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 Class 5 start of the 2010 Royal Bermuda YC Anniversary Regatta, stage 3 of the Onion Patch Series. In the 2-race regatta, the first race is a W-L in the Great Sound and the second is a 'Tour of the Island' starting in the Great Sound and finishing in Hamilton Harbour off the RBYC marina. The new Navigators Race will be a Tour of the Island with a new twist. Credit Talbot Wilson

The Class 5 start of the 2010 Royal Bermuda YC Anniversary Regatta, stage 3 of the Onion Patch Series. In the 2-race regatta, the first race is a W-L in the Great Sound and the second is a ‘Tour of the Island’ starting in the Great Sound and finishing in Hamilton Harbour off the RBYC marina. The new Navigators Race will be a Tour of the Island with a new twist. Credit Talbot Wilson

By Talbot Wilson 

To race the 50th anniversary Onion Patch Series, boats must race to Bermuda. The deadline for entry in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race (without a potential late-entry time penalty) is April 1st. Enter now at the race portal: http://bermudarace.com/entry/race-entry-portal/. For Onion Patch Series details seehttp://www.onionpatchseries.com/.

Hamilton Bermuda, March 23, 2014— As the three-event Onion Patch Series turns 50 this summer, organizers have decided to add a new, more relaxed Navigators Race Series format for the 25th running of the traditional series. The new series for more cruiser oriented race programs will be scored with ORR ratings. The traditional series raced for the Onion Patch Trophy and Henry B. DuPont Trophy will continue to be scored under IRC.

The new Navigators Race Series will allow those skippers not interested in racing intense windward-leeward courses in the New York Yacht Club 160th Annual Regatta or not interested in racing on a Great Sound course with the professional grand prix boats and more intense racers in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club‘s Anniversary Regatta to sail separate scenic and fun “round the buoys” races in their own series.

One Navigators Race will be scheduled each day for the June 14-15 NYYC Annual Regatta in Newport RI. The group will then sail to Bermuda in their regular Bermuda Race divisions and be scored against each other as an overlay event. On Friday June 27th, they will sail one race in the RBYC Anniversary Regatta around a scenic course following the start of the last regular Onion Patch Series Anniversary Regatta race.

All yachts racing in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race are invited to compete in this inaugural three-event Onion Patch Navigators Race Series. ORR Scoring will be used in Newport and in Bermuda for ‘Navigators’, so all yachts in the Newport Bermuda Race, which uses that system for all divisions, will be eligible. The traditional Onion Patch Series races under IRC ratings, so only the Newport Bermuda’s Gibbs Hill and St. David’s Division’s IRC entries may compete for those prizes. See http://www.onionpatchseries.com/.

The new series will have its own prizes for performance in the events and for the series. The top series prize will be dedicated to the late Richard “Dick” Kempe who was instrumental in establishing the Cruiser Division of the Newport Bermuda Race in 1990.

“We began planning for this new series last fall,” said series Chairman and past RBYC Commodore Brian Billings. “We had been talking about adding a fun-style race for boats in Royal Bermuda’s Anniversary Regatta. We wanted to do an event for our foreign friends that would get them out sailing locally and allow them to experience more of what Bermuda has to offer cruising sailors.”

“With the help of past Newport Bermuda Chairman John Winder,” Billings noted, “we approached the NYYC race committee with the idea. John had been discussing their use of ORR for two round the buoys races in their regatta. Steve Benjamin of NYYC supported the idea. So here we are 4 months later with a new addition to a historic series.”

“Our initial goal was to have 50 boats in the Onion Patch Series,” Billings added. “Maybe with this new Navigators Race series we should target for 75 boats. And remember, if you can’t make the whole series, you can still sail these fun Navigator Race courses in Newport or Bermuda.”

Of course, to race the Onion Patch Series boats must race to Bermuda. The deadline for entry in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race (without a potential late entry time penalty) is April 1st. Enter now at the race portal: http://bermudarace.com/entry/race-entry-portal/.

