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Bermuda welcomes the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta

by Louay Habib, Atlantic Anniversary Regatta 7 Jul 09:15 PDT 8 July 2018
Youth sailors arriving at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club for the Malizia experience on Optimist boats © Louay Habib

The subtropical island of Bermuda is globally known for its heartfelt hospitality and pristine sailing conditions, which all 150 participants of Atlantic Anniversary Regatta (AAR) were lucky enough to experience first-hand in the past few days and weeks.

The regatta celebrates the jubilees of two of the most prestigious European yacht clubs. Leading up to the Bermuda race start on Sunday, July 8, youth sailing programs and the Bermudian public have been invited to join the festivities.

Several events took part in the week leading up to the start event in conjunction with local partners such as the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Goslings Rum. The 'Open Ship' invitation extended to local sailing youth programs included Endeavour Community Sailing Programme, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and Royal Amateur Dinghy Club. About 50 local students were provided with the opportunity to 'meet & greet' one of the most renown offshore sailors in the world, German Boris Herrmann, aboard his IMOCA 60 Malizia (Yacht Club de Monaco). Happy giggling could be heard all the way from the dock back to the club house, when the group of youngsters and their coaches explored the yacht, checked out where a pro-sailor lays his head, what astronautical dry food tastes like, and how the technical set up of the foiling 60-feet ocean racer is designed to bring the crew safely to the other side of the big pond.

The students were impressed to hear that Herrmann had single-handedly sailed his yacht across the Atlantic from Europe to Portugal this month to participate in the race. "I am very excited to be in Bermuda for the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta and to meet with local youth sailors and partners", comments Herrmann. "For Team Malizia, our mission is to go beyond purely winning sail races, which of course is a major part of our business."

Malizia Education Manager (and school teacher) Birte Lorenzen adds: "The Malizia Education program helps scientists to understand the oceans' role in climate change and brings the maritime and environmental topics to schools in cooperation with two scientific institutes, Max Planck Institute and Geomar. Malizia will have a sensor onboard to measure CO2 temperature and salinity, which is part of an Ocean Challenge that addresses the challenge of helping scientists through provision of data and sensitising the next generation about the health of the ocean. The school program includes an educational kit aimed at more than 10 schools in five countries, as well as about 100 schools in Germany alone."

Herrmann concludes: "It was an absolute must for our team to welcome local students onboard and exchange ideas with local sailing coaches in Bermuda. We are bringing back some valuable insights from these conversations to further finetune our educational programs and hope to have inspired some of the students to continue contributing to a healthy ocean, and for the next generation of Bermudian sail talent to follow their nautical dreams."

Malizia Education invites local groups of children onboard the yacht at every major stop-over. Including local communities at each race village is part of the spirit of the overall AAR and the NRV as well. NRV is managing their own youth sailing programs in Germany, including annual sailing events on J70 boats for kids and teenagers who are in-patient in psychological treatments as part of experience-based training and development. The German yacht club further cooperates with local schools to offer physical sailing education sessions to their pupils.

On Saturday, July 7, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club will open its doors to the public for a Marina Viewing. Everyone in Bermuda is invited to 'walk the dock' and look at the race yachts moored in the marina.

On Sunday, July 8, at 12:05pm local time, the fleet of 17 high-quality sailing yachts - some of them as long as 88 feet - will depart near St. David's on their voyage to Europe. Spectator boats are invited to join near the start line, and are kindly asked to arrive by 11:30am, in order to line up in time, and encouraged to listen and follow instructions by "Offshore One" on VHF 71 to assure a smooth and enjoyable operation of the race.

Patricia Phillip-Fairn, Chief Product and Experiences Development Officer at the Bermuda Tourism Authority, comments: "We toured some of the racing yachts earlier this week, including Rambler 88, which is truly magnificent. We encourage the public to have a look around on Saturday during the open dock walk. Meantime, on Sunday, we expect a spectacular start to the race off St. David's and if you're boating that day it will certainly be something worth seeing. We're thrilled the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta is in Bermuda on a big milestone anniversary year and as they head out across the Atlantic, we hope to see these sailors and crew back out here soon."

The Hamburg to Bermuda regatta has attracted approximately 150 international sailors and a large group of volunteers and spouses to come to Bermuda. Several well-known professional yachtsmen from 14 countries, including America's Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailors, as well as 8 female sailors (of whom 3 are skippers), are taking part in the race - with the oldest sailor on board being 76 years old!

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