Updated: Sailors set off for Bermuda in 2023 Marion-Bermuda Boat Race

Jun 16, 2023

MARION — The seas were calm for the start of the 2023 Marion-Bermuda Boat Race on Friday, May 16. 

Thirty-two sailboats separated into five categories set out from the waters of Marion aiming to reach the island of Bermuda, 645 nautical miles away. 

According to Janet Garnier, a volunteer with the Beverly Yacht Club Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, the entire journey can take between four and five days. 

Spectators sat in their own boats near the starting line while volunteers from the Beverly Yacht Club, who hosted the event, set up buoys to mark the path of the boats. 

Standing alone in its own category, the three-masted Spirit of Bermuda, was the largest ship in the race and the first to begin. As it pulled up to the starting line, it drew outsized attention from racers and spectators alike. 

Then, one by one, the race’s four other categories of ship set off for Bermuda. 

Skippers had the option to navigate using electronic equipment, or they could take the old-fashioned approach and use celestial navigation to reach Bermuda. 

This year, 11 vessels relied on the stars to guide their way including Marion’s own Ron Wisner, captain of Hotspur II.

After the final class of ship sailed out from the starting line, spectators and race officials began returning to port, while sailboats competing in the race traveled further and further out toward the horizon. 

On Monday, June 19, the Boudicca, a King Marine Reichel-Pugh 66 skippered by Richard Moody, based out of Jamestown, Rhode Island, crossed the race’s finish line having sailed a total of 705 miles in two days, 17 hours, 26 minutes and 27 seconds. 

With this time, the Boudicca set a new record for the Marion-Bermuda Boat Race that was previously held by Lilla, a 76-foot Briand sloop.  

As of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, June 20, no other vessels finished the race. 

The race can be viewed live online.