It’s a tall order. The Bermuda Challenge is a 780-mile, open ocean run between New York and Bermuda founded by retired Boating Features Editor, David Seidman, in 1995.
The current overall record stands at 15 hours and 48 minutes, set by Chris Fertig and Tyson Garvin in 2013, who ran a Skater 399 V-bottom powered by Cummins diesels and Arneson Surface Drives. The math works out to an average speed of 48-mph and Bermuda Challenge boats may not be longer than 40-feet LOA, which limits seakeeping and the amount of fuel than can be carried.
The current outboard class record of 22 hours 23 minutes, was set in 2002 by Neil Burnie and Bill Ratlief aboard a Renaissance Prowler 302 catamaran powered by twin 225-hp Honda outboards. Hold this thought.
Learn More: Bermuda Challenge Records and Rules
The latest Bermuda Challenge team is led by Capt. Jerry Harris, star of reality fishing show Fish Mavericks, who is partnering with Renaissance Prowler Offshore Fishing Catamarans. Harris, and crew of Capt. Dave Schunke and Robb Rami, will run a Prowler 36 powered by four 300 hp Evinrude outboards in their record attempt. According to Prowler owner, Bill Ratlief—the very same Bermuda Challenger mentioned above—the boat will be a, “straight up, Prowler.” I specifically asked whether high tech materials or special processes would be used to build the Bermuda Challenge boat, and Ratlief insists he is building a stock boat, though the boatbuilder did say he’d take some measures to reduce weight.
“We won’t be installing the rod holders, the stereo and other non-essential gear aboard the boat until after the Bermuda Challenge,“ Ratlief said.
They will be adding to the Prowler 36’s 382 gallon fuel capacity, according to Harris: “The boat is stock-stock, but we’ll be adding a 450 gallon fuel bladder.”
In late July, the fabled Bermuda High usually settles over the western Atlantic, creating favorable conditions for such a run. That is the target window, according to Harris and Ratlief. Watch for on Boating’s social media channels, and here at boatingmag.com.