Competitor Bulletin #10 – COVID Requirements, Recommendations + NOR Amendment 1

March 22, 2022

By Media Team

Somers Kempe Bermuda Race Chairman

Dear Sailors,

In this bulletin we address two important topics—our COVID Recommendations and Amendment #1 to the Notice of Race that we’ve recently posted. The amendment includes an update to advise competitors of Bermuda’s Mariner’s Travel Authorisation (MTA) requirement and to add cross references for COVID-related rules. At this point, the pre-race COVID test is the only required test for each crewmember. Please review the requirement and the NOR Amendments carefully.

COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations

The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee continues to monitor the COVID 19 Pandemic as the start of the 2022 Newport Bermuda Race draws near. The COVID 19 virus continues to circulate throughout the world and the current, as well as new variants, remain a potential threat to the safety and well-being of our racers.

The following precautions and recommendations are strongly advised to help ensure the safety of you and fellow crew members during this race as emergency medical services are not readily available in an offshore environment.

  • As noted in the NOR, up-to-date vaccination is required to participate in this race. In addition, it is strongly recommended that racers also receive boosters per CDC Guidelines. Boosters in addition to initial vaccination mitigates the risk of severe disease or death.
  • The medical officer on board each vessel should be knowledgeable regarding the symptoms of COVID 19 as well as measures to be undertaken to minimize spread of the virus per the CDC website.
  • Skippers should discuss with their crews and develop a plan to limit the potential for exposure to COVID 19 in the 10 days leading up to the race so as not to jeopardize their vessel from entering the race due to loss of key personnel and/or crew exposure to the virus.
  • Our medical support team for the race has requested that there be 2 rapid antigen test kits for each crew member on board in the event of suspected illness from COVID 19. In addition, as low blood oxygen levels are not always clinically apparent in COVID-19 patients, the medical support team has requested that a pulse oximeter (inexpensively available on Amazon) be on board every vessel to assist them in determining severity of illness should it occur.
  • Adequate effective COVID-19 masks for the entire crew should be on board each vessel. See CDC website.
  • Any concern of a COVID-19 outbreak on a vessel should immediately be reported to the race medical support team.
  • Monitor the CDC website and Bermuda Government Mariner’s Travel Authorisation website for continued information and travel requirements.

NOTE: Our next competitor bulletin will be released within one week with detailed information about Bermuda's COVID testing requirement and the online MTA immigration form that every sailor will need to complete. It will also show how the Bermuda immigration process affects skippers registering their boats and the timeline of events in the week before the race start. The bulletin will be followed by a live webinar with the Organizing Committee to review these processes and answer questions.

Notice of Race, Amendment No. 1

Most of the changes under this amendment are minor and reflect external updates to the Racing Rules of Sailing, the Offshore Racing Rule VPP, Bermuda’s COVID protocols and procedures, and requests from US Sailing. On the official notice board, you’ll find a clean, updated copy of the NOR and a red-lined version so you can see exactly where each change was made.

We call your attention to a handful of the changes:  

COVID-19 Statement – As mentioned above, this is updated to advise competitors of Bermuda’s Mariner’s Travel Authorisation (MTA) requirement and to add cross references for COVID-related rules.

2.21 – Per RRS 42.3(i), use of a propulsion engine is permitted in the following circumstances: to avoid or get clear of a collision or grounding, or other imminent risks to the boat or her crew’s safety, provided that the boat does not gain a significant advantage.

4.15 – This note addresses the requirement to declare the use of non-manual power and movable ballast as part of the measurement rules; it came to our attention that some competitors thought they could sail with those features without declaring them as part of their rating application simply because the NoR permits the use of those features in their divisions. 

6.1a & 6.1b – The NoR has always set a deadline for rating applications and implicit in that requirement is that the data entered therein is final and verified by a measurer. This new sentence highlights the connection between 6.1a and 6.1b. 

6.2b – This is a new deadline to help the Chief Inspector know which boats have elected to Self Inspect before it is too late to have a volunteer inspect them.

6.2c – This highlights or at least hints at the possibility that Bermuda authorities may require a boat suspected of carrying someone confirmed to have COVID 19 to anchor under quarantine somewhere other than Hamilton. Under those circumstances, the boat could be inspected by mobile telephone video, if necessary. The equally important point is that boats should consider the inconvenience of having a positive case on board. 

13.1 – This updates what the captain will have to verify at registration in Newport. The captain will be required to confirm that each crew is listed correctly on SailGate. We will also require the captain to certify that the crew has met the requirements for a Bermuda MTA. They might not receive their MTA until the morning of the start, so we can’t expect the captain to certify that they HAVE the MTA yet.

Further changes may be required, as everyone realizes, but we remain cautiously optimistic as we count down the days to the start and prepare for another exciting edition of the Newport Bermuda Race.

Warm regards,

Somers Kempe, Chairman

2022 Bermuda Race Organizing Committee

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