Please select your home edition
Edition
Helm Events 728x90

Newport Bermuda Race - 49th edition begins June 20th

by JBoats on 20 Jun 2014
Newport Bermuda Race © Talbot Wilson / PPL
The June 20th start of the Newport Bermuda Race takes place this Friday, the 49th edition of this 635nm sprint across the Gulf Stream to the fable island of Bermuda- famous for its 'Bermuda shorts' and the extensive celebrations with 'dark and stormies' at the Royal Bermuda YC. The start takes place at the opening of Narragansett Bay off Castle Hill Lighthouse and finishes off the eastern end of Bermuda at St David’s Head (the entry into the treacherous reefs that ring the northern part of this ancient volcanic island).

Organized by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, the race is sailed almost entirely out of sight of land and across the Gulf Stream. Amongst the fleet of 165 boats, twenty-one states from Maine to California are represented in the fleet, with especially strong turnouts from New England (67 boats) and the Chesapeake Bay area (20). The 16 entries from outside the United States include one boat each from Austria, Germany, Russia, and Spain; three from Bermuda; four boats from the UK; and five boats from Canada. Again, by far the largest brand participating in the event are the 33 J/Boats (20% of the fleet), followed by 24 Nautor-Swan’s and seven Hinckley’s.

The fleet is assigned by type and crew to five divisions. The largest is the St. David’s Lighthouse Division (100 boats), for multi-purpose cruising/racing boats. This is one of the race’s three divisions that have seen an increase in entries this year, with four more boats than in 2012. Twenty-three of them (nearly 25% of the division) are J/Boats owners.

Leading the charge as the largest single one-design fleet in the history of the race are the eight (Eight!) J/44s, including Dr Phil Gutin’s Beagle, Dr Norm Schulman’s Charlie V, the US Coast Guard Academy’s Glory, Jim Bishop’s Gold Digger, Harry DeVore’s Honahlee, Chris Lewis’s Kenai, Len Sitar’s Vamp and Bermuda 'newbies' Joerg Esdorn and Duncan Hennes on Kincsem.

The next biggest class going happens to be the J/120’s, now almost seen as a 'cult Bermuda classic boat' for its amazing reaching abilities— having won more than it’s fair share of silver in this race. Amongst those seeking that SDL Trophy are Rick Oricchio’s Rocket Science, Robert Kits van Heyningen’s Secondhand Lions, Jim Praley’s Shinnecock, Richard Born’s Windborn. Ken Comerford’s (and sons) Moneypenny and Dmitry Kondratyev’s Sunset Child.

Next up is the trio of J/122’s racing, all having excellent pedigree and, most recently, one having won last year’s Marion-Bermuda Race by a country furlong and another having succeeded admirably in the Annapolis-Newport Race. Those teams include Jamey Shachoy’s black-hulled beauty August West sailing with several very experienced Bermuda veterans aboard and Paul Milo’s Orion. Joining them for their first Bermuda adventure on a J/122 is John Pearson on Red Sky.

In the cruiser-racer J category that has seen amazing success offshore are a range of J/37 to J/42s. John Gorski and Andy Schell will be sailing their J/37 Sleijride, Fred Allardyce is skippering his J/40 Misty and two J/42s are entered- Newton Merrill’s Finesse and Bob Fox’s Schematic.

Finally, two of the larger offshore racer-cruisers are participating, including Dale and Michael McIvor’s J/133 Matador and Jonathan Bamberger’s J/145 Spitfire from Canada.

The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division (only eight boats), for all-out racing boats, is smaller than usual, but is sure to be watched carefully for the expected duel between two 72-foot 'mini-maxis'. In a classic 'David and Goliath' scenario, watch for Brian Hillier’s J/125 Crossfire to upset that storied match-up given a broad range of conditions— it could easily be a 'little boat' race and the Mini-maxi’s wouldn’t stand a chance against the J/125 on a handicap basis.

The Cruiser Division (36 boats) is 20-percent larger than it was in 2012, when 30 boats that competed for the Carleton Mitchell Finisterre Trophy. Five of that race’s top eight boats are back including Howie Hodgson’s J/160 True and Brad Willauer’s J/46 Breezing Up.

