LARCHMONT, N.Y.– Richard du Moulin and his crew returned to Larchmont on Sunday after placing third in his class in the historic Newport-Bermuda Race and facing terrifying gale-force winds on the way home.
“It’s a great adventure,” said du Moulin, a Larchmont Yacht Club member. “We do it with friends and family, we spend so much time working toward it, and then it’s here. It’s a great three days out on the ocean.”
The Newport Bermuda Race is a 635-mile ocean race that lasts anywhere from three to six days. The race takes place mid-June every two years and begins in Newport, R.I. and finishes in Bermuda with a trophy ceremony held at the Government House. There are five divisions in the race, which allows different kinds of vessels and crews to participate.
“Nowadays you have so little time to get away from your Blackberry, phone, whatever and it’s nice to have the race to do that,” said du Moulin.
According to du Moulin, weather patterns were so weird this year, multiple official and personal records were broken during the race. The winning boat, Rambler 90, steered by George David, broke the record by winning in 39 hours and 39 minutes – a 14-hour difference than the previous record.
Du Moulin’s crew included four of his best sailing friends who grew up together and two of his sons, Ed and Mark. His boat, the Lora Ann, completed the race in a little over four days, finishing third in the class. This marks the sixth time du Moulin and his crew have made it on the podium.
“For a boat of 37 feet, 80 hours is very fast,” he said.
The wind is usually against the boaters on the way down, he explained. But, this year the wind was with them, pushing them along and assisting them with the race. Unfortunately for the boaters, the help on the way down to Bermuda, worked against them on the way home.
“The weather systems were very uncooperative,” he said.
At one point the Lora Ann fought 30-40 mph wind gusts for 24 hours straight. One of the crew members was seriously injured, breaking a few ribs, and the mast broke and had to be mended in order to get home. The boat also needed to be refueled, after running low on resources, and the Chouscas, sailed by Frederic Cosandey out of City Island, N.Y, and Glory, sailed by Bill Slattery out of Rye, N.Y. both came to the Lora Ann’s assistance.
“It was an adventure, it was bad weather, but we had some good seaman ship,” du Moulin said.
On the way home, boats don’t have their whole racing crew, which can sometimes lead to trouble for some boats. It is important, du Moulin explained, to make sure that the crew kept with you for the journey home is an experienced core-group of sailors. He said more often than not, crews hit problems on the way home.
“Always prepare like you are going to run into a big storm, and then hope you don’t,” he said. “I like the fact that we are in an environment that we cannot control. You have to be smart and prepared for anything.”
After making the necessary repairs to the boat, du Moulin said he plans to compete in a few local races until two years from now when the Newport-Bermuda Race begins in 2014. He has been sailing for almost his entire life and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“Think about what you learned, what you have gained from this experience, form a work-list and prepare for the next race,” du Moulin said.