A view of a recent Newport Bermuda Race send-off for Class 3 of the St. David’s Lighthouse Division. Photo: Daniel Forster/PPL

The 195 boats that submitted entries before the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race“application for entry” deadline are anchored by the usual excellent turnout of nearly 150 cruiser- and cruiser/racer-style boats sailing in the St. David’s Lighthouse and Finisterre (Cruiser) divisions. The race, which is co-organized by The Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, offers several other divisions for different types of boats and competitors, which truly makes this event seven races in one.

While some pre-start attrition is normal when a fleet faces 635 ocean miles across the Gulf Stream, a diverse fleet of 180 to 190 boats should cross the line on June 15th, crewed by a mix of both professional and amateur sailors. That would make it the biggest fleet since 2010, when 193 boats finished the race.

Among the entries in St. David’s and Finisterre divisions, the 2016 success of youth sailors guided by adult advisors aboard High Noon (link) has led to four entries by youth teams in 2018. There will also be new divisions of Multihulls and Superyachts, which have added seven boats to the fleet, the largest of which is the 112-foot Sparkman & Stephens design, Kawil.

Another key to the high entry total is the 20 boats entered in the Gibbs Hill Division, which is for high-performance racing boats that in many cases are steered and crewed professionally. Recognizing advances in offshore racing technology, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee allowed entry this year by boats carrying water-ballasting systems and certain types of canting keels. In past years, Gibbs Hill typically has drawn 10 to 15 entries; in 2016, based on the high winds forecast in the days before the race, all of the Gibbs Hill entries elected not to compete.

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

“The BROC remains committed to the value of the race as an adventure and participation for its own sake,” says Jonathan Brewin, the event chairman and past commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. “The race is different than many competitions; it’s a chance to compete for an array of permanent trophies and be part of a history going back to 1906,” says Brewin, “but above all it’s a chance to challenge oneself and one’s crew to prepare to compete safely offshore at the highest level.”

 

Newport Bermuda Race Start (Photo by George Bekris)

The introduction of a Multihull Division was three years in development, and based on the standards adopted for 2018, not every multihull will be eligible to compete. Collaborating with an experienced cadre of multihull designers and sailors, the Cruising Club of America’s safety committee developed new ocean-racing safety standards for participating multihulls and set more rigorous safety training requirements than for monohull crews. In addition, the BROC collaborated with the Offshore Racing Association to create a new VPP handicap system for multihulls (ORR-MH) that was successfully tested in the 2017 Transpac Race.

See BermudaRace.com for news updates on the race. See Official Notice Board for current list of entries.

Genuine Risk At Start Of Bermuda Race (Photo by George Bekris )

 

Newport Bermuda Race Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

Newport Bermuda Race 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

By John Rousmaniere,

 June 16, 2016 — As nearly 1,700 sailors who will soon race to Bermuda make their preparations, loading food and gear into their boats and lining up to pre-clear Bermuda customs and immigration, all of them have one question in mind: “What will the weather be?” And one answer:  “I just hope it’ll favor my boat.”

Sailors don’t agree on much.  Some prefer big boats, some small. Some like light displacement, others heavy. Yet this question and answer can be counted on whenever two or three of us are gathered together. We all talk about the weather, and talk and talk. The weather is our obsession.

On land, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” to quote Mark Twain (or his friend Charles Dudley Warner — the sources disagree).  But on water, we can do something about it.  We trim or shorten sail, we change course, and we look around for better weather.

Newport Bermuda Race 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

Weather is the deep concern of the 2016 Bermuda Race fleet of 184 boats. There has been some attrition, some due to boat damage during deliveries and in a race. One withdrawal is the Maxi 72 Bella Mente, a frequent candidate to be first to finish that is not sailing this time out of her owner’s weather concerns.

Over the past three days, conflicting weather forecasts have stirred up concern about the conditions that will confront the fleet after the start on Friday. One forecast seemed to indicate a high wind at the start, another suggested a hard blow down the course, and a third offered the specter of rough going, with a hard north wind.

