Date: Monday, June 5, 2017
Position: At anchor in St. George’s Harbor, Bermuda
Sail Training International (STI) has postponed the start of the race to Boston.
The delay is weather based. The Western North Atlantic is kicking off a phase of boisterous weather and it was thought best to avoid and/or reduce exposure to the racing fleet. There is a lot of time – the Rendez-vous armada is not expected to parade into Boston until Saturday, June 17. The overall distance is 800+ nautical miles as the race is laid out (going out around George’s Bank, east of Cape Cod). At 100 nautical miles a day that would be 8 days. So even if start is delayed to late Wednesday afternoon or 48 more hours to late Friday afternoon, there is between 7 and 9 days to cover the distance, and always the fall back to “calling” the race if the fleet actually winds up going too slow.
So what do you do with visiting vessels who can’t depart and more vessels who are scheduled to arrive because of the America’s Cup competition? On the one hand, Monday’s Parade of Sail will go off as scheduled (it did). On the other hand, you explain how the special guest status of each vessel is changing to that of average/typical visiting “yacht.” With limited dockside space and much of it already committed for new arriving vessels, all remaining vessels are invited to go to anchor. But add the “helpful news” that some Tall Ships Bermuda volunteers have volunteered again to be available for last minute desires for errands to run ashore. And that is no small gesture! And it is very much appreciated!!
For some vessels, the waiting period could be a pleasantly quiet and productive time. For others, it could be a good sail-training/ship-familiarization opportunity. There is always maintenance, but also a chance for some relaxation. Movie night? Swim call? It will be frustrating to deal with the delayed start for some. As I am finishing this log, the Italian Navy cadet training ship, Amerigo Vespucci, proceeded to sea at the end of the Parade of Sail. I can only assume she will bob about until the eve of the formal Sail Boston® entry Parade of Sail set for Saturday, June 17. Picton Castle has a full load of around 40 trainees, aging from teenager to septuagenarian. It seems the possibility of being idle at anchor is not conducive to good moral. They likely have great visions of voyaging. Stuck aboard a virtual island nation with little privacy and strict leadership might be a challenge to accept. But if you go to sea, there is the “battle of the sea” to occupy such a wide range of perspectives. Eh? And bobbing on the ocean in rougher conditions won’t be nearly as personal or close as such aboard a much smaller vessel.
Pride of Baltimore II? I am opting to wait. Plenty to do to care for the ship, not the least of which is getting her clean down below. With all the other post Charleston-Bermuda race needs, the down below aspect of the ship had to be put on hold. Meanwhile, I watch the weather along with everyone else, looking to see if it might make a difference to wait until the late part of the start window or not. Hmm…
Captain Jan C. Miles