NEWPORT - A total of 166 boats across six divisions took off from Castle Hill Friday afternoon for the start of the Newport Bermuda Race.
With spinakers flying for the first time since the 2002 race, competitors rode a stiff northerly breeze out past Brenton Point and into Rhode Island Sound.
If conditions hold, this year could see records broken, with top tier vessels like George David's Rambler, expected to cross the finish line in St. David's as early as Sunday.
The Newport Bermuda Race has two records, one for Open Division boats at 48hr, 28min, 31sec set by Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory in 2004 and the ‘official’ record for traditional designs set by Roy Disney’s 75 foot Pyewacket is at 53hr, 39 min 22 sec.
There are 96 boats registered in the St David’s Lighthouse Division, 30 in the Cruiser Division, 18 in the Double-Handed Division, 16 in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division, six in the Open Division and one in the new Spirit of Tradition Division.
Will records fall? Follow the fleet on the Yellowbrick tracker system. Go to http://bermudarace.com/ and click on the Race Tracker button on the left side.