That last weather alert has attracted a lot of attention because of the Gulf Stream. The body of water running northeast is Benjamin Franklin’s “River in the Ocean.” It’s more like a drifting octopus—a complicated patch of moving water turning in every which direction and greatly affecting the state of the sea.  To quote the race’s Gulf Stream expert (and multi-time navigator), oceanographer Dr. Frank Bohlen, “Wind blowing against the current results in a significantly larger wave amplitude and shorter wavelength than what appears when wind blows with current or when there is no current.”

Click here for Frank Bohlen’s analysis of this year’s Gulf Stream.

Newport Bermuda 2010 Start (Photo by George Bekris)

Newport Bermuda 2010 Start (Photo by George Bekris)

History marks two postponements

Despite more than 100 years of excited sailor talk about the weather in 49 races, only two Bermuda Race starts have been postponed a day or longer. The 1968 start was delayed for one day out of concern about an early-season hurricane.  Then in 1982, the race committee, chaired by James A. McCurdy (father of Selkie skipper Sheila McCurdy), postponed the start for two days because of a storm in the Western Atlantic. Once the weather settled down, the then-record 178 starters got off the line quickly on a spinnaker reach.

Carina (Photo by George Bekris )

Carina (Photo by George Bekris )

There’s another, quite startling weather story about the 1982 race.  Carina (today owned by Rives Potts) was sailing almost directly toward Bermuda when her owner-skipper, Richard Nye, poked his head up through the companionway and took a look upwind around just as a lightning bolt flashed down to the water.  “Tack,” Nye ordered. The crew looked at him incredulously. They were only 10 degrees off the layline to the finish. “Tack! There’s lightning to windward. There’s warm water up there. The Gulf Stream’s up there.”

Carina tacked, sailed on the “wrong” tack for a couple of hours until she was well into hot water, tacked back, and with a 3-knot current on her stern, charged toward Bermuda at 10-plus knots over the bottom. She won her division by a comfortable 34 minutes.

That’s one good reason why we obsess about weather.

Newport Bermuda Race 2016 Entries

Click here for more facts about the Newport Bermuda Race.

Newport Bermuda Race 2014 start (Photo by George Bekris)

Watch the start and follow your favorites to Bermuda

Coming alive for you on BermudaRace.com … join Livestream 2PM-5PM on Friday June 17 for live video and commentary on the start. Commentator Andy Green will be host the program from the Inn at Castle Hill overlooking the starting line. With cameras on the hill and on the water, he’ll get close to the action bringing live sailing directly to you. Audio also airs on Newport radio FM 105.9.

Virtual spectators will watch the story unfold as their favorite yachts, skippers, or crew members in this 635-mile ocean classic tack and gybe their way through the Gulf Stream and hunt for the wind in the ‘happy valley’ north of Bermuda. All boats in the 2016 fleet will be tracked by YB satellite trackers as live as it can be on Pantaenius Race Tracking — www.pantaenius.com/NBRtracking — your link to all the action in the race.

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

2012 Newport Bermuda Race

Shockwave (R) and Bella Mente (L) should be locked in a battle for line honors in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race. Shockwave was first on corrected time in 2012 and won the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy. Bella Mente came third behind Rambler. Rambler got line honors and smashed the Newport Bermuda elapse time record.
2012 Newport Bermuda Race
Copyright 2012 Daniel Forster/PPL

 

By John Rousmaniere

Newport RI, April 2, 2014). As of the April 1 deadline, 180 applications for entry have been received for the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race that will start on June 20 off Castle Hill in Newport. Broken down by the biennial race’s five divisions, the entries are: St. David’s Lighthouse, 91 boats; Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, 10; Cruiser, 36; Double-Handed, 26; Open, 2. Fifty-one captains have indicated that this is their boats’ first Newport Bermuda Race. The 2012 race had 165 starters.

