Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Familiar Taste of Victory; Roberts Wins Mug Race for 14th Time in 25 Years

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Familiar Taste of Victory; Roberts Wins Mug Race for 14th Time in 25 Years

Article excerpt

Byline: JIM SUTTON

Bill Roberts, son Eric and Dave Weir sailed the Dream On to a first-place finish Saturday in the 54th annual Mug Race. The crew dominated the fleet of 135 boats, running the 38.5-mile course in five hours, 56 minutes.

But then, Bill knew the way.

It was the 14th time in 25 years that the Jupiter Beach resident led the field home to the Rudder Club of Jacksonville, sailing a boat of his own design to victory.

The boat, a 30-foot RC Catamaran, started the race about three hours after the first boats were released in a staggered start in Palatka that's much like a golf handicap, with the faster boats beginning last.

The crew struggled under the Shands Bridge - an approximate halfway mark in the race - along with all the other competitors, languishing in what was graciously termed "light and variable" winds.

That's nautical talk for "dead."

But around 3 p.m. an east wind began to ruffle the American flag atop the old dock at the Rudder Club. And by 3:30, the breeze had freshened to an easy 20-knot wind.

"We'd sailed down [Friday] and knew the wind would fill in," said Dream On captain Eric Roberts. "We just wanted to be in a position to capitalize on it when it came. ... We knew from there, it would be a drag race."

It was.

The motorboat carrying press photographers for finish-line shots was barely able to close ranks with the Dream On.

The crew clocked a top speed at 23 knots on the GPS as the boat bore down on the finish line just south of the Buckman Bridge.

The crew finished comfortably in front of the remainder of the fleet and had pulled the boat from the water and finished the ceremonial mug of cold beer before another one made its way to the club.

Defending champs and hometown favorites Robert Lyman and Tony DeLaGrange took second place in the Daddio, a 27-foot RC Catamaran built and formerly owned by the winners. …

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