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Irish Sailors Set for a 'Drift –Off' During the 51st ‘Thrash to the Patch’ - Newport To Bermuda Race Preview

15th June 2018
William Byrne (kneeling and closest to camera) of the National Yacht Club will be competing with the young team onboard J/V50 ‘Crazy Horse’ owned by Irish American, Kevin McLaughlin William Byrne (kneeling and closest to camera) of the National Yacht Club will be competing with the young team onboard J/V50 ‘Crazy Horse’ owned by Irish American, Kevin McLaughlin

The 120–strong fleet of boats will today set off on the biennial drag race from Newport to Bermuda. Light winds and strong Gulf Stream affects are the main topics of pre-race conversation as a slow route lies ahead for all competitors.

Among the international field of sailors are at least five Irish, all of whom are looking to continue previous success on the east coast of America.

William Byrne of the National Yacht Club will be competing with the young team onboard J/V50 ‘Crazy Horse’ owned by Irish American, Kevin McLaughlin. The same team raced to a 3rd place finish in this years Caribbean 600 whilst also being the youngest team to finish the race.

This being the 3rd Bermuda campaign for Crazy Horse, the team will be aiming for a strong finish after their 2nd place in Class in the 2016 race.

Ben Lynch will be competing onboard a modified Volvo70 ‘Warrior’, (Previously Camper in the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race). This team is hoping to ride their hard-earned success this season after a 1st place finish in the Antigua to Bermuda race, Antigua Sailing Week, Around Antigua Race and 2nd across the line in the Caribbean600 just behind Rambler 88.

Ben Fusco will be aiming for a repeat performance of an overall CSA win in the Caribbean600 onboard Cookson50 ‘Privateer’. This time competing on an X483, Fusco will be taking on responsibility as navigator, no easy task in this race.

James Carroll is Boat Captain onboard Carkeek47 ‘Black Pearl’. Carroll has helped set this team up for continued success in recent years. Notable wins such as the Cape to Rio Race and podium finishes in multiple events on the east coast will have this team hungry for a class win sailing into Bermuda.

Sean McCarter, a native of Donegal, Ireland, currently living in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, is a crew on one of the more technologically advanced boats in the fleet, Maverick, which will easily stand out on the water with her Union Jack sails. “Excitement levels are high,” said McCarter of the mood onboard. McCarter has done his fair share of offshore sailing, including twice around the globe, but he was especially looking forward to his first Newport Bermuda Race with its great mix of history and tradition. “It’s one that yachtsmen and women aspire to. As one of the three classic offshore races in the world, along with the Fastnet Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the Newport Bermuda Race can give you a mixture of anything. Sometimes you can get hit hard at the start and have a light wind finish into Bermuda and other times you can get it the other way around. This time it looks like we’re going to be a little lighter most of the way there.”

“Maverick is a stripped-out race boat, with no comforts whatsoever. Basically, we built this boat two years ago and the brief was to design the fastest 46-foot yacht in the world and they achieved that very well. We keep up with boats twice our size, which is almost unheard of, thanks to the side foils which give us a huge amount of righting moment while allowing us to remain very lightweight… sort of skimming across the water.”

Maverick will sail in the Open Division, for boats with experimental designs or equipment. Also at the upper end of the spectrum is Warrior, a Volvo Open 70, sailing in the Gibbs Hill Division, which includes elite professionals and cutting-edge technology.

The race can be tracked online at the link here

The list of Irish sailors competing is: 



Volvo Open 70

Ben Lynch


Bermuda Oyster  


Oyster 435

Christian Pollard


Black Pearl  


Carkeek 47

James Carroll




Swan 66

Marcus Spillane




Infiniti 46R DSS

Sean McCarter


Published in Offshore Team

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