Note this is 2017 version. Check back April 29, 2019 for 2019 version.

Sailing Instructions

Twenty-First Marion Bermuda Race

Final Sailing Instructions

Revision date: June 1, 2017

Start: Friday, June 9, 2017


    The Marion Bermuda Race ("MBR") is organized by the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association, Inc. ("MBCYRA"). It is supported by the:

    Beverly Yacht Club"BYC"Marion, Massachusetts
    Blue Water Sailing Club"BWSC"Boston, Massachusetts
    Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club"RHADC"Paget, Bermuda
  2. RULES
    1. The Marion Bermuda Race will be governed by:
      • The Racing Rules of Sailing, 2017-2020 edition ("RRS") and U.S. Sailing Prescription in Rule 67,
      • International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea ("IRPCAS")
      • The 2017 Marion Bermuda Race Notice of Race,
      • These 2017 Marion Bermuda Race Sailing Instructions including the instructions in Attachment D,
      • The Marion Bermuda Race Safety Requirements,
      • The Offshore Racing Association Rules ("ORR"),
      • RRS Appendix SY.
    2. Links to websites containing the rules listed above and other relevant information can be found on the MBR website.
    3. The MBR will be handicapped by the ORR Marion Bermuda Offshore All Purpose TOT rating.
    4. The Sailing Instructions and any amendments as issued by MBCYRA may change any of these documents as permitted by the RRS.
    5. Copies of the RRS and the Marion Bermuda Race Safety Requirements must be aboard your yacht at the start of the race.
    6. A Protest Committee made up of International Judges will be constituted in accordance with RRS.
    7. A Compliance Committee made up of MBR committee members will be established.
    8. Both the Protest and Compliance Committee may grant time allowances or assess alternate time penalties in lieu of disqualification.

    Any change in an official race document will be posted on our web site and on the Official Notice Board at the BYC or the RHADC as appropriate. Any changes in the Sailing Instructions will be posted by 2000 on the day before they take effect.

    1. Race entry should be done on-line through our web site Entry closes on May 27, 2017 and all payments must be made by that date.
    2. Either the Skipper or Navigator must register the yacht at BYC and someone from the Yacht’s crew must place and receive a satellite communication call from the Yacht before 1400 on Thursday, June 8, 2017 or pay a late registration fee of $200.
    3. The satellite communications call to the Offshore Communications Team at 508-343-0161 can be made from 0900 to 1600 Saturday, June 3 until the end of registration.
    4. The registration desk’s schedule will be:
      • Tuesday, June 6, 2017 0900-1800
      • Wednesday, June 7, 2017 0900-1800
      • Thursday, June 8, 2017 0900-1400
    5. Yachts may register “early” on Sunday June 4, 2017 or Monday June 5, 2017 by making an appointment well in advance with the Race Administrator ().
    6. The following documents are required to register a yacht:
      • All accurately completed electronic information and documents required by the online entry system, including the electronically signed “MBR Waiver and Release of Liability” Race Waiver.
      • If the final yacht inspection was done after June 2, 2017 an MBR Equipment Inspection Checklist signed by an Inspector indicating that the yacht has passed inspection.
    7. The person registering the yacht will receive:
      • The final copy of the Sailing Instructions,
      • The tracking transponder along with instructions for installing and returning.
      • Customs and immigration forms,
      • Information about Bermuda including after the race activities.
    1. A Skippers’ Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 1630. The location of the meeting will be provided at the Onsite Registration. The skipper or navigator must attend the entire meeting from start to finish. The meeting will include comprehensive briefings on the starting procedure, weather, the Gulf Stream and approaches to Bermuda. These briefings are the only ones sponsored by MBCYRA. All other crewmembers are welcome to attend.
    2. Class Identification Flags (Class ID Flags), class starting times and scratch sheets will be distributed at this meeting.

    Class ID Flags shall be displayed from the backstay before check-in (see paragraph 9) and shall not be removed until after the yacht has started and cleared the starting area.

