Over 160 boats crossed the starting line off Castle Hill last Friday, headed south to Hamilton, a 635 nautical mile journey with little sight of land for the majority of the race. The race was off to a slow start, with two different breezes battling each other and some boats sitting in pockets of zero wind.
The race, going strong since 1906, has seen many firsts. In 2012, Sailors for the Sea awarded the Newport Bermuda Race its first Clean Regattas certification, at the Silver level, for actions taken to reduce their environmental impact. Among others, they pledged to reduce single use plastics, use nontoxic cleaning products, prevent oil spills, and incorporate a special “Leave No Trace” policy for dealing with trash at sea.
Two years later we are proud to award the 2014 Newport to Bermuda Race a Gold level Clean Regattas Certification, another first for this storied regatta. On top of all their existing actions, this year they drafted a special letter to competitors asking them to switch to a copper-free bottom paint and reminded competitors not to discharge treated or untreated sewage in coastal environments. Race Organizer Committee Chairman Fred Deichmann was proud to have the race be partake in Clean Regattas noting, “Sailors are deeply concerned about the health of the waters we sail in.”
We could not agree more with the chairman!
Tyson Bottenus, our program coordinator noted: “The Newport Bermuda Race is one of the oldest and most revered offshore sailing events in the sport.” The level of involvement displayed by the organizing committee and racers towards preserving the ocean is a true testament to where this sport is headed.”
In addition, a special Newport Bermuda Race Green Team was created that, in collaboration with Clean Ocean Access, helped clean up Second Beach in Newport, Rhode Island a day before the race began. In addition, they collected research on the type and amount of trash that will benefit the International Coastal Cleanup’s efforts to preserve America’s coastlines.