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THE QUESTION: Eastern sailors say the Newport-Bermuda ocean race is the toughest. Do you agree? (Asked of skippers in Trans-Pacific-Honolulu run)

Skipper of Criterion Vice-Commodore, Transpacific YC
We think our race to Honolulu is equally tough, but four times as long, which makes it four times more difficult. Certainly any Molokai weather is nastier and meaner than any weather they get in the Gulf Stream. We would like to see them come out here and then count how many of them can win this race.

Skipper of Kirawan, which won the Bermuda race in 1936
I've never been in the Bermuda but, judging from what I've heard, it's tougher than the Trans-Pacific race. But our Swiftsure Classic is tougher than either of these. It starts at Victoria, goes through the Straits of Juan de Fuca, around Swiftsure Lightship and then it returns. The entire run is for a distance of 132 miles.

Skipper of the Legend
Well, they sent a boat out here, the Blitzen, and she won in a light breeze. So they've been bragging ever since. I'd like to see them race in our heavy weather without their Dramamine pills. There was a boat from the East, Ondine, in the last Transpac race. She took eleventh place, but we took first.

Skipper of the Nalu II
I sailed the 1954 Bermuda race, and I didn't think it was particularly tough. In fact I was rather disillusioned. In our class an Argentine boat finished first, and Dick Stewart and I brought the Nalu II in second. Henry DuPont, an East Coast sailor, was really surprised at the way we finished, to say the least.

Skipper of Y-Como Commodore, Los Angeles YC
The best commentary is that we have had quite a few outstanding East Coast boats that didn't do too well. Also, because of the length of our race, it is a greater test of the yacht itself and of the crew members in the most unpredictable weather. We'd welcome a challenge from the East Coast boats.

Skipper of the Novia Del Mar
I don't think it is the toughest, although it may be tougher than the Trans-Pacific race to Honolulu. The run from Los Angeles to Tahiti, which I raced, is tougher. We were the first boat in after 21 days, one hour, one minute and eight seconds. But unfortunately, when we checked corrected time, we finished third.

Skipper of the Queen Mab
I raced the Bermuda in 1956. It was rugged, with winds from 50 to 60 miles. It rained so hard that the whitecaps were knocked down. But the race was over in five days. We can get the same weather, and our race takes 10 to 14 days. Don't misunderstand me. The Bermuda is tough, and they have to be good.

Skipper of Tasco II
In the N.Y. Yacht Club, all I heard was the Bermuda race. Then someone buttonholed me and asked me what I thought about it. I had raced in six Honolulu races, and I said: "If we had a short race like the Bermuda run to help tune up our boats, I know that we'd do a lot better in the Honolulu race."

Skipper of the Kialoa, formerly Tasco I
My crew says it can be a rough race, but our Catalina Island Channel can be very rough, too, because of confused seas due to undersea mountains, wind velocity, currents and cross chops. In fact, one of the greatest problems in our race, heavy seas with no winds, is not a part of the Bermuda race.

Skipper of the Barlovento
That statement is a bit too cocky. I'd like to see them sail our race and then hear what they have to say. Several of my crew have sailed the Newport-Bermuda run. They found it more tricky, with tide, shoal waters, etc. but, as for stamina, there is no doubt in my mind that it's a cinch compared to ours.