3 minutes 11 seconds was all to divide Richard du MOULIN and Chris REYLING'S New York based Express 37 LORA ANN at the end of the 630 mile Newport Bermuda Race from their second placed rivals Hewitt Gaynor and Jay Raymond on MIREILLE.
It is one of the closest race finishes yet for this Corinthian class. The result could have gone either way, and after crossing the St David's Lighthouse finish line, there was no one more surprised than Du Moulin himself. "We really thought we had lost this one. At the position reports on the last morning at sea, we learned that Hewitt and Jay were 35 miles dead upwind of us and only 18 miles from Bermuda. Their J-120 is a faster boat than ours and has to give us around 6 hours in time, but we had an awful last day, and though we worked real hard to make best of the wind, we didn't think we had done enough to win."
The LORA ANN skipper recalled today.
This is the second Bermuda race in a row that Du Moulin and Reyling have conquered this marathon. "We beat MIREILLE two years ago too, but Hewitt and Jay have beaten us in the last two Block Island races. We are great rivals, but great friends too and we talked to each over the radio during the race."
Du Moulin, an America's Cup veteran added.
Their greatest challenge came as they entered the Gulf Stream. "It was blowing 35 knots from the North - too much for us to have a spinnaker up - so we sailed down with the reacher winged out."
At one point during this rough water crossing, they had to gybe to keep on course for Bermuda, and chose to tack round head to wind to avoid any chance of breakages. "When we got down here, we found that several other crews had done the same. When sailing with just two onboard, you push the boat as hard as a fully crewed boat, but have to know when to be prudent. Over a long distance like this, we can sail as fast, if not faster than a fully crewed yacht of our size, downwind at least, but we are much slower at maneuvers. You have to anticipate things well ahead. If you don't then everything starts to unravel fast."
"Sailing two-handed is a great style of racing."
The Larchmont skipper added. "Really, you are sailing singlehanded, because while you are on deck, your partner is asleep. The big difference is that there is always a pair of eyes on deck, which makes it much safer. I find it so challenging because you have to develop all the skills. You might not be the best in any one role, but you have to be able to steer, change sails, navigate, cook and make repairs."
David SHARPE and David SHAEFFER, sailing the J 120 ANTARES finished last in this class, but gained just as much enjoyment from the challenge of sailing this race short-handed. "We have a good autopilot, but we steered by hand for 90% of the time."
Sharpe, from Avendale PA. said today. He is something of a veteran of this biennual classic, this being his fourth race. The last two he has sailed with David Shaeffer from Annapolis MD. "We are both very confident with each other. In this kind of racing, you have to be with someone you can trust. After all, your life is entrusted with your partner."
Sharpe is quick to praise the performance of Du Moulin and Reyling on LORA ANN. "Richard is a great amateur sailor"
he says. But in most eyes, anyone completing the 635-mile classic in this tough two-hander class are winners.
All results and race information is posted on the event website at the address below.