Grow participation by starting early

Published on September 25th, 2019

Newport, RI (September 25, 2019) – Starting your preparations early for an ocean race far from land is a key to sailing a long distance quickly and safely. This salty truism suggests that more than 100 boats and crews will be better prepared than ever for the 2020 Newport Bermuda Race, which opened entries last June – a year in advance of the start.

“We’re excited by the early response,” said Jay Gowell, chairman of the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee. “This is more than the race regulars filing early and at least a quarter of the entries are new skippers to the race.

Race organizers in previous years accepted entries only between January to early April, but now already have 102 commitments for the 52nd edition and were expecting many more by the final entry deadline in April. The biennial race had 169 starters in 2018, including new divisions for multihulls and superyachts, and has typically had between 160 and 195 boats entered.

“This race remains a bucket list event and not because it’s an easy 635 nm passage to a beautiful island, but because it’s a significant and satisfying test to sail to Bermuda,” notes Gowell. “Early entries mean captains have more time to familiarize themselves with boat, equipment, and training requirements and to come fully prepared to the starting line.”

For 2020, the organizers have emphasized making the race simpler and easier to enter, updating regulations for crew safety training and yacht inspections, revamping the event website, and improving the online entry system itself.

“This early response is a terrific start!” said Gowell. “We’d like to top 200 entries, but whatever the final number, we’re committed to making it easier to enter and prepare for this historic race.”

Sailboats ranging from 33 to 100-plus feet will arrive in Newport or nearby ports on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay beginning in April and May 2020. Before the start on June 19th, roughly 2000 sailors plus family and friends will arrive at the hub of activity—the Newport Bermuda Race Village at Bowen’s Wharf and the Seaman’s Church, which opens June 13th.

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