Webinar Recap: “The Multiple Races in the Bermuda Race”

May 13, 2021


Several dozen prospective entrants for the 2022 Newport Bermuda Race turned out this week for the fourth webinar in the 2022 Race-Prep Series to focus on the question, “Which Bermuda Race Division is Right for Me?” Sponsors for the evening were Bermuda Tourism, Goslings Rum, and GMT Composites.

The vice chairman of the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, Mark Lenci, moderated the discussion, which featured Nick Nicholson, chairman of the Technical Committee, and A.J. Evans, past race chairman and current keeper of the notice of race and other race documents.

This webinar was recorded on May 11, 2021.

Evans and Nicholson began by pointing out that the Bermuda Race is one of the few races without an overall winner, and that it’s more like a series of races. The goal is to line up boats and crews similar in nature in each Division.

Nicholson said, “We try to race apples against apples and oranges against oranges. You’re racing against the boats in your division only. It’s different philosophically, but we think it’s more representative of the variety of boats and crews that we have in this race. So there’s a place here for almost every type of boat and almost every type of crew.”

One example given is that the race doesn’t try to “cross score” boats because one boat may have full hydraulic-rigging adjustment and electric winches and another is doing everything manually. Given that, you can’t put a value on the performance difference in terms of a rating adjustment. Instead, the race chooses to separate the boats.

“We have major trophies for all these divisions!” Nicholson pointed out.

In the webinar, Nicholson emphasized the rules that sailors were responsible for reading and following, including The Racing Rules of Sailing, the Offshore Racing Rule, the Notice of Race, and the Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements.

This table was presented during the webinar for illustrative purposes only. Entrants should refer to the 2022 Notice of Race to be published in early June as the ruling document. Division abbreviations across the top are as follows—St. David’s Lighthouse, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Finisterre, Open, Double-Handed, Multi-Hull, Spirit of Tradition, and Superyacht.

Evans laid out a grid (above) showing the divisions and, in simplified form, some of the requirements. He emphasized that this was just a guide and that the Notice of Race provided the vital detail.

The 2022 Notice of Race won’t be finalized until early June, 2021, but the 2020 Notice of Race provides a good starting point for prospective entrants.

The next Race-Prep webinar is focused how to enter the race (entries open June 18th). The webinar will be held on June 11th at 7pm EDT. Register here.

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