Monday, 7 June 2010

Bermuda Ready for Newport Invasion

Boats dressed overall in the marina. Supplied image.

by Talbot Wilson

Later this month more than 190 ships will set sail from Newport, Rhode Island carrying about 2000 sailors to Bermuda's shores in the biennial Island invasion called the Newport Bermuda Race. Over that same weekend flights to the Island will be chock full of families, friends and return crews to bring the total invasion force to about 6,000 people, guests of Bermuda.

"Hospitality rules," says Peter Shrubb, Commodore of race co-sponsors Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. "We'll make Bermuda's guests welcome. We want them to come back in two years . . . or sooner. Thanks to all the local volunteers in Bermuda who work from the finish line to the duty desk and behind the scenes, it all happens with style."

Racing starts in Newport at 2.00 p.m. on June 18. Spectators can track the racing boats' course to Bermuda online at And new for 2010, thanks to the new Gateway Bermuda Finish Line Cam, spectators watching the big screens at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club can watch boats finish 24/7.

Newport-Bermuda Race trophy. Supplied image.

All those in Bermuda during the week is invited to join the fun at RBYC. Some of the most spectacular racing and cruising boats will berth in the club marina. Captains and crews are always willing to spin a sea-yarn or two with inquisitive guests. Winning boats are identified with appropriate signage. Shirts, caps and lots of logo race wear for men and women are available in the regatta store.

The RBYC Anniversary Regatta will be held on Friday, June 25 in the Great Sound and adjacent waters. The second race finishes off the Hamilton Princess in mid-afternoon. Up to 30 yachts from 37 to 90 feet long will be racing in Bermuda that Friday. It is the biggest offshore race in Bermuda all year.

If conditions are right for Newport Bermuda, the fastest boats, three 90 to 100 footers in the Open Division, could finish on Sunday afternoon. Alex Thomson's Speedboat, first to finish in 2008, hopes to repeat but this year in record time. Ken Read on Puma, a Volvo 70, and Bermuda's Argo Group CEO Mark Watson, sponsor and skipper of the US Merchant Marine Academy's Dubois 90 Genuine Risk, both hope to snatch line honours and rain on his parade. The Open Division record was set in 2004 by Morning Glory with a time of 48 hours, 28 minutes and 31 seconds.

Bella Mente. Supplied image.

In the other divisions, competition is just as tight. The focus in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division will be on Niklas Zennstrom's JV72 Ran, winner of last year's Rolex Fastnet Race and class winner in the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race. Peter Rebovich in his Cal 40 Sinn Fein are going for a record tying three straight St. David's Lighthouse Trophy wins.

In the Cruiser Division, Bermuda's Paul Hubbard has his sights set on a repeat first place finish aboard Bermuda Oyster. The double-handers feature the biennial battle between Rich du Moulin's Express 37 Lora Ann and Hewitt Gaynor's J120 Mireille along with 25 other boats sailed by just two sailors.

Article published in the Royal Gazette. June 5. 2010 07:37AM
Newport-Bermuda Race