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Newport Bermuda Race to set sail from Fort Adams

by Newport Bermuda Race 20 Jun 15:34 UTC From 21 June 2024
Newport Bermuda Race to set sail from Fort Adams © Steve Cloutier

The 53rd Newport Bermuda Race will kick off tomorrow, Friday June 21, with rolling starts from 2-4 p.m. off the shoreline of Fort Adams in Newport.

For the first time in the Race's 118 year history, the 163 participating boats will begin their journey to Bermuda from inside Narragansett Bay—giving spectators stunning views of the starting line.

On land, the Newport Bermuda Race Starting Line Party will take place at Fort Adams from 12-4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, featuring live music, food and drinks for purchase, and a poster signing and meet and greet with Cole Brauer, the first American woman to race solo around the world.

The Starting Line Live Show Powered by Ørsted will be broadcast worldwide on YouTube.com/BermudaRace starting at 2 pm, hosted by Jesse Fielding and accompanied by race record holder Ken Read from North Sails and Cole Brauer reporting from the water.

"The entire Bermuda Race Organizing Committee is thrilled to bring both new and seasoned sailing fans closer to the action at Fort Adams," said Race Chair Andrew Kallfelz. "The 'Thrash to the Onion Patch' has, for years, been a staple in offshore racing and a bucket list item for many sailors. Now, our expanded kick-off festivities are forging and strengthening connections between that community, the City of Newport and State of Rhode Island, and our friends in Bermuda."

It will take approximately two to five days for the fleet of 163 boats to reach Bermuda. Race events continue throughout the week of June 24, concluding with a Prize Giving Ceremony at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in Hamilton on June 29.

What to expect from the weather

"The weather is setting up for a relatively benign race for the faster boats," said sailor Peter Isler, navigator of Pyewacket 70. Isler pointed to a cold front approaching Newport from the north that may have an impact on the start and first 24 hours of the race.

Kent Racing navigator Erica Lush added that the Newport Bermuda Race is all about the weather, noting that sailors face "no coastal challenges to navigate for 95% of the racecourse." That said, Lush believes the hot, humid weather impacting Rhode Island this week will provide sailors with "a lovely thermal sea breeze" for Friday's start off the coast of Aquidneck Island.

Crossing the Gulf Stream current weighs heavy on both sailors' minds. "The Gulf Stream, of course, provides an array of decisions to make, and can be difficult to navigate with choppy seas and squalls over the disproportionately warm water," Lush said, with Isler adding that "[t]he Gulf Stream crossing is always a tricky part of this race - and a unique feature compared to other big ocean races."

What sailors are saying

At Wednesday night's Goslings Crew Party hosted by Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard, sailors were in high spirits as they feted the arrival of participating boats to Newport. "It looks like it's going to be a really fun race," said Evan Bowen who will be sailing aboard Masquerade. "I think that whoever can get off the coast the best [at the start] will be set up for a solid race."

This is the first Newport Bermuda Race for the crew of Allegiant, who just this week completed the Annapolis Bermuda Race. "We think we're going to do really well, but it's our first race. We are cautiously optimistic," Allegiant Co-Skipper Maryline Oshea. "Our team is pumped."

Ahead of Friday's start, Lush sees "keeping team morale high and sailors focused" as the name of the game to success. Isler is keeping his eye on the weather and quoted the late 2002 Newport Bermuda Race-winning skipper Roy E. Disney, saying "the devil is in the details."

How to follow the race

Once the sailors leave Narragansett Bay, race fans can track the boats using the Palm Beach Motor Yachts Tracker online or via the YB Races App. Real-time leaderboard results will be available on bermudarace.com along with photos, news, and more. Follow us on social media @BermudaRace as well as we share stories from the Gulf Stream and beyond.

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