Bermudian Paul Hubbard’s sloop Bermuda Oyster was slated to be Bermuda’s sole representative in the Founders Division of the Marion Bermuda race this year, but after a last minute engine failure, Bermuda Oyster will not be competing. After the boat suffering damage in Hurricane Gonzalo, Hubbard and his crew succeeded in quickly repairing the ship’s mast, as well as completing other major repairs days before departure. Despite these last minute fixes, a failure of the ship’s engine before the midway point on the delivery to New England meant Bermuda Oyster was forced to return home. Hubbard and his crew will now be forced to wait until 2017 to compete in the bicentennial race.
The circumstances surrounding the damage were unusual. Bermuda Oyster seemed to be safe, up on land on jack stands, but the winds of Hurricane Gonzalo knocked the boat over, resulting in a mast broken in two places and a hole in the hull. The severity of the damages makes the fact that engine failure ultimately prevented Hubbard and his crew from competing that much worse. According to Neil Redburn, who helped with the repairs and would’ve been navigator for Bermuda Oyster: “It had been a race against the clock [getting a new mast rigged and new sails made] and unfortunately it was just too much to get done and test. We are all very disappointed and upset.”