Recap: Bermuda Race Yacht & Safety Race-Prep Webinar

April 14, 2021

By Kate Wilson

Last night, more than 100 prospective and veteran Newport Bermuda Racers attended the third event in the 2022 Race-Prep Series: “To Finish First, You First Must Finish—Safety and Yacht Preparation for the Bermuda Race.” The evening was presented by GMT Composites and supported by Goslings Rum and the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

The evening’s panelists were the race’s chief inspector James Phyfe and vice chairman Mark Lenci, who reviewed their experiences in preparing yachts and training crew for past races. Race chairman Somers Kempe moderated the discussion and posed questions offered by attendees.

Both Lenci and Phyfe recommended that sailors read the 2020 Newport Bermuda Race Safety Requirements (NBRSRs) and stated that the 2022 version would be posted with minimal changes, later this spring.

Lenci, who is relatively new to preparing his own boat for the race, pointed to four specific areas to focus on a year or more ahead of time: 1. Meeting the Hull Construction Standards for your boat; 2. Working with US Sailing to get your boat measured for its Offshore Racing Rule rating certificate; 3) Confirming that your boat meets stability index requirements, and 4) planning Safety-at-Sea training early for all your crew, if possible, even though only one-third of the crew is required to get certified.

Using the example of shockcord retainers and industrial Velcro for securing floorboards, Phyfe said that most of the equipment changes Captains would need to make to their boats had, typically, a less-expensive solution that the first one you might think of. He encouraged all to call him or other yacht inspectors if they had trouble finding inexpensive solutions.

Reviewing the ditch bag during an inspection.

Over the course of the one-hour session, Phyfe and Lenci covered a range of topics, from how to calculate cockpit volume to the advantages and importance of personal AIS devices. Questions about using drogues as emergency steering devices led to hard-won knowledge of the need for ball-bearing swivels. And Phyfe revealed the best secondary nav lights.

The fourth webinar, scheduled for 7pm, May 11th is titled “What Division is Right for Me in the Bermuda Race?” and will be followed by a final spring webinar on June 15. That webinar is titled “How to Register for Newport Bermuda – Entries Open June 17.”

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