By John Rousmaniere
(Newport, R.I., 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/