A LITTLE BLACK MAGIC

Light winds dominated the 2018 Newport to Bermuda Race. Shown here is the starboard watch on the Marten 49 SUMMER STORM. From the wheel forward: Andrew Berdon, Alden Winder, Ben Cormack, Walker Potts. Josh Reisberg photo.

For Adam Loory, General Manager of UK Sailmakers International, his funniest memory of the year was an incident that occurred during the 630-mile Newport to Bermuda Race. Adam was sailing on Andrew Berdon’s Marten 49 SUMMER STORM. As Adam tells it:

“This was my eighth race to Bermuda and it was a light air affair. At one point while spending my off-watch sleeping on deck, I was awakened by the frustrated Starboard watch crew who had run out of wind. As if out of a last resort, the owner Andrew Berdon asked me if I had any ideas how to get the boat moving again. I looked around at the sails, the sea and the sky and gave a shrug. Then, I spotted a small puff of wind a boat length to windward that none of the guys on watch had seen. They had become so frustrated that they had given up looking for wind.

“I said “head up,” but Andy said that he couldn’t point that high. I said (somewhat imperially) ‘Don’t look at the sails, just point the boat that way.” Somewhat in disbelief (or was it desperation), Andy turned the boat into the wind. Sure enough, we got to that puff of wind and suddenly we were going 5 knots, which felt fast after being nearly stopped. Everyone on deck looked at me as if they were asking if I could divine the wind. I simply smiled, gave a tip of my hat, and went back to napping on the rail.”

It’s not often that you can make a call that has that dramatic an effect on the boat’s performance, but when you do, make the most of it, accept that you’re the hero, and make it fun. Don’t forget to keep your sense of humor for those calls you’ll eventually make that will not work out.

Left: SUMMER STORM in the 2018 Stamford-Vineyard Race; Kevin Dailey photo. Above: scenes during the 2018 Bermuda Race on SUMMER STORM. Top by Eric Irwin, above by Josh Reisberg.