Race Bulletin, June 17, 2015

Dear Sailors,

There’s something special about the Bermuda Race. I can’t help but smile when I try to explain it to someone unfamiliar with the race, or exchange stories with someone, perhaps like yourself, who has done the race before. For me, there’s an allure to not only the sweetness of the finish, but even more so to the experience of the voyage itself. Have you also wished, even just once, that it wasn’t only 635 nautical miles?

A year from today, on June 17, 2016, we will start the 50th Bermuda Race since Thomas Fleming Day founded “the Thrash to the Onion Patch” in 1906 with the purpose of encouraging offshore sailing. The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee (“BROC”) will also celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club’s and The Cruising Club of America’s first collaboration as the race’s organizing authority, a friendship that continues today.

By tradition if not necessity, the race’s organizers have always been experienced blue water sailors, including race veterans and active competitors. This will be my tenth Newport Bermuda Race as a competitor too, thanks to John Osmond’s continued service as the race committee’s Principal Race Officer.

With that background, we are sensitive to the stresses and hurdles Captains face getting a yacht and crew to the starting line with a timely entry and clean inspection.

As we prepare for this special race, we will send you periodic bulletins by email and social media to keep you abreast of developments. We will also remain available to you through email and our Bermuda Race Ambassadors (discussed below). Please keep in mind that these communications are informal, and that to the extent any information we provide here differs from formal race documents (such as the Notice of Race or Amendments), the formal documents will supersede these communications.

Your comments, suggestions and questions about these issues may be directed to any of us listed at the end of this bulletin. We look forward to hearing from you.

Whether you’re about to discover why this race is so special, or you’re returning because you already know, we look forward to seeing you on the starting line for the 50th “Thrash to the Onion Patch” on Friday, June 17, 2016.

Kind regards,

A. J. Evans
Chairman
BROC


Entry Opens January 12, 2016; Limited to 200 Yachts.

Using an online entry portal, we will begin accepting Applications for Entry on January 12, 2016, and then issue invitations to qualified Captains and yachts. The race’s new entry portal, SailGate, is currently being used by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and should be familiar to sailors who have participated in the Fastnet Race, among others. Entries will be limited to 200 yachts, so plan to act without delay.

The entry system will incorporate data from previous Newport Bermuda Races, the ISAF Sailor Classification System, the US Sailing Safety at Sea attendance lists, and the ORR database. The system will also provide automated reminders of upcoming deadlines and entry deficiencies to make it easier for Captains to follow the entry process.

You may email info@BermudaRace.com with entry or general questions about the race.

Start: Afternoon, June 17, 2016

The Notice of Race, to be published this fall, will set the first scheduled start for the afternoon of Friday, June 17, 2016 off Castle Hill. Sailors can anticipate that the Notice of Race will schedule the first signal at approximately 1450, not long after the tide change.

Safety Requirements Published

The members of the BROC appreciate that one of the greatest burdens for sailors entering the Bermuda Race is preparing the yacht with the required equipment.

We have published the Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements (“NBRSR”) on the race website months earlier than in previous years with the hope that it will help you prepare for not only this race, but safe sailing wherever you go. Changes from 2014 include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Dyneema (HMPE) lifelines are no longer permitted;
  • Each yacht must have an installed and a handheld VHF radio equipped for DSC operations;
  • AIS installation requirements have been modified to conform to ISAF and US Sailing guidelines; and
  • Hands-On Training leading to the ISAF Certificate is highly recommended in 2016 (it will be required for two crew members in each boat in 2018).

Visit the website’s FAQ section  on this subject for more information, or contact:

Ron Trossbach, Race Safety Officer – safety@bermudarace.com
James Phyfe, Chief Inspector – inspections@bermudarace.com

Race Ambassadors Are Here to Help!

If you’re feeling a bit daunted after reading the Safety Requirements for the first time, you’re not alone. Literally. The Race Ambassador Program matches experienced skippers with new participants (upon request) and provides a resource for first-timers from whom they can receive guidance on yacht and crew preparation for the race. Race Ambassadors are race veterans and yacht owners who will help new entrants through the steps of the race entry and yacht inspection process so that you and your crew will start the race with confidence that you’re prepared to make the “Thrash to the Onion Patch.” If you have any questions regarding the program, or know someone considering competing, send Mike McBee a note at ambassadors@BermudaRace.com.

Safety at Sea Seminar – March 19 & 20, 2016

The US Sailing sanctioned safety seminar for the race, the Cruising Club of America Safety at Sea Seminar, will be held on March 19 & 20, 2016 at the Marriott in Newport, RI. Registration opens on October 1, 2015. Meanwhile, those wishing to do so may contact the seminar organizers at: SafetySeminar@cruisingclub.org.

30% of each crew, including the captain and either the navigator or a watch captain, will be required to have attended a seminar within five years of the June 17, 2016 start. Those who complete both Saturday’s day-long SAS Seminar plus Sunday’s day-long Hands-On Training will be awarded the ISAF Approved Offshore Personal Survival Course Certificate. The ISAF certificate is highly recommended for 2016 (it will be required for two members of each crew in 2018).

Those who have completed two Safety at Sea seminars in the past ten years may combine the Saturday’s morning SAS session with hands-on practical training in the afternoon on Saturday to receive the ISAF certificate as an ISAF refresher. Sunday’s programs for those not attending Sunday’s ISAF training will also include a Race Preparation seminar focused on the Bermuda Race, and a Medical Seminar specifically designed for the medical officers in the race and focusing on practical scenarios.

The 2016 Newport Bermuda Race Program will be distributed at the safety seminar. It will include the Notice of Race and articles on weather prediction, Gulf Stream strategy, boat preparation, race history, and other topics that are important or entertaining for Bermuda Race sailors.

Frequently Asked Questions

New and returning competitors are encouraged to read our responses to some of the most frequently asked questions, which currently include the following topics:

Note that some answers refer or cite to 2014 race documents and are being updated as new information becomes available.

Looking Back

Tamerlane in 1906

As we look forward toward the 50th Thrash, the BROC’s Editor and Historian, John Rousmaniere, has been continuing a series of brief articles looking back on our history. Visit the race website to read John’s wonderful reflections.

A year from today, on June 17, 2016, we will start the 50th Bermuda Race since Thomas Fleming Day founded “the Thrash to the Onion Patch” in 1906 with the purpose of encouraging offshore sailing. The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee (“BROC”) will also celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club’s and The Cruising Club of America’s first collaboration as the race’s organizing authority, a friendship that continues today.

Contacts

info@BermudaRace.com
A. J. Evans, Chairman – chairman@BermudaRace.com
Dick Holliday, Participation – participation@BermudaRace.com
John Rousmaniere, Public Relations/Media – media@BermudaRace.com
Ron Trossbach, Race Safety Officer – safety@BermudaRace.com
James Phyfe, Chief Inspector – inspections@BermudaRace.com

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