Separate entry in the NYYC Annual Regatta, the RBYC Anniversary Regatta and the Series will be from the NYYC web site.

In 1962, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club donated the Onion Patch Trophy for the series and the first competition was held in conjunction with the 1964 Newport Bermuda Race. Now, in 2014, the series will be sailed for the 25th time. The series now consists of racing in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, the Cruising Club of America-Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Newport Bermuda Race and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta.

Include all three events in this tough triathlon of sailboat racing. It’s a hard-fought series sailed over a scant three consecutive weeks in June. Ask anyone who has done it… The Onion Patch is one tough series to win. It is a challenge to yacht, skipper and crew to prevail in these three spectacular events and venues.

Be in Newport June 14, 2014 for the NYYC 160th Annual Regatta and make the 50th Anniversary Onion Patch Series the biggest and best ever.

Randall Baldwin (Ridgefield Connecticut), sailing his Taylor 42 Cabady to the final finish of the RBYC Anniversary Regatta, took home the Henry B. du Pont Trophy for first place in the 2008 Onion Patch Series. Of Onion Patch boats, he finished second in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, first in the Newport Bermuda Race and ninth in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta for 2, 1.25, 9 and a total of 12.25 points. His boat and crew gave an all-round winning performance.  ©Talbot Wilson

Randall Baldwin (Ridgefield Connecticut), sailing his Taylor 42 Cabady to the final finish of the RBYC Anniversary Regatta, took home the Henry B. du Pont Trophy for first place in the 2008 Onion Patch Series. Of Onion Patch boats, he finished second in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, first in the Newport Bermuda Race and ninth in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta for 2, 1.25, 9 and a total of 12.25 points. His boat and crew gave an all-round winning performance.
©Talbot Wilson

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 

Black Watch by Talbot  Wilson

Black Watch US71 (R), the 1938 restored classic wooden yawl and a class winner in 2012 now under the command of John Melvin, will return for 2014. Here she is as the 48th Newport Bermuda Race got underway with the first spinnaker start since 2004. There were 165 boats in 17 classes and 6 divisions. (Photo by Talbot Wilson)

 

By John Rousmaniere

Newport RI, February 23, 2014— With 120 applications for entry received for the upcoming 49th Newport Bermuda Race, the race’s organizers are noting a larger than usual proportion of first-time entries as the April 1 entry deadline approaches. More than one-fourth of the applications are from boats that have not sailed the race. “It’s satisfying to see so many experienced sailors entering a boat in the race for the first time,” said Bermuda Race Organizing Committee Chairman Fred Deichmann.

Registration for the Bermuda Race is online at http://BermudaRace.com. Race applications submitted after the April 1 deadline will be subject to a penalty applied to the boat’s corrected time.

Deichmann added that the race’s safety at sea seminar on March 15 at Newport is experiencing heavier than usual signup. He urged sailors to register soon at http://BermudaRace.com/entry/safety-at-sea-seminars.

Deichmann announced that the Newport Bermuda Race will again participate in the Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta Program. “We are asking sailors to help the race achieve Gold Level status for the 2014 race by taking steps to protect the environment,” he said. “Sailors are deeply concerned about the health of the waters we sail in.” The race starts in the mouth of Narragansett Bay, crosses the Gulf Stream, and finishes in the fragile waters off Bermuda’s reefs. Crews follow environmentally friendly routines according to “leave no trace” and other guidelines. For example, because a big concern is keeping plastic out of the ocean, sailors use non-disposable drinking mugs.

The 2012 Newport Bermuda Race was awarded Silver Level status by Sailors for the Sea, a non-profit organization committed to ocean stewardship. Details about the Clean Regatta program can be found on the Sailors for the Sea website, http://sailorsforthesea.org.

Concerning the March 15 safety at sea seminar, Deichmann urged captains to plan ahead and determine if the crew satisfies race rules on seminar attendance, and also to send one crewmember each to Sunday’s medical and race preparation seminars. The safety seminar can be used to help fill out a crew. Red nametags will be issued to sailors seeking a berth, and blue nametags will be worn by captains needing crew for the race or the return voyage.

