Premier: 3,000 Visitors Expected For Yacht Race

June 17, 2016

“More than 3,000 visitors to the Island are expected before, during and after” the Newport to Bermuda yacht race, Premier Michael Dunkley said in the House of Assembly today [June 17]

In delivering a Ministerial statement, the Premier said, “I rise this morning to report to this Honourable House on a visit this week to Newport, Rhode Island to participate in events prior to the start of this year’s 50th running of the Newport to Bermuda yacht race. In addition to that, and while in Newport, I also met with members of that City’s Government.

“This year’s event is expected to be one of the largest in the race’s history, with approximately 180 boats expected to start the race. The race attracts sailors from across North America and the globe, with recent entries from Russia, Britain, and China.

“The race begins today in Newport and the first yachts are expected to cross the finish line in Bermuda as early as Sunday. The biennial race brings more visitors to Bermuda than any other event. In fact, more than 3,000 visitors to the Island are expected before, during and after the event.”

The Premier’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker,

I rise this morning to report to this Honourable House on a visit this week to Newport, Rhode Island to participate in events prior to the start of this year’s 50th running of the Newport to Bermuda yacht race.

In addition to that, and while in Newport, I also met with members of that City’s Government.

The Newport to Bermuda race was founded in 1906. In the intervening years, the communities of Newport and Bermuda have grown together, finding that a common interest in yacht racing is merely one of the many ways in which our peoples have developed a shared history.

The 635-mile Newport/Bermuda race is, as you will know, the oldest regularly scheduled ocean race, one of very few international distance races, and one of only two of the world’s regularly scheduled races held almost entirely out of sight of land.

This year’s event is expected to be one of the largest in the race’s history, with approximately 180 boats expected to start the race. The race attracts sailors from across North America and the globe, with recent entries from Russia, Britain, and China. The event always attracts a large turnout of Canadians. The 2016 race fleet is extremely diverse. A total of 23 countries are represented among the sailors, and 55 of the boats have at least one sailor from outside the United States. In addition, 41 US States are represented in this fleet.

The race begins today in Newport and the first yachts are expected to cross the finish line in Bermuda as early as Sunday. The biennial race brings more visitors to Bermuda than any other event. In fact, more than 3,000 visitors to the Island are expected before, during and after the event.

The purpose of the visit to Newport, which is known as the “City by the Sea”, was to reinforce the warmth of Bermuda’s relationship with Newport, and cement our continuing partnership and long shared history and to continue to support an important event on our biennial calendar. I was accompanied on the trip to Rhode Island by my wife, Pamela, and The Special Aide to the Premier, Ms. Jannell Ford.

Mr. Speaker,

On Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of attending two events, at which I delivered some comments. The first event was a reception hosted by Gosling’s for all competitors and organisers at the Newport Shipyard.

After that reception the Cruising Club of America and Commodore Binch kindly hosted a dinner and at which I again outlined the progress Bermuda has been making and the positive effects of the Newport/Bermuda race and other recent developments on the island.

In addition to many overseas competitors there were a number of Bermudians in attendance. We welcomed RBYC Commodore Leatrice Oatley, Past RBYC Commodore Jonathan Brewin, the Hon. Secretary of RBYC Andy Burnett-Herkes and his wife Sara, Vice Commodore Jonathan and Karen Corless, Mrs. Pat Phillip-Fairn of the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Kempe.

In my remarks, I spoke briefly of my pleasure at visiting Rhode Island and the way in which we in Bermuda consider the 2016 race to be a wonderful precursor to next year’s America’s Cup.

The preparations for the America’s Cup are part of a revitalisation of the Bermuda economy that has kept the Island busy lately. Just today, ground will be broken for the new Ritz Carlton Hotel at Morgan’s Point, a sure sign that our country is moving in the right direction.

The Newport/Bermuda Race has always meant exciting times for our Island. I mentioned how the added influx of sailors, with their support teams, their families and friends, has directly and indirectly helped greatly in generating strong revenues for our economy.

I reminded our friends in Newport that this is not considered to be a race for novices. Historically, we have heard harrowing accounts of high winds, big waves and heroic acts as the journeys unfolded. It takes incredible courage and stamina to brave the ocean, and I thus commended all those who are participating, particularly those on board the Spirit of Bermuda.

The Spirit is more than just a symbol: it is the living representation of much of what makes Bermuda so special and unique.

Mr. Speaker,

Prior, on Wednesday afternoon I visited City Hall. The Mayor of Newport, Ms. Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, had invited me to meet with her and City Officials.

In the Council Chambers we met with representatives of the Mayor’s office to discuss the City’s approach to infrastructure development, resiliency and its strategy for the financing of capital projects.

