As the June 15, 2012, start of the 48th Thrash to the Onion Patch approaches, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee has laid down a schedule that features some innovations like a novel approach to the safety seminar but, otherwise, has much that's familiar.
For instance, the race continues recent tradition by starting in the mouth of Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay, before a big audience on shore at Castle Hill. And the Bermuda Race experience is (as ever) capped by the magnificent prize-giving ceremony at Government House. After that, the fleet will disperse once again for the sail home, which is often a training ground for the next generation of Bermuda Race sailors.
For old-timers, the race is almost a habit. But every old-timer was once a first-timer. In fact, one out of four entries in the 2010 race was commanded by a first-time skipper. The BROC puts a lot of energy into identifying men and women who want to make their first race, and then helping them through the planning and inspection process, advised by Bermuda Race Ambassadors assigned by the BROC. For more information about the Race Ambassador Program, contact Participation Chairman Fred Deichmann.
As always, the main prize is the classic St. David's Lighthouse Trophy, and it will go to the topcruiser-racer with an amateur crew. The 2010 winner, Carina, has a lot of fans.
Built in 1969 for the Nye family, the 48-foot McCurdy & Rhodes-designed sloop promptly won the 1970 race. In 1982, after design modifications by Scott Kaufman, she won her division and came within minutes of taking the entire race. Later acquired by Rives Potts, she won silver year after year before taking home her second Lighthouse in 2010, her 41st year. Her victory margin of three and a half hours is one of the largest in the races history.
Carina sails to a victory in the St. David's Lighthouse Division.(PPL Photo Agency)
Carina holds the record for most Bermuda Races by a boat, 18, and right now she is headed toward her 19th race in a way that every adventurous sailor would like to duplicate. She raced across the Atlantic to England this past summer, did the Fastnet, and then turned west toward the Panama Canal, the South Pacific, and Australia for the Sydney-Hobart Race in December. From there she will head west again via Capetown, and (if all goes well) be back in Newport in June.
Bermudian Kirk Cooper once said about the race, All these races, they go like one. You forget about it for 18 months, and then you start planning again. Now were in the planning stage.
The first job is to make hotel reservations in Bermuda. Don't put that off. With many fewer hotel beds available than a decade ago, you risk disappointment (and worse) if you delay.
Next on the list is making marina reservations. Slips at Newport and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC) often fill up quicker than hotel rooms.
Start checking the race website where you are now, www.BermudaRace.com. That's where the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee (chaired this year by John Osmond, who has made 15 Thrashes) issues announcements that will be supplemented by blast emails (subscribe on the website and fill out the Contact Us form).
The website is also home to the Crew Finder feature (under the tab Competitors & Boats), where skippers and sailors meet up for the race and the return trip.
Bermuda Race Schedule (subject to alteration)
Late Fall 2011: Notice of Race (NOR) posted on the website.
January 16, 2012: Entry process opens on the website.
March: The race program will be published. It will include the NOR, boat inspection tips, guides to Newport and Bermuda, and some race-oriented how-to articles.
March 17 & 18: Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar, Newport Hyatt Regency Hotel. (Other qualifying safety seminars are listed on the US SAILING website.)
Glenn Family, donors of the William L. Glenn Family Participation Prize
( C. Museler)
- Saturday, Track A is forup to 75 people who have been to two SAS Seminars in the past 10 years, with classroom sessions in the morningfollowed by thein-the-water optionin the afternoon. Participants will be awarded the ISAF Offshore Personal Survival Course Certificate.
- Saturday, Track B is the usual day-long classroom seminar. Participants will be awarded the U.S. SAILING Certificate of Attendance.
- Sunday, three options: a First Aid/CPR course, a Race Preparation Session, and hands-on, in-water training for Track B people who want or need the ISAF Certificate.
April 15, 1700 hours: Application for entry deadline.
May 15, 1700 hours: All supporting documentation for entry is due.
June 1: Pre-inspection documentation deadline.
June 5: On-board inspection must be complete.
June 13: 1700 hours: Newport check-in deadline at Race Headquarters, New York YC (Harbour Court).
June 15: Bermuda Race starts at Newport.
18 hours after finishing: Bermuda check-in deadline.
June 23: Prizegiving at Government House.