Grand Prix Sailor’s Monday Digest

Changes in Store for Newport Bermuda, Sydney Hobart Preview


One of the most respected and well-known races in the world is the biennial Newport Bermuda Race. Run by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda YC, both clubs where tradition and propriety are highly valued, the Bermuda Race is one of the more old-school races around. But that doesn’t mean that the race committee, led by John Winder, in his second time around as committee head, isn’t forward-thinking. For Bermuda Race 2004, boats with water ballast and canting keels will be welcomed into a new division measured under a modified IMS rule. Look for uber-maxis with familiar names to take part in the event: Windquest, (nee Zephyrus V), and her two younger siblings, Pyewacket and Morning Glory, both Reichel/Pugh designed canting-keel MaxZ86s, the Dubois-designed 90-footer, Genuine Risk, and maybe even couple of players from Down Under, Zana and Shockwave.

The new division, which will be called Division 5, or the “Big Boat Demonstration Division,” is open to IMS Racing yachts with speeds between 413.9 seconds per mile GPH and 344 seconds per mile GPH (roughly 12 1/2 hours faster than the traditional upper limit for IMS C/R & IMS Racing), based on the 2004 IMS Rule, and not exceeding 30 meters (98.4252 feet) LOA. All entries must meet ISAF/ORC regulations and Newport Bermuda Race safety and stability requirements.


The regular IMS Racing Division will be open to boats with water ballast, but not canting keels. Entries in this division may not rate faster than 414s/m GPH based on the 2004 IMS Rule and may not exceed 30 meters LOA. The IMS Racing Division races for the Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse Trophy.

The IMS Cruiser/Racer Division is for conventional designs that don’t use water ballast or canting keels. Sailed by an amateur captain with a predominantly amateur crew-the 2004 IMS Regulations with US SAILING Prescription 104 limiting professionals will be applied-this division will sail for the traditional St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy.

“The effort has been to develop a venue for a growing contingent of super maxis. The IMS Big Boat Demonstration class will have its own elapsed time and corrected time trophies,” says Winder, who adds a caveat. “From a safety standpoint, we’ve always gone with full compliance with ORC Special Regulations Category One, but in the development of movable ballast boats very little attention has been paid to stability issues. Initially ORC simply tacked on 5 degrees to the stability index for water-ballasted boats and were about to do the same thing for canting-keel boats. We, through Jim Teeters, presented a paper at the ORC meetings in Barcelona last fall and identified the fact that there’s a lot more than meets the eye with canting ballast boats, especially as far as windward knockdowns and crash tacks, where the ballast ends up on the wrong side of the boat. We’ll have a stability standard in place that’s basically going to be the preliminary ORC stability for the next standard. It’s going to have limitations on the amount that keels can cant, similar to the way that New Zealand, Australia, and the Volvo 70 rules have their own set of standards.”


For Tony Bessinger’s full story on Bermuda Race 2004, see http://

For the Bermuda Race NOR and other documents, see



Tired of being involved in either just the beginning or the end of great distance races (Newport Bermuda, Annapolis Newport), Newport, R.I’s Ida Lewis YC has announced the Ida Lewis Distance Race. Scheduled for August 19, 2004, the race is a qualifier for both the Northern Ocean Racing and Lighthouse Trophies, and already boasts a top-quality entry list, with Joe Dockery’s Carrera, and Bob Towse’s Blue Yankee both committed to taking part in the inaugural race.

The long course, known as the Shinnecock Course and 245 miles in length, will take racers from Newport to a buoy off Shinnecock Inlet on the south shore of Long Island, over to No Man’s Island off Martha’s Vineyard, a brief jog to Buzzard’s Bay tower, then back to Long Island and a buoy off Montauk Point before finishing off Castle Hill, Newport. The shorter course, or Montauk Course, will be the same minus the trip to Shinnecock, about 160 miles.

The race will be run under ISAF category 2 rules, with amendments to require liferafts and the wearing of harnesses and flotation at night. At this stage, the planned divisions are IMS Racer, IMS Racer/Cruiser, PHRF spinnaker, and PHRF non-spinnaker. If there’s enough interest, a doublehanded division may be added. For more information, see



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From the ISAF website,

The 2004 Amendments to the ISAF International & Recognized Class Rules as approved at the 2003 ISAF November Conference in Barcelona, Spain and effective from January 1, 2004 are available on the ISAF website via the link below.


Mike Golding, sailing his Open 60 Ecover, has surged into the lead of Le Defi Transatlantique, with a little more than 300 miles left to go. Golding passed newcomer Alex Thompson, who not only held the lead for some time, but also managed to set what may be the new singlehanded 24-hour record of 466 miles. Sandwiched between the two in second is Sebastien Josse, sailing VMI. Check in with this singlehanded feeder race that’s serving many of the contestants as a qualifier for the Vendee Globe at


Ellen MacArthur will jet to the Antipodes to launch her new 75-foot Nigel Irens-designed trimaran B&Q, which is aimed at the Jules Verne and other records. Built at Boatspeed builders, north of Sydney Australia, B&Q has been built under the watchful eye of a webcam. Go to and click on the webcam icon and you’ll be able to see the launching on January 8 and an archive of images from the building process. One has to wonder if Ellen will make it down to Sydney in time to take part in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, which begins December 26.


While most of us in the Northern Hemisphere will be spending December 26th figuring out what to do with all the wrapping paper and cardboard boxes, a fleet of raceboats will be starting the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the annual 627-mile bash from Sydney, Australia down to the port of Hobart, on Tasmania, a quick trip across the Bass Strait. Boats to watch for line honors and a possible record this year include the usual suspects, Nicorette, Brindabella, and Grundig, as well as two new 98-footers, the latest Skandia a and Zana. Of special interest to American fans is Skip Sheldon’s Reichel/Pugh Zaraffa, which is in the process of its world tour of top races. So far, Sheldon and his crew have taken part in Bermuda Race (win) Daimler Chrysler Atlantic Challenge (win), and the Fastnet Race (second). For the complete listing of boats in the Sydney Hobart, and to follow the race in real time, see