ABOUT THE RACE
Next Race: June 19, 2020
Photo: Daniel Forster/ 2018
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.
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.
Just off Castle Hill Lighthouse, 150-200 boats take two hours to start the race with thousands of onlookers from the shore and water.
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.
The Onion Patch Series concludes with RBYC Anniversary Regatta on Friday followed on Saturday by the Prize-giving Reception is at the Governors House.
Typically, 25 to 30 percent of captains are sailing their first Newport Bermuda Race in command.
The average crew has 10 men or women, often including many from the same family.
Half the fleet is New England based and rest of are from the US, Bermuda, and globally.
Countries represented by sailors in the 2018 race with 55 boats having multiple nationalities.
Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark
Avg speed: 18.3 knots
265 boats for the
100th Anniversary Centennial Race in
2006 followed by 198 in 2008
3 – John Alden, Malabars
(1923, 1926, 1932)
3 – Carleton Mitchell
(1956, 1958, 1960)
30 – Jim Mertz, (every race except two, 1936-2004)
26 – George Coumantaros
24 – Edward Greeff & Edwin Gaynor
Who We Are
Photo: Daniel Forster/ 2018
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.
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
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.