Instead of 200 boats starting the 52nd Newport Bermuda Race, a digital version began off Castle Hill Lighthouse with more than twice as many boats competing.
In partnership with Sailonline.org, a popular sailboat-racing simulator, the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee created the 2020 Online Newport Bermuda Race, and sailors responded.
A fleet of 470 boats started simultaneously off Castle Hill Lighthouse, headed on a close reach towards Bermuda.
“We have a great mix of competitors signed up from North America and overseas,” said Somers Kempe, the online race chair. “They include sailors from aboard more than 50 of our original race entrants as well as those who were already part of the Sailonline race community. The Sailonline sailors, by the way, have been extremely welcoming, providing chat advice and tutorials for the new-to-online-sailing racers.”
Four divisions of competitors will sail—from cruisers to flat-out racers—mimicking the multi-division nature of the on-water race, with prizes at a virtual awards ceremony hosted by Goslings Rum on June 27th. For each division, a different boat model has been sponsored to take part.