Cruising Club of America

Newport Bermuda Race Underway

Newport Bermuda Race Underway

Start of the Newport Bermuda Race. Photo: Barry Pickthall, PPL

Start of the Newport Bermuda Race. Photo: Barry Pickthall, PPL

The 184 boats of the 2010 Newport Bermuda Race are heading out to sea as this is written. The latest weather forecasts indicate a lot of reaching, a nice strong Gulf Stream with eddies-a-plenty to deal with, and the notorious Bermuda High building in from the south. In fact, a quick look at the 24-48 hour surface wind forecasts from the National Weather Service (NWS) give the impression that a square-rigged tall ship would do well this year, with a stiff breeze well abaft of the beam to start.

I’ve put up a link to the iBoattrack service in the right sidebar that will remain live for the duration of the race. As I mentioned earlier this week, it’s a fascinating way to watch strategies develop, with the consequent successes and failures becoming more apparent as time goes on. Each boat is fitted with a satellite beacon that sends its position to the iBoattracking station ashore. The displays are not quite real-time because of race rules that prevent real-time competitive observation, but they’re close enough to be meaningful when you check in.

The video below from the official organizers gives a great flavor of the race. Newport Bermuda is one of the unique sailing races in the world because of its amateur-dominant culture.  Yes, there are professional crews — in their own class — but most of the competitors are friends and family, racing in their own family boats. Some are more serious and experienced racers than others, but all have met the rigorous standards for safety and experience.  Enjoy the videos and tracking and if you know of someone in the race, let us know in the comments and we’ll follow along with them!

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Sail, Destinations, Passagemaking News, sailboat racing, Sailboats
Newport Bermuda Race Nears Start

Newport Bermuda Race Nears Start

A Newport Bermuda Race Start - Photo Credit: PPL

A Newport Bermuda Race Start - Photo Credit: PPL

The 47th edition of the famed Newport to Bermuda sailing race is now less than four days away from its June 18 start in Newport, Rhode Island. Readers who want to follow the 188-boat fleet online have a great resource available from the iBoattrack service.  Here’s how the race organizers describe the tracking system:

“Once the fleet has disappeared from view, digital spectators can follow their favorite boat, class or division online. Go to the Newport Bermuda web site,  then click on the ‘Go to Race tracking’ within the Race Tracking window on the left, and follow the prompts. On the Boat Mapper page you can track individual boats, classes and divisions and add Gulf Steam as well as wind speed and direction graphics to the screen.

Because the racing crews can also log on to these tracks, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee will impose a tracking delay during the race in order to satisfy the rule barring outside assistance. Positions seen on your screen will be the previous position for each boat.

George Owen, of iBoatTrack, points to a few improvements to the system. “Since we last tracked the Newport Bermuda Race in 2008, we have converted our main mapping interface to the more user-friendly Google Maps first used as a trial two years ago,” he explains.

In addition, the former ‘Leader Board’ function has been changed to a ‘Progress Board’ which provides information based solely on the boat’s tracker. This displays the progress of each boat on a ‘percentage completed’ bar. i.e. If the racer is halfway to Bermuda, 50% of the bar will be shaded blue. This is shown as a percentage of a yacht’s straight-line course to Bermuda and is not a tactical estimate.

The classic Newport Bermuda Race is organized by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. The New York Yacht Club Race Committee sets the starting line and makes sure all boats start in proper fashion. The record, set in 2002, is held by the late Roy Disney’s Pywacket with a time of 53 hours, 39 minutes 22 seconds.”

We will have continuing coverage of the race here on OceanLines, so stop back for the latest news and interesting features. If YOU have ever participated in this race, please let us know in the comments. We’d like to hear about your experiences.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC. All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Sail, sailboat racing, Sailboats, seamanship

2010 Newport to Bermuda Race Notice Posted

Newport Bermuda Race LogoIt is one of the most prestigious of all open-ocean sailing races, yet it is also, for many, a rite of passage(making).  The  635-mile 2010 Newport Bermuda Race will begin on June 18, 2010 off Castle Head, Newport, Rhode Island. The race is held every two years and is organized by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.  The race takes anywhere from three to six days, depending on the speed of the boat.  There are trophies and awards for several different divisions of racers and for all the classes of boats.

Online entries open January 18. Most of the key race documents have been completed and are available on the race website.  Inspection Booklets will be available soon.  The Newport Bermuda race requires that every boat be inspected for compliance with critical safety rules. Armchair sailors will also likely be able to follow the racers online, as in recent years, through a website that graphs the position and speed of all boats.

Richard Donn (center) with family and crew at race finish

If you would like to consider participating in future years, you might think about getting qualified as a crew member on a boat going this year. The race is still mostly amateurs and there’s no reason any sailor with open ocean experience, a well-founded boat and the proper equipment and crew can’t safely enjoy one of sailing’s greatest experiences.  We wrote about the experience of one first-timer here on OceanLines.

Even if you’re not going along, you can follow along at the race website which does a good job with special features, and information about the race’s history, awards and interesting characters.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Sail, Destinations, Industry News, Passagemaking News, sailboat racing, Sailboats