Around Bermuda in an Optimist – Accomplished

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Point “A” is near Hogfish Beacon off Spanish Point Boat Club. The starting point for the circumnavigation.

March 15, 2013
A 25-year old Welshman and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) Sailing Academy Director, has gone where no local sailor has gone before – around the Island in an Optimist dinghy. He achieved the unprecedented feat in an elapsed time of nine hours, 28 minutes and 48 seconds after setting off on his journey under the cover of darkness at 5.15am in an effort to raise money to enable the Island’s Optimist sailors to gain valuable exposure abroad.

“In order for our young sailors to be really good we have to provide them with big fleet exposure – it often is very expensive and nobody can afford it,” Evans said. “So the idea is to help our Bermuda sailors to go overseas and experience that.”

Evans’ circumnavigation began and ended at Hogfish Beacon in the Great Sound.

The 25-year sailor endured a baptism of fire sailing down the North Shore in 15-30 knot northwesterly breezes and five to six foot seas during the first leg of his journey. “It was treacherous going down the North Shore, we had a very rough time with the waves” Evans said. “It was like a washing machine at Murray’s Anchorage where the waves were about five or six feet. “There was a lot of backwash from the oil platform there and we had about three waves break over my head that smashed my little bimini on the boat. It was very messy.”

Evans also found the going tough sailing up wind on the South Shore between Fairmont Southampton and Pompano Beach. “That was the worst bit,” he said. “We had 30 knots of breeze going up wind so I stuck to the rocks to keep flat water and when I got to Daniel’s Head it was plain sailing from there.”

Evans’ journey did not go without its share of bailing water out of the boat to keep it afloat. “I honestly don’t think I dropped the bailer at all, I had it in my hand the whole time,” he said. “It was a brand new bailer when we launched and it looks like its about 30 years old now.” Sailing in challenging conditions for nearly ten hours crammed up in an eight foot boat took a physical toll on the RBYC sailor.

“My body feels a bit bruised and battered and it was certainly challenging,” he said. “It’s a big strain on your body because you’ve got to be constantly active in the boat. It’s the furthest I’ve been in an Optimist and it’s just a new way of thinking outside of the box to get people to think about sailing,” he said.

RBYC Commodore Jonathan Brewin praised Evans for his accomplishment and charitable cause.
“I have total admiration and respect for what Tom has achieved,” he said. “It was done in a very safe and professional manner and all in aid of junior sailing in Bermuda. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is extremely pleased that he’s been able to accomplish this.”

Evans was accompanied by RBYC high performance sailing coach Sean Evans (no relation) who escorted the sailor on his long and gruelling journey as a safety precaution in the testing conditions.


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Tom Herbert Evans