From the warm and sunny waterscapes that fill almost every view to its diversity of maritime diversions, life revolves around the water in Bermuda. Boating enthusiasts abound on the island paradise, and every two years sailors from around the world come together for the thrill of ocean racing at the Newport Bermuda Sailing Competition. This year, the 49th edition of the race will be held on June 20, 2014. Referred to by some as the “Bash of the Onion Patch,” the mid-June race was first run in 1906 and is the oldest regularly scheduled long-distance ocean sailing race. The event is internationally recognised for competitive fairness, as it welcomes sailboats of all sizes. Usually lasting three to six days, the competition begins in Newport, Rhode Island, and runs 635 miles to St. David’s Head in Bermuda, crossing a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream known for challenging weather and strong currents. The race has five divisions: St. David’s for amateur crews on dual-purpose racer-cruiser boats; Gibbs Hill for professional crews on modern competitive boats; Double-Handed for boats with only two people; Cruising for amateur crews on boats not designed for racing; and Demonstration for boats of a size or construction type beyond the normal range of the fleet. Each division is scored using a rating system through which slower boats are allowed more time to complete the race. The champions are the boats with the best corrected time. For more information, visit bermudarace.com. A recent survey sponsored by the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee revealed that the participants tend to extend their stay in Bermuda once they reach the island, allocating time for dining out, shopping, going to the beach and engaging in other maritime sports. If you’d like to try your hand at sailing, contact the Royal Hamilton Dinghy Club for a personal two-hour or half-day sailing lesson with a certified U.S. sailing instructor. (236-2250, rhadc.bm)
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