Records at risk in Bermuda sail race

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On the eve on the 48th Bermuda Race skippers, navigator and crews are talking about breaking records. Chris Branning, navigator of Mark Watson’s Team Tiburon, said Wednesday evening, “I think we’ll break the record … but someone else will set the record.”

Watson, owner of the Reichel/Pugh 74, was even more confident: “Finishing so early will really hurt my bar tab at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Bar, but I’ll be able to spend more time with my family in Bermuda.”

Sunday is Father’s Day.

This is setting up as a big boat race if conditions evolve as predicted. Winds at the start are predicted to be 10-15 knots from the northeast, maybe a spinnaker start for the first time since 2002.

Winds should build down the course and across the Gulf Stream then lighten around Bermuda’s “Happy Valley” on Sunday. The smaller, slower boats may have a tough time clawing down the course as the breeze lightens and shifts to the south.

The Newport Bermuda Race has two records, one for Open Division boats at 48 hours, 28 minutes, 31 seconds set by Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory in 2004 and the “official” record for traditional designs set by Roy Disney’s 75-foot Pyewacket is at 53 hours, 39 minutes, 22 seconds.

Will records fall? Follow the fleet on the Yellowbrick tracker system. Go to http://bermudarace.com and click on the Race Tracker button on the left side

Race news is also posted on the Newport Bermuda Race 2012 Facebook page and on Twitter at @BdaRace.