How the Newport Bermuda Race Was Born
Launching a formidable competition on the open sea every other year, the world's oldest ocean race has a colourful history. See how it all began.
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Rumour had it that funeral wreaths were delivered to the boats so the sailors would be prepared to make a decent burial at sea.
The Day of the Race Dawns
There were hard-thrashing waves, winds like stonewalls and 635 nautical miles to cover during that first race, but an ocean trip from Brooklyn to Bermuda proved possible. And it was a great teaching lesson. Races like these built better sailors and better boats, making the old saying truer than ever, "Calm waters does not make a good sailor." Day himself was the first to cross the finish line in the 38-foot yawl, Tamerlane.
Since 1936, the race has been started at Newport, Rhode Island. Previous starts in addition to Brooklyn, New York, were Marblehead, Massachusetts; New London, Connecticut; and Montauk, New York.
Much hard-charging racing has occured since then. Think 48 races, 5,025 boats and 50,000 sailors, plus racing through a gale in 1972. But the Newport Bermuda Race remains the ocean contest to take part in, and to cheer on across the finish line at St. David's Lighthouse.