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) TOURING THE WATERS You don’t need to be an expert seaman to explore the safe waters close to shore. Most hotel properties and even some beach concessions can rent you a kayak that can take you along the shoreline. You can also rent a Boston Whaler and similar smaller vessels that require minimum experience to operate safely. Or, try taking in the sights from a sailboat. The Royal Hamilton Dinghy Club (RHADC) offers personal two-hour or half-day sailing lessons. Check out K.S. WaterSports (Thrill Adventures & Tours) in Royal Naval Dockyard and in the Town of St. George for thrilling Jet Ski Adventures. Sea Venture Watersports at the Fairmont Southampton and Snorkel Park Beach also offer fun and scenic Jet Ski tours. If you’d rather skip the workout and prefer to simply enjoy the cool breeze and scenery, you can hire professionals to do all the work for you. For a fabulous day out on the waters, check out Destiny Tours Ltd. Bermuda’s premier tour boat, the MV Destiny, is a premium glass-bottom boat tour. For a unique tour of the island, sail with Excellence for an informative and highly entertaining Homes and Hideaways sightseeing cruise. Exclusive Charters offers cruises aboard Holding Firm II, a 37-foot Sea Ray Express Bridge. With a fully air-conditioned cabin, bridge and enclosed seating, it can easily carry up to 20 passengers. HOOK, LINE AND SINKER What’s a holiday on a pristine Atlantic island without some deep-sea fishing? You know Bermuda has one of the most impressive reef systems in the world — so of course it also has some of the best fishing around! Most of the action happens in two favoured spots about 12 miles from shore, in the area known as the Challenger and Argus banks. These deep formations, which are peaks from inactive volcanoes, have created an environment ideal for baitfish, which in turn attract large game fish. Many fishing records have been set here, and you’re likely to score some yellowfin tuna, amberjack and dolphin. With some luck and lots of skill, you may even bring in a marlin! Fishing is good all year but is best from May to November when the water is warmest. Half-day fishing charters typically include bait, light tackle and a couple hours of line time. Many leave from Royal Naval Dockyard, Hamilton or the Town of St. George. Bermuda hosts many angling competitions throughout the year, including the International Light Tackle Tournament. The 49th edition occurs in June 2014. (ilttbermuda. Com) It is a precursor to the big summer event, the Bermuda Triple Crown in July. Starting July 3, 2014, this series is composed of three distinct fishing events — and is the highlight of the season for anglers. (bermudatriplecrown.com) Need help booking a tour or want further information or advice? Contact Island Tour Centre in Hamilton or Royal Naval Dockyard at 236-1300, or contact a visitor information centre: Dockyard, 542-7104; Hamilton, 295- 1480; and St. George’s, 297-0556.
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