Newport Bermuda Race – 100+ applications

Actaea returns in 2016 to defend her title and make her 11th Thrash to the Onion Patch. She won the St. David’s Lighthouse Division in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race. Michael and Connie Cone’s Hinckley Bermuda 40 yawl raced in Class 1. She won the St. David’s Lighthouse Division by some 40 minutes of corrected time over Douglas Abbott’s Class 1 Cal 40 'Flyer Daniel Forster/PPL
‘Actaea’ returns in 2016 to defend her title and make her 11th Thrash to the Onion Patch. She won the St. David’s Lighthouse Division in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race. Michael and Connie Cone’s Hinckley Bermuda 40 yawl raced in Class 1. She won the St. David’s Lighthouse Division by some 40 minutes of corrected time over Douglas Abbott’s Class 1 Cal 40 ‘Flyer
Daniel Forster/PPL

Newport Bermuda Race 2016 – By mid-morning Tuesday, only one week after the entry system opened for the 50th running of the Bermuda Race,107 yachts have started the entry process online to qualify for a place on the starting line at Newport on June 17, 2016. “We didn’t get 100 entries in 2014 until the fourth week into the process,” exclaimed Bermuda Race Organizing Committee Chairman A. J. Evans.

by Talbot Wilson @ sail-world.com

“Activity this year has been so heavy that our Bermuda Race email server was swamped and we had to upgrade capacity. It was a good problem to have, although we regret the delays a few users experienced. Our new SailGate entry system, which ably handles the Fastnet Race entries, did not have any problem.’

Race officials have reached out to anyone who tried to enter while the email server was down. Yachts that have registered their application for entry are posted on the website.

Widely known as “The Thrash to the Onion Patch” in recognition of the frequent rough weather in the 635-mile sprint across the Gulf Stream, this Bermuda Race is the 50th since it was introduced in 1906.

Sailed in even-numbered years, the race had its largest fleet of 265 boats in the centennial race in 2006. Since then, the fleet has averaged 177 entries.

Newport Bermuda Race 2016

The J44 'Vamp' owned by Lenny Sitar will return for the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race. This is Sitar's 15th Newport Bermuda Race and Vamp's 12th. In 2014, there were eight J44's sailing in their own class. © Talbot Wilson / PPL
The J44 ‘Vamp’ owned by Lenny Sitar will return for the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race. This is Sitar’s 15th Newport Bermuda Race and Vamp’s 12th. In 2014, there were eight J44’s sailing in their own class.
© Talbot Wilson / PPL

Leatrice Oatley, Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the race co-organizer with the Cruising Club of America, echoed Evans’ excitement. “Bermuda and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club look forward to hosting a big fleet this year to celebrate the 50th ocean race to Bermuda.

We will have a week-long celebration of offshore racing in Bermuda, with the “Newport Bermuda” Race finish and prizegiving, and the RBYC Anniversary Regatta, which is the final stage of the three-event Onion Patch Series.” Oatley encouraged captains to get their entries in early because of the new 200-boat limit for race entry.

Registration for the race’s Safety at Sea Seminar, organized by the Cruising Club of America, is running 25 percent heavier than usual. The seminar is on March 19-20 at the Marriott Hotel, in Newport, RI.

Carina with Potts in command has won the St. David's Lighthouse twice. 'Carina' also won under original owner Richard S. Nye © Talbot Wilson / PPL
‘Carina’ with Potts in command has won the St. David’s Lighthouse twice. ‘Carina’ also won under original owner Richard S. Nye
© Talbot Wilson / PPL

This Newport Bermuda Race will have seven divisions: St David’s Lighthouse (cruiser-racer boats with amateur helmsmen), Gibbs Hill Lighthouse (racers with professional helmsmen permitted), Cruiser (cruisers/passagemakers with amateur helmsmen), Double-Handed (one crew may be a professional), Open (water ballasted and canting keel racers with professional helmsmen permitted), Super Yacht (90 feet plus), and Spirit of Tradition (replicas and traditional designs by invitation). The Super Yacht division is new for 2016.

