<strong>Record breaker</strong>: JJ Soares&rsquo; 33 feet fibreglass racer Game Over won the race in two hours and seven minutes, shaving off three minutes from the Sports Racing Class record. <em>*Photo by Amanda Dale</em>
Record breaker: JJ Soares’ 33 feet fibreglass racer Game Over won the race in two hours and seven minutes, shaving off three minutes from the Sports Racing Class record. *Photo by Amanda Dale

This year’s Round the Island Seagull Race (RISR) raised $2,600 for the protection of open spaces in Bermuda.

The funds will be presented to the Bermuda Audubon Society to assist in the preservation of Seymour’s Pond Nature Reserve in Southampton.

This year’s race was as eventful as previous years, with the usual fun and frolics, boats capsizing and broken records.

A total 59 boats took part. Of these, two did not start and 10 failed to finish.

JJ Soares’ 33 feet fiberglass racer Game Over made it round in two hours, seven minutes — cutting three minutes off the Sports Racing Class record.

Of those boats needing to be rescued, Brian Lightbourn and daughter Danielle capsized in #13 along the North Shore.

Crack Oar cracked apart, with Jason North and Ashley Barnes having to hold the transom together to complete the race.

Two “Seagullians” travelled from New Zealand to take part. Pete Notman and his father Alan took Legless around the island with Luce Lorhan, winning the oldest crew prize with a combined 168 years.

Bermuda folklore tells that in “back in the day”, Bermudians used to travel around on dinghy-style boats powered by the small horsepower British Seagull engines.

In the early 1960s, legend has it, two fishermen at Devonshire Bay — nicknamed Ghost and Skeets — challenged each other to a race, each claiming their boat was faster than the other.

Early official race organizers included Richard Amos, Brian Anfossi and Bruce Lorhan.

The event used to start from St George’s and then the Anfossi house on Long Island. But, as it grew in popularity, the starting line changed to Bermuda’s boat clubs.

The term “Racing for the spring” refers to the prop spring found on the propeller of older engines. They were designed so that if you hit a rock or obstacle, the “sacrificial spring” would break, but not the engine, so preventing any major damage.

Most of Bermuda’s Seagull boats are homemade but some, such as 505s, are factory built.

The RISR is split into various categories according to the type and size of boat and engine.

These include first traditional wood dinghy to go around the island, fastest elapsed time, fastest time with an old engine and first boat across the line with a prop spring and stock engine.

There are also prizes for best dressed boat, best boat name, fishing trophy (longest fish caught) and the first boat to break down  — the Na Work on a Sunday award).

The distance around the island is 46 nautical miles.

Seagull races are also held in other countries such as the UK and New Zealand, but Bermuda has the biggest Seagull race in the world.