How to spend $50,000 to watch sailing

Published on May 22nd, 2022

While sailing can be an affordable sport, it is also not hard to make it massively expensive when pursuing competition in high profile classes and events. But what about spectating? When Formula 1 came to Florida for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, people were paying trust fund prices to attend, nowhere near what sailing events could charge… or could they?

When the biennial Newport Bermuda Race gets underway on June 17, Forbes reports how a $50,000 travel package assembled by Newport’s Hammetts Hotel, one of the race’s sponsors, will put onlookers in direct access of both ends of the action for the first time.

On race day for this 635nm race, two seats are reserved on board a captained 36 foot Hinckley yacht for direct viewing of the two hour send off from Newport as over 100 boats sail off. Also that day: a champagne lunch for five guests at Giusto, the Italian restaurant on Hammetts Wharf overlooking the water where that sendoff takes place.

And on race weekend, also included is a two night stay at the hotel in a Marina King room, designed to resemble luxury quarters on board a ship with views overlooking Newport Harbor. The hotel, which opened in 2020, has nautical décor throughout, designed as a modern yacht club as befits its sponsorship of yacht races and partnership with the New York Yacht Club.

As competitors ponder the tactical options before the start, race spectators will be touring off-the-charts opulence of Gilded Age families’ “summer cottage” mansions in Newport, well clear of crashing waves while doing the Cliff Walk along the Atlantic. And they will be well fed too, noshing on clams, oysters, and lobster rolls along the Newport waterfront.

While competitors endure cranky weather and currents in the Gulf Stream, nothing travels across the ocean like a jet plane, landing free of salt crust en route to the private Leamington Estate, an eight bedroom, 12,000 square foot manor house originally developed by the commodore of the Harrington Sound Sailing Club.

After admiring its ridged whitewashed roof distinctive to island architecture and an infinity pool overlooking the Sound, race spectators will soon enjoy a champagne picnic aboard a private yacht to watch the boats come in.

As a shower and cold beverage awaits race finishers, the deep-wallet crowd will have already wondered along the world famous pink sand beaches, walked more golf courses per capita than any other place in the world, and done their share of shopping and champagne sipping along the pastel storefronts on Front Street in the capital Hamilton.

As the Curmudgeon once observed, “The richer you get, the more expensive happiness becomes.”

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