The answers given here are intended to explain, but do not change or modify any official race document.
To search for a particular topic, consider using your browser’s find on page feature, usually accessible by Cmd-F; type the keyword, and press enter.
Q: Do we (captain and crew) have to have an ISAF Sailor Classification?
Yes. Each sailor in the Newport Bermuda Race must have a Sailor Classification issued by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF), and it must be valid for the duration of the race. There are two classifications: 1 (amateur sailors) and 3 (professionals). Most divisions in the race limit the number of 3’s in the crew. For more about the ISAF Sailor Classification Code and applying for a Classification, go to http://members.sailing.org/classification/, on the ISAF website. The process is quick and easy, but be sure to follow it until you receive confirmation that your Sailor Classification has been granted. ISAF Sailor Classifications are good for two years unless your status changes. See NoR 4.1(e), NoR 8, RRS 79 and ISAF Regulation 22.
Q: May I enter a dual scoring division with an ORR certificate for an asymmetric spinnaker and an IRC certificate for a symmetric spinnaker?
A: Yes. However, note that NoR 2.8 and 6.1(d) require that a yacht’s configuration, including sails, comply with both ORR and IRC if she is entered under both ratings. In addition, ORR Rule 9.05.1(b) would prohibit her from carrying a spinnaker pole if she is rated under ORR for asymmetric spinnakers.
Q: How does the St. David’s/Gibbs Hill performance screen work?
A: A new performance screen has been introduced for the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race to help identify boats that will be assigned to sail in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division and the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division. This screen will be applied in addition to the traditional limits on numbers of, and steering by, professional (ISAF Category 3) sailors aboard in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division.
The performance screen is calculated by taking the ratio of two performance parameters: the Sail Area Displacement Ratio divided by the Displacement Length Ratio. The screen is calculated first using the upwind sail area; then the downwind area. The average of those two screens is taken as the Newport Bermuda Race performance screen. The values for sail area, displacement and length are taken from the ORR certificate. The performance screen will be printed on ORR certificates. Preliminary values can be obtained from US Sailing’s Offshore Office.
Boats with screen values above .72 will be required to race in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse division and will need to meet all other requirements of that division. Boats with screen values below .48 will be required to sail in the St. David’s Lighthouse division and will need to meet all other requirements of that division. Boats whose value is between .48 and .72 may choose the division in which they will race, again meeting all other requirements of the chosen division.
Q: What is the reasoning behind the adoption of time penalties for the 2014 Race?
A: For many years, the BROC has imposed monetary penalties for failure to satisfy eligibility, entry, measurement and registration requirements. These monetary penalties have proven ineffective in the case of some deep-pocketed racers, and have led to an increasingly burdensome entry process and to the potential for unfair advantage for racers who may wish to make last-minute sail and other gear decisions dependent on weather forecasts. To counter this disturbing trend, BROC has replaced monetary penalties with elapsed time penalties beginning in 2014. These apply to administrative matters rather than infractions that may be associated with sailing the race course, and are designed to provide a level playing field (eligibility and measurement) or an orderly race administration (entry and registration).
The penalty for failure to meet eligibility, entry, measurement and registration requirements in a timely manner shall be the addition of 10 minutes to the yacht’s elapsed time for each 24 hour period or any part thereof for which the yacht failed to meet the relevant deadline. Such requirements include any rule having a deadline, e.g. late supplemental information form, rating data, fees, crew waivers, satisfactory completion of inspection, and registration appearances.
Any yacht that suffers a catastrophic gear failure requiring submittal of new rating data after the rating submittal deadline may petition BROC for a waiver of penalty, provided that for other than the catastrophic failure, she would have in all respects been able to comply with the dates specified in the Notice of Race. In addition, any yacht requiring crew changes subsequent to the deadline for submitting crew information for reasons of illness, injury or family emergency may petition BROC for a waiver of penalty.
“Catastrophic Gear Failure” means damage to the hull which results in a loss of its watertight integrity, loss or damage to the keel or rudder which renders either ineffective or inoperable and/or loss of or damage to mast(s), boom(s) and/or standing rigging, any of which require repair or replacement to maintain a yacht’s seaworthiness. Damage to sails or running rigging are not considered catastrophic gear failures.
Q: Finish line instructions are complex. How do I ensure a proper finish?