Notable yachts on the first week’s application list include 2014 St David’s Lighthouse winner “Actaea,” a Hinckley Bermuda 40 from Annapolis Md. coming back for her 11th Newport Bermuda Race under skipper Michael M. Cone.

Hap Fauth’s standout ‘Bella Mente’, a Maxi 72, is always in the running for Gibbs Hill Division line honors, but in the next race she may trail the big Open Division cant-keel Sydney-Hobart Race veteran ‘Comanche’ owned by Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze Clark.

Race Chairman Evans will be aboard Leonard Sitar’s J44 ‘Vamp’ for his 10th Newport Bermuda Race and the yacht’s 12th. Also returning is Dr. Philip Dickey’s Swan 46 ‘Flying Lady’. In the 2012 race, Dickey was one of three captains presented with special Seamanship Awards for their efforts to assist a competitor with a sick crewmember. This year is the 50th anniversary of Nautor’s Swan Yachts.

Newport Bermuda Race 2016

She's coming back in 2016. 'Bella Mente' — Hap Fauth's Maxi72 — finishes the off Bermuda's St. David's Lighthouse in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race. She was second across the line and second in class 9 in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division. Several Maxi 72's are expected to enter. 'Momo' is the other Maxi 72 with her application already in. © Talbot Wilson / PPL
She’s coming back in 2016. ‘Bella Mente’ — Hap Fauth’s Maxi72 — finishes the off Bermuda’s St. David’s Lighthouse in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race. She was second across the line and second in class 9 in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division. Several Maxi 72’s are expected to enter. ‘Momo’ is the other Maxi 72 with her application already in.
© Talbot Wilson / PPL

Applications for Entry in the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race will remain open until April 1 through the race website. The registration and race schedules are posted on the Official Notice Board on the home page along with other important information.

To help captains through the entry process, which includes boat inspection, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee has posted the Guide to Entry on the race website. First-time captains are invited to request advice and assistance from an experienced Race Ambassador.

Skippers may reserve berths in Bermuda at this time. The reservation form is posted on the website’s Official Notice Board.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions is maintained on the race website to help explain rules and procedures.

Newport Bermuda Race 2016

Few tests of blue water seamanship are as iconic as the 635nm Newport Bermuda Race. The next start on June 17, 2016 will be the race’s 50th and will also mark the 90th anniversary of the partnership of the organisers, the Cruising Club of America and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.  Entry opens January 12, 2016…click here.

The Bermuda Race was created in 1906 by Thomas Fleming Day, an American yachting writer who believed in the then radical idea that amateur sailors in small yachts could sail safely in blue water. After English yachting writer Weston Martyr sailed in the seventh Bermuda Race in 1924, his and others’ enthusiasm for ocean racing prompted the founding of both the Fastnet Race and the Royal Ocean Racing Club. Fast forward 48 years and in 1972 the RORC entry Noryema won one of the roughest Bermuda Races ever.

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Sailed almost entirely out of sight of land today.

The 100th Anniversary race in 2006 had the largest fleet in the event’s history, 265 boats. Today international fleets of more than 160 boats compete in the biennial race as the key component of the Onion Patch Series, a parallel inter-club and international team race event

In a typical race a chilly first night brings the fleet out into the Atlantic. Then, as the sailors enter the realm of their new lord and master, the Gulf Stream, the race often makes good on its nickname, ‘The Thrash to the Onion Patch’. Once across the rough Stream, the sailors press on to the finish off St David’s Lighthouse. Inhaling the sweet smell of oleander, they motor up the winding channel to Hamilton, where the Dark ’n Stormies flow until the prize ceremony on Government House’s spectacular hilltop. Prize or not, any crew can glory in the satisfaction of having raced to Bermuda.

