Two weeks after the opening of registration for the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race, Applications for Entry are coming in at a rate that indicates a strong turnout on the starting line off Castle Hill on June 20. As of Sunday, January 26, there were 80 applications for entry in the 49th running of the 635-mile sailboat race widely known as “The Thrash to the Onion Patch.” According to the applications, 24 of these are new to the race.
“We’re very pleased with the boats and sailors who have indicated they want to race,” said Bermuda Race Organizing Committee Chairman Fred Deichmann. Among the familiar names are Rives Potts’ Carina, winner of the St. David’s Lighthouse Division in 2010 and 2012. Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente is back in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division. Hewitt Gaynor’s Mireille and Richard du Moulin’s Lora Ann are resuming their duel in the Double-Handed Division, which they have won four times between them. More than a dozen boats have applied to sail in the Cruiser Division.
Deichmann said there is strong interest by new skippers. The race assigns experienced Bermuda racers as Race Ambassadors to assist them in the entry process.
The deadline for Applications for Entry is 1700 hours on April 1. The online process starts by clicking the “Guide to Entry” button on the race website, www.BermudaRace.com.
“Application for Entry is the first step for entering this invitational race,” Deichmann said. “We evaluate the crews and inspect the boats because as the Notice of Race states, ‘The Newport Bermuda Race is not a race for novices.’” The racecourse crosses the Gulf Stream and is almost entirely out of sight of land. The 165 starters in the 2012 race experienced strong winds and rough seas. First to finish Rambler, George David’s 90-footer, averaged 16 knots. Her elapsed time of just over 39 hours sawed 14 hours off the old course record.
This race’s innovations include simpler equipment requirements for boat inspection, the performance screen ensuring that similar boats race against each other, and new prizes for top boats from different regions of the country and a prize for the top boat with a crew of four sailors in the Cruiser Division.
A major attraction this year is the 50th Anniversary Onion Patch Series. Boats compete for both team and individual prizes in the series that includes the Newport Bermuda Race, the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. Onion Patch Series news is posted at www.onionpatchseries.com and each event’s website.