In recognition of a popular trend in sailing, the Newport Bermuda Race is introducing a new prize for the top boat sailing with just four crewmembers in the race’s Cruiser Division. A Four-Handed Cruiser Prize will be awarded for the first time in the next Bermuda Race, which starts at Castle Hill, Newport, on June 20, 2014.
Bermuda Race Organizing Committee chair Fred Deichmann (Mystic, Conn.) says that this innovation is faithful to the race’s tradition of representing the sport of sailing offshore in monohull yachts. “We have divisions for cruising-racing boats, all-out racers, double-handers sailed by two crewmembers, and, of course, for cruising boats. So it makes good sense to recognize the way that many cruising boats are being sailed today, with a crew of four. Sometimes there are two couples, sometimes a multi-generational family crew.
“Because four-handed cruising is so popular, and because the Cruiser Division typically is the second largest of the race’s five divisions, I’m confident we will have a good turnout.” The Cruiser Division has had an average of 37 entries in the last three Bermuda Races.
Cruiser Division rules allow power-driven winches and sail furlers as well as mechanical and electro-mechanical steering devices. The rules restrict spinnakers and other light sails, limit the number of professional sailors, and prohibit professionals from steering.