    1. Signals made ashore will be displayed from the BYC flagstaff.
    2. Code flag "AP" (Answering Pennant) with two guns means: "The race is postponed. Do not leave the harbor area." The time of the warning signal for the first starting class will be announced on VHF Channel 69 after the lowering of "AP", with one gun. This changes RRS Race Signals.
    1. All yachts shall monitor VHF Channel 69 from 0930 on the day of their start for announcements from the start line race committee boat until they have started properly.
    2. To facilitate communications between the race committee and the competitors when they are offshore, the MBR has established an Offshore Communications Team that can be contacted at 508-343-0161 and will operate 24 hours a day from 0930 on the day of the start until Friday before the awards ceremony, or until the last yacht has finished whichever comes first. The following kinds of situations should be reported to the Offshore Communications Team:
      • Withdrawal (reporting required by SI Section 14)
      • Diversion to assist another sailor
      • Request for assistance upon arrival in Bermuda
      • Damage to the yacht which will affect arrival time in Bermuda
      • Medical emergency being handled by Marine Medical Access. See paragraph 8 (d).
      When making a call, be prepared to identify the yacht by name, sail number or skipper name and be prepared to give a brief description of the situation.
    3. In an emergency follow the normal at-sea procedures to involve the Coast Guard or to attract nearby yachts. Do not call the Offshore Communications Team until it is safe to do so.
    4. In a medical emergency, contact the George Washington University Marine Medical Access service directly at 202-715-4219 or 202-741-2936.
    5. After starting properly, all yachts for the duration of the race shall stand a continuous watch on their Satellite communications system, VHF Channel 16 radio and on 4125 KHz if they have SSB equipment.
    6. For safety reasons, yacht-to-yacht transmissions on VHF radio or satellite communications systems are prohibited from the time of the first attention signal until four hours after the last start of the day, except during emergencies. Thereafter, transmissions that do not contain information giving an advantage to any competitor are permitted. Re-transmitting the contents of public weather forecasts is encouraged if requested by another vessel.
    7. Communications with both the Starting Line and the Finish Line Committees shall be limited to those permitted by these Sailing Instructions and emergency transmissions. See paragraphs 10 (k), 14 (a), 15 (c), 15(d), 15(l), 15 (m) and 15 (n).
    1. All yachts shall check-in on their way to the start by hailing the "RACE PATROL" vessel that will be stationed near Centerboard Shoal Fl. Red Buoy "2", 1 nautical mile (NM) north-northwest of the starting line. Check-in commences two hours before the first warning signal and must be completed 30 minutes before the yacht’s class warning signal. Check-in is mandatory. Yachts shall pass in single file across the stern of the RACE PATROL vessel maintaining a distance of approximately 100 feet between vessels. The directions for passing the Patrol vessel may be amended at the Skippers meeting. The Patrol vessel will acknowledge your check-in by loudspeaker.
    2. A yacht not starting shall report this to the Starting Line Committee on VHF Ch. 69 or to the Offshore Communications Team at 508-343-0161 no later than the warning signal for her class.
    1. The warning signal for the Founders Division is scheduled for June 9, 2017 at 1200 EDT. Founders Division classes will start at 15-minute intervals.
    2. The warning signal for the Big Yacht Division is scheduled for June 9, 2017, 5 minutes after the start of the last Founders Division starting class.
    3. The warning signal for the Classic Yacht Division is scheduled for June 9, 2017, 5 minutes after the start of the last Big Yacht Division
    4. The warning signal for each class will be 10 minutes before the starting signal and the preparatory signal will be 5 minutes before the starting signal. This changes RRS 26. Class Flags will be distributed at the Skippers Meeting. Details of the Starting process and specific times will also be described at the Skippers Meeting.
    5. The Starting Line Committee may change starting dates and times in accordance with paragraph 3 or afloat, in which case the Committee will announce any changes in the scheduled starting times (postponement, general recall, and abandonment) on VHF Channel 69.
    6. The starting line is approximately four NM from Sippican (Marion) Harbor. See Attachment A. Please plan your departure time accordingly.
    7. The starting line will be between a staff displaying an orange flag on the Starting Line Committee boat at the starboard end, and Green Gong Buoy ” at the port end. The buoy is 1 NM south-southeast of Centerboard Shoal, and is at 41° 39.0’ N and 70° 42.8’ W.
    8. The Starting Area is rectangular and is bounded by yellow tetrahedral buoys. See the diagram in Attachment B.
    9. After the warning signal for the first class to start, Yachts whose class-warning signal has not been made shall keep clear of the Starting Area and of all Yachts whose class-warning signal has been made. See paragraph 16(e).
    10. Five minutes before the warning signal for the first start of the Founders Division, code flag “F” will be raised to warn yachts that are not beginning their starting sequence that they must be clear of the starting area in five minutes. Code flag “F” will be lowered one minute before the warning signal of the first class to start in the Founders Division.
    11. If before registration a yacht anticipates starting later than ten minutes after the starting signal for her class, she shall notify the Race Committee at registration for further instructions. If on the day of the race a yacht will start more than ten minutes after the last class starting signal, she shall call the Starting Line Committee on VHF Ch. 69 or, if unavailable the Offshore Communications Team at 508-343-0161 for further instructions.
    12. A yacht’s starting time will be the start time of her class.
    13. A yacht that does not start within 4 hours of her class start will be scored DNS.

