Will 2012 be your first race Is This Your First Newport Bermuda Race?
The Newport Bermuda Race welcomes first-time participants. The race has grown through the years because organizers encourage new competitors and support growth within the fleet. If you are contemplating entering the Newport Bermuda Race for the first time, we encourage you to learn as much as you can about the race, the preparation and entry processes, and the fun of the competition well in advance. It is no accident that the boats that win are consistently those that have prepared the most carefully, whether it is their first Bermuda Race or their twentieth. And while the greatest thrill is to win a trophy, just taking part in this great race is a tremendous personal accomplishment for any sailor.
Let Us Know That You Are Interested
We are here to help you prepare. We want to hear from you. We can make the planning and preparation process simple and productive. Send an e-mail to the Participation Committee so we know who you are and can help you get to the starting line.
Do you want a “Race Ambassador”?
We have a list of “Ambassadors” standing by to help you out. These Ambassadors are race veterans who are committed to helping first-timers understand how the race works and how to maximize your chances of doing really well your first time out. Send an e-mail to the Participation Committee and we will set you up with an Ambassador. Doing this early will give you maximum advantage. It’s never too soon to start to prepare.
What Level of Offshore Experience is Required?
The Newport Bermuda Race is a serious ocean race. All competitors are required to have demonstrated blue water experience. First-time participants will be asked to send their sailing resume to the Qualifications Committee. The Qualifications Committee will work with applicants to make certain that the boat has enough watch captains to meet offshore experience requirements. If you have any questions about whether or not your experience will meet race standards, contact the Participation Committee and we will help you assess your potential.
Choose a Division
With five divisions, the Bermuda Race offers an appropriate and competitive fleet for every serious sailor.
- The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division allows an unlimited number of professionals aboard, including professional helmsmen.
- The St. David’s Lighthouse Division, the largest division in the race, allows a limited number of professional crew, but only amateurs are permitted to helm the boat.
- The Cruiser Division is more restrictive on the number of professionals, requires amateur helmsmen, and permits the use of a single, cruising-style spinnaker tacked on centerline.
- The Double-Handed Division includes a wide variety of boats sailing with only two crew aboard
- The Open Division, formerly the Demonstration Division, includes boats that have characteristics that are outside the mainstream fleet, such as canting keel boats.
We encourage you to think carefully when selecting a division. The Participation Committee would be happy to help you figure out which division is best for you, your boat and your crew.
Get your rating done
The primary scoring system for the Newport Bermuda Race is the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR). Read the full explanation of why the ORR rule is used for the race. Yachts in the St. David’s Lighthouse and Gibbs Hill Lighthouse divisions may also elect dual scoring under both ORR and IRC. Competitors entering the Onion Patch series will sail in one of these two divisions, and are required to be scored under both ORR and IRC.
Before The Race
All race veterans agree: good preparation is the most important key to doing well. Start early and be thorough.
- The Newport Bermuda Race is a Category 1 ORC race and all boats must meet Category 1 ISAF Special Regulations, as well as select additional requirements as stipulated in the Notice of Race. It is never too early to start this process, as some boats may require modifications that will require careful thought and planning. See a discussion of the inspections process, and the Inspections Documents. Either the Participation Committee or the Chief Inspector can help you address inspection issues.
- A percentage of your crew and afterguard must attend a sanctioned Safety at Sea seminar. Not only is attendance mandatory, but the seminar provides information and advice that is essential for any crew heading offshore. Make sure you plan early to meet this requirement.
- Consider entering the New York Yacht Club Spring Regatta, which takes place the weekend before the start of the Newport Bermuda Race. This is an open regatta, and is a great opportunity to tune up your boat and crew for the Bermuda Race.
- The Onion Patch Regatta is made up of the New York Yacht Club Regatta, the Bermuda Race and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta (in Bermuda on the following Friday). Competing in the Onion Patch is a great way to maximize your racing in conjunction with the Bermuda Race.
After the Race
Make sure you are prepared for the post-race.
- You will need make arrangements for berthing your boat in Bermuda well before the race starts. The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Hamilton Dinghy Club provide excellent facilities for most all boats entered in the race.
- You will also want to reserve hotels or housing for yourself, your crew and your family in Bermuda after the race.
- Plan for crew to bring your boat home from Bermuda after the festivities.
- You will need to make airline reservations to get your crew home from Bermuda, and for your delivery crew to get into Bermuda.
- Make sure your passports are in order and that you have a Customs Decal for your boat to make re-entry into the US easier.
The entry process opens in January 2012. It is important to have your paperwork organized and complete, and to avoid any last-minute issues.
Enter the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race
The Newport Bermuda Race is one of the greatest ocean races in the world. We encourage you to join us on the starting line in 2012, and again after the finish in Bermuda. You won’t regret it!
For additional information, contact Fred Deichmann, Chair, Participation Committee.