The roster of entries so far in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race includes Rives Potts’ Carina, St. David’s Lighthouse Division overall winner in 2010 and 2012. George Sakellaris’ Shockwave will attempt to defend her Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division corrected time victory in 2012, when she and Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente (also returning) dueled bow to bow before Bella Mente finished merely two minutes ahead after 41 hours of sailing. In the Double-Handed Division, defending winner Hewitt Gaynor will return in his Mireille to match up against his longtime friendly competitor Richard du Moulin in Lora Ann.

Also competing again are the 1938 restored classic wooden yawl Black Watch, a class winner in 2012 now under the command of John Melvin, who had high finishes in previous races in his Concordia yawl Westray. Llwyd Ecclestone, the 1998 race winner, will return with his loyal crew in Kodiak. In 2012 they were first to finish in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division and won the Overall Performance Prize for the class winner with the largest victory margin.

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 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 visitwww.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

Finishing the Newport Bermuda Race Monday 18 June 2012 by Charles Anderson

Rives Potts steers ‘Carina’ to another Lighthouse Trophy for first place in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division, his second consecutive win, as his family filled crew hand out high fives after crossing the finish line in Bermuda, Newport Bermuda 2012. (Photo by Charles Anderson)

FlyingLady by OffSoundings

FlyingLady by OffSoundings

 

In June 2012 I sailed the Newport Bermuda Race with an amateur crew in my Swan 46 Flying Lady.  I had crewed in 2006 and 2008 in Ray Gincavage’s Baltic 48 Fury, but this was my first race as skipper. I learned valuable lessons. 

Philip Dickey: “A Newport Bermuda Race is a wonderful adventure for properly prepared boats and crews.”  

Most important, I learned that the safety and health of the crew are a skipper’s most important  concerns. You are unlikely to win your class in your first race, but you are certain to face  awesome responsibility for your crew and their loved ones as you race your boat over 600  miles offshore on the way to Bermuda.

Not only is the Newport Bermuda Race the oldest and arguably the most prestigious of the  popular offshore races open to amateurs, it is especially challenging because it takes you far  offshore, out of range of rescue helicopters and Coast Guard vessels.  This race is the Everest of  offshore racing. Most of the Bermuda Race is beyond coastal helicopter range, so if you need  outside assistance beyond advice by satellite phone, you likely will need to call a commercial  vessel to rescue you.

The best way to avoid having to be rescued is to engage in meticulous preparation. To prepare  for this race you must do three things:  Prepare the boat for safety, prepare the crew for safety,  and prepare the skipper for the responsibility for the health, in addition to the safety, of the  crew.

The experienced skipper will have his way of doing these things.  But for the first-time skipper, based upon my experience, I have three recommendations:  

(1) Follow to the letter the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee (BROC) protocol, instructions, and timeline as you prepare for boat inspection.  (2) Insist that all your crew attend a U.S. Sailing certified Safety at Sea Seminar before the race—preferably together, as a team.  (3) And I strongly recommend that you recruit a medical professional for your crew, either a doctor, a physician’s assistant, or a qualified nurse.  If you do these three things, you and your crew will be as prepared as you can be for this challenging race.

 1.      Prepare for Inspection

The Newport Bermuda Race website (www.BermudaRace.com) contains the information you need to organize a plan for preparation of your boat for safety.  The race is an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) Category 1 race, which means that you must prepare for long periods at sea without the possibility of rescue.  The 2014 Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements (NBRSRs) are based on the new U.S. Sailing Safety Equipment Requirements, a plain-language, compact alternative to the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations (with the addition of the race’s special prescriptions). The NBRSRs lay out what’s required to pass inspection. If you see 20-foot waves and 30-knot winds in the Gulf Stream, as we did in 2012, you will be glad that you prepared your boat according to these stringent guidelines, and you will sleep soundly when off watch.

