As in recent years, the Race will also offer separate divisions for amateur and professionally crewed boats to keep level playing fields among competitors. Following on the battle of the super-maxis in the 2004 event, there will again be a special division for these big boats.
'We think we have created a race that will accommodate both the professional and the amateur while accommodating two forward looking rules at a time of change in the sport,' commented Race Chairman Bill BARTON. 'We want to continue our successful use of VPP based rules that we believe are well suited to distance ocean races like ours. This has resulted in a diverse group of boats taking home the lighthouse trophies in recent years, giving everybody an equal chance.'
'At the same time, we realize that many boats will be sailing under the rapidly spreading IRC rule and we want to welcome the skippers sailing under that rule and tuning their boats for other popular IRC events in the US and abroad. We believe we are offering the best of both worlds.'
Certificates for both rating rules are easy to acquire. The new ORR rule can use data from a yacht's previous IMS or Americap certificate, or the measurements of a sistership. US-IRC has been running seminars and training a large team of measurers in the US; for boats that have existing IMS certificates, much of the data already exists for those yachts. Additional information about the rating systems can be found on their respective web sites at www.offshorerace.org and www.us-irc.org.
Cruising Club of America Commodore Truman CASNER stated, 'The two sponