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January 18, 2019


RISR 2002 editors view

For me a non-seagullian it’s still a great race to be involved in. I was in a boat with the crash boat captain (James Pearman, my husband). I wasn’t quite ready to get on for the 8am and 8.30 starts but I did manage to get pictures of the starts ( if a little far away) from our house over looking the sound. Making sure we were stocked up with enough liquid refreshments and food for the day, my son and I were ready to meet James at SPBC and get on the boat at 8.45am. Our beat was from the club to Pompano Beach Club. We headed out around Commissioners Point and down to Pompano to make sure that nobody was broken down. On the way we encountered Bert Finnerty and Michael Stevens catching a fish for the fishing competition near the prison. It seems these guys had more luck fishing than racing, they DNF. We headed on further down, hangin out near wreck hill to get pictures of boats as they came past us.

We then went back to catch the 10.15 start. We arrived just as Kevin Winter started by himself at 10.05. We watched the 10.15 and 10.30 starts and then followed the boats to the buoy at eye of the needle. One boat was broken down but they managed to get started again. At eye of the needle Dinghy was paddling to no where. It seems that he broke down before he could even register. We gave him a helping hand to Mills Creek and then headed back around to Commissioners Point and down to Pompano. We caught up to Kevin Winter who now had his Brazilian flag flying high and a heavy line to catch that big fish. Nothing major going on down here except for a boat going the wrong way - why? it seems their line got caught on a reef. James gets a call to come pick up a film crew so we head back to SPBC but Blue Bone was at Daniels Head trying to fix his motor. He didn’t want us to stay but unfortunately things didn’t improve and they were a DNF.

We pick up the film crew and let them get organized while we wait for the final start at 1pm. They got some great footage of the start. Then we went to catch the boats as they head towards Commissioners Point after which we made the cut through Watford Bridge to film the boats as they race to Daniels Head. Once the last boat had passed us we refueled and headed back to Commissioners Point to make sure no one had broken down. After some confusion as to whether the film crew would stay on the boat or get off, they finally decided to get off. We dropped them at the club and we went to catch the boats as they headed home. By 3.30 our son had had enough so James dropped us off at the club while he returned the boat and came back to and joined us for the after race fun.

The Round the Island Seagull Race Bermuda 2002. 32N, 64W.

It started off a pretty normal day by my standards, usual Saturday morning preceded by the traditional Friday night cocktail hour/s at Mills Creek (Ouch!)

Pre Seagull fever had dominated the week, all the usual suspects had come out of the woodwork for the usual pre race prep .You all know the deal, boats being dragged out of bushes, replacement parts arriving via "lost in a world of Fed Ex", and general panic in the M.C.Y.C area.

Subtle rumours suggested that Martin Dixon was building a new blade shrouded in secrecy, nobody was fooled, we all knew a cunning plan was at hand!
Charlie Brown's (aka Capt Heineken) container was buzzing, seagull scheming, plotting, strategies evolving and even some science involved - ignition, carburation, pulse tuned exhausts plus other secret demon tweaks!

Like I said - it started off a pretty normal day by my standards - as the least important half of Anfossi Marine - I figured I'd put the day aside to catch up on what I was supposed to be doing, check out Spanish Point Boat Club around mid afternoon to see the first boats across the line, a few beers, some food and head home relatively undamaged. That was the plan!!

12.25 p.m. Round about 85 degrees and things are not going well, I'm fitting a bow thruster to 'In Dew Time' and my cell phone goes off, (conveniently out of arms reach as always) so I scramble out of my domain, flip the Motorola and check the caller I.D display. Surprisingly it's a user friendly call “BRUCE 234 7898”

O.K. to press SEND,

Didn’t have time to get my mouth open…..

“Hey Graham, its Bruce, got a limey guy round here who needs a partner to round the Island with him, there's a cooler outside my back door, bring all the liquor you need, start time’s at 1.00 - you in or out ? !!”

“Tell him I'll be there.”
Mad scramble to pick up my tools, quick dash to “Minton” to pick up the cooler - followed by a phone call to Serpentine liquors (thank God for speed dial).
Grabbed my Heinekens from said Liquor store, bag of ice and it’s off to S.P.B.C.

12.55 p.m. On the dock, found Martine and Ernie who promptly introduced me to my partner in crime, who simply introduced himself as Charles. Turned out that Charles and girlfriend Toni had flown to Bermuda to compete in the No 1 Seagull event of the year and were staying with host Brian Lightbourn and family.

Engine running, we jump in our craft (loaned by Brian Lightbourn), powered by the engine Charles had brought from England with him, (seagull 102 with modifications). Two blasts of the horn and we're off heading for the 'eye of the needle', the engine is running well but even at this early stage of the race we are losing ground to ……. well…. uh ……. everybody? At this time, Charles confesses he's had a few technical/teething problems, which he hadn’t quite got around to sorting out!!