Officials of the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee advise that entry numbers and divisional assignments may change. Sixteen entering captains are undecided about which division to enter, and more applications for entry are expected at the race’s website, BermudaRace.com, at the Guide to Entry button. Late entries may be subject to a time penalty.

In the St. David’s Lighthouse Division, returnees include many 2012 prizewinners and the division’s winning boats in the last four races, Rives Potts’s Carina (winner in 2010 and 2012) and Peter Rebovich’s Sinn Fein (2006 and 2008). Also in this division are two highly competitive classic wooden yawls, Matt Brooks’s Transpac winner Dorade and 2012 Bermuda Race class winner Black Watch, commanded by John Melvin.

A close race is anticipated in the Gibbs Hill Division between George Sakellaris’ Shockwave and Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente. In 2012 Shockwave, pressed hard by Belle Mente, won both this division and the North Rock Beacon Trophy as the race’s top boat under the IRC Rule. Both boats broke the race elapsed time record.

Entries in the Cruiser and Double-Handed divisions are running ahead of their 2012 levels. Cruiser Division runner-up True, sailed by Howard Hodgson, Jr., will be back with other high finishers, including Brad Willauer’s Breezing Up and Chris Culver’s Cetacea. Returning in the extremely competitive Double-Handed Division are the 2012 race’s top four boats: Hewitt Gaynor’s Mireille, Joe Harris’ GryphonSolo2, Gardner Grant’s Alibi, and Jason Richter’s Paladin.

Jim Muldoon’s veteran Donnybrook has entered the Open Division. Spirit of Bermuda, a replica of a traditional Bermuda trading vessel and 2012 Bermuda Race entry, will return for another 635-mile sprint across the Gulf Stream.

An updated list of applicants for entry is at http://bermudarace.com/2014-race/race-applicants/ . For more information about the Newport Bermuda Race, visitBermudaRace.com.

Important dates on the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race calendar include the following:

Forms submitted and fees paid, May 16
Boat measurement data submitted, May 22
Crew information submitted, June 1
Boat inspection deadline, June 6
Onion Patch Series/Navigator’s Race Series, NYYC Annual Regatta, Newport, June 14-15
Check-in at race headquarters (NYYC Sailing Center, Harbour Court), June 15-18
US Sailing Sanctioned Safety at Sea Seminar, Newport, June 18. Register at safety@bermudarace.com
Gosling’s Rum Newport Shipyard Crew Party, Newport, June 18
Captains Meeting sponsored by Hinckley Yachts, Jane Pickens Theater, June 19
Newport Bermuda Race start, June 20
Onion Patch Series/ Navigator’s Race Series, RBYC Anniversary Regatta and Welcome Party, Bermuda, June 27
Newport Bermuda Prize Ceremony, June 28

2012 Newport Bermu Only one skipper has won the Newport Bermuda Race three times. Carleton Mitchell won three in a row in 1956-58-69. And Mitchell won those three races all with Finisterre, the most famous of the Sparkman & Stephens centerboard yawls. In 2010, Peter Rebovich was poised to repeat the feat in Sinn Fein (1818), his classic 51-year-old stock Cal 40, but a sterling performance by Rives Potts in his McCurdy & Rhodes 48 Carina swept away his chance for three St. David’s Lighthouse Trophies in a row. Rebovich had to rebuild Sinn Fein after Hurricane Sandy and now he is back as both he and Rives Potts each come to the line again looking for their third wins in the same boat. ©2012 Daniel Forster/PPLda Race


Only one skipper has won the Newport Bermuda Race three times. Carleton Mitchell won three in a row in 1956-58-69. And Mitchell won those three races all with Finisterre, the most famous of the Sparkman & Stephens centerboard yawls. In 2010, Peter Rebovich was poised to repeat the feat in Sinn Fein (1818), his classic 51-year-old stock Cal 40, but a sterling performance by Rives Potts in his McCurdy & Rhodes 48 Carina swept away his chance for three St. David’s Lighthouse Trophies in a row. Rebovich had to rebuild Sinn Fein after Hurricane Sandy and now he is back as both he and Rives Potts each come to the line again looking for their third wins in the same boat. ©2012 Daniel Forster/PPL

Bermuda is the Official Host of the Newport Bermuda Race. For details on all the excitement and events Bermuda has to offer, call your travel agent or visithttp://www.bermudatourism.com.