Finally, the fleet that always seems to produce rather remarkable performances is the Doublehanded Division. This time back again bigger and better than ever with 20 boats, it will be more than intriguing to see how the 'domino’s fall' in this year’s light to medium air race. Coming back are the 2012 race’s top four boats: that includes Hewitt Gaynor’s J/120 Mirielle, Gardner Grant’s J/120 Alibi, and Jason Richter’s J/35 Paladin. Two spoilers to that party, based on ORR performances seen on the Chicago-Mackinac Race (also a mostly reaching race) may be Mike Piper’s J/111 Eagles Dare and Scott Miller’s J/122 Resolute (last year’s Bermuda One-Two overall winner).

Not to be outdone by their thoroughbred sisterships will be the twin J/42’s, Steve Berlack’s Arrowhead and Joe Murli’s Sirena Bella- as mentioned above, with the weather favoring the lower-rated boats, these two could be in the hunt before anyone can do anything about it! For more Newport Bermuda Race sailing information, click here.
Zhik Yachting 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht DesignAncasta Ker 33 660x82

Related Articles

Quantum Key West Race Week opens with epic conditions
The comments from the first day of the 30th Quantum Key West Race Week, the City of Key West Day, were nearly unanimous The comments from the first day of the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week, the City of Key West Day, were nearly unanimous - epic sailing conditions in one of the best racing venues in the world.
Posted today at 4:35 am
Quantum Key West Race Week - Day 1 action-shots by Nico Martinez
Nico Martinez was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week, 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images Photographer Nico Martinez was on water at 2017 Quantum Key West Race Week, 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images from Day 1 action.
Posted today at 3:47 am
Double Bullets for Platoon spells a perfect start in Key West
For Harm Müller-Spreer and his international crew on Platoon, 2017 52 Super Series is off to the best possible start. For German owner-driver Harm Müller-Spreer and his international crew on Platoon, the 2017 52 Super Series is off to the best possible start. Under clear blue skies and in a meaty 15- to 20-knot breeze, the Platoon squad handily won the first two races of Quantum Key West Race Week, the first of six events in a nine-month 52 Super Series season.
Posted today at 3:23 am
52 Super Series, Azzurra starts with a third place
Azzurra begins the 2017 season in third place after first day of racing. Platoon is in the lead after getting two wins Azzurra begins the 2017 season in third place after the first day of racing. Platoon is in the lead after getting two wins, followed by Sled. Quantum is tied for fourth place with Ran followed by Bronenosec.
Posted today at 2:59 am
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
Red Bull Youth America’s Cup brings top young sailors to Bermuda
An extensive trials process has taken place worldwide to identify the teams that will compete alongside the six teams An extensive trials process has taken place worldwide to identify the teams that will compete alongside the six teams affiliated to the full America’s Cup teams, overseen by Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher. Over 20 teams registered for the selection process, and the final six have now been confirmed, making a total fleet of 12 teams to compete in Bermuda in June 2017.
Posted on 16 Jan
Vendee Globe - Alex Thomson beats 24 hour world distance record
British sailor Alex Thomson has beaten the world sailing record for the second time in the Vendee Globe British sailor Alex Thomson has beaten the world sailing record for the second time in the Vendee Globe, travelling 536.81 nautical miles in 24 hours. The previous distance record of 534.48 nautical miles was set by Francois Gabart in the 2012 Vendee Globe, Thomson has sailed an additional 2.33 nautical miles.
Posted on 16 Jan
EFG Sailing Arabia – Team Averda focus on food in bid to nail victory
Herrera has come up with a secret weapon that he believes might prove the difference between winning and coming second. Herrera has put together a formidable team of amateur sailors who are talented enough to earn crew spots on some of the fastest boats on the planet.
Posted on 16 Jan
Vendee Globe – Thomson smashes 24-hour distance record
Thomson was among a fleet of 29 mostly French solo sailors that set off from Les Sables d'Olonne. During the 24-hour period running up to the 0800 UTC position report he sailed his racing boat Hugo Boss at an average speed of 22.4 knots, or 25.7mph.
Posted on 16 Jan
Vendee Globe - Amedeo leads quartet round Cape Horn
French skipper Fabrice Amedeo achieved one of his life goals early this morning by passing Cape Horn for the first time. French skipper Fabrice Amedeo achieved one of his life goals early this morning by passing Cape Horn for the first time. The 38-year-old Parisian journalist-turned-solo sailor rounded Cape Horn on the southernmost tip of South America on his IMOCA 60 Newrest Matmut at 0140 UTC to become the 11th Vendée Globe skipper in the Atlantic.
Posted on 16 Jan