June 14, 2010

Five days from today is the start of the Newport Bermuda Race, a 635-mile ocean race, most of it out of sight of land, usually lasting three to six days. It crosses a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean known for challenging weather, especially in the Gulf Stream, where there are strong currents.

Nirvana (above), an 80 ft. Maxi with a great racing history, will be my home for the race. She has held the record at one time for many of the most established long-distance races.

We sail with a crew of 22 and will be on an electronic diet for the entire race, unplugged from email completely. Entertainment consists of story telling, watching movies and yes, yoga on the foredeck, weather pending. In light of our size, we will likely arrive in Bermuda sometime Tuesday.

The crew becomes a family pretty quickly after we settle into our watches, with each watch becoming its own community. We can look forward to tracking satellites every night if it is really clear and seeing all the overnight flights to Europe passing us by. The evening watches can be fantastic, quiet or full of excitement as night time sailing takes on a character all its own.

The fleet has five divisions to allow seaworthy boats of many sizes and types to be raced fairly and aggressively for an array of trophies awarded in Bermuda at an elegant ceremony at Government House, the residence of the governor of this tropical island.

In keeping with the 100-year traditions of amateur sailors and strong family spirit, 90% of the boats in 2006 had amateur crews comprised of friends and family members. The race maintains its international prestige through competitive fairness, an exemplary safety record, and a responsive race organization handled by the volunteer members of the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Sailors everywhere dream of adding the Newport Bermuda Race to their life list of adventures.

More to come from Newport…