Anticipate a thorough boat inspection and have everything ready, including documents.   Expect the inspector to be formal but cordial.  Understand that he is your friend, there to assess your readiness for the race.  It is in both your and the BROC’s interest that your boat can complete the race without outside assistance.  Get everything done early. Push your sailmaker to submit measurements of new sails so you can get updated ORR and IRC certificates by March. Be in the water in April so you can get your inspection done in early May.  As a first-time skipper you should not find yourself worrying about inspection when you need to concentrate on the crew, customs and immigration details, delivery issues, and Gulf Stream navigation.

2.      Attend a Certified Safety at Sea Seminar

As a first-time skipper, you face three challenges with respect to the crew structure that are addressed by safety seminars.  First, you want your crew to take preparation seriously. There is nothing like a safety seminar to focus a crew on boat preparation.  If you want to have eight people help you trace every hose leading to a through hull, make sure they attend a safety seminar.  Second, even if your crew has more offshore experience than you do, you as owner are legally responsible for the boat and crew. More experienced sailors must follow your orders.  A safety seminar emphasizes leadership and crew structure.

Third, as you put together your first Newport Bermuda Race crew, you may experience crew attrition as the race date approaches.  Four of my original crew of ten opted out within three months of the race.  None of those dropouts had attended a safety seminar, but every one of those who stayed had attended a seminar.  You should probably question the commitment of a sailor who won’t agree to a one-day seminar in the months prior to a major offshore race.  Strongly consider replacing anyone who won’t commit.

3.  Recruit a Medical Professional

This will be easier than you think.  Full disclosure:  I am an MD, as were two of my crew in 2012 (we also had a dentist).  But other MD friends expressed interest, and several qualified MDs were on the online crew finder list a couple of weeks before the start. If you can’t recruit an MD, find a physician’s assistant or nurse who has critical care experience.

Why recruit an MD?  You may find yourself with sick or injured crew onboard while days away from Bermuda. This happened on Seabiscuit, a J46 in the 2012 race. Ultimately the sick crew became seriously ill and required evacuation by a cruise ship, at significant risk.  The evacuation may not have been required had an MD been on board.  And as the average age of racing sailors increases, you may find yourself with crew who have diabetes, heart disease, or other chronic illnesses. In my 2012 crew we had two diabetics on medications and two others on powerful blood thinners for heart problems.

It is fair to ask the MD to prepare and pay for an extensive medical kit, one which should exceed requirements and should contain, among other things, IV fluids, medications, and the hardware necessary to administer them.  The MDs I know who are looking for a ride would be happy to provide the kit and expertise in exchange for offshore experience.

 

Flying Lady in the initial (and brief) easy going after the 2012 start. (PPL)

Flying Lady in easy going after the 2012 start. Conditions quickly worsened. (PPL)

Two More Lessons

I learned a couple of other key lessons in my first Bermuda Race as skipper.  If you want to take an ISAF Category 3 professional sailor with you and allow him to steer, enter the Gibbs Hill or another professional division.  And be sure to check with your insurance agent about whether your current policy will cover you for an offshore race.  I found out a couple of months before the race that my policy would not provide coverage and I had to change insurers.  Check early.

A Newport-Bermuda Race is a wonderful adventure for properly prepared boats and crews. I thoroughly enjoyed the skipper experience and had much more fun in 2012 than on the previous two I crewed.  Next time I want to win!

 Philip Dickey and his crew put their lessons learned to exceptional use during the 2012 Bermuda Race when they powered 25 miles into a rough sea to assist the sailor in Seabiscuit who required medical assistance. The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee awarded seamanship awards to him and two other skippers who participated in the effort, Jonathan Green of Seabiscuit and Scott Jackson of Spirit of Bermuda.

For more on this incident:  http://bermudarace.com/evacuation-at-sea-lessons-learned-from-the-2012-newport-bermuda-race/.

