Newport Bermuda 2020 goes virtual
Published on June 1st, 2020
The 52nd running of the “Thrash to the Onion Patch” has been postponed until 2022, but a fleet will nonetheless set sail to Bermuda on June 19 by competing in the 2020 Online Newport Bermuda Race.
After the race was cancelled with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, volunteers on the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee (BROC) shifted focus to develop an online approach to keep the spirit of the 2020 race alive.
SailOnline.org was selected as an international non-profit with an excellent navigation-simulation platform that could accommodate the race’s four most popular divisions – St. David’s Lighthouse, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Finisterre (Cruising), and Double-Handed.
SailOnline’s software bases boat speed on VPP polars depending on the heading selected in a given wind direction. It also introduces weather updates from the current NOAA global forecast every six hours, and incrementally, the wind direction and strength shifts across the different sections of the course.
Competitors who aren’t familiar with the SailOnline platform will be directed to an instructional manual, sail a practice race or two, and join a pre-race webinar with SailOnline experts.
Four boat models will be raced as one-design fleets, with a different boat in each division. When competitors choose their division, they’ll find themselves at the helm of one of the following:
• Dehler 46 (St. David’s Lighthouse)
• X Yachts Xp 55 (Gibbs Hill Lighthouse)
• Italia 14.98 (Finisterre (Cruiser Division))
• Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 (Double-Handed)