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Bermuda’s weeklong Summer Solstice Party

by Talbot Wilson on 20 May 2013
Crescendo finished just before dawn in 2009 under storm Trysail and a blade. She took line honours that year over many biggger boats. Fran Grenon Spectrum Photos
Marion, MA is where will you be a short month from now to celebrate Summer Sailstice. Smart, adventurous, fun-loving sailors along with their friends and families will be at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club in the sunny isles of Bermuda.

The Marion Bermuda Race starts June 14 and the prizes are given out at the Dinghy Club on June 22, the Summer Solstice. Then the gala dinner party starts. It is the finale to an exciting 645-mile cruising yacht race to Bermuda, where everyone will enjoy days of great Bermuda activities and be able to explore one of sailing’s finest destinations. For details, please click here.

Summer Sailstice was founded in 2001 by John Arndt, as the global, annual celebration of sailing held on the summer solstice. The annual Summer Sailstice sailing event is free to all participants and has grown from 200 boats signed up in 2001 to almost 5,000 boats today.

Since many sailors join in the fun on many different boats, the actual number of Summer Sailstice sailors participating is estimated at almost 19,000 annually. Some 1500 of them will be in Bermuda at the RHADC celebrating Sailing as their passion.

In joining with Sailors for the Sea, Summer Sailstice strives to inform and mobilize sailors, their families and communities to enjoy and conserve the beauty of the oceans and while raising awareness of human impacts on the fragile marine environment and wildlife.


Come for the race and stay for the fun. It starts at St David’s Lighthouse in Bermuda on Monday June 17, as friends and family wait for their yachties to reach the island. While enjoying a famous Goslings Dark ‘n Stormy and spectacular Bermuda fish chowder, guests at the finish line tower might just witness the first boats approach Bermuda the finish at this historic location. Traditionally the Lighthouse Party is for race committee and volunteers, but this year all early race guests are graciously invited. Anyone agile enough may climb the tower and sight the finish line.

Traditional afternoon tea at Four PM with Margaret Fergusson, wife of His Excellency the Governor of Bermuda begins the week’s activities at the clubhouse on Hamilton Harbour. Tuesday it’s a fashion show luncheon, beachwear to flashy eveningwear. Where that show ends, the rum tasting begins with tasting and sippin’ some of Goslings’ finest. Thursday Fishcake King Dale Butler gives a cooking demonstration of the daily lunch special — Bermuda Fishcakes. That evening it’s a Pig Roast by the water, a dance with the Gombeys to the cool sounds of the Steel Drums, and cold refreshments under the Stars.

Friday’s activities turn physical and chancy. Start with Cricket lessons with a first hand, and light-hearted look at Bermuda's other National Sport (sailing comes first). The coach is former National Cricket Team Star batsman, Allen Richardson. Then, after lunch at the club, attention turns to the water for the all new Friends and Family Race. Enter in a random team J105 regatta around Hamilton Harbour or try your hand at the newest sailing sensation: the O'pen Bic!


Your luck is on the line Friday night at the Gosling’s Crown and Anchor party. Take a chance at Bermuda's legal gaming tradition while cooling your nerves with a real Rum Swizzle, mixed by Gosling's own in Sheila Gosling's washing machine. Doing the wash has never been so intoxicating! It’s prizes, live music and good clean fun for all.

For Summer Solstice Saturday, it’s off to the beach for a special snorkeling expedition off of world-renowned Elbow Beach. Explore a shipwreck in a two-hour snorkeling tour with Blue Water Divers. This is an adventure for all the swimmers in your family.

The Grand Finale is the Race Prizegiving, with spectacular prizes, followed by the Gala dinner. It’s fine dining, dancing and an all out final spin to wrap up a great week in Bermuda. Take a day off on Sunday to rest up for the trip home.

To discover plenty of reasons to make this trip to Bermuda, take a look at the online version of the 2013 Marion Bermuda Race Book. Click the cover image on the left side of the website landing page or click here.


Within its colorful cover, a spectacular Willard Gordon Bond painting, are 98 pages of entertaining race stories, guides to the Marion area and all to see and do on Bermuda’s sunny isles, tips on sailing this traditional ocean race, the full land event schedule and Notice of Race.

Past Commodore of the RHADC Charles Dunstan announced a change in the social schedule that brings all of the race celebrations to the clubhouse and grounds on Hamilton Harbour. 'The Prizegiving and Gala Dinner will be held on the grounds of RHADC this year. The new management team at the club, led by our General Manager Allen Walker, and Chef John, are very keen to strut their stuff and show what they can do. Depending on final entry numbers, the Prizegiving will be held on the upper terrace in front of the Club, or on the lower lawn at dock level. The Gala Dinner will be held on the Tennis Court, as it was in 2007.'

All in Bermuda are welcome to share in the post-race festivities. Learn more at the Marion Bermuda website.

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