Widely known as the Bermuda Race, the Newport Bermuda Race is a biennial sailing yacht race from Newport, Rhode Island to the island of Bermuda sailed in even-numbered years. The sailing distance is 635 nautical miles (1175 km) across open ocean and the Gulf Stream.
The first Bermuda race was run in 1906 by Thomas Fleming Day, editor of The Rudder magazine, and started at the Brooklyn Yacht Club at Gravesend Bay, N.Y. with three entries, all under 40 feet. Two boats finished at St. David's Head, Bermuda. The winner of that first race was the 38-foot yawl Tammerlane, commanded by Day.
After World War I the race was revived by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, with 22 competitors starting at New London, Connecticut. In 1936 the start was moved to Newport. The CCA and RBYC continue to run the race though the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, consisting of volunteers from both clubs. Over the past 100 years, some 4,500 boats and 46,000 men and women have raced to Bermuda. Founder Tom Day identified the reason so many men and women sail when he said that they are seizing the opportunity “to get a smell of the sea and forget for the time being that there is such a thing as God’s green earth in the universe.”
The Bermuda Race is the oldest regularly scheduled ocean race. To quote Gary Jobson, Honorary Chair of the event's 2006 centennial race, “It’s a feather in every sailor’s cap to have done the race, and many consider the Lighthouse Trophy the most coveted trophy in distance racing.” With 265 yachts the 2006 race was the largest yet. Winners, that year, received trophies from The Princess Royal at Government House, the residence of the governor.
165 boats started the 48th Newport Bermuda Race in 2012 in six divisions: St. David's Lighthouse, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Cruiser, Double-Handed, Open, and Spirit of Tradition. A new elapsed time record of 39 hours, 39 minutes, 18 seconds was set in 2012 by George David's 90-foot Rambler, which averaged over 16 knots under perfect sailing conditions. The corrected time winner for the second straight race was Rives Potts' 48-foot Carina, which also won the race in 1970. All race results are posted at the Bermuda Race website.
- Rousmaniere, John, A Berth to Bermuda: 100 Years of the World's Classic Ocean Race (Mystic Seaport, 2002)
- "Newport Bermuda Race website".