A: Section 12 of the 2014 Sailing Instructions will provide that the finish is at a line bearing 111 degrees magnetic from St. David’s Lighthouse, at the intersection of the red and green sectors of the light. Sailors are cautioned to be sure that they do cross the finish line completely, sailing from North to South and passing between the finish line buoys, and traveling well beyond it (a few boat lengths, at least), and then turning to seaward after finishing. While neither buoy will necessarily be on station, the buoys’ function is to keep boats off the reef offshore from the Lighthouse, but still close enough to be observed by the Finish Line Committee. The purpose of the turn to seaward subsequent to finishing is also designed to keep boats off the reef. Failure to observe these instructions is a violation of the Sailing Instructions. Going up on the reef, or a failure to reach the finish after a 635 mile slog, is guaranteed to ruin your day.
Q: When may I begin measurement of my yacht for her ORR rating?
A: Measurement of your yacht for a new or renewal of your ratings can be difficult to schedule and complete in the spring rush that precedes a Newport Bermuda Race. As long as you are not planning modifications to your yacht over the 2013/14 winter that will impact your rating, you can schedule your measurement this fall before hauling and beat the spring rush. Keep in mind though, that once rated you’ll be constrained from modifications or required to start over. New sails, constructed over the winter, may be measured when complete by your sailmaker if he/she is so qualified.
Measurements will be required to be in the hands of the Offshore Office of US Sailing not later than 30 days prior to our June 20, 2014 start. Substantial time penalties will apply for failure to meet this deadline, and invitations to race will be withdrawn altogether if those measurements have not been received by five days prior to the start
Q: Why has the Organizing Authority required that all Cruiser Division yachts be rated with an asymmetric spinnaker?
A: US Sailing uses an assumed set of wind conditions in developing ratings, and similar yachts with spinnakers are invariably rated faster than those without. Actual wind conditions on the race course generally differ, sometimes greatly, from those used in the rating assumptions. If the Cruiser Division were to mix yachts rated with spinnakers and those without, the actual wind conditions would prove advantageous to one group or the other. Rating all yachts in the Division with spinnakers puts them on an equal footing, regardless of actual wind conditions, thereby enhancing competition within the Division and making more likely that sailing skill, rather than a good forecast of wind conditions, is the determining factor in Division results.
Q: What does “NBRSR” mean?
A: Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements
Q: What Race documents are required aboard?
A: The Notice of Race (NoR 6.2 e.) requires paper copies of the following documents be aboard from 0800 on the day of the start until 48 hours after finishing:
- ORR certificate
- IRC Certificate, if dual scored
- Life Raft Servicing Certificate(s)
- 406 EPIRB Registration(s)
- Safety-at-Sea Participation List
- On Board Training Certificate
- CPR and First Aid Certificates
- ABS/CE Builder’s Letter, if required
- Stability Calculations for Movable Ballast Yachts
The numbers referenced in the Inspections Q & A Section correspond to items found in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements (.pdf) (NBRSR). These answers given are intended to explain, but do not change or modify any NBRSR .
Q: Can you summarize the safety equipment changes that are coming for the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race?
A. The new changes since 2012 are:
- HMPE Lifelines are allowed (NBRSR 2.4.4)
- Lifejackets must be equipped with crotch or leg straps. This applies to both inflatable and USCG approved Type I inherently buoyant PFDs used in the Race. (NBRSR 3.1.1)
- Tethers must have a means to quickly disconnect at the chest end. (NBRSR 3.1.4)
- An AIS Class B Transponder is required, connected to a 15 inch masthead antenna. (NBRSR 3.9).
- As previously announced – Storm Sails manufactured after 1/1/2014 must be constructed from highly visible material. (NBRSR 3.33.2 and 3.33.4)
- A flashlight with spare batteries is required for each crewmember (NBRSR 3.24.2)
- At least one liferaft grab bag must contain a 406 MHz EPIRB and a watertight Handheld VHF radio. (NBRSR 3.40)
The following announced changes that apply to future races are mentioned for consideration when buying any new equipment for the 2014 Race
- After 1/1/2015 all installed VHF radios shall have DSC capability. (NBRSR 3.8.1)
- After 1/1/2015 handheld VHF radios must have DSC/GPS capability. (NBRSR 3.8.2)
- After 1/1/2015 the emergency VHF antenna shall have a minimum length of 15 inches. (NBRSR 3.9)
- After 1/1/2016 406 EPIRBS must be equipped with internal GPS. (NBRSR 3.16.1)
- After 1/1/2016 all Grab Bags will be required to have a 406 EPIRB equipped with an internal GPS and a Handheld VHF Radio with DSC/GPS capability. (NBRSR 3.40)
Q: How do the NBRSR differ from the new US Sailing Equipment Requirements (USSER) and the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations (OSR)?
A: The NBRSR include the applicable Newport Bermuda Race portions of the USSER plus the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee’s (BROC) changes and additions, in a single document. For the purpose of the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race, NoR 2.5 states that the Race will be governed by the NBRSR, not the USSER, and not the ISAF OSR.
NBRSR 1.5 Heavy Items
Q: What is a ‘Heavy Item’?
A: Heavy items are any large objects not permanently installed in the boat that might cause injury or damage in rough weather or during a knockdown or capsize.
Q: What is meant by ‘secured’?
A: Heavy items must be held in place without significant movement if/when the boat is inverted/capsized.
Q: What about floorboards?
A: Floorboards must remain in place by latches, lines or Industrial Velcro if the boat is inverted.
184.108.40.206 Cockpit Volume
Q: Who should calculate cockpit volume?
A: Cockpit volume should be calculated by the owner or his representative prior to the boat’s inspection. The record of the calculation should available for the inspector to check.
Q: What is a “clearly labeled fitted bucket”?
A: A bucket of appropriate size and strength for a person to sit upon, labeled ‘Fitted Head Bucket’ or some other warning that will isolate its use as a toilet.
Q: Does the ‘fitted bucket’ count as one of the two stout buckets required by NBRSR 3.27 ?
A: YES, if it has the required capacity and a lanyard attached.
Q: Are swing stoves fired by canned fuel allowed?
A: YES, as long replacement fuel is stowed in a vented stowage outside of any living area.
2.3.4 Potable Water
Q: Does all of the required water have to be in installed tanks?
A: NO. If the required amount of potable water doesn’t all fit into the installed tank(s) it must be carried in jugs that are secured against movement as described by NBRSR 1.5
Q: Is ‘Dyneema’ rope a permitted material for use in lifelines?
A: YES. Lifelines constructed of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (“HMPE”) (examples include Dyneema® and Spectra®) will be permitted for the 2014 Race, so long as NBRSR 2.4.1 et. seq. are adhered to. Offering great strength, HMPE lifelines must be carefully constructed. Skippers are cautioned to become familiar with proper sizing, splicing and installation of HPME lifelines. A recent article may be found at http://offshore.ussailing.org/
Q: How will ‘taut’ be measured?
A: By checking the distance to the deck of both upper and lower lifelines before and after hanging two six packs of 12 oz drinks on the lifelines at the midpoint between two stanchions. The difference must be less than 2 inches.
Q: Can I have “wet” batteries aboard?
A: YES. if they are installed in such a way that electrolyte cannot escape in the event of inversion.
Q: Are crotch straps required for PFDs and harnesses?
A: YES. The utility of these features has been amply demonstrated in person overboard situations. US Coast Guard approval of inflatable PFDs is not negated as long as crotch or thigh straps are not sewn or otherwise attached directly to the PFD, but are instead attached to an integral safety harness. Existing PFDs with integral harnesses may be fitted with add-on leg strap kits available in the marketplace.
Q: Do both the traditional life jackets and inflatable PFD/Harness combos need crotch/thigh straps?
A: YES, if they are to be used to satisfy Race requirements. NBRSR 3.1.1 requires USCG approved Type I life jackets used in the race to be equipped with crotch or leg straps. Some boats carry two sets of life jackets, one that complies with the racing requirements, the other to satisfy USCG boarding requirements which are simply to have a inherently buoyant PFD for each person aboard. Those life jackets carried only to meet USCG requirements are not addressed in the NBRSR and they do not need crotch/thigh straps.
3.1.4 Safety Harness
Q: Is a knife considered a ‘quick disconnect’ at the chest end of a tether?
3.2.3 Lifejacket and Harness Use
Q: Do we have to wear lifejackets at the Start and Finish of the Race?
A: Not unless you are reefed, but it is recommended. Lifejackets and Safety Harnesses must be worn on deck between sunset and sunrise, at any time the mainsail is reefed, or when otherwise required by the skipper
3.3.2 Spare Navigation Lights
Q: Does a Tri-color at the masthead satisfy this requirement?
A: YES, as long as the power source can be switched to different battery than the built- in navigation lights
3.4 Fire Extinguishers
Q: What are USCG requirements for sailboats?
A: Less than 40 ft – Two B-1 or One B-II. With fixed system One B-1
40 ft to 65 ft – Three B-1 or One B-II and One B-1. With fixed system Two-B1 or One B-II.
Q: What are USCG horn requirements for sailboats?
A: Less than39.4 ft – Some means of making an efficient sound signal (hand held air horn or athletic whistle)
39.4 ft and greater – Efficient sound signaling appliance audible for ½ mile with a 4 to 6 sec duration.
Q: Do I need an AIS transponder?
