Bermuda Boat Finishes First Leg Of Global Race

September 14, 2019

GoToBermuda finished ninth out of the 11 boats competing in the preliminary leg of the Clipper 2019-20 Race this week [Sept 9], which saw the fleet sailing from England’s Thames estuary to Portugal.

But there’s still a very long way to go — around the rest of the world to be precise.

The race got underway on September 1 and the next stop after the Portuguese city of Portimão is Punta del Este in Uruguay, with the start of that 5195 nautical mile leg due to begin on Sunday [Sept 15].

After crossing the Atlantic in their identical Clipper 70 ocean-racing vessels, the teams are due to arrive in that South American country between October 12 and 15.

This is Bermuda’s first time participating in the biennial around-the-world sailing classic, established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69.

The Clipper 2019-2020 fleet is seen here as it raced from England to Portugal on the first leg of its global odyssey. Photo courtesy of the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race

Clipper Round The World Yacht Race Bermuda Sept 2019

Sir Robin’s aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; the 40,000 nautical mile race is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority [BTA] is sponsoring the island’s debut team, GoToBermuda, in the Clipper 2019–20 Race.

“Aligning with the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race as a team and host port partner makes perfect sense,” BTA Chief Executive Officer Kevin Dallas has said. “The partnership will generate brand awareness and economic impact for Bermuda—both are core to our mission,”

“Bermuda has long been a top destination for sailing and luxury. Bermuda was discovered by mariners, we revolutionised sailing with the invention of the Bermuda sloop and we were most recently the home of the 35th America’s Cup.”

Mr. Dallas added that “ideal weather conditions, gorgeous turquoise waters and deep connections with the global sailing community are all part of our island life out here.”

The BTA’s CEO said the GoToBermuda yacht design was intentionally suggestive of the island’s colour palette, evoking our pink sand beaches and alluring turquoise waters.

The GoToBermuda yacht in the Clipper 2019-2020 race is intended to evoke the island’s colour palette says the Bermuda Tourism Authority.

Clipper Round The World Yacht Race Bermuda Sept 2019 (2)

Bermuda will be the penultimate port of call next July as the teams near the end of their global circumnavigation.

After leaving Uruguay the Clipper 2019-20 fleet next crosses the South Atlantic to Cape Town, South Africa; then its across the Southern Ocean’s “Roaring Forties” to Fremantle, Western Australia; around to the Whitsundays on the east coast of Australia; back into the Northern Hemisphere to China where teams will race to Qingdao, via Sanya and Zhuhai; across the North Pacific to Seattle; to New York via the Panama Canal; to Bermuda and then it’s a final Atlantic crossing to Derry-Londonderry in Northern Ireland; before arriving back in London as fully tested ocean racers.

A Clipper 2019-2020 spokesperson said about 40 per cent of crew members are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training programme ahead of the race.

Some will opt to take on the whole circumnavigation while others will compete in one or more of the eight individual legs, added the spokesperson.

In total 60 Bermuda residents, 43 men and 17 women, will sail aboard the GoToBermuda yacht. They range in age from 18 to 72.

The overall route is split into a series of global races and a maximum 11 points going to first place ascending to one point for eleventh place.

The team with the highest cumulative points at the end of the final race wins the series, and the Clipper Race trophy.

Other teams taking part in the race hail from Uruguay, China, Vietnam and Britain, among other countrie. The United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF] has also sponsored a boat to spearhead an international fund-raising drive.

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  1. Eve says:

    This article is more informative than was included in the initial announcement, the ‘amateurs’ receive extensive training which would be critical in a physically and mentally demanding ocean sailing. For these sailors to even make it through one leg of the race they need to learn too focus like a professional and play for keeps, not just for fun. The first leg was very challenging including gail force winds.
    The more information also raises more questions about the expected ROI from what is obviously a huge investment by BTA? Is BTA picking up the expenses for the 60 residents who will sail on the Go To Bermuda yacht? Considering decline in Bermuda tourism this type of scheme doesn’t fit the mold for attracting air leisure visitors immediately.