Changing Times For Newport-Bermuda

The Newport-Bermuda Race, the biennial 635-mile ocean race sponsored by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda YC, could once have been fairly compared to an exclusive private club. But with the mailing of 2,300 invitations to enter and the announcement of format changes, the organizers have continued a push to make the classic race more accessible.

For those racing under IMS, there will be one division for corinthian yachts (Cruiser/Racer & Racer) and another for grand prix yachts, with the criteria separating them being the number of professionals in the crew. The winner of the Grand Prix division will earn the resurrected Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse trophy, not awarded since 1946. The winner of the Corinthian class receives the St. David’s Lighthouse trophy.

For club racers there’s four Americap divisions: Cruising, Non-Spinnaker; Classic Yachts, Non-Spinnaker; Doublehanded, Non-Spinnaker; and Doublehanded, Spinnaker.

The safety requirements are as rigorous as ever, but on-line entry forms, more frequent safety seminars, and a rule change allowing larger, faster boats (Roy Disney's Pyewacket has entered) make this year's event more user-friendly than ever.