New Navigators Race Series Added to 50th Anniversary Onion Patch

 By Talbot Wilson 

The fleet gets off the line in the Tour of the Island Race. (Talbot Wilson)

The boats get off the line in smooth warm waters during the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. (Talbot Wilson)

Hamilton Bermuda, March 23, 2014: As the three-event Onion Patch Series turns 50 this summer, organizers have decided to add a new, more relaxed Navigators Race Series format for the 25th running of the traditional series. The new series for more cruiser oriented race programs will be scored with ORR ratings. The traditional series raced for the Onion Patch Trophy and Henry B. DuPont Trophy will continue to be scored under IRC.  

The new Navigators Race Series will allow those skippers not interested in racing intense windward-leeward courses in the New York Yacht Club 160th Annual Regatta or not interested in racing on a Great Sound course with the professional grand prix boats and more intense racers in the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club‘s Anniversary Regatta to sail separate scenic and fun “round the buoys” races in their own series.

One Navigators Race will be scheduled each day for the June 14-15 NYYC Annual Regatta in Newport RI. The group will then sail to Bermuda in their regular Bermuda Race divisions and be scored against each other as an overlay event. On Friday June 27th, they will sail one race in the RBYC Anniversary Regatta around a scenic course following the start of the last regular Onion Patch Series Anniversary Regatta race. 

To race the 50th anniversary Onion Patch Series, boats must race to Bermuda. The deadline for entry in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race (without a potential late-entry time penalty) is April 1st. Enter now at the race portal: http://bermudarace.com/entry/race-entry-portal/. For Onion Patch Series details see http://www.onionpatchseries.com/.

Stephen Murray's Decision races past RBYC toeard the finish of  the club's Anniversary Regatta in 2012. (Talbot Wilson)

Stephen Murray’s Decision runs by RBYC in the club’s Anniversary Regatta in 2012. (Talbot Wilson)

All yachts racing in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race are invited to compete in this inaugural three-event Onion Patch Navigators Race Series. ORR Scoring will be used in Newport and in Bermuda for ‘Navigators’, so all yachts in the Newport Bermuda Race, which uses that system for all divisions, will be eligible. The traditional Onion Patch Series races under IRC ratings, so only the Newport Bermuda’s Gibbs Hill and St. David’s Division’s IRC entries may compete for those prizes. See http://www.onionpatchseries.com/

The new series will have its own prizes for performance in the events and for the series. The top series prize will be dedicated to the late Richard “Dick” Kempe who was instrumental in establishing the Cruiser Division of the Newport Bermuda Race in 1990.

“We began planning for this new series last fall,” said series Chairman and past RBYC Commodore Brian Billings. “We had been talking about adding a fun-style race for boats in Royal Bermuda’s Anniversary Regatta. We wanted to do an event for our foreign friends that would get them out sailing locally and allow them to experience more of what Bermuda has to offer cruising sailors.”

“With the help of past Newport Bermuda Chairman John Winder,” Billings noted, “we approached the NYYC race committee with the idea. John had been discussing their use of ORR for two round the buoys races in their regatta. Steve Benjamin of NYYC supported the idea. So here we are 4 months later with a new addition to a historic series.”

“Our initial goal was to have 50 boats in the Onion Patch Series,” Billings added. “Maybe with this new Navigators Race series we should target for 75 boats. And remember, if you can’t make the whole series, you can still sail these fun Navigator Race courses in Newport or Bermuda.”

Of course, to race the Onion Patch Series, boats must race to Bermuda. The deadline for entry in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race (without a potential late entry time penalty) is April 1st. Enter now at the race portal: http://bermudarace.com/entry/race-entry-portal/. Separate entry in the NYYC Annual Regatta, the RBYC Anniversary Regatta and the Series will be from the NYYC web site.

The Onion Patch Trophy. (Scott King)

The Onion Patch Trophy. (Scott King)

In 1962, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club donated the Onion Patch Trophy for the series and the first competition was held in conjunction with the 1964 Newport Bermuda Race. Now, in 2014, the series will be sailed for the 25th time. The series now consists of racing in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, the Cruising Club of America-Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Newport Bermuda Race and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta.

Include all three events in this tough triathlon of sailboat racing. It’s a hard-fought series sailed over a scant three consecutive weeks in June. Ask anyone who has done it… The Onion Patch is one tough series to win. It is a challenge to yacht, skipper and crew to prevail in these three spectacular events and venues.

Be in Newport June 14, 2014 for the NYYC 160th Annual Regatta and make the 50th Anniversary Onion Patch Series the biggest and best ever.

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