 

Seabiscuit as the 48th Newport Bermuda Race got underway with the first spinnaker start since 2002. There were 166 boats in 17 classes and 6 divisions. (Photo by Talbot Wilson)

By John Rousmaniere

Nobody should underestimate the importance or demands of these incidents and the efforts to deal with them. As Royal Bermuda Yacht Cub Commodore Jonathan Brewin observed, “We were dealing with just one boat and one casualty. If four or five boats were involved, we wouldn’t be able to handle all of it. We need to have a team ready to work.” For the full report go to RACE NEWS > http://www.bermudarace.com/

Newport, RI: Jan. 30, 2013: The Newport Bermuda Race is closely followed by an onshore team of race officials who alternate four-hour watches as they monitor emails, satphone and radiotelephone calls, and the online tracker that identifies entries and their positions. At a little after 2000 EDT on the 2012 race’s third night, June 17, watch-stander Nicholas Weare, based in Bermuda, received an email from the race’s consulting physician in Massachusetts.

He promptly reported it to race officials: “Message received from Dr. Barbara Masser advising that she lost satphone contact 7:49 EDT while in communication with Seabiscuit regarding a 38-year-old insulin dependent male who has not eaten or drunk for 24 hours, with elevated blood sugar and appears confused.”

These were the first two of more than two dozen emails (not to mention many satphone and radio calls) sent over the next seven hours concerning the serious problem on board Seabiscuit, a J-46 in the race’s Double-Handed Division. The effort to assist and, eventually, evacuate the seasick sailor, Nathan C. Owen, included more than two dozen people, including race officials, rescue personnel in the U.S. and Bermuda, and the crews of two other racing boats and a cruise ship.

For the full report go to RACE NEWS > http://www.bermudarace.com/

Following the incident there were frank discussions of lessons learned in a debriefing at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, in replies to a questionnaire circulated to 21 people involved in the incident, and in John Rousmaniere’s detailed incident report to the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee. Here is a summary

Seasickness and Dehydration:

Seasickness puts lives at risk. Seasickness medication must be trialed by each member of the crew prior to going offshore, checking for side effects, and be used prophylactically wherever the boat is sailing. All vessels must be equipped with proper seasickness and anti-nausea medication, including suppositories (for times when oral medication cannot be held down) and IV saline to provide emergency hydration

At least one crew member should be trained and assigned to monitor crew health and medications. 2012 Bermuda Race Chair John Osmond (a medical doctor) has recommended that sailors take a first- aid course/safety seminar addressing seasickness and dehydration.

Communications:

Crews must be thoroughly familiar with and practice on their satellite phones and radiotelephones. Satphone calls were lost and dropped because the phone or volume was turned off, or because service providers could handle only a limited number of voice calls at time. Voicemail and email are extremely valuable options for offshore satphones—but they work only if the crews frequently check for messages.

Emergency/crisis management:

The question “Who was in charge?” in the questionnaire elicited a large variety of answers. Because some confusion is probably inevitable in such situations, a crisis management plan that looks sound on paper may not be suitable in action. Every plan should be tested in trial runs by its team and rescue officials.

Another crucial issue is having necessary data readily available. Telephone numbers and other contacts for boats, rescue services, and homes must be known and carefully recorded and stored where they are instantly accessible.

 

Seminar organizer Ron Trossbach and Dan O'Connor demonstrate liferaft deployment a previous seminar. (Photo by  Leslie Schneider)

Seminar organizer Ron Trossbach and Dan O'Connor demonstrate liferaft deployment a previous seminar. (Photo by Leslie Schneider)

The Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar on March 17-18 introduces a new approach to safety education. The seminar serves sailors in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race as well as delivery and crews returning from Bermuda and other offshore sailors. It is also perfect for skippers and crews on coastal racers plus ocean and coastal cruisers, too. This Cruising Club of America seminar is at the Newport (RI) Hyatt Regency Hotel on Goat Island.