Gosling’s Rum is the Official Rum of the Newport Bermuda Race. Try a Dark ‘n Stormy®, the taste of Bermuda. For more information visit www.goslingsrum.com

Pantaenius American Yacht Insurance is the official lead sponsor of the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race’s tracker, which will be visible on the race’s web site:http://www.pantaenius.com/en/american-yacht-insurance.html/

Newport Shipyard is the Official Shipyard of the Newport Bermuda Race. Come get ready for Bermuda, swap strategies, and walk the docks among veteran sailors.http://www.NewportShipyard.com/

Vineyard Vines is the Official Newport Bermuda Tie Sponsor providing commemorative ties to the afterguard of the competing yachts. http://www.vineyardvines.com/

Brewer Yacht Yard Group is the Official Boat Preparation Resource of the Newport Bermuda Race. Experienced staff at Brewer yards from New York to Maine will help you and your crew plan and prepare for a successful race. http://www.byy.com/

Hinckley Yachts is the Official Sponsor of the Captains Meeting for the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race, and will provide the check-in boat and other boats for official observers. http://www.hinckleyyachts.c

OCENS is the Newport Bermuda Race’s Official Race Communications Partner. Satellite communications and weather information for the race and the world.http://www.ocens.com/nb

2012 Newport B Off to a lighthouse winning start, Rives Potts in Carina (L 315) gets his nose out in front in the start of Class 3 of the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race. Potts won his second St. David's Lighthouse Trophy. NA23, Defiance (blue & gold spinnaker, was 2nd in the division. Only one skipper has won the Newport Bermuda Race three times. Carleton Mitchell won three in a row in 1956-58-69. And Mitchell won those three races all with Finisterre, the most famous of the Sparkman & Stephens centerboard yawls. Potts has a chance to tie that record this year.  2012 Newport Bermuda Race Copyright 2012 Daniel Forster/PPLermuda Race


Off to a lighthouse winning start, Rives Potts in Carina (L 315) gets his nose out in front in the start of Class 3 of the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race. Potts won his second St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy. NA23, Defiance (blue & gold spinnaker, was 2nd in the division. Only one skipper has won the Newport Bermuda Race three times. Carleton Mitchell won three in a row in 1956-58-69. And Mitchell won those three races all with Finisterre, the most famous of the Sparkman & Stephens centerboard yawls. Potts has a chance to tie that record this year.
2012 Newport Bermuda Race
Copyright 2012 Daniel Forster/PPL

The 52' classic wooden yawl Dorade (R), built in 1929 for designer Olin Stephens, returns under owner Matt Brooks. Last year Dorade won the Transpac Race in the Pacific Ocean.   Dorade sailed two Newport Bermuda Races under Olin Stephens and this will be the second under Matt Brooks, matching the early campaign under her designer. ©2012 Daniel Forster/PPL

The 52′ classic wooden yawl Dorade (R), built in 1929 for designer Olin Stephens, returns under owner Matt Brooks. Last year Dorade won the Transpac Race in the Pacific Ocean. Dorade sailed two Newport Bermuda Races under Olin Stephens and this will be the second under Matt Brooks, matching the early campaign under her designer. ©2012 Daniel Forster/PPL

By Fred Deichmann, Chairman, 2014 Bermuda Race Organizing Committee

Newport RI, March 17, 2014— With two weeks to go before Applications for Entry close on April 1st for the 49th Newport Bermuda Race, 158 boats have filed Applications for Entry.  Many boats long identified with the race are coming back, and there is an enthusiastic response from first-time skippers, who make up 20 percent of the total.

