully completed the 50th anniversary running of the Newport Bermuda Race, placing fourth in her class. We had ten crew with over 300 distance races and we prepared for almost a year. Despite pre-race weather drama, and a post-race hospitalization for the Captain, the experience was outstanding.

For the full story and some photos, you can click here and please feel free to post your comments and memories below! 


YYZ completes the Block Island Race 2015


The bad news: we didn't win. 

The good news: we were actually quite competitive in both elapsed time and corrected time. 

I think we should be pleased with the result.  We sailed the boat well.  We only had a few problems and those we managed very well.  I think the problem with the lashing on the head of the A3 probably cost us a place or three in the results.  But we still beat the Russian spy! 

This was a tough race, we screamed out the Sound hitting 13 knots, a new record for YYZ, and a speed I was pretty sure she could achieve.  But we all suspected we were going to be punished on the return. We were able to carry the A3 all the way out to 1BI and around the east side of Block Island.  When we got to the bottom of Block Island, the whole game changed.  The north-west wind and ebb current pushed us south on starboard tack and it was a chore not to sail backwards on our waypoint on the port tack.  But we were not alone with those conditions. We could see the whole fleet trying to lay Plum Gut and then having to tack through.  The seas were confused and the wind was strong and on the nose. 

Dan Galyon on his new Dragonfly 32 trimaran "Infidel", which averages 15-18 knots, finished only one hour ahead of us.  He had a heck of a time getting through the Gut, having to tack several times.  It seems our joke about pointing to the eastern end of Plum Island wasn't so far off, as if we were going to go through the Sluiceway, and then we might have been able to lay the Gut.  It turns out the Swan 43 "Hiro Maru" did just that (see below). 

Incidentally, Dan and his crew couldn't figure out why their furling Code 0 wouldn't unfurl and then someone took a look in the sail bag and realized that nobody had attached the head swivel! So we aren't the only ones who are learning. Even the famed neurosurgeon from American Girl is still learning. 

Hiro Nakajima, owner of the classic Swan 43 "Hiro Maru" had his steering cable snap as they were approaching 1BI and their spinnaker was shredded as they rounded up on the loss of rudder.  They sailed the rest of the race with emergency tiller, which was impressive, considering they had to adjust from a wheel to a tiller, and the tiller pointed backwards, meaning the helmsman had to do a "double mental conversion" going from wheel steering to the opposite motion of tiller steering to the opposite motion of backward tiller steering.  

Apart from the broken steering, Hiro said they had exactly the same wind and current experience that we had rounding the bottom of Block Island and they sailed, as we did, to the foul areas of Montauk. Interestingly, they took a gamble and tacked way north and went through the Sluiceway, which we had talked about.  I have always been nervous about going through the Sluiceway but Hiro said it's very doable and you just have to watch for the one shallow spot. 

When the head of the spinnaker fell down into the sea, my immediate thought was "DNF, we are out of the race", which would have been really disappointing.  But the crew responded magnificently, steering the boat so the sail wouldn't shrimp or get fouled under the boat, and the rest of us gathering the sail onto the deck.  When the head of the A3 was finally recovered, I was astonished to see it fully intact with no damage. Then we discussed how to retrieve the halyard because we had assumed the shackle had broken and that someone was going up the mast to retrieve it. But then we discovered the torque rope was still intact and fully hoisted! When we let it down, we discovered that the high tech dyneema/spectra line that had lashed the head to the torque loop had come undone. 

Realizing we could still sail with the A3, we discussed briefly whether to hoist it "commando" or reattached to the torque rope. Tacitly, we were probably leery of attempting a traditional douse of a spinnaker that large, at night, so we got a large metal shackle from the rigging hardware box and fastened the head of the sail to the head of the torque rope, ran the tapes just to be sure, talked through the hoist and up went the A3, it filled out, and we were off.  I'm so glad I cleaned out Post Marine of rigging hardware when they had their going-out-of-business sale.  That big fat wide-mouth shackle that I wondered if I might never have a use for came in handy at just the right time. 

Last year, we did four races. The first race, the Stamford Overnight, we fouled the furling A3 so badly we were headless on the east side of Stratford Shoal for something like half an hour.  Then we did the RYC Stratford Shoal Race, the Vineyard Race, and the Gearbuster.  After that season with those four races, we had pretty much debugged the boat.  Over the winter, we had the 155% light #1 genoa made, added stacked foot blocks with stoppers leading to the primary winches, shortened and re-spliced the drive line for the furling spinnaker, and managed to get our PHRF rating adjusted favorably.  

Overall, last season was a learning curve and we were not especially competitive, but we did pretty well and had a great time.  With this Block Island Race done, we found we could make the boat competitive and still have a great time. 

Thanks everyone for joining. 

Stepping the Mast

Skip Crocker saw a break in the freakish weather over the last few days and seized the opportunity to step the mast on YYZ. Can you believe there is snow on the dock and on YYZ's deck??!!  But, then again, YYZ comes from the north! 

Thank you Skip and Verne and all the folks at Crockers and Eastern Yacht Sales for your masterful work managing all that heavy equipment. That's quite a set of toys you have there! 

Commissioning of YYZ is well underway

The team from Dockside Electronics have started installing all the navigation and entertainment systems. Port Niantic are evaluating options for the electrical system, including upgrading the alternator, the batteries, and installing the inverter and charge management systems. Custom Covers are commencing work on the windshield, dodger, and bimini. Of course Verne and John at Eastern Yachts are busy with the rigging and a hundreds of other details. 

YYZ arrives in New London !!

After making her way from France across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the container ship "Atlantic Concert", YYZ was offloaded to a transport truck. She then made her through Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut, to arrive in New London today where she will be unwrapped, transferred by Crocker's Boatyard to the travel lift, and moved into a hanger for commissioning.  Images inside. 

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In sailing there is a term called “lift” which is both technical and poetic at once. It describes the moment of acceleration in a sailboat—the moment when the sails harden against the wind forcing the keel sideways against the water, and the boat begins to slide forward, faster and faster, until you can suddenly feel what William Buckley meant by the title of his sailing book Airborne. How something moving so slowly—about the pace of a moderate jog—can impart such exhilaration in this moment is probably unanswerable. Hang gliding, dropping in a parachute, doing barrel rolls in a light airplane—the thrills are easy to understand. But at seven miles an hour the moment of lift in a sailboat is just as much a leap off the earth. Airborne.

From “Setting Sail”, by Tony Chamberlain 
Boston Globe, July 20, 1979