Charleston to Bermuda Race Update: “Spirit of Juno” Takes the Lead for the First Time

It’s official. After five days of racing, the leader of Colbert Nation is now out in front for the first time. Stephen Colbert, renowned star of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” and his crew of friends on board the chartered OnDeck Farr 65 Spirit of Juno, edged their way to the front of the 11-boat fleet this afternoon. Colbert and company benefitted from stronger breezes due to their more northerly position on the race course, while just to the south, the erstwhile leader – Hank Hofford and Susan Ford on board the Shipman 63 Tucana – found themselves slowing down in very light winds.

Moving into the No. 1 position has been a long time coming for Colbert, who proclaimed himself to be the “greatest sailor in the world” in Sailing World magazine’s May issue. After his yacht was the last to cross the starting line on Saturday, it looked as though Juno’s fate would be to follow Tucana all the way to Bermuda. But the crew aboard Juno has been nothing if not persistent, and their determination finally paid off today.

Out on this sector of the North Atlantic, the wind speeds stayed relatively steady throughout the day until mid afternoon. During that time, the wind direction was moving around from the southwest to the east, meaning that the competitors in this biennial race to Bermuda would now have to contend with headwinds. It appears that Tucana was the first one of the 11 to experience this shift because she began slowing down as of the 3:00 p.m. position report and made one distinct course alteration.

As an additional consequence of this shift in the winds, the majority of the fleet is now much closer together than it was at this time yesterday. As of 5:00 p.m. this evening, five of the 11 entries were within a 250-square-mile area, with the two Shipman 63s (Tucana and Vladimir Zinchenko’s Yanosha) were sailing virtually neck-and-neck.

Source: Charles to Bermuda.

Stephen Colbert Checks in from the “Spirit Of Juno”.

Stephen sent this email to race headquarters Sunday night:

“Dear land-based life forms,”

“Fantastic day. We started with windless bobbing from 4:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. We punctuated this inertia by catching, on a hand line, two mahi-mahi, a very beautiful fish-fish! They both were laid to rest in a small Tupperware coffin surrounded by lime juice and chopped onions.

“Spent the afternoon dodging wind holes and watching dolphins play in our bow wake. We’ve also been introducing our English crew to the joys of grits. They are dubious, but too polite to admit they tossed it overboard.

“We are on four hour watches and lucky to get three hours’ sleep at a time. Those of you familiar with totalitarian regimes will remember that sleep deprivation is one way that dictators break their enemies.

“We are in good position thanks to our skipper, Tim Scarisbrick, first mate Bertie Whitley and second mate Chris Miller.

“We all smell wonderful. See you in Bermuda!”

Source: Charleston Bermuda Race.

Charleston to Bermuda – Race Updates have regular updates on the race and the predicted weather forecast.

“Spirit of Juno” is making good progress on Day 1:

“Stephen Colbert and his Team Audi crewmates on board the Spirit of Juno were making the best speeds in the fleet as of 0730 today (5.3 knots) just slightly north of the rhumbline. At roughly that time, Juno’s strategists called for an abrupt change of course, and headed almost due north. It’s apparent the leader of the Colbert Nation will find his comedic skills in high demand today as the crew deals with the very challenging situation of keeping a 60,000-pound boat moving in zephyrous conditions.”