2018-07-19 / Around Town

Newport Yacht Club Offshore 160 to Bermuda

Tristan Mouligna aboard his winning Samba. (Photo by Joe Cooper) Tristan Mouligna aboard his winning Samba. (Photo by Joe Cooper) Single-handed sailors, racing in the Offshore 160 hosted by the Newport Yacht Club, started the biennial race on July 13 in an unexpected South East breeze at 10- 12 knots. Less than 24 hours later, the first of the boats were back in Newport.

The Offshore 160 is held in the off year to the Bermuda One-Two and is a qualifying race for the Bermuda One-Two. There were 23 boats entered in three classes this year, with 18 making it to the start line. Classes 1 and 2 sailed a 142-nautical mile course, while Class 3 was contested over 114 nautical miles.

Sixteen boats finished in 10 to 15 knots, resulting in a very fast race. Of the 18 skippers, 14 were new to the race, although some had competed in the New England Solo/ Twin and the Bermuda One-Two. All three class winners were veterans of the Bermuda One-Two.

Middletown resident Tristan Mouligne captured Class 1 on his Quest 30 Samba, winning by less than 90 seconds. “This was the closest offshore win I have ever had and it was very exciting,” he said. “I spent the whole night battling Breakaway and Kincora side-by-side, which helped me stay awake. Those guys are good friends and it was an incredibly fun overnight battle in Rhode Island Sound. What is normally a really tough race turned out to be a beautiful sail with perfect conditions.”

Mouligne, who became involved in solo sailing at a young age because his father was a solo sailor, grew up sailing in Newport and won the Bermuda One-Two last year.

“I did my first solo Bermuda race as a teenager and have loved it ever since,” he said. “Conditions this year were very pleasant with a nice southeasterly [wind]… which made for a very enjoyable and quick race. It was the fastest in the history of the race.”

Marcus Cochran, the Class 3 winner with Granuelle, said, “Thankfully the breeze was more than forecasted and held on through the night. It was a beautiful night and my boat really lit it up on the reach back to Newport.”

Murray Beach finished first in Class 2 with his Tartan 4600 Meridian. “The Offshore 160 is one of my favorite races,” he said. “It takes a lot of stamina and the competition is always very good. This year, the conditions were close to perfect and it was a lot of fun to be sailing against some of the hardiest and best sailors I know.”

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