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Speedboat sets early pace to Bermuda

ImageAlex Jackson's 99ft super maxi Speedboat set the early pace as the 198-boat Newport Bermuda fleet began a second century of racing to the Onion Patch. The largest classes were in the Cruiser Division with 44 boats divided into three classes. The smallest was the entire Open Division, Class 16, with only four entries. Speedboat, the biggest boat in the race, caught up with the Double Handed class ahead in 7 minutes, including 10 minutes between their starts.


Before the start, Stan Honey, Speedboat's navigator predicted their finish time in Bermuda, 'Our ETA is around 1500 on Sunday, but we may get becalmed under a high system some hours before finishing.'

Under sparkling sunshine on a brilliant Newport afternoon, multiple boats were over the line early in the first 6 out of 16 classes at the start of this 46th Newport Bermuda Race. An ebb tide pushing against a nice 12 kt sea breeze forced the eager starters over the line in bunches. Taking a couple of tacks, the yachts passed out of the East Passage, into the Rhode Island Sound and headed south southeast to Bermuda.

Sinn Fein, a classic Cal 40, owned by Peter Rebovich Sr. of Metuchen New Jersey, got an excellent start in Class 1. Rebovich has taken Class 1 for three Newport Bermuda Races in a row and won the St David’s Lighthouse in 2006.

'Sinn Fein has placed first in Class 1 in the 2002, 2004, and the 2006 Newport to Bermuda races,' Rebovich commented, 'We have entered the 2008 Newport Bermuda Race to extend our Class 1 wins to four.'

'The Sinn Fein crew,' he continued, 'is made up of my two sons, along with long time members of the Raritan Yacht Club. On Wednesday nights, as well as on frequent weekends, I race Sinn Fein against their boats and crew.'

'Five of my 2008 crew raced on Sinn Fein in 2002,' Rebovich concluded. 'Six raced in the 2004 race and seven raced in the 2006 race thus keeping our core crew well intact. In last year's Halifax race we suffered the light air, fog, and strong currents south of Cape Sable. We are all looking forward the challengie of the Gulf Stream crossing as well as four or five days of good winds.'

The weather forecast predicts that the light air ‘hole’ Speedboat’s navigator expects to run into will dissipate and winds will build down the course as the smaller boats bring the breeze down to Bermuda with them. Rebovich may just get his 4th win and he certainly would like a matching bookend for his other Lighthouse trophy.

iBoattrack at www.iboattrack.com has live tracking of all the yachts.

http://www.charthorizon.com/races/2008_newport_bermuda/htdocs/leader_board.php?view_type=overall

 
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