I was frozen at this moment in time it’s been my eternal fear to be seen broken down on the water, let alone being towed in! Should this worst case scenario ever happen I had vowed that I would only call my leader (Brian Anfossi) knowing that the code of silence be preserved should a reciprocal event take place! To-day I felt the vibe, my name’s going to be plastered all over Channel 16 and it's my turn to be the laughing stock of the marine industry in Bermuda.
Oh #&%$#@ !

We're at Dockyard and it turns out that Charles is a really cool guy, great sense of humour and global seagull competitor - having done the New Zealand South Island race. It also came to light that he had spent time in the English West country in some nondescript county known as Devon, which is separated from Cornwall (God's country and incidentally where I'm from!) by the river Tamar and a narrow band of land extending from the source to the north coast. Cornwall also plays host to the Leryn yacht squadron seagull race, which will hopefully be on the seagull circuit in the future.
Back to the race past Daniels Head, conversation and Heineken are flowing in equal quantities - to be honest we're having a pretty good day, racing conditions are perfect, sadly none of our competition are in sight but that's O.K. Let’s set about completing the race and enjoying the day past Wreck Hill (that should tell you everything). Yeah, you've guessed ….. Horrors! The engine stops (rather abruptly in my estimation)

Kind of peaceful out here, don't you think!!

Remember that vibe I told you about earlier, well it's here and now and happening to us. No need to describe the language at this point, any self-respecting seagullian has an extensive repertoire for such an occasion. I was impressed with Charles choice expletives and cracked myself another beer, whilst tuning into Charles rendering of the relationship between seagull engines, lack of birth control and farmyard animals.

Seems like we have an over-heating problem, so we elect to let the engine cool down for a while, after about 30 minutes and a near cardiac arrest, our fine-feathered friend decides its time to start again and finally we head for South Shore.

Conditions are as good as they get, light ground swells and breakers easily visible, we decide to go inside the reef line and sample the visual splendour that Bermuda has to offer.

More conversation, mainly about the N.Z. Waikato river race - turns out that Charles has stayed with John Crighton who hosted Brian, Bruce and myself earlier this year (catch the last prop spring press for “what really happened” in that race!). Motoring along pretty good now - dropped the throttle to about 80% full load, more Heineken, everything's Hunky dory!

Past Sonesta, Elbow Beach, Hungry Bay, Pink Beach, Castle Roads, Town Cut - what more could go wrong?

At this point Charles informs me that he may have underestimated the gas/petrol requirements for the race - this kind of added a new dimension to the game, not only were we in last place, but hopes of actually finishing the race were fading through lack of kryptonite to fuel the seagull chain reaction!!!

St.Catherines point - More Horrors, another abrupt stop and repeat performance of the previous scenario. At this point, Charles’ West-country accent really came out and threats of using the offending seagull for an anchor and other choice adjectives came into play. To be honest, I found all this pretty amusing - I work around disfunctional engines that just won't do what they are supposed to everyday. It's quite refreshing to see somebody else struggling for a change, but I guess that's just the sadist in me coming out!

After extensive attempts by Charles and a resounding “$#@& it - you have a go”, we swap places and it's my turn for a cardiac arrest. Charles has omitted to tell me that on the previous day's testing the recoil starter cord has snapped, he did not have time to replace it and used what was
left of the original cord. In effect, the starter cord is considerably shorter, resulting in me almost pulling my shoulder out of its socket on the first attempt. A few minutes later Charles informs me he can hear my West-country accent coming
to worry, we made it around, that's what matters, remember - win or lose, it's all in how you play the game!!
Great day - perfect conditions - great crowd and superb effort by everybody.
Congratulations to Charlie Brown as M.C. for the evening - good job and to the committee for an excellent event. Charles even won a prize (block of Bermuda Cedar donated by Bruce) and got his picture in the Bermuda Sun. After all that, he didn’t go home empty handed and mentioned he would be back in 2003!!

Thanks to all for a great day.

Point to point, see you all next year


Final thoughts

After a very good dinner and all of the formalities were over a number of people partied on to the great music of the band. We eventually headed home around 10pm.

As it was such a nice night James and I had a couple of final beverages sitting out in front of our house reminiscing about what a great day it had been. We listened to the ting ting of the seagull engines as a number of boats headed home, it was about 11.05 as we watch one boat as it headed straight for Blucks Point. What could we do? They can’t hear us if we shout, they just keep on heading straight, the land gets closer. Just in time we hear oh S…. the boat does a U-turn and heads back towards SPBC but then they turn again and manage to avoid Bluck’s Point this time. And who was it? That I can’t tell you..

Seagull Engine Racing - Bermuda | The Great Race 2004 | 'Chummy Memorial Round-the-Island Seagull Race' | Propspring | 2004 Results | Pictures from RISR | WANTED/ FOR SALE | THE GREAT RACE … WAIKATO RIVER NEW ZEALAND… 2004 | Waikato River 2003 - first timers story |