Start of the Newport Bermuda Race. Photo: Barry Pickthall, PPL

Start of the Newport Bermuda Race. Photo: Barry Pickthall, PPL

The 184 boats of the 2010 Newport Bermuda Race are heading out to sea as this is written. The latest weather forecasts indicate a lot of reaching, a nice strong Gulf Stream with eddies-a-plenty to deal with, and the notorious Bermuda High building in from the south. In fact, a quick look at the 24-48 hour surface wind forecasts from the National Weather Service (NWS) give the impression that a square-rigged tall ship would do well this year, with a stiff breeze well abaft of the beam to start.

I’ve put up a link to the iBoattrack service in the right sidebar that will remain live for the duration of the race. As I mentioned earlier this week, it’s a fascinating way to watch strategies develop, with the consequent successes and failures becoming more apparent as time goes on. Each boat is fitted with a satellite beacon that sends its position to the iBoattracking station ashore. The displays are not quite real-time because of race rules that prevent real-time competitive observation, but they’re close enough to be meaningful when you check in.

The video below from the official organizers gives a great flavor of the race. Newport Bermuda is one of the unique sailing races in the world because of its amateur-dominant culture.  Yes, there are professional crews — in their own class — but most of the competitors are friends and family, racing in their own family boats. Some are more serious and experienced racers than others, but all have met the rigorous standards for safety and experience.  Enjoy the videos and tracking and if you know of someone in the race, let us know in the comments and we’ll follow along with them!

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