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Coast Guard Alumni Like the Sea and its Lore

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Kathryn and Bob Lally (class of '08)

The 51st Newport to Bermuda Race provided a true test of seamanship to several modern-day Coast Guard Academy adventurers. Let's hear what they have to say about it:

"One of the requirements is to attend a hands-on safety at sea training course. There are few things more humbling than inflating a life jacket in a pool and trying to embark a life raft under the most benign, controlled conditions. It really makes you think seriously about one hand for yourself and one for the ship; you do not want to go overboard at sea." - Bob Lally

"On this 2018 Newport to Bermuda race and the trip back, I wound up on the foredeck twice with Cadet Eric Gimple, both times at O-dark-thirty, pitch black night, hauling a blown-out sail down... On one of those nights, we wound up slashing the sail to ribbons with our rigging knives in order to disentangle it from the rig...in 13- to 15-foot seas. - Capt. Chris Sinnett

"Although the lack of wind was frustrating at times, there was no lack of adventure. Halfway through the race, we spotted something on the horizon that had a black bottom and orange top…a life raft." - Lt. Cdr. J.J. Schock

"This was my third Bermuda Race, but with a long time since my first two (‘54 & ‘56). I received a surprise invitation to go on the race from my son, Chip Merlin, who bought the yacht Merlin for offshore racing." - Rear Adm. W.F. Merlin

The Sequel is a Winner for YYZ

Racing was not top of mind when Justin Bonar decided to buy a Jeanneau 53 in 2013, but the boat was fast and his friends encouraged him. “We made lots of mistakes at first,” he admits, “but we became competitive in 2015 and got the big idea to do the Newport Bermuda Race in 2016.”

Justin raced YYZ to Bermuda in both 2016 and 2018 and made videos of the adventure each time. On the Jeanneau 53’s second trip to the Onion Patch, the team also won its class, and the skipper doubled down on video production. 


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