The 2002 Bermuda Ocean Race (BOR) Annapolis - Bermuda
Date: June 7 to June 22, 2002. The start of the race was Friday June 7 at 4:10 pm in front of EYC at Annapolis. Chantecler was the first Division III boat to cross the finish line in Bermuda on Thursday June 13 at 4:40 am. We started the return trip on Monday June 17 around 10:00 am and arrived in Annapolis on Saturday June 22 around 3:00 am.
Rhumb line length: 751.3 nm. Actual distance sailed: 786.4 nm. Excess distance sailed: 35.1 nm
To illustrate, the round trip length on the rhumb line is about 2800 km (equivalent to the round trip Paris - Algiers - Paris).
This picture was taken from the RC boat by the Vice-Commodore of the St George's Dinghy & Sports Club. Chantecler (Sail #536) is reaching just behind Singularity and Shanty Irish is on our leeward side, going above proper course in an effort to gain clean air by preventing our passing.
More pictures and text at BOR Start
The BOR team gathering on Chantecler around our silver trophy. From left to right:
First row: Tim Quist, Jaffar Bentchikou, Paul Hillier, Larry Vazzano.
Second row: Santiago Dellepiane, Chad McMullin, Bertrand Bellegarde
More Pictures and text In Bermuda
More pictures of The Crew
We are under spinnaker at the bottom of the Bay, battling with two boats nearby. The wind is strong and the narrow opening of the Chesapeake Bridge-Tunnel is fast approaching. The wind is quite high on our port side and whatever room we had on our right to douse the spinnaker in case of sudden blow is fast disappearing. The causeway is now our lee shore and it is becoming closer and closer. I take the helm because our margin of safety was becoming narrower and ask every body to be ready for a douse. I aim at the mark that will give us our official Chesapeake Bay time and plan to leave it on Port, although I did not remember reading the Sailing Instructions that we had to leave it on a specific side. Port seemed at that time like a logical way of rounding that mark but a re-reading of the SIs after the race confirmed that both Port- and Starboard- roundings were legal. The dark-hulled boat takes the shortcut and leaves the mark well off Starboard. We record our time and prepare for the douse as we have to turn left and the wind and the waves in the ocean appear much stronger than in the Bay. The douse is slow and difficult and I go to the navigation table to look at the computer for the next heading. Believe it or not, but we had no waypoint set yet for the ocean race. We knew what we had to do in the Bay and we were planning to follow Jenifer Clark's route in the Ocean, but no waypoint was yet setup on the computer. All of a sudden, the task of setting waypoints on the computer from JC's charts seemed more difficult than in the morning of the start when we were at her briefing. The boat is moving around violently in all directions like a small cork and looking at that computer screen starts soon to become dizzying. I get a quick heading and head back fast to the more stomach-friendly cockpit.
I did not know at that time that the sea conditions were only going to be worse for the next 24 hours and that the Gulfstream and water dripping inside the cabin would make us shut down the computer. Furthermore, because dizziness slows your brain, I did not anticipate that we will have increasing discrepancies (due to the current) between boat heading and actual COG, Course Over Ground. Thus instead of following JC's route South of the rumbline, we slowly crossed that rumbline because of the Northward push of the Gulfstream and next time we checked, we were North of the rumbline. We had lost about one hour (to Singularity) in the Bay and may have easily lost a few more hours right there because the lack of a proper Gulfstream waypoint made us deviate quite a bit from our optimized route.
June 12 the wind is building we anticipate a stronger breeze as we approach Bermuda on this final night push. Our path and that of ‘Silver Bullet’ were finally converging after 3 plus days of horizon sightings. It offers comfort to see and hear others, even competitors, in this vast ocean. Bertrand, Santiago and I take watch at 22:00. ‘Silver Bullet’ is now ½ mile off our bow on the same heading…finish line bound. We check our course heading a few times, keep our speed up by flying the 89 m2 spin, a little chit chat, and we roll past ‘Silver Bullet’ to starboard. It is so dark that she is nothing more than running lights. We found out later in St. George’s that ‘Silver Bullet’ had been struggling to handle their spinnaker in building winds and eventually had to douse for control. Hence we were able to overtake them… After so many miles it was very exciting to power by an upper-class competitor so close to the finish.
As we near the waypoints to round the Bermuda reefs our VHF starts chirping, ‘Harbor Radio Harbor Radio this is the vessel Cat’s Paw…‘ We sighed collectively as they are not in our class. At 15 miles out the calls to Harbor Radio are more frequent. It was a real convergence on that morning. We made our call and continued to fly along under spinnaker in steady winds of 15 to 20 knots and gusts up to 25. The air was very heavy with humidity and we were humming along nicely at speeds above 14 knots. By this time, 2:00AM, all hands were on deck and below deck. It was Jaffar, Larry, and Paul on watch but none of us were going to sleep or relax until we made the spit buoy. I went below to call out headings; we rounded the reef, into the wind, set the number 3, and peeled off the spinnaker. Pound pound pound all the way to the finish. One more call to Harbor Radio at Mills Breaker. By this waypoint checking we had not heard our division competitors again on the VHF. This meant, by all our accounts and communications, we were leading our division and the finish would produce at least one trophy. Spit buoy: Q(3) 10s…finish June 13, 2002 4:40AM.
A fine and eventful run to the finish. Well-done team Chantecler!
