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On behalf of the Beverly Yacht Club, Blue Water Sailing Club and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, please accept our personal invitation to participate in the Marion Bermuda Race. 2017 will mark the 21st running of the Marion Bermuda Race. It has been a wonderful 40 years, starting from a race that began with two old sailing buddies talking about racing from Marion to Bermuda and inviting their friends, to each boat being tracked through satellite navigation for all the world to follow. It has always been a race aimed at cruising boats and remains so today.

So what’s new for the 2017 race? The big news is the Island of Bermuda is hosting the 35th America’s Cup and race participants will be there to see it! The race will arrive in Bermuda just prior to the start of the finals and special mooring/dockage arrangements have been made to accommodate those yachts that would like to stay through the finals. Because of this once in a lifetime opportunity, we have moved the start date one week earlier to June 9, 2017 to ensure everyone is in Bermuda for the  America’s Cup finals.

If you have never raced to Bermuda, we are very pleased to continue our Race Mentor Program especially developed for those skippers who have never done the Marion Bermuda Race before. You will be linked to an experienced Marion Bermuda skipper in your area who has been chosen for their understanding of the race and its requirements. If you want to get into a good conversation, or follow and interesting thread about the race, join the growing number of Fans and Followers on our Social Media pages: Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and our ongoing Race Discussion Forum.

Competition for special awards will continue in the following areas (see Notice of Race for details):

  • Celestial navigated yachts
  • Youth crewed yachts
  • Short-handed crewed
  • Double-handed crewed
  • Family crewed
  • Female crewed
  • Mini-class yachts of the same hull design
  • Service Academy
  • Oldest average age
  • Regional crewed
  • Combined performance with selected other races

Back in 1977 when the first race was run, all navigation was celestial. Over the years, with the advent of GPS, the sextant has been put aside for the ease and accuracy of GPS. The Marion Bermuda Race is now the only ocean race in North America that offers a celestial class for those skippers that want the challenge. To help stimulate participation in using celestial, in 2015 we increased the time benefit from 2% to 3% over electronically navigated yachts and are providing additional opportunities to learn celestial navigation. Also, since it is difficult for many younger sailors to participate in an offshore race the Marion Bermuda Race added a Youth Trophy to the 2015 event with the goal of increasing the number of younger sailors in our sport. This is another first in offshore racing. If you can accommodate a minimum of four young sailors between the age of 16 and 23, you can qualify for this new trophy and give some young sailors and opportunity of a lifetime!

The unique value of our race really lies in our mission to maintain its roots in blue water cruising while staying abreast of the changes in our sport. The race added electronic navigation in 1997. The average size of a cruising boat in 1977 was 38 feet. Now you’ll find the average boat size to be 47 feet with some boats over 70 feet. It is very interesting to note however, that last year’s overall winner of the Founders Trophy, was “Ti”, a 36 foot Alden Mistral, one of the smallest entries in the race, which also happened to be a family crewed boat.

Today’s boats are often equipped with modern technology that makes the handling of sails and rigging simpler and offshore navigation more precise, but the challenge of this ocean passage, the camaraderie of the crew, and the personal reward of a good finish in this competitive event remain unchanged.

Please accept my personal invitation to join us again in 2017 and participate in our 20th race to Bermuda. We look forward to seeing you on the starting line on June 9, 2017. Don’t forget to check for race updates on our web site, America’s Cup and while you’re there, sign up for race updates & eNewsletter!

Allan McLean

Executive Director
Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association