On behalf of the Beverly Yacht Club, Blue Water Sailing Club and the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, please accept our invitation to participate in the 2021 Marion Bermuda Race. This will mark the 23rd running of the Race. It has been a wonderful 44 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 is and always has always been a race aimed at cruising boats and remains so today.

The 2019 race was a wonderful experience for all who participated. The wind was fabulous, the seas calm and arriving on the beautiful island Bermuda is, as usual, in a word -  wonderful. The Dingy Club is a welcoming facility with legendary hospitality. In fact, the RHADC bar has recently won the title of the Best Sailing Bar...  the Dark 'n Stormies are plentiful!  Also without the America's Cup this year, the logistics and challenge of finding land accommodations will be much simpler.

So what’s new for the 2021 race?

If you have never raced to Bermuda, we are very pleased to continue our Copilot program especially developed to ease the burden of preparation. 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 and their willingness to help new skippers.

The Marion Bermuda Race for 2021 will be scored using ORR's Performance Curve Scoring ("PCS"). The core of PCS is a Velocity Prediction Program ("VPP"). As each boat finishes, the boat's elapsed time is divided by the course distance to calculate the boat's elapsed seconds per mile. The scoring program drops this figure onto the boat's performance curve to find the average wind speed it appears the boat sailed in, often dubbed the "Implied Wind." This is then converted to a corrected time using a scratch boat. As it turns out, the boat with the highest Implied Wind wins the race, because relative to their rating they sailed the course the fastest among their competitors. In other words, they sailed so fast it looked like they had the highest wind.

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 adjustment from 2% to 3% over electronically navigated yachts. We are also providing additional opportunities and training session to help learn the art of celestial navigation. In 2017, 10 boats competed in the Celestial Class - in 2019 we had 14 boats in that class.

Also, to encourage younger sailors to participate in an offshore race, the 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 Codelia, a Valiant 47, most venerable cruising yacht entries in the race. They also won the Beverly Yacht Club Polaris Trophy as the fastest boat on corrected time in the Celestial Class.

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 2021 and participate in our 23rd race to Bermuda. We look forward to seeing you on the starting line on June 18, 2021. Don’t forget to check for race updates on our web site, and while you’re there, sign up for race updates & eNewsletter!

Allan McLean

Executive Director