The fleet
The 2016 Newport Bermuda Race will have seven divisions, each with its divisional and class prizes. The race has no single winner. Except for the Superyachts, each division is rated under the Offshore Racing Rule (ORR)

• St David’s Lighthouse Division: cruiser-racers with amateur helmsmen
• Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division: racers with professional helmsmen permitted
• Cruiser Division: cruisers/passagemakers with amateur helmsmen
• Double-Handed Division: one crew may be a professional
• Open Division: canting-keel racers with professional helmsmen permitted
• Super Yacht Division: 90ft+ long, International Super Yacht Rule
• Spirit of Tradition Division: replicas and types of traditional designs

The rating rule
The Bermuda Race is dedicated to the principles of safe sailing and fair racing. ‘The Newport Bermuda Race is not a race for novices’ says the Notice of Race. All boats are inspected, all crew lists are reviewed, and a portion of each crew is required to attend a safety at sea seminar.

The Cruising Club of America has asserted strong leadership in rating rules for nearly 90 years. From the 1930s to 1970 the Bermuda Race fleet was handicapped using the CCA Rating Rule. The CCA then supported a body of research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that led to a new Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) – using the entire boat and not just a few measurements to more accurately predict velocity on all points of sail across a range of conditions.

Newport Bermuda has used VPPs since 1978. Today’s system is the Offshore Racing Rule. The race prefers the ORR because it does the best job in fairly handicapping different boats in a diverse fleet without unduly favouring one type of boat in any one condition. ORR does not favour old designs, new designs, classics or hightech downwind flyers.

ORR encourages a well-prepared boat with a capable crew. ORR says to boat owners, ‘Get the boat in good shape, set good sails, muster up your best crew, and come racing. If you sail fast, make the right decisions and don’t make too many mistakes, you have a shot at collecting some silverware.’ Other organisers across the US and around the world appear to concur with the Bermuda Race organiser’s choice and also use the ORR system.

Report by John Rousmaniere and A.J. Evans.

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Gulf Stream Strategies
by Dr W Frank Bohlen, Physical Oceanographer (18 Bermuda Races)
article9pic3Developing a winning Bermuda Race strategy that accommodates the variabilities in weather, ocean current and sea state requires skippers and navigators to consider a number of factors. Among them are Gulf Stream conditions. The point at which the Stream is encountered is often considered a juncture as important as the start or finish of the race itself. The location, structure and variability of this major ocean current and its effects all present a particular challenge for every navigator and tactician.

The Gulf Stream follows a reasonably well-defined northerly track along the outer limits of the US continental shelf. Beyond Cape Hatteras currents turn to the northeast, and flow trajectories in this area (which covers the rhumbline to Bermuda) become increasingly non-linear and wavelike, with characteristics similar to those observed in clouds of smoke trailing downwind from a chimney. On occasion these meanders will become so large that they will ‘pinch off’, forming independent rotating rings or eddies in the areas to the north and south of the main body of the Stream.

All of these features may significantly affect set and drift. Efforts to locate the Stream and map its location and structure typically begin months before the race with the collection of satellite sea surface temperature (SST) images available at a number of websites. In the past the most competitive teams have also chartered aircraft to double-check the precise juncture of the Stream for themselves shortly before the race start.

The Gulf Stream also exerts significant influence on weather and sea state. This favours cloud formation and intensification of advancing pressure systems over a large portion of the North Atlantic. Intensification is particularly pronounced in fast-moving cold fronts. When these fronts encounter the warm waters of the Stream, the rate at which moisture-laden warm air moves aloft accelerates, favouring formation of intense thunderstorms replete with wind, rain and sometimes hail.

These features illustrate the care required when developing a race strategy, and the need to consider much more than simple analytical data describing Gulf Stream or wind and wave conditions. The boat’s type, condition and crew also matter. The successful integration of all of these factors is the challenge that represents the particular attraction of the Newport Bermuda Race.

For more information on the Newport Bermuda Race… click here.

Report reprinted from Seahorse magazine.

source: sailingscuttlebutt.com