Bulletin #8 – Race Preview, Safety, LRH and Elvis

March 2, 2018

By Media Team

RBYC Anniversary Regatta 2014

In this bulletin: safety, medical and race-prep seminars; the official race preview; the ORR's allowance for large roach headsails and more.

Chairman's Update:

Energy and enthusiasm for the Race continue to build. Since last week’s bulletin, our Race Preview has been posted to the website and our list of entry applications continues to grow, with nearly 170 yachts in our database. (See the Official Notice Board for the current list.) The Offshore Racing Association has announced that the Offshore Racing Rule will permit “Large Roach Headsails” this year—see story below.

RBYC Anniversary Regatta 2014
Vamp crosses the finish at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta in 2014—the final stage of the Onion Patch Series. Talbot Wilson photo

March has an important safety focus for competitors, with our training seminars in Newport and others that follow in Maryland, New York and Newport again through the spring. See news of these below, and please ensure you are providing the necessary training for both your race crew and your return-trip delivery crew.

More news to come next week, including how to enter the Onion Patch Series. If you’re new to it, this is the two-week, five-race competition that determines the top team and individual boat racing in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta, Newport Bermuda Race, and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta.

Jonathan Brewin
2018 Newport Bermuda Race Chairman
[email protected]

Some March Safety Seminars Sold Out, But Great Options Remain

The upcoming Hands On Training Courses during the CCA’s Newport (RI) Safety at Sea seminars on March 10 and 11 are full with waiting lists, but there is still space in the Medical and Race Prep Seminars held on Sunday morning, March 11th. Crew members planning to sail in the race or the return trip would benefit from either of these programs. The medical seminar will be led by two doctors with deep experience in water rescue, emergency medicine, and the Race: Dr. Jon Burstein and Dr. Jeffrey Wisch. The race prep seminar covers everything from racing rules and navigation to boat prep, weather, and sails; featured speakers include Kenyon Kellogg (moderator), Bjorn Johnson, Nick Nicholson, James Phyfe, Ralph Naranjo, and Butch Ulmer. Registration is available through the weekend, and a $60 fee includes continental breakfast.Register here.

For those unable to attend the CCA Safety at Sea seminar on March 10th, more options remain. There will be seminars held by MTAM at the U.S. Naval Academy (March 24) and the Storm Trysail Club (May 19). They are reportedly filling rapidly but there will also be a seminar on June 13th in Newport led by Ralph Naranjo, two days before the race starts. (Registration details will be finalized shortly and updated in this space as soon as possible.) The format will be similar to the full-day Saturday SAS in March, though the roster of speakers may be smaller. Others may come and take a hands-on World Sailing session. This will start with some didactic material and then move on to sessions including flare, fire fighting, damage control and PFDs in the pool and life raft drills.

Newport Bermuda Race start 2014
The 2014 Cruiser Division start off Castle Hill, Newport—a festive occasion in a modest southwesterly. Barry Pickthall/PPL

Preview of the 51st Newport Bermuda Race

Here’s an advance copy of the race preview, which appears as the lead feature in this year’s official race program. Media Team member Chris Museler describes the evolving makeup of the fleet for this year’s “Thrash to the Onion Patch” which will have as many as 200 sailing yachts competing in several races within this singular Race.

On Friday, June 15, 2018, after months of rigorous yacht and crew preparation, the biennial 635-mile challenge starts in Newport, Rhode Island, off Castle Hill’s magnificent rock ledge. Days later, it ends in the mid-Atlantic at the exquisite sub-tropical island of Bermuda. The reward for the crews is both the race and the destination. Read more:

Large Roach Headsails Allowed by ORR for 2018

The Offshore Racing Association (ORA) has introduced Large Roach Headsails (LRH) into the 2018 Offshore Racing Rule (ORR), which will allow their use in most divisions in the Newport Bermuda Race (see NOR). ORA Technical Director Jim Teeters explains:

Large Roach Headsails reside in the “no-man’s” land between headsails (genoas/jibs) and spinnakers and were previously not allowed in ORR racing. After several years of consultation with sailors and representatives of the marine industry, the ORR committee has developed a methodology to measure and fairly rate these sails. For more:

Competitor Spotlight

Elvis, Gunboat 62–Though some have raced to Bermuda before, this year’s race will be a first for the entire crew of Elvis, most of whom have been friends with owner Jason Carroll since college. The inaugural Multihull Division will have three Gunboat 62s including Elvis, one of the first of the series of deluxe performance cruising cats produced in the early 2000s.

After a raucous RORC Caribbean 600 in February in which heavy trade winds precipitated the retirement of all catamarans in the race except Elvis, the team is now preparing for June’s Bermuda Race.

Elvis, Gunboat 62, starts the 2018 RORC Caribbean 600
The Gunboat 62 Elvis starts the windy 2018 RORC Caribbean 600. RORC/Tim Wright -

“The 600 was our first real ocean race,” says Chad Corning, the team’s project manager. “The boat is stable and a bit heavy, so less lively than strict performance multihulls. But the 600 was still ‘fall out of your bunk’ rough.”

Corning and crew tucked three reefs into the boat’s carbon main and used a staysail for 75 percent of the race, beam reaching at speeds in the upper 20-knot range.

The 62s will account for around half the multihull fleet in this year’s Newport Bermuda Race, but each is a little different. The flashy, silver-flecked paintjob on Elvis and her wood-veneered, foam-cored interior are not unique, but her 28-meter mast and over 15-foot asymmetrical daggerboards are. Unlike some of the other cats, Elvis lifts the weather board to reduce drag and help fly the weather hull as soon as possible.

The special multihull regulations created for this year’s race have been helpful, says Corning, who coordinated a dry run with race inspectors earlier this year. “We are working on more hand holds down below and a better placement of the life raft,” he says. Lee cloths are also being made and with the capsize of the catamaran Fujin in the 600, the team is updating their capsize protocol.

Winds of 25 to 30 knots that hold for the entire race—as they did in the 600—would be unusual in a Newport Bermuda Race, but Corning says they would still like to add a "special" driver for heavy conditions

“We need someone who can feel the edge of the boat,” Corning says. Most of the team now race on professional foiling GC 32 catamarans in Europe. Though risk of a capsize is not a worry in most conditions, he says, “It’s important to know whether to turn left or right to get out of trouble.”

For more on Elvis’s Caribbean 600, Corning has a good account on Sailing Anarchy.

—Chris Museler

Thank you to our Sponsors

Bermuda Tourism
Pantaenius Insurance
Hinckley Yachts
Safe Harbor Marinas / Brewer Yacht Yards
Newport Shipyard

Latest Bermuda Race News

April 23, 2024

Competitor Bulletin #7: Important Bermuda Logistics Deadlines

These Competitor Bulletins are full of condensed information pertinent to 2024 participants and your attention to detail ensures a smooth sailing experience.

April 22, 2024

Sailing Towards Sustainability: Earth Day Reflections from the Bermuda Race

On this Earth Day, we want to highlight our environmental stewardship program that aims to instill a culture of eco-responsibility within our Bermuda Race and larger sailing community and check in with those e-stewards already preparing their boats for the 2024 race just 60 days away.

April 18, 2024

I can and I will. The story of Phil Haydon, founder of Sail For Epilepsy, and his 550 Shipmates

Armed with a mission to educate the public about epilepsy and empower those living with the condition, Phil Haydon is taking on the Newport Bermuda Race.



Safe Harbor Marinas logo