ABOUT THE RACE

Next Race: June 19, 2020

Photo: Daniel Forster/ 2018


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The 635-mile biennial Newport Bermuda Race is the oldest regularly scheduled ocean race, one of very few international distance races, and (with the Transpac Race) one of just two of the world’s regularly scheduled races held almost entirely out of sight of land. Founded in 1906, the 52nd running of the Bermuda Race is scheduled for June, 2020.

Its purpose was stated in 1923 by Cruising Club of America Commodore Herbert L. Stone: “In order to encourage the designing, building, and sailing of small seaworthy yachts, to make popular cruising upon deep water, and to develop in the amateur sailor a love of true seamanship, and to give opportunity to become proficient in the art of navigation. . . .”   

A total of 170 boats entered the race in 2018. The largest fleet, 265 boats, sailed in the centennial race in 2006. The second largest, 197 boats turned out in 2008.The race attracts sailors from across North America and the globe. In 2016 sailors represented 23 different countries. 55 of the boats had at least one sailor from outside of the United States.

YOUR FIRST

BERMUDA RACE?


We have assembled all the information you need to prepare for a “Thrash to the Onion Patch,” plus ambassadors to walk you through the process.

Why We Race

After a few days of banging into it, you’re feeling a little peaked and a trifle sore. But there comes that moment when you look ahead and Gibbs Hill Lighthouse rises above the blue-green sea. As the sweet smell of oleander wafts across the deck and you almost taste the rum punch, you sail a little harder – all the way to Bermuda.

Photo: Daniel Forster/ 2016

A Typical Race


The race is nicknamed “the thrash to the Onion Patch” because most Bermuda Races include high winds and big waves, and Bermuda is an agricultural island.

FRIDAY

NEWPORT START

Just off Castle Hill Lighthouse, 150-200 boats take two hours to start the race with thousands of onlookers from the shore and water.

SATURDAY-THURSDAY

RACE TO BERMUDA

Depending on the weather, the currents in the Gulf Stream, and the boat’s size, the race takes 2 – 6 to six days finishing off St. David’s Lighthouse.

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

BERMUDA CELEBRATIONS

The Onion Patch Series concludes with RBYC Anniversary Regatta on Friday followed on Saturday by the Prize-giving Reception is at the Governors House.

25-30%

Typically, 25 to 30 percent of captains are sailing their first Newport Bermuda Race in command. 

10

The average crew has 10 men or women, often including many from the same family.

50%

Half the fleet is New England based and rest of are from the US, Bermuda, and globally.

26

Countries represented by sailors in the 2018 race with 55 boats having multiple nationalities.

FASTEST BOAT

COMANCHE

Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark

34h:42m:53s

Avg speed: 18.3 knots

2016

BIGGEST FLEET

265 boats for the

100th Anniversary Centennial Race in

2006 followed by 198 in 2008

MOST VICTORIES

3 – John Alden, Malabars

 (1923, 1926, 1932)

3 – Carleton Mitchell

Finisterre

(1956, 1958, 1960)

MOST RACES

30 – Jim Mertz, (every race except two, 1936-2004)

26 – George Coumantaros

24 – Edward Greeff & Edwin Gaynor

Who We Are

The 2020 race is the 52nd since the 1906 founding, and it also marks the 91st anniversary of the relationship between the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, serving as co-managers and working through the volunteer Bermuda Race Organizing Committee.

Photo: Daniel Forster/ 2018

History


The very first Bermuda Race was an act of rebellion. In 1906, the Establishment believed that it would be insane for amateur sailors to race offshore in boats under 80 feet. Thomas Fleming Day, the feisty editor of The Rudder magazine, vehemently disagreed, insisting, “The danger of the sea for generations has been preached by the ignorant.” Certain that an ocean race would be enjoyable and safe – and also develop better sailors and better boats – Day founded one on his own. 

George Coumantaros

Roll of Honour


The Bermuda Race Roll of Honour recognizes and celebrates extraordinary achievement in or concerning the Newport Bermuda Race and its predecessor races. Inaugurated in 2006 on the 100th anniversary of the first race, 10 individuals have now been selected to join the Bermuda Race Roll of Honour. Current members of the Roll of Honour include the race’s founder, one of Bermuda’s greatest ocean sailors, multiple race record holders, one of the race’s most successful designers, and two of the greatest heroes in the history of sailing.

Gulf Stream Society Pins

Gulf Stream Society


More than 50,000 men and women of all ages and 5,000 yachts have sailed in this unique race that is known and respected worldwide as “The Thrash to the Onion Patch.” But how many have sailed the race at least five times? The Gulf Stream Society invites all sailors who have completed five or more Newport Bermuda Races to apply for this membership. Special recognition will be due those who have sailed in 10 or 15 or more races.

Committed to Sustainability

In 2020 and beyond, the Newport Bermuda Race is striving to become a leader in Sustainability practices and the Sailors for the Sea Clean Regattas program. The Bermuda Race Organizing Committee announced it was partnering with Sailors for the Sea in April, continuing the effort first launched in 2014.

Results 1906 – 2018