By Newport Bermuda Race Media
The 52nd running of the “Thrash to the Onion Patch” has been postponed until 2022, but a fleet will nonetheless set sail to Bermuda on June 19, the original start date. The 2020 Online Newport Bermuda Race will be sailed in partnership with SailOnline.org, with free entry to participants. Sponsors include Jeanneau North America, X-Yachts USA, Dehler Yachts/McMichael Yacht Yards & Brokers, and Italia Yachts/David Walters Yachts.
After the race was cancelled with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, volunteers on the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee (BROC) shifted focus to develop an online approach to keep the spirit of the 2020 race alive. Their goal was to match the multi-division aspect of our race in an engaging event and provide a navigational-style challenge to Thrash to the Onion Patch—virtually.
SailOnline.org was selected as an international non-profit with an excellent navigation-simulation platform that could accommodate the race’s four most popular divisions—St. David’s Lighthouse, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Finisterre (Cruising), and Double-Handed.
SailOnline’s sophisticated software bases boat speed on detailed VPP polars depending on the heading selected in a given wind direction. It also introduces weather updates from the current NOAA global forecast every six hours, and incrementally, the wind direction and strength shifts across the different sections of the course. Competitors who aren’t familiar with the SailOnline platform will be directed to an instructional manual, sail a practice race or two, and join a pre-race webinar with SailOnline experts.
BROC organizers were also pleased with the response and support of four leading yacht builders. All were enthusiastic about joining the Newport Bermuda Race family of sponsors to underwrite the cost of organizing and promoting this online event. The four models selected will be raced as one-design fleets, with a different boat in each division. When competitors choose their division, they’ll find themselves at the helm of one of the following:
- Dehler 46 (St. David’s Lighthouse)
- X Yachts Xp 55 (Gibbs Hill Lighthouse)
- Italia 14.98 (Finisterre (Cruiser Division))
- Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 (Double-Handed)
Competitors register to race at 2020 Online Newport Bermuda Race and follow instructions from there.