Register at http://www.bermudarace.com/EntryProcess/SafetyatSea/tabid/190/Default.aspx in advance. Or for those who choose to register at the door in Newport, walk-ins are welcome

On Saturday, March 17, the seminar offers two tracks. The morning �refresher course� is for anybody who has attended two or more US SAILING certified safety seminars since 2002. Participants may then do hands-on, in-water survival training in the afternoon. They will earn an ISAF Approved Certificate in one day. The other track is the All-day Safety at Sea seminar for people who have not attended a safety seminar recently.

On Sunday, there are two all-day courses� the Practical, Hands on Training Safety Seminar that combines with Saturday’s all day Safety at Sea Seminar to award the ISAF Approved Offshore Personal Survival Course certificate and a Red Cross First Aid and CPR training course. In addition, a Newport Bermuda Race Preparation Seminar aimed specifically at Bermuda Race sailors will be held in the morning.

More information about the CCA Safety at Sea Seminar and a link to direct registration and details about the Newport Bermuda Race are at www.BermudaRace.com.

Cetacea Bow in Newport Bermuda Race (Photo by Talbot Wilson)

Cetacea Bow in Newport Bermuda Race (Photo by Talbot Wilson)

 

Every offshore sailor worth his or her salt dreams of doing the Newport Bermuda Race. Sheila McCurdy has sailed 15 of them and will do number 16 in 2012. McCurdy, from Middletown, RI, is the immediate past Commodore of the Cruising Club of America (CCA), co-organizer of the race with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC). She has sailed nine of her Bermuda Races on Selkie.

Her first three Newport Bermuda Races— 1986, 1988 and 1990— were as navigator for her dad, James A. (Jim) McCurdy, chief designer at McCurdy & Rhodes, Naval Architects. In 1985 he designed the 38’6” Selkie for his family. Sheila has sailed six other Newport Bermuda Races as Selkie’s skipper and navigator, as well as four races in other boats including a stint as advisor aboard a US Naval Academy entry.

The only recent races McCurdy missed were in 2004, when she sailed trans-Atlantic with a crew of Navy midshipmen, and in 2010, when as Commodore of the CCA, she and RBYC Commodore Peter Shrubb had to stay ashore, prepared to address emergencies. Unable to stay away from Bermuda, she sailed Selkie to Bermuda in 2011 for the CCA cruise in the waters of the archipelago.

Her best Bermuda Races were in 1994 and 2008. In both races Selkie finished 2nd in Class and 2nd in the St. David’s Lighthouse (amateur) Division. In 1994, CCA Commodore Kaighn Smith’s Swan 38 Gaylark snatched the Lighthouse Trophy out of her grasp, winning by a mere 15-minute margin after 635 rhumb line miles of hard ocean racing.

Sheila McCurdy's family boat Selkie powers upwind at the start of the 2008 Newport Bermuda Races. Selkie will see her 10th Newport Bermuda Race in 2012. McCurdy has been aboard on all the races, 3 as navigator for her father Jim McCurdy, the boat's designer and 6 as both skipper and navigator. In 2008 Selkie finishes 2nd in class and 2nd in the St. David's Lighthouse Division.  (Photo by Talbot Wilson)

Sheila McCurdy's family boat Selkie powers upwind at the start of the 2008 Newport Bermuda Races. Selkie will see her 10th Newport Bermuda Race in 2012. McCurdy has been aboard on all the races, 3 as navigator for her father Jim McCurdy, the boat's designer and 6 as both skipper and navigator. In 2008 Selkie finishes 2nd in class and 2nd in the St. David's Lighthouse Division. (Photo by Talbot Wilson)

After 15 races, with two as bridesmaids, Sheila has high hopes for 2012 and her 10th race on Selkie— “I keep doing the Newport Bermuda Race because I love the rhythm of sailing at sea for days.” Sheila said in a recent interview. “I love the fun of being with friends and family, pushing hard to get top performance from the boat.”