The variety of entries is notable. Among the returnees are 2006 and 2008 St. David’s Lighthouse Division winner Pete Rebovich with his family crew in Sinn Fein. Remarkably, the nearly 50-year-old Cal 40 was almost entirely destroyed in superstorm Sandy in 2012, but she’s been rebuilt and will be on the starting line on June 20.  The famous Classic wooden 52′ yawl Dorade, built in 1929 for designer Olin Stephens, returns under owner Matt Brooks. Last year Dorade won the Transpac Race in the Pacific Ocean.

Rives Potts’ 2010 and 2012 St. David’s winner Carina and Hap Fauth’s perennial Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division contender and elapsed time top finisher Bella Mente will be at the starting line. Kodiak, winner of the big boat class in St. David’s in 2012 under skipper Llwyd Ecclestone, is also racing.

Spirit of Bermuda, owned by the Bermuda Sloop Foundation and modeled on 19th century Bermudan commercial ships, will race again. In 2012, sailing with a crew of Bermuda youngsters, she was awarded a special seamanship award for her efforts to assist another racing boat that was in trouble.

Applications for Entry are due by 1700 hours, April 1after which applicants may incur a time penalty.  The process begins in the race entry portal on the race web site. Also online are a complete guide to entryrace documents and requirements and an extensive FAQ, all found under the “Entry” section of BermudaRace.com.

 As the entry window closes, Bermuda Race Organizers are proud of the tremendous diversity and great quality of this fleet.  Please join us for the 2014 Thrash to the Onion Patch.

More information about the race is at http://BermudaRace.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Important dates on the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race calendar include the following:

  • Application for entry deadline, April 1
  • Boat inspection begins, March 10
  • Cruising Club of America-Newport Bermuda Race Safety Weekend, Newport RI,  March 15-16
  • Forms submitted and fees paid, May 16
  • Boat measurement data submitted, May 22
  • Crew information submitted, June 1
  • Boat inspection deadline, June 6
  • Onion Patch Series NYYC Annual Regatta day races, Newport RI, June 14-15
  • Check-in at race HQ (New York Yacht Club Sailing Center, Harbour Court), June 15-18
  • Gosling’s Rum Newport Shipyard Crew Party, Newport RI, June 18 at Newport Shipyard
  • Captains Meeting, June 19
  • Newport Bermuda Race start, June 20
  • Onion Patch Series RBYC Anniversary Regatta and Welcome Party, Bermuda, June 27
  • Newport Bermuda Prize Ceremony, June 28.

Bermuda is the Official Host of the Newport Bermuda Race. For details on all the excitement and events Bermuda has to offer, call your travel agent or visit http://www.bermudatourism.com.

Gosling’s Rum is the Official Rum of the Newport Bermuda Race. Try a Dark ‘n Stormy®, the taste of Bermuda. For more information visit www.goslingsrum.com

Pantaenius American Yacht Insurance is the official lead sponsor of the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race’s tracker, which will be visible on the race’s web site: http://www.pantaenius.com/en/american-yacht-insurance.html/ 

Newport Shipyard is the Official Shipyard of the Newport Bermuda Race. Come get ready for Bermuda, swap strategies, and walk the docks among veteran sailors. http://www.NewportShipyard.com/

Vineyard Vines is the Official Newport Bermuda Tie Sponsor providing commemorative ties to the afterguard of the competing yachts. http://www.vineyardvines.com/

Brewer Yacht Yard Group is the Official Boat Preparation Resource of the Newport Bermuda Race.  Experienced staff at Brewer yards from New York to Maine will help you and your crew plan and prepare for a successful race. http://www.byy.com/   

Hinckley Yachts is the Official Sponsor of the Captains Meeting for the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race, and will provide the check-in boat and other boats for official observers. http://www.hinckleyyachts.com

OCENS is the Newport Bermuda Race’s Official Race Communications Partner. Satellite communications and weather information for the race and the world.  http://www.ocens.com/nb