    Displaying flag “X” with one horn will signal individual recalls. In addition to the provisions of RRS 29.1, sail numbers of the yachts concerned will be announced on VHF Channel 69. Failure to hear such an announcement shall not be grounds for granting redress.

    1. Yachts shall pass north and west of both United States marks. These are the only U. S. marks of the course:
      NameType CharacteristicsLat. (N)Long. (W)
      Penikese IslandIsland41° 27.0’70° 55.4’
      Sow & Pigs ReefBell Buoy "36" Fl R 4s41° 23.8’70° 59.1’
    2. All yachts approach Bermuda from the North and shall pass east of:
      NameType CharacteristicsLat. (N)Long. (W)
      North East BreakerBeacon (45 ft. ht.) Fl W 2.5s W 15s32° 28.7’64° 41.0’
      Kitchen ShoalBeacon (45 ft. ht.) Fl (3)32° 26.1’64° 37.6’
      Mills BreakerBuoy VQ (3) W 5s32° 23.9’64° 36.9’
      Sea BuoyBuoy Mo (A) W 6s32° 22.9’64° 37.1’
    1. Yachts must show navigation lights from sunset to sunrise.
    2. Strobe or other lights shall not be used except in accordance with paragraph 15 (f) or in an emergency. Such use will not be grounds for protest by competitors. This changes RRS 60.1 (a).
    1. A yacht that withdraws from the race shall promptly notify race officials in one of the following ways:
      1. Contact the Starting Line Committee on VHF Ch. 69 if this option is available.
      2. Telephone the MBR Offshore Communications Team at 508-343-0161.
      3. Contact Bermuda Radio on VHF Channel 16 or 4125 KHz.
    2. Please be prepared to furnish whomever you contact with the following information:
      1. The name of the yacht.
      2. The sail number of the yacht.
      3. The Skipper’s name.
      4. Your situation.
      5. Your position.
      6. Your intended destination.
      7. Your phone number.
      8. The name and phone number of the person you wish to have contacted.
    3. After withdrawing from the race, the skipper shall complete both sheets (Sections 1 through 7) of the Certificate of Compliance and file this Certificate (including Section 7 on a separate sheet) with the RHADC Duty Officer, showing the details of her withdrawal. Send the complete Certificate by fax if you cannot present it in person. The RHADC fax number is (441) 236-8561.
    4. Failure to comply with any part of paragraph 14 will be noted as a safety violation and will affect the Committee’s acceptance decisions for future Marion Bermuda Races.
    1. Attachment C shows approaches to the finish at Bermuda.
    2. Bermuda must be approached from the North and yachts shall cross the finish line from north to south.
    3. If a yacht estimates that she may finish before noon (ADT) Tuesday, June 13 2017, the Race Committee requests that she make contact with Bermuda Radio on VHF Channel 16 when approximately 25 NM from the finish line. This call serves as a valuable early alert for our shore-based personnel.
    4. All communications with the Marion Bermuda Race Finish Line Committee will be on VHF Channel 72.
    5. When a yacht is approximately five miles from the finish line, or passing Kitchen Shoal beacon, she shall contact the Finish Line Committee by radio on VHF Channel 72. She shall announce her name, sail number, and her position relative to the finish line. This call will be acknowledged by the Committee.
    6. A yacht finishing at night shall, when about five minutes from the finish line, shine a powerful light on her shoreward sail number on her mainsail for at least one minute continuous duration. She shall repeat this illumination when about two minutes from the line and again as she finishes.
    7. The finish line will be approximately 0.4 NM wide and will be marked by buoys at both the shoreward and the seaward ends. It will be on a 111° magnetic bearing from St. David’s Light, which corresponds to the division between the Light’s green and red sectors. The shoreward end of the line will be approximately 0.8 NM from St. David’s Light, and that distance will be marked by a green buoy with a flashing green light. The seaward end of the line will be approximately 1.2 NM from St. David’s Light, and that distance will be marked by a black buoy with a flashing white light.
    8. Neither buoy will necessarily be on the finish line. Yachts must finish between the buoys and are advised to sail well beyond their estimated crossing of the finish line to ensure that they have actually crossed the line.
    9. Each yacht shall take the time (ADT) of her own finish (when St. David’s Light bears 291° magnetic), and shall enter that time on her Certificate of Compliance.
    10. Yachts shall not at any time pass through a line joining the green finish line (shoreward end) buoy and St. David’s Light.
    11. Yachts that have finished shall not recross the finish line, but shall turn to seaward of both buoys, keeping well clear of the line and all yachts approaching the line.
    12. Within two minutes after finishing, each yacht shall contact the Finish Line Committee on VHF Channel 72. If the yacht has finished correctly, this call will be acknowledged.
