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2010 Carina fell among calms that left many boats motionless. ‘You always know you’re going to sail into a hole in this race,’ Potts said after that race. ‘The question is whether you ever get out!’ Carina subsequently went on to sail another one and a half times around the world. In order, she took in the 2011 transatlantic race, the Fastnet Race, a west-about circumnavigation under the command of the next Potts generation, the 2012 Sydney Hobart Race, the long sail home to Connecticut and, finally, the 2012 Bermuda Race. This last was a windy downwind affair that delivered a new course record of 39h 39m (average, 16kt) set by George David’s 80ft Rambler. After Carina was presented with another Lighthouse Trophy by Bermuda


Governor Sir Richard Gozney, there were touching scenes as Rives Potts invited onto the podium all present who had sailed on Carina in the boat’s 43-year history. In moments he was surrounded by two dozen jubilant men and women whose race expe- rience stretched back well into the 1950s. As one of the world’s oldest ocean races has illustrated year on year, while there are always strong continuities in any offshore race, there are also striking differences with each new edition. Sometimes the ‘holes’ are big, and sometimes they are small. The 2014 Bermuda Race’s 164 boats quickly fell into a sea of baffling currents and light winds. The crews that did best reported that they’d sailed as though they were in a day race back home, tacking on every shift, however small.


After the race, in the Navigator Forum at which the best-placed navigators share their tactics, the moderator, oceanogra- pher Frank Bohlen, declared that the most valuable tool that year was not a computer pulling in weather maps but a pair of binoculars trained firmly on the clouds. And in 2014 the winner of the 99-boat Lighthouse division was a boat that in con- cept was much like Finisterre, the domi- nant boat of the 1950s. A modified Hinck- ley Bermuda 40 centreboard yawl designed by Bill Tripp, Actaea was sailing her 10th Bermuda Race under the command of an exceptional yachtsman named Michael Cone. After finishing dead last in his first race in 1996, Cone swore he would never sail the race again. His mind was quickly changed by the winner of that race, George Coumantaros, whose Boomerang is one of the few maxi boats ever to win a Bermuda Race on corrected time.


Coumantaros had been racing to Bermuda since 1952, 26 races in all, each with a disappointing result… until that year. ‘We’ve been like Jason chasing the Golden Fleece,’ Coumantaros said at the time. ‘I’d like to give all who sail for the Lighthouse Trophy some advice: don’t despair, keep trying, and if you don’t win it by the time you are 75, withdraw.’ Cone recalled, ‘At the time I was genuinely upset after trailing everyone home, and George addressed that feeling in his wonderful speech. So I decided to come back.’ He did, again and again. Eventually it paid off.





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