This year’s Thrash to the Onion Patch is over, but there are stories to tell. We feature a sampling in this edition of Newport Bermuda Race News for race fans, friends and prospective competitors. We also explain how the Race won Gold in 2018, offer news of safety updates for 2020, and throw down an Instagram challenge to show what you’ve been shooting while #offshoresailing.
Also, if you have an intention to compete in the 2020 race, please join our mailing list to receive Competitor Bulletins and these newsletters by signing up in the blue footer section at the bottom of this page.
Chairman, 2020 Newport Bermuda Race
Onboard to Bermuda: Coast Guard Alumni Like the Sea and its Lore
The 51st Newport to Bermuda Race provided a true test of seamanship to several modern-day Coast Guard Academy adventurers. Let’s hear what they have to say about it:
“One of the requirements is to attend a hands-on safety at sea training course. There are few things more humbling than inflating a life jacket in a pool and trying to embark a life raft under the most benign, controlled conditions. It really makes you think seriously about one hand for yourself and one for the ship; you do not want to go overboard at sea.” – Bob Lally
“On this 2018 Newport to Bermuda race and the trip back, I wound up on the foredeck twice with Cadet Eric Gimple, both times at O-dark-thirty, pitch black night, hauling a blown-out sail down… On one of those nights, we wound up slashing the sail to ribbons with our rigging knives in order to disentangle it from the rig…in 13- to 15-foot seas. – Capt. Chris Sinnett
“Although the lack of wind was frustrating at times, there was no lack of adventure. Halfway through the race, we spotted something on the horizon that had a black bottom and orange top…a life raft.” – Lt. Cdr. J.J. Schock
“This was my third Bermuda Race, but with a long time since my first two (‘54 & ‘56). I received a surprise invitation to go on the race from my son, Chip Merlin, who bought the yacht Merlin for offshore racing.” – Rear Adm. W.F. Merlin
Onboard to Bermuda: The Sequel is a Winner for YYZ
Racing was not top of mind when Justin Bonar decided to buy a Jeanneau 53 in 2013, but the boat was fast and his friends encouraged him. “We made lots of mistakes at first,” he admits, “but we became competitive in 2015 and got the big idea to do the Newport Bermuda Race in 2016.”
Justin raced YYZ to Bermuda in both 2016 and 2018 and made videos of the adventure each time. On the Jeanneau 53’s second trip to the Onion Patch, the team also won its class, and the skipper doubled down on video production.
Gulf Stream Society Profile – Ted von Rosenvinge
If you ask any Newport Bermuda Race veteran, there is a good chance they will recall their first race like it happened last weekend. Both the challenge and the stature of the 635-mile “Thrash to the Onion Patch” ensure most participants a storehouse of lasting and often life-changing memories. In the first of an occasional series, meet Ted, a 10-time competitor who has joined the race’s new society for those who never tire of the adventure.
“Gulf Stream Squall Ahead” by John Rousmaniere was our most popular post on Instagram during the fall. Post your favorite race shot and tag @bermudarace (or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post it). In our next issue, we’ll highlight the fan favorites. #bermudarace #offshoresailing
Cruising Club of America increases frequency of safety seminars 2018-2020. – The CCA, co-sponsor of the Newport Bermuda Race, is working to simplify and strengthen the safety training requirements for racing crew. Whether you are competing in the upcoming race or planning other bluewater sailing, increased frequency of training opportunities make hands-on safety training more available than ever. For those who didn’t see it, Bulletin #2 had the detail last month.
Race Wins Gold Level Clean Regattas Certification – Joe Harris, leader of the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race Green Team, reported achieving 19 of 25 best practices en route to earning Gold certification. Those practices included: 1) Organizing a Green Team of volunteers; 2) Engaging the public through the race website and social media; 3) Reducing the number of single-serve plastic water bottles used by competitors in favor of re-usable containers…Read more including Joe’s plans for 2020.
Is the 2020 Race on Your Bucket List? If you are a prospective skipper or crew in the 2020 race and are not yet receiving Competitor Bulletins and these Newport Bermuda Race fan newsletters, please sign up on the form below (see blue foooter area). New entrants are also encouraged to connect with our Ambassadors program and let an experienced competitor offer guidance.