A true seafarer, Sheila added, “I love the complexity of developing a strategy and tactics based on the boat, the crew, the weather, the Gulf Stream and the boats in our class. I love seeing old and new friends in Newport and Bermuda. I love the elegance of the prize giving ceremony at Government House and the bugler at the ‘Sunset and Colours’ routine. I love the relaxed sail home and introducing the ocean to coastal sailors.”

When asked what was special to her about this particular ocean race, one that has been such an important part of her life, she replied, “The Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club have kept Newport Bermuda Race as a race designed mostly for very good amateurs, one that is organized by experienced volunteers who have had a connection to the race over the decades. The race has history and tradition at its core.”

“It is a race that generally rewards good all-around sea boats more than the boats specialized for around-the-buoys.” McCurdy added, “It is a family race for me. Between Dad, my brothers Jim and Ian, my husband Dave, and me, we probably have sailed 50 races. Dad was the Race Chairman in 1982 and CCA Commodore from 1986 to 1987. The race is a family habit or maybe you could better describe it as a chronic condition.”

John Rousmaniere at Helm (Photo by Richard Pisano)

John Rousmaniere at Helm (Photo by Richard Pisano)

John Rousmaniere, Newport Bermuda Race Historian and a top offshore sailor in his own right, was a watch captain on Selkie in 2008. He has also sailed with Sheila to the Azores. Rousmaniere has high praise for McCurdy, “She was the person in charge, no doubt about it, and quiet about it. She’s exceptionally well prepared and knowledgeable, a talented racing sailor with a very good feel for a boat, a terrific leader, and also extremely experienced with well over 100,000 miles behind her. I’d sail anywhere with her on a moment’s notice.”

With those 100,000 miles of salt water in her wake, McCurdy is highly experienced and knowledgeable. She is one of five authorized moderators for US SAILING certified safety at sea seminars. She served on the panel for US SAILING’s inquiry into a fatal accident in the 2011 Chicago Yacht Club’s race to Mackinac Island on Lake Michigan.

At the March 17-18 Cruising Club of America Safety at Sea Seminar in Newport RI on March 17-18, Sheila will make the presentation on the crucial topic of damage control. This seminar has an imaginative new curriculum option, a new schedule, and a new seminar attendance rule, plus special hotel room rates for attendees. For more information go to www.BermudaRace.com.

The 2012 Newport Bermuda Race starts Friday afternoon June 15th just off of Castle Hill in Newport RI. Applications for Entry into this invitational adventure are being taken under <Entry Process> on the race website at http://www.bermudarace.com. The classic 635-mile race offers racing in five divisions— The St. David’s Lighthouse (amateur) Division, The Cruiser (amateur) Division, the Double Handed Division, the Gibbs Hill (professional) Division and the Open (professional) division. There is great competition for all levels of commitment and experience.

About 40 of the two Lighthouse Division entries are expected to sail the Onion Patch series, a tough triathlon of offshore racing. Boats compete in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta in Newport, then race to Bermuda, and finally sail in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. Information is online at www.onionpatchseries.com.

 

The race website— www.BermudaRace.com— carries Newport Bermuda Race rules, news, videos, photos, race history, and expert advice on inspections, the Gulf Stream, and preparing for the classic 635-mile race across the Gulf Stream to St. David’s Light. Race news is also posted on the Newport Bermuda Race 2012 Facebook page and on Twitter at @BdaRace.

Newport Bermuda prizegiving at Government House in Bermuda. His Excellency the Governor of Bermuda Sir Richard Gozney and special presenters awarded 113 trophies and prized to the top performers in the 183-boat fleet sailing in the 2010 Newport Bermuda Race and the Onion Patch Series. (Photo by Talbot Wilson)

Newport Bermuda prizegiving at Government House in Bermuda. His Excellency the Governor of Bermuda Sir Richard Gozney and special presenters awarded 113 trophies and prized to the top performers in the 183-boat fleet sailing in the 2010 Newport Bermuda Race and the Onion Patch Series. (Photo by Talbot Wilson)