In this short clip, Charles “Butch” Ulmer talks about his first Newport to Bermuda Race. He took part in this race as a second-year student at the US Naval Academy in 1958 onboard a wooden Navy yawl. At the start of the race a 58-knot puff came through and tore up the fleet. “Two minutes into the race we had blown out a spinnaker, broken the spinnaker pole and two put holes in the deck,” said Ulmer.
Now that is trial by fire for a first ocean race. Lucky for him, he didn’t know any other way of doing the race. The crew were prepared with all the right damage control tools and parts, which allowed them to finish the race. One more example of the proverbial “Iron me in wooden ships”.
The 1958 Bermuda Race was won by the 38-foot S&S designed yawl FINISTERRE owned by Carlton Mitchell, who sailed FINISTERRE to three Newport to Bermuda wins in a row during the years 1956, 1958 and 1960.