Last Saturday morning, as the sun was barely peaking out from behind the horizon, the Ker 11.3 Oakcliff Racing, with its double-handed crew of Claudia Delahoy and Jeffrey MacFarlane (of Oyster Bay, N.Y.), began its entrance back into Newport (R.I.) Harbor after becoming the first boat to cross the finish line in the 2011 Ida Lewis Distance Race.
Delahoy and MacFarlane, who had never sailed together before, mastered the variable wind conditions on the 104-nautical-mile Buzzards Tower course, making it back to Newport by 5:44 a.m. after starting on Friday off Forth Adams at 1:05 p.m., with the rest of the 35 boat fleet.
“We didn’t get any sleep the whole time,” said Delahoy, explaining that the winds were much more consistent than originally forecasted, especially for those who took the southern route around Block Island rather than the northern route, which had lighter breeze. “We kept planning that if the wind died off we could take some breaks, but it didn’t and so we didn’t stop pushing. I think that is what got us the lead in the end.”