For Steve Gordon, the 22nd Marion Bermuda Race will be his first. Starting Friday (June 14) he will race his Alden 50 sloop ‘Elena’ in the 645 nautical mile ‘Race to the Rock’ with two goals in mind— win and have fun. He will enjoy all the adventure his first Marion Bermuda Race promises to deliver.
Steve and ‘Elena’ arrived in Marion on Sunday after a quicker than expected delivery trip up the coast from Connecticut. Arriving a day earlier than planned might be a sign of anticipation.
In a brief interview at the Beverly YC, Gordon explained that he had done his first two races with ‘Elena’ and was pleased with their performance in the Edlu Distance Race and then excited with taking first in class, first in fleet and best overall performance in the Block Island Race.
“Those were the exact conditions,” Gordon said, “that we hope for in the Marion Bermuda Race. The results of this race were very encouraging.”
‘Elena’ has some new sails for this race that seem to be doing the trick. In an interview with UK Sail’s Adam Loory, crew member Ron Weiss said, “We found that the double headsail rig with the staysail and the #2 were a fantastic combination when slightly cracked off. We could really power up the boat while maintaining a balanced helm, and by playing the in-mast roller reefing main we could fine-tune things when we were going through sustained periods of high breeze, or lulls - if you can call 18-20 knots lulls!”
Every owner wants to optimize his boat for this long, offshore classic. Each has his own way of doing it. Boat preparation and sail inventory are keys to top performance. Research and planning pay off while luck (opportunity taken advantage of) is also important.
Gordon said, “We are very much looking forward to doing the Marion Bermuda Race, and we certainly hope that this year's conditions match what our new sails were built for. If the weather is right for it, we think we can expect another tremendous performance.”