This summer marks the 50th running of the biennial Newport Bermuda Race, and the sailing community is responding to the milestone by fielding a near-record fleet, comprised of everything from Jim and Kristy Clark’s super-maxi Comanche to defending overall winner, Michael Cone’s Hinckley Bermuda 40, Actaea.
Also in the mix will be such standouts as the schooner America, the 112ft three-masted Spirit of Bermuda and, at the small end of the spectrum, Jonathan Green’s Beneteau Oceanis 351 Jeroboam, winner of the 2013 OSTAR. At press time more than 200 boats were expected to take part, beating the 198 boats which took part in 2008, but still shy of the record 265 boats that competed in the centennial race in 2006.
Although some of the biggest names in sailing will be sailing aboard such boats as the Maxi 72s Proteus, Momo and Bella Mente, the race remains a diverse one with 95 percent of the skippers qualifying as amateurs and a full 40 percent of skippers doing the race for the first time.
As always, the biggest prize of them all will be the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy, which goes to the fastest amateur cruiser-racer in the fleet on corrected time. As in years past, a doublehanded division will be part of the mix as well. Meanwhile, the time to beat over the 635-mile course for the big boys, like perpetual line-honors contender Comanche is 39 hours, 39 minutes, set by George David’s Rambler in 2012. For more on this year’s race, visit bermudarace.com.