    13. After receiving the finish acknowledgment, yachts should contact Bermuda Radio on VHF channel 27 (international) to coordinate transit to St. Georges or Hamilton. Yachts shall continue to monitor VHF Channel 16 while underway in Bermuda waters.
    14. Yachts that have not finished within five days of their start shall attempt to report their positions and estimated finishing times daily to the Offshore Communications Team between 0800 and 1600 ADT. Yachts with SSB may contact Bermuda Radio, call sign ZBR, on 4125 KHz SSB or on VHF Channel 16, Yachts may also contact the Finish Line Committee.
    15. The Finish Line Committee will cease manning the finish line seven days after the start of the last class, or earlier at its discretion.
    1. In order to be placed on the finish list each yacht that finishes must complete and hand its Compliance Certificate to the Duty Officer at the RHADC Duty Desk, within six hours of its finish if between 0600 and 1200 ADT, otherwise by the first 1200 ADT after its finish. The Certificate may not be handed in to any other person or at any other location. A stamped receipt must be received from the Duty desk as evidence of submission. Skippers are reminded they must clear customs before going to the Duty Desk to submit their Compliance Certificate.
    2. The skipper, navigator or designee, shall be available on board for a Compliance Inspection of the yacht for up to 48 hours following completion of the race. The moored location of the yacht plus name and full contact details in Bermuda for skipper and/or navigator or other responsible crew member, must be included on the Compliance Certificate so that ready communication between the yacht and the Compliance Committee may be achieved.
    3. Competitors are reminded of the requirements in Sections A5(f) and D3 of the NOR.
    4. The Compliance Committee will review each yacht’s Certificate of Compliance, reports of the Start and Finish Line Committees, and any other material it deems appropriate to verify each yacht’s complete compliance with the Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions, and any changes to these documents.
    5. The Compliance Committee may grant time credits and assess penalties to competing yachts, without a hearing. This changes RRS 63.1. After prior races, the Committee granted time credits to yachts rendering assistance, and assessed the following penalties, included here as examples only:
      • Sail number discrepancies 30 minutes
      • Starting Area infringement one hour
      • Failure to attend the entire Skipper’s meeting one hour
      • Passing the incorrect side of a mark of the course two hours
      • Mid-race change from Celestial to Electronic navigation five hours
      • Pre-race equipment deficiencies not corrected disqualification & recommended exclusion from future events
    6. The Compliance Committee will post its findings on the RHADC Official Notice Board not later than 2000 ADT daily.
    7. A yacht aggrieved by a posted finding may request a meeting with a representative of the Compliance Committee to hear an explanation of the finding. Such requests shall be initiated through the RHADC Duty Officer and must be made by:
      1. Two hours after the yacht’s Certificate of Compliance was due if the request concerns findings posted before the Certificate of Compliance was due, or
      2. 1200 ADT on the day after the findings are posted if the request concerns a later posting.
      The meeting(s) will be held between 1400 and 1700 ADT as agreed between the yacht and the Compliance Committee directly or through the RHADC Duty Officer.
    8. RRS 62.1( a) is changed by adding “or the Compliance Committee.” This permits yachts aggrieved by the findings of the Compliance Committee to request redress from the Protest Committee in accordance with RRS 62. See paragraph 17 (d).
    9. RRS 60.2 is changed to permit the Compliance Committee to act in the same way as the Race Committee.
    1. A yacht that intends to protest another yacht shall display her protest flag for one hour after the incident. This changes the third sentence of RRS 61.1(a).
    2. Protest forms are available from RHADC Duty Desk, and once completed should be delivered to, the RHADC Duty Officer.
    3. Protests shall be delivered by two hours after the time that the yacht’s Certificate of Compliance was due, as described in paragraph 16 (a).
    4. RRS 62.2 is changed by adding: “The time limit for delivering a request for redress involving the findings of the Compliance Committee is as described in paragraph 16 (g).” If a yacht requests a meeting with a representative of the Compliance Committee in accordance with paragraph 16 (e), the Protest Committee shall extend the time limit for requesting redress from the findings being discussed until one hour after the conclusion of the meeting. This changes the last sentence of RRS 61.3.
    5. Protest notices will be posted on the RHADC Official Notice Board to inform competitors when and where there is a hearing in which they are parties or witnesses.
    6. The Protest Committee may assess time penalties in lieu of disqualification. Such penalties will be applied to the corrected time.

