Friends and family of the Dorade crew gathered on the dock at IYRS today as the boat was readied for its first run at the Newport-Bermuda race in almost 80 years. There was a bit of a last-minute drama, as systems specialist Jim Thompson arrived at the boat just minutes before the scheduled departure, with several issues still to be resolved. The sun was shining and the wind already beginning to pick up as Dorade left the dock and made its way to the start line, with Jim and Jessica still working feverishly down below. Fortunately, arrangements had already been made for several of us — Pam, John’s wife Rachel and daughter Olivia, Jamie’s wife Tricia and his daughter Alex, along with other friends — to spectate at the start line on the Courageous tender with Rich Moody driving; so we were able to retrieve Jim well before the scheduled start at 1:10p.
Our view of the start was partially blocked the massive committee boat — a coast guard vessel that towered over the other fleet — but as far as we could tell Dorade made a good start — as Alex Hilton says, “no one is better at nailing the start than my dad” — and as of late this afternoon, Dorade appeared from the race tracking results on the regatta website to be at the front of her class, and slowly widening her lead. At 6:03 PM EDT, she was running about 7.80 knots @155 degrees, with 598.80 nm left to go. She’s the white icon at the front of the pack in this view from YellowBrick, the yacht tracking application accessible on the Bermuda Race website, or at this link: http://gae.yb.tl/nb2012