I had been looking forward to my first offshore race & sail to Bermuda, it was a great first experience & I am ready to do it again. We had been learning to sail together as a team since the spring, but more importantly, unknowing to us at first, our practice taught us to think & act as a unit and individuals stood out as they were called upon. The Gulf Stream made a very exciting night, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less. I left watch at 2200, wind around 15k and the boat moving along fine, momentarily thinking we might want to reduce sail in preparation for the Gulf Stream. I had been asleep only minutes when the call came for more crew. The GS roared, 10+ waves and a NE wind 25+, every wave over the deck, and there were many, was like a warm shower. I was glad I did not have to go forward for the sail change to the #4, we moved from the mini-reef to reef #1 as well. For the next few hours we worked our way through the wind & sloppy chop, tacking a couple of times. Later we found ourselves sailing too far north, at the time there were not enough healthy crew available to consult the chart as the navigation computer was stored in a dry place as water was getting inside the cabin. Regardless of the foul weather gear used, everyone & everything was wet.
The J-105 is an exciting boat to sail and seems to exceed hull speed often. There were many nights under the stars in 15+k of wind I did not want to leave the helm sailing Chantecler at speeds exceeding 14k, Santiago held the speed record returning in the Gulf Stream under small spinnaker & 30k of wind at 17.9k! This BOR had a little of everything for me; a fast exit out of the Bay, heavy wind & seas, exciting sailing, light wind, flat seas, boring sailing, through-hulls flooding the forward cabin, flying fish in the cockpit, dolphins, shooting stars and an exciting finish, first in class to cross line.
Yesterday when I picked up the mail I was reminded of one of the most amazing journeys of my entire life. There it was, a thank you card, not from an old friend or some place that I purchased tires from, but from a small country. That county was Bermuda. I found it odd at first that a place that I visited for a few days would send a thank you card, but after a few moments of thought, it did not seem so out of place. The people and the hospitality of such a small world was amazing to take part in, and the camaraderie that was made between five men over the span of over a week was just as awesome.
How do you sum up a trip like the one that we had on the way back from Bermuda? Some words that come to mind are tiring, long, monotonous, stressful, scary, and at times hell on earth. Others are beauty, awe, thrill, and joy. The first day threw at us a test that would bring us all together for the rest of the trip. As Santiago and I started our first shift of the trip, we noticed that the bow of the boat was burying itself under each wave we went through, this seemed quite odd, and after investigation we discovered that we were taking water in the compartment under the V-berth. Upon a further look we noticed that the lockers were full with water, and overflowing at an alarming rate. We quickly awoke the rest of the crew, and like we were automatic bilge pumps we began to pump out the flooded V-berth. We all came together in a way I have never seen people come together before. No one panicked, no one sat to the side and we all pitched in together. Used at full capacity were the main electric bilge pump, the forward electric pump, the fixed manual bilge pump, the large hand pump and the two buckets. After a few minutes of realizing that the water was still coming in, we discovered what the origin of the problem was that the depth sounder transducer had popped out of its thru hull and we fixed it immediately. None of us gave up, and there was not a stressful feeling on the boat from this ordeal, until after we finished and realized just how lucky we were. The thing that I always say with that story, that is what I feel saved us the most, is that until the point that we left Bermuda right up to the point that we realized we were taking on water the wind was blowing 20 plus knots, and the waves were quite large (6-9 feet in the forecast we got before leaving the dock), Once we started to bail the boat out, the wind calmed and the waves appeared gentler. After the boat was bailed out and we were ready to go, the wind picked back up, and off we went.
When I say the wind picked back up, I mean that we did not have a break from that moment on. We skipped from squall to squall. Wind gusts well over thirty. In the early morning, middle of the day, and middle of the night. The most amazing squall we went through was in the middle of the night. That was when we realized that Mental Floss was with us on our journey back. They were in the distance and in the dark night we could see their lights on the horizon bouncing up and down with ours. Lightning crashed, and thunder rumbled. Few times have I been that excited. The funny thing is, we all stayed the same as in the past situation, no one panicked, no one gave up, and we stayed like a machine.
After rumbling on and on, we then came to the Gulf Stream, oh yeah. Winds were at a strong 30 plus going in, and we were having a wild ride under spinnaker, yes I said spinnaker. I can be corrected if I am wrong however I do not believe that the boat has made it over 18.5 knots since then, and it may be some time before it does. Needless to say reluctant me, took the helm, and had the less than privileged honor of ripping that shoot right in half. After about an hour of silence post destruction we all were able to have a laugh and joke of our new water speed record.
The Bay finished us off in only the way that the Bay can. Calm and glossy. Luckily we had plenty of fuel, however I would have preferred wind as the time would have gone by faster. I have only been out sailing once since then, it made me realize and respect many things. One is Mother Nature. You must respect the elements, and the weather when taking on a trip like that. The other is the power of teamwork. We could not have done a better job if we had a full crew, so that fact that we were down one person was something that makes me proud I was part of the adventure. Thanks should be mentioned to Jaffar. He really held us all together throughout. His leadership, and patience helped that boat win the award that it did, and make us the crew that we are. I will always hold a place in my heart for Chantecler and crew, and the adventure that we all shared that few weeks in June.
Our route and log is at: Our route and Log
The email exchanged with the boat is at: Email