The 2018 Onion Patch Series features the Newport Bermuda Race, bookended by round-the-buoys racing on the Saturday and Sunday of the New York Yacht Club’s 164th Annual Regatta beforehand and the one-day Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta as the series climax. Boats may compete individually and also as a member of a three-boat team.
A separate series with lower-intensity inshore racing—the Onion Patch Navigators Series—provides an alternative competition for boats racing in the Finisterre (Cruiser) or St. David’s Lighthouse Divisions of the Newport Bermuda Race. Entrants must compete in the Navigators Division in both the Annual Regatta and the Anniversary Regatta. As in the Onion Patch Series, boats may compete individually and also as a member of a three-boat team.
Event 1: The NYYC’s 164th Annual Regatta – These two days of racing, the weekend before the Newport Bermuda Race, are typically windward-leeward courses off Newport, RI for the “traditional” Onion Patch Series, and around government marks for the Onion Patch Navigator Series. The Annual Regatta is an excellent event and is a great shakedown opportunity for any Bermuda-bound crew.
Event 2: The Newport Bermuda Race – This classic ocean race starts off Castle Hill on Friday, June 15th and concludes 635 Atlantic Ocean miles later off Bermuda’s landmark St David’s Lighthouse.
Event 3: The RBYC Anniversary Regatta – Two races will be sailed on the Friday after the boats arrive from Newport. In recent iterations, the format has included a windward-leeward race for the “traditional” Onion Patch Series boats, and then an around-the-sound race for both divisions, covering the Great Sound, Granaway Deep, and Port Royal Bay, with a colorful finish inside Hamilton Harbour. The RBYC Anniversary Regatta is open to all qualified yachts in Bermuda, not just yachts entered in the complete series.
“The Onion Patch is a tough series to win as an individual entry,” says Rives Potts owner of Carina. “You have to be very good in all conditions and on all types of race courses. Not many boats or crews excel both inshore and offshore.”
“To win as a team is even more difficult,” Potts says. “All three boats on the team have to do very well in all three phases of the series.”
Who sails in the “traditional” Onion Patch Series?
All yachts sailing in the St. David’s Lighthouse or Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Divisions of the Newport Bermuda Race—that also sail in the New York Yacht Club’s 164th Annual Regatta and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta—may enter and compete for Onion Patch Series awards.
For purposes of Onion Patch Series scoring, race results in the IRC Division of the New York Yacht Club’s 164th Annual Regatta will be rescored using the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) that is used in the subsequent races.
Who sails in the Onion Patch Navigators Series?
Yachts sailing in the St. David’s Lighthouse and Finisterre Divisions of the Newport Bermuda Race are eligible to compete in the Navigators Division in both the New York Yacht Club’s 164th Annual Regatta and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta. Those that do so will qualify for the Onion Patch Navigators Series awards.
Yachts in the series range in size from the smallest to the largest yachts who are competing in the St David’s, Finisterre and Gibb’s Hill divisions of the Newport Bermuda Race. Crews include family Corinthian crews competing against some of the best professionals in offshore sailing.
Often, the more amateur crews in the smaller yachts have fared well in the past. This reflects the fact that the series is a combination of ocean racing, windward-leeward, and point-to-point around the buoys day racing, a structure that tends to level the playing field.
Teams and Individual Yachts
All yachts entered in the “traditional” Onion Patch Series compete as individual entries with the overall winner capturing the prestigious DuPont Trophy. Many in the fleet also compete as three-boat teams representing a country, a yacht club or another sailing organization–with club teams from many countries having been winners in past years.