A: Yes. AIS Transponders are required by NBRSR 3.9 – “A yacht shall have an AIS Class B transponder with a masthead mounted antenna of at least 15” long (381 mm). The AIS may use the yacht’s VHF antenna if a low-loss AIS antenna splitter is used.”
3.11.3 Satellite Phone
Q: What is required as a “mounted external antenna”.
A: The satellite phone’s antenna must remain mounted above decks with a clear view of the sky for the duration of the Race with an unobstructed cable connecting it to the phone below decks
3.13 Supplemental Weather Radio
Q: Do I need a single side band radio?
A: No. But, you must have a short wave receiver capable of receiving upper sideband transmissions on frequencies listed in NBRSR 3.13.
3.15 Man Overboard
Q: Is an MOB Button required at each helm?
A: NO. The requirement is for a yacht to electronically record the position of a man overboard within ten seconds. This requirement may be met by installing an MOB button where it can easily be reached from any position on deck and connecting it to a remote, functioning GPS. Alternatively, a hand-held GPS with a MOB function may be used if either hard-wired to the yacht’s power or powered by batteries that will be charged as required to maintain full-time functionality.
3.23 Ground Tackle
Q: Do anchors need to be assembled for immediate deployment?
A: NO. All gear must be intact and stowed ready for immediate assembly.
3.25 First Aid Gear
Q: What First Aid Book and List of should we use?
A: Refer to the CCA Fleet Surgeon’s Memorandum for Offshore Passages (.pdf) found at www.cruisingclub.org
3.24 .2 Flashlights
Q: Do I need a flashlight for every person on board?
A: YES. NBRSR 3.24.2 requires a watertight flashlight for each crewmember with spare batteries.
3.28 Safety Gear and Through Hull Diagram
Q: What items must be on this diagram?
A: The location of essential safety equipment and tools plus diagrams showing every hull penetration below the waterline. Essential equipment includes but is not limited to EPIRB(s), Abandon Ship Grab Bag, Fire Extinguishers, spare Lifejackets, Flares, First Aid Kit & Book, Emergency Tiller, Anchor & Rode, Main Batteries, Spotlight, Horn & Bell, stove fuel cutoff, manual bilge pumps, buckets, engine fuel cutoff, battery switches and Lifesling Lifting tackle
3.33.2 and 3.33.4
Q: Are storm sails required to be made from high-visibility colors ?
A: Yes, but only if made in 2014. US Sailing requires that all storm sails built after January 1, 2014 must be made of highly-visible colored material. All storm sails made prior to January 1, 2014 are grandfathered. US Sailing recommends that grandfathered storm jibs have highly-visible colored material or patches covering 50% of the area up to a maximum diameter of 3 meters
3.33.2 Storm Trysail
Q: Does the storm trysail have to be attached to the mast?
A: NO. The storm trysail can be attached to a taut vertical stay positioned close to the mast if direct attachment is not possible. Crews must be prepared to demonstrate how the mainsail will be lowered & secured and the storm trysail hoisted on all boats.
3.37 Emergency Drinking Water
Q: How many gallons of emergency water must I carry per person?
A: NBRSR 3.37 requires 1 gallon per crewmember shall be aboard after finishing, stored in sealed containers. This is in addition NBRSR 2.3.4 that requires 5 gallons of potable water per person stored in an installed water tank with a delivery system
3.39 Inflatable Life Rafts
Q: Must my valise-packed life raft be inspected within one year of the start?
A: NO. NBRSR 3.39 requires that all rafts must be SOLAS, ISAF, ISO 9650 or ORC approved and that they hold a current certificate of servicing. While valise packed rafts are acceptable for the race, their storage and handling can require particular care. All rafts must be stowed in such a way that they are capable of being launched within 15 seconds. In yachts with an age or series date after June 2001 valise packed rafts must be stowed in a purpose-built compartment topside, not below decks. BROC reminds persons in charge of their responsibilities under NBRSR 1.2 and notes that there have been reports that the integrity of valise-packed life rafts can be compromised by mishandling, poor storage, and other factors, and that such conditions may indicate a need for servicing more frequently than is recommended by manufacturers.
3.40 Grab Bags
Q: I have two rafts and two ditch bags. Do I need an EPIRB and a waterproof VHF in each ditch-bag?
A: NO. NBRSR 3.40 states that at least one grab bag shall have at a 406 EPIRB and a watertight handheld VHF radio or a handheld VHF radio with a waterproof cover. The VHF radio and EPIRB need not be in addition to the other race requirements. After 1/1/2016, each grab bag will be required to have a 406 MHz EPIRB equipped with an internal GPS and a waterproof handheld VHF radio with DSC/GPS capability.