We’re here to help you prepare. As soon as your curiosity is piqued we suggest you check out our New to the Race page and consider requesting a copilot. Our team of copilots includes past and present skippers who are committed to helping first-timers understand how the race works, registration requirements, boat preparation and how to maximize your chances of doing well your first time out. The Marion Bermuda Race is perhaps the one ocean race that, by design, can be won by any competent captain and crew on a well prepared yacht. If you want to take advantage of the Copilot Program just email and we will match you up with your own copilot. We can even arrange a pre-inspection the summer prior to the race to help make sure your boat will meet all race requirements. Check the Important Dates section on the website to avoid any surprises regarding deadlines.
Post-Race (But Completed Prior to the Race)
Once you have made the decision to do the race, there are several other steps you will need to take in addition to preparing your boat, your crew and yourself. Items on your checklist should include:
- Making arrangements for berthing your boat in Bermuda. The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club provides excellent facilities for most all boats entered in the race. To do this, complete the Dock Request form well before the race.
- You will want to reserve hotels or housing for yourself, your crew and your family in Bermuda after the race if you are not staying aboard. Think about when they should arrive and distances from the Dinghy Club, so you can participate in post-race activities. Note that transportation back and forth can be challenging at busy times, as taxi and ride-share options are limited in Bermuda. We are continually working to improve this.
- Check the list of planned events at the Dinghy Club in advance so you can plan your independent activities to avoid conflicts.
- Make plans for crew to bring your boat home from Bermuda after the festivities.
- Make airline reservations well in advance to get your crew home from Bermuda, and for your delivery crew to get into Bermuda.
- For any of your return crew who are flying into Bermuda you will need to provide a Captain’s Letter for your returning crew members to present to Bermuda customs on entry. Customs will want to know how those people are planning on departing the country (since they only have a one-way airline ticket for arrival into Bermuda). The letter should state what boat they are meeting, where it will be berthed, who the captain is, and the planned departure date. See an example of this letter on the Marion Bermuda web site.
- Make sure everyone’s passports are in order.
- For easy entry back to the US you should obtain a Customs Decal for your boat in advance, via the CBP DTOPS program. It is also helpful to then download the US Customs CBP Roam app before leaving the US. This may allow you to complete your check-in back to the US totally via your cellphone when you obtain coverage near the coast. Simply google these programs
- Prepping the Celestial Boat for the Marion to Bermuda Race by Ron Wisner
- Bilge Pump Recommendations by Don Street
- Hands-On Sailor - Be Prepared, by Ed Stott (Cruising World, November, 2010)
Also check out the Offshore Extra article.
- Safe Boat - Preparing for the 2007 Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race, by Rich Pinkowitz (Blue Water Sailing, May 2008)
- Safety at Sea - US Sailing’s seminars offer valuable advice for sailors preparing to venture offshore, by Rich Pinkowitz (Blue Water Sailing, May 2006)
- A Tale of Two Competitors - (Blue Water Sailing, Roy Greenwald, May, 2009)
- Welcome to the Boat Galley
- October 5, 2010 - Cruising World, Hands On Sailor Report: More Passage Prep
- October 27, 2010 - Cruising World, Hands On Sailor Report: Be Prepared
- Gulf Stream and Weather Information on the WEB by W. Frank Bohlen
- Consider destination races by Bob White. Points East Magazine - May 2011
- The Complete Overboard Bag By Alvah Simon Cruising World - posted Nov 7th, 2012
- Sailing Safety - Do You Know These Five Life-Saving Steps? Captain John’s Skipper Tips
- Gulf Stream Companion - The art of navigating the Gulf Stream by the editors of Ocean Navigator Magazine
- Offshore Sailing: 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips by Bill Seifert