Present at the meeting were Mr. Marco Camacho, Vice Chair of the Newport City Council; Newport City Manager Mr. Joseph J. Nicholson; Mr. Paul Carroll, Director of Civic Investment for the City; and Richard Ornitz, Partner and CEO of the Infralinx Group.

We were given an overview of Newport’s Resilience initiative. In addition, we discussed such diverse matters as the potential for links between ocean-related initiatives such as the Naval Station Newport Naval Undersea Warfare Center; the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences; Newport’s innovation of ocean-related resilience projects; and Bermuda’s leadership in the global insurance sector.

It was a most interesting and productive meeting in that relationships are being developed and strengthened, which will be beneficial to both our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I had previously been introduced to Mr. Ornitz in Bermuda, through the kind introduction of Hon. Member Mr. Walton Brown JP, MP.

Mr. Speaker,

On Thursday morning, I was interviewed on the special race website www.BermudaRace.com by Andy Green. The programme was also aired on Newport radio FM 105.9. ‎ ‎

The subject of the interview was the Newport to Bermuda race itself, and especially the history, role and participation of The Spirit of Bermuda.

After the interview, I visited a number of Boats entered for the race, including the Bermuda entries. It was a pleasure to visit the Spirit herself at the Newport Yachting Centre, and I was reminded what an inspiration the beautiful ship is to all who see her.

We proceeded by boat to Goat Island to visit Steve Sherwin & Dale Howe, and were then taken to Newport Harbour Marina to visit Paul Hubbard and see the Bermuda Oyster and other impressive boats.

Mr. Speaker,

I take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the biennial staging of the Newport to Bermuda Race, a maritime tradition dating back more than a century. I am sure all Honourable Members of the House and the people of Bermuda look forward to welcoming all sailors, family and friends to the Island over the coming days.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker

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Comments (20)

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  1. really says:

    Please, where are all the negative comments? Good Job OBA, keep going!

    • Terry says:

      Nothing to do with OBA.

      (how’s that).

      • Person who knows a little says:

        nothing to do with the OBA but still good news.

      • Bill says:

        Terry,

        Absolutely correct.The OBA has nothing to do with the race!

        Neither does the tourism authority……but they will pay themselves a bonus anyway!

    • RBYC member says:

      This event takes place every other year. The OBA does’t do crap.Thank the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.

    • OBSERVER says:

      TO REALLY: All is well when it is ubp. Whenever it is the P.L.P., the negative comments are vicious.Learn to cope.
      Negativity flows freely for BOTH parties.

    • Warrior says:

      R U serious…what did they do. This is not the first race. are these people staying in hotels or on there boats? are they going to be spending money? are we the Bermudians going to benefit?

    • Good news, so does that mean de 3000 unemployed Bermudians will be employed?

      • OBSERVER says:

        TO ONION JUICE: Right. Hold those people accountable. Do not let them get away with that 2,000 job lie.
        Too many Bermudians fell for that —-, now look!!!!!

        • Toodle-oo says:

          You think that 2000+ people haven’t found work since Dec 2012 ?
          You still waiting for ‘Government’ to say ‘Here you go , 2000 jobs , now go get ‘em ‘ ?

          Poor you

  2. Tom Cooke says:

    Good job…

  3. Joe says:

    Good Job RBYC!

  4. Triangle Drifter says:

    Wisely Government has pretty much stayed out of the way over the years regarding the Newport & Marion races. Oh sure there is necessary Government involvment but the races are run by people with years of experience & history to draw on.

    Is there any sporting event that does more for Bermuda in such a short period of time? Take care of these people Bermuda. They are the ones who spend the big bucks.

  5. Legalgal says:

    Not a political issue. Well done ALL. This event brings a lot of foreign interest and money to our island, whether you are a yotty or not!

  6. Grateful411 says:

    I can’t believe all the negative comments! With everything going on in the world today we should all take a step back and take a moment to appreciate and be thankful for how amazing out island is. Forget politics this is a great event and as it has done in its previous years, it will raise awareness and highlight Bermuda on an international stage.

  7. plank says:

    Free booze free food those guy don’t spend a dime the only one who makes is RBYC

    • Cup of tea anyone? says:

      Ehhhh…wrong. grocery stores and restaurants will be benefitting greatly.

      • Um got to much brains says:

        Don’t waste your time trying to explain to someone who will never get how the world works .

  8. Dread says:

    This yacht race has always been good for Bermuda. If it generates a few jobs,some monies,and exposure into the society, so be it ..Lets try not make everything political.

  9. Cup of tea anyone? says:

    Oh and it creates jobs for bermudians. Bands get hired, bartenders, tent suppliers and some overtime for some of the bermudian Civil servants who have given up most overtime opportunities (I’ll let you figure out which department that is to see if you been paying attention)