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Spirit in a class of her own!

Bermuda Sloop Foundation's

Spirit of Bermuda is literally in a class of her own.

The three-mast schooner has been invited to compete in this year's 635-mile Newport Bermuda Race all alone in the experimental 'Spirit of Tradition' Division.

The division is an invitational demonstration developed to experiment with the reintroduction of traditional schooner rigged vessels.

Whether it will be present in future races will depend on the experience of

Spirit of Bermuda this year and the likelihood of developing enough interest to provide competition and to warrant development of a suitable rating system for such vessels.

Spirit's participation will provide a demonstration of her sailing prowess. But because she is a three-mast schooner rig, she is unable to be fairly and officially rated for competition against the modern design boats that make up the rest of the fleet. Therefore she will sail in a class by herself.

The 'Spirit of Tradition' Division will highlight both her traditional design and the prevalence of the schooner rig in yachts racing in the early years of the Newport Bermuda Race.

In nearly six years of operation since September, 2006, Spirit has provided a character development programme for over 2,600 young people and has sailed over 38,000 miles in overseas voyages to 17 ports in 10 countries.

Alan Burland, Chairman of Bermuda Sailing Foundation, said: “The opportunity to participate in the Newport to Bermuda Race will help us to achieve our goal of providing experiences that instil Bermuda pride in our youth. We are honoured to be launching the new Spirit of Tradition Division.”

Spirit of Bermuda is a purpose-built sail-training vessel based on civilian Bermudian-type schooners built in Bermuda by blacks and whites between 1810 and 1840. The original hull shape was adapted from the Bermuda-built Royal Navy “Shamrock” class (fast dispatch/patrol vessels that ran from the Royal Naval Dockyard northwest to Halifax and southwest to Jamaica to contain the rebel colonies).

The 118 foot, 230,000 lb schooner was designed by noted naval architect Bill Langan of Langan Design Associates of Newport, Rhode Island, built by Rockport Marine in Rockport, Maine and launched in 2006.

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Published April 09, 2012 at 2:00 am (Updated April 09, 2012 at 9:33 am)

Spirit in a class of her own!

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