A first for Navy: Crew wins Newport to Bermuda race

June 25, 1992|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Staff Writer

The U.S. Naval Academy team, sailing a 20-year-old Swan 48 named Constellation, has won the overall championship in the 38th Newport to Bermuda Ocean Race.

Constellation, skippered by Ensign Kyle Weaver, finished in 3 days, 18 hours, 4 minutes and 15 seconds. The corrected time was 2 days, 10 hours, 47 minutes and 41 seconds.

Through the race, Weaver said, winds were between 10 and 25 knots, but mostly steady at about 15 knots from the southwest -- perfect conditions for Constellation and her 12-man crew.

"We basically went east of the rumb line about 40 miles, took a tack back in on a southeast shift to the rumb line," said Weaver, who will go to Pensacola, Fla., for pilot training in November. "And then [made a course] through the Gulf Stream and along a cold eddy into Bermuda on kind of a close starboard tack reach."

Weaver said there were no real surprises along the way.

Commander Chip Barber, director of sailing at the Academy and one of two coaches included in the crew, said Constellation was "a perfect boat for those conditions, and even after 20 years she showed she could still do it."

Constellation, formerly Miss Wick, was donated to the Academy by Mr. and Mrs. Tad Stanwick of Washington.

"Navy has been competing in this race since 1938, and they have never won the overall title in that time," Barber said.

"So it has been 40 years since we have been able to win a class, and we bettered that by a little bit [by winning the overall title]."

Earlier this month, Navy won the national intercollegiate sailing championship, and two of its sailors, Midshipman Brad Rodi and Ensign Susie Minton were named college sailors of the year.

"Kyle's achievement on the Constellation is the true icing on the cake," Barber said. "I retire at the end of next month, and I am just saying to myself -- what a way to leave, right on the top."

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