Thrash To the Onion Patch: Who to Watch

With nearly 200 boats registered, the 50th Newport Bermuda Race is ready to launch on Friday. Here's who — and how — to watch.

Newport to Bermuda Sailing Race
At 100 feet, Comanche is the largest boat in the five regular divisions of the 2016 Newport Bermuda Race. Jim and Kristy Clark's all-out, high-tech racer has her sights on line honors and on the race record of 39hrs 39 minutes set by Rambler in 2012.Daniel Forster/Newport Bermuda Race

This year’s Newport Bermuda Race is the 50th running of the biennial offshore race, and the entry list is one of the largest the race has seen in its history. Included on the roster are internationally recognized syndicates, local favorites, historic offshore programs, neophytes, and imports from around the globe.

Perhaps the most recognizable name on the entry list is Jim and Kristy Clark's supermaxi Comanche. The team has its sights set on taking down the elapsed time race record of 39 hours and 39 minutes, set by Rambler 88 in 2012. With an average speed of 16 knots for the 635-mile race course from the start at the mouth of Narragansett Bay to the finish off St. David's Head, Bermuda Rambler has set the bar high.

The 2016 edition is also the first year a Chinese flagged team will sail in the race, aboard a J/44 chartered from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Team Noahs is the first racing team with all Chinese members, from skipper to crew to sponsors, and they own the only TP52 in China. Team Noahs also has plans to sail Sydney Hobart this year.

Actaea, Michael Cone's Hinckley Bermuda 40, among the smaller boats in the fleet, will be back to defend her title as the 2014 winner of the St. David's Lighthouse Trophy for best overall corrected time. *

Owner George Sakellaris led his Maxi 72 Shockwave to line honors in 2014. This year he will put his new Maxi 72 Proteus to the test against two other Maxi 72's, Hap Fauth's Bella Mente and Dieter Schoen's Momo.

The start of the race will be live streamed on Friday, June 17th, 2 pm EDT. In addition, throughout the race there will be four daily commentary videos featuring Andy Green. Check the Sailing World Facebook page and the Newport Bermuda Race Facebook page for updates and links to these videos as they happen.