    The Awards Ceremony will be held in Bermuda on the afternoon of Saturday, June 17, 2017. Details will be posted on the RHADC Race Notice Board.

Attachment A Starting Diagram - Starting Line Location

Attachment A

Attachment B Starting Diagram - Starting Line Area

Attachment B

Attachment C Approaches to the Finish Line

Attachment C

Attachment D Additional Sailing Instructions


    As you finish the Marion-Bermuda race you may encounter heavy traffic. There will be:

    • Competitors from the MBR race converging on the island
    • Several sailing rallies coming to Bermuda for the America’s Cup
    • Random boats coming to join the America’s Cup festivities
    • A regatta on June 13-15 for America’s Cup J-Boats and Super Yachts (ACSYR)
    • Spectators watching the ACSYR.

    The purpose of this attachment is to provide guidance about how to cope with this traffic, especially the ACSYR racers, and make additions to the MBR sailing instructions.


    America’s Cup J-Boats and Super Yachts will hold a regatta (ACSYR) on June 13-15. Racing will take place in an area east, northeast and south of St David’s Island. Racing will take place from 1200-1600 daily. The fleet will consist of 6-7 J-Class yachts and 18-22 Super Yachts made up of sloops, ketches and schooners ranging in size from 24-88 meters. Pictures of the boat entered in the Super Yacht races are available on the super yacht web site. The J-Boats and Super Yachts will display large 5’ x 3’ class back stay flags when racing.

    The race committee signal boat for the ACSYR will be the 46’ white sport fishing boat “Cleopatra” and will be one end of the ACSYR starting and finishing line. On ACSYR race days the signal boat will announce the location of the start and finish.

    ACSYR yachts race using RRS as changed by RRS Appendix SY. These changes have been made because the super yachts are difficult to maneuver and accelerate slowly. In brief, the modifications require boats to keep over 40 meters apart and to coordinate their maneuvers via a safety channel (VHF 63) when they are close and when rounding marks. Super Yachts are required to have a person continuously monitoring the VHF safety channel.

    To help identify yachts racing in the MBR to the ACSYR fleet and others, the MBR racers when they are within 10nm of their finish during daylight will fly a 3’ bright pink streamer on their backstay and continuously monitor the ACSYR safety channel.


    If an MBR racer meets a yacht not racing, then according to the preface of PART 2 of the RRS, the MBR racer must comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS)

    If an MBR racer meets a yacht racing (but not a Super yacht or J-Boat) the MBR racer must comply with the RRS even though the other boat is in a different race.

    If an MBR racer meets a yacht racing in the ACSYR the MBR racer will have to comply with the RRS as amended by Appendix SY.


    The organizing authorities of the ACSYR and the MBR have taken steps to ensure safe racing if a ACSYR yacht meets an MBR yacht. As a result, the following instructions are added to the 2017 MBR Sailing Instructions.

    1. If an MBR racer meets a yacht racing in the ACSYR the MBR racer must comply with the RRS as amended by Appendix SY.
    2. To help identify yachts racing in the MBR to the ACSYR fleet and others, the MBR racers when they are within 10nm of their finish during daylight shall fly a 3’ bright pink streamer on their backstay.
    3. Yachts racing in the ACSYR will fly 5’ x 3’ Grey, Red, Blue or Black class flags.
    4. The race committee signal boat for the ACSYR regatta will be the 46’ white sport fishing boat “Cleopatra” and will be one end of the ACSYR starting and finishing lines. MBR boats shall not pass through the ACSYR starting or finishing lines. On ACSYR race days the signal boat will announce on VHS 69 the location of the start and finish hourly on the half hour.
    5. MBR yachts shall designate a Communications Officer who will actively monitor and communicate on the safety channel VHF 63 from 0900-1800 hours when the boat is within 10nm of the MBR finishing line and until the boat has finished and entered the St Georges shipping channel. The Communications Officer should have experience with radio protocol and an understanding of the RRS and Appendix SY.
    6. The backstay streamers and a detailed description of RRS Appendix SY will be provided at the skipper’s meeting.