196 for the Bermuda Race
With 196 entries, the 47th Newport Bermuda Race fleet is on track to be the third largest in the race’s history.
“Despite the economic turmoil since the last start, we have a wonderful turnout from around the world, with many new boats and skippers,” said Race Chairman Bjorn Johnson. “This is a heartening confirmation of the value and importance not only of this race, but of sailing in general.”
The race has a wide range of boats. Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán in her first year won the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race and also took Class 1 in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. This cutting-edge 72 footer is one of 63 entries making their first Bermuda Race. Meanwhile, Peter Rebovich will sail his seventh “thrash to the Onion Patch” in his 45-year-old Cal 40 racer-cruiser Sinn Fein, which he has owned since 1973. The St David’s Lighthouse Trophy winner in 2006 and 2008, Sinn Fein is a victory away from matching one of sailing’s most hallowed records – three straight Bermuda Race wins by Carleton Mitchell’s Finisterre in 1956-60.
Sinn Fein can’t reprise her 2008 duel with Selkie because that boat’s skipper, Sheila McCurdy, has duties as Commodore of the Cruising Club of America, the race’s co-sponsor with the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Two of Sinn Fein’s sistership Cal 40s will race. One is Douglas Jurrius’ Belle Aurore, the other Gone with the Wind, which Bill LeRoy is shipping east from San Francisco Bay. His navigator is Sally Lindsay Honey, who normally races a Cal 40 with her husband, Stan Honey.
The big fleet may get even bigger during the late entry period that expires on 15 May. The race record of 265 starters was set in the 2006 centennial Newport Bermuda Race, and the 2008 fleet numbered 198 boats. The next largest fleet was 182, in 2002.
Sinn Fein is not the only boat coming back from a victory in 2008. Bermuda Oyster, owned by Bermudan Paul Hubbard will defend the Carleton Mitchell Finisterre Trophy, the top prize in the Cruiser Division. The three-time Moxie Trophy winner in the Double-Handed Division, Richard du Moulin’s Lora Ann, returns in a fleet of two dozen shorthanded racers that include five Class 40 boats. One of them, Desafio Cabo Hornos, Chilean Felipe Cubillos finished second in the 2008-09 Portimão Global Ocean Race and raced in last year’s Fastnet, and finished third in the 2009 Class 40 World Championship.
Two entries have been racing to Bermuda almost continuously since the 1970s. No boat has done more races under one owner - 16 - than perennial high finisher Emily, Edwin S. Gaynor. The record for most races by one boat - 18 - is held by Carina, overall winner in her first Bermuda Race in 1970 under the late Richard S. Nye, and still winning silver under current owner, Rives Potts. One of the awards that Carina is going after is the William L. Glenn Family Participation Prize for crews that include at least four members of the same family.
The three fastest boats in 2008 are coming back, too. First to finish was Speedboat, the Jean K-designed 99-footer owned by Alex Jackson. Second was the 90ft Rambler of George David. Rambler is coming off an extremely successful 2009 with elapsed time and corrected time victories in both the Annapolis to Newport Race and the Marblehead to Halifax Race, plus the Northern Ocean Racing Trophy as top distance racing boat in the northeastern United States. The third boat to finish in 2008 will also be on the starting line on 18 June is Il Mostro (Puma), the VO70 that finished second overall in the 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race and will of course be sailed by Ken Read. Speedboat and Il Mostro sail in the Open Division for boats with canting keels, while Rambler is in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division for boats with fixed keels. These two divisions have no limits on professional crews, unlike the St. David’s Lighthouse, Cruiser, and Double-Handed Divisions.
Among the non-U.S. entries are the overall winner of the recent Royal Ocean Racing Club Caribbean 600, Karl Kwok's Farr 80 Beau Geste and, from the UK, Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy’s Noonmark VI, which is on an extended circumnavigation that includes the world’s major races. Another foreign entry is the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss, sailed by British ocean racer Alex Thomson. “Newport Bermuda is one of the big classics,” said Thomson. “Having done many Fastnets and Sydney-Hobarts, I am very excited to present our new boat and represent our sponsor in this famous race.”
2010 Newport Bermuda Race
The race starts on June 18 at Newport. The Offshore Racing Rule (ORR) will again be the primary handicapping system. Those electing to race for the IRC trophy will need an endorsed IRC certificate as well.
Divisions and prizes: There are five divisions. The St David’s Lighthouse Trophy is awarded to the top boat in the race's largest and most historic division, which is for amateur crews. The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Trophy goes to the winner of the professional division. The Cruiser Division winner is awarded the Carleton Mitchell Finisterre Trophy. First prize in the Double-Handed Division is the Moxie Trophy, given in memory of Philip S. Weld. The winner of the Open Division (for cant-keelers) is presented with the Royal Mail Trophy. In addition, the top boat under the IRC Rule receives the North Rock Beacon Trophy.
There also are prizes for first to finish, the winning navigator and family participation, plus the famous Galley Slave Trophy for the cook in the last boat to finish.