Vineyard father-son teams first in class in Newport to Bermuda Race

Après in the Bermuda race. — Elizabeth Stout

The 50th biennial Newport to Bermuda Race that began on Friday, June 18, included Steve Besse and his son Seth of Vineyard Haven and Geoff Gibson and his son Tyler of West Tisbury. Vineyarder Adam Hayes and Fraser Novakowski, a friend of Seth’s from California, completed the crew for the 635-mile voyage.

A total of 184 boats registered for the race. Due to dire weather predictions of gale-force winds, over 40 entrants chose not to start. But, after some research, Steve Besse and his crew of five deemed the forecast exaggerated and set forth aboard his J120 Après. The weather turned out to be challenging but manageable. Sailing under the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club burgee, Steve held the first spot in his class, Saint David’s Lighthouse Division Class 6, from the start. Of nine original entrants in that class, six competed. In all, there are 18 classes in the race.

Four days and 10 hours later, at 2 am ET on Wednesday, Après was the 19th boat across the finish line, and first in its class.

Chilmarker Zach Lee also completed the Newport to Bermuda race as the leader in the double handed category.