The 2016 season started well for Drew Chapman’s Valkyrie (Beneteau First 44.7) with a class win in the Storm Trysail Club’s Block Island race.
Following soon thereafter was the 2016 Newport to Bermuda race, marking the 50th race since inception. The race commenced under a cloud of anxiety surrounding a low pressure system that was expected to come off the North Carolina coast, and make a left turn up the rhumline and proceed north directly into the fleet. Approximately 35 boats did not start due weather concerns, including the entire Gibbs Hill (professional) division. Valkyrie made the decision to race, with the view to watching the system closely as they progressed assuring there was an exit if the system looked like it would escalate. Fortunately it did not. The race was marked by very light winds the first 48 hours, prior to entering the low pressure system which saw sustained winds of 30-35 knots and 15-20 foot waves. Valkyrie emerged unharmed and strong from the system, only to be confronted by extremely light winds during the last day as Valkyrie frustratingly battled the entire final day to cross the finish line, all while Bermuda was in sight.
Valkyrie finished a convincing 1st in Class and 8th line honors, marking two class victories in a row.