Newport/Bermuda organisers hoping for a bumper entry
Newport to Bermuda Race organisers hope to see as many as 190 yachts make it to the start line for next Junes 635-mile ocean crossing from Castle Hill, Newport, Rhode Island to St Davids Head, Bermuda.
Online registration doesnt commence until January 16, 2012, therefore race officials wont be able to get a handle on numbers until mid-February.
However, early signs have been encouraging with as many as 24 first-time entries having shown a serious interest in competing in the biennial event.
Our participation chairman has reported that 24 first-time entries have contacted him for help from the newcomers Race Ambassador volunteers. That is a healthy number at this point, commented race chairman John Osmond, who flew into Bermuda last week to take part in meetings with local race organisers at Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC).
Registration for this years Fastnet and Sydney Hobart races have been encouraging and Osmond hopes this positive response will spill over into the Newport to Bermuda Race.
The other two of the big three ocean races, the Fastnet and Sydney Hobart, both have healthy numbers in 2011, so we are hopeful that we will have a good turnout in 2012 as well, Osmond added. Wed like to see 190 boats on the line in June.
The Newport Bermuda Race is a rite of passage and a must-do experience, an adventure for many generations of sailors. We expect to continue the traditions in the 48th edition of this famous race.
In the meantime race organisers will conduct an intensive communication programme in upcoming weeks.
Ill be asking past participants if they intend to race again, Osmond said. We will be reaching out to yacht clubs and sailing associations, too, inviting their members to enter.
Discussions geared towards bolstering the Onion Patch fleet also to take place at RBYC at the weekend.
The three-leg Onion Patch Series begins with the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta the weekend before the start of the Newport to Bermuda Race and concludes with the RBYC Anniversary Regatta in the Great Sound.
Notice of Race for the 2012 Newport to Bermuda Race has been posted on bermudarace.com and among the changes are new requirements for crew training, satellite telephones and life jackets and safety harnesses.
A total of 183 yachts took part in the 2010 Thrash to the Onion Patch, which was the third largest fleet in the races 104-year history.
Already confirmed for next years race is Rives Potts and the crew of Carina that captured the coveted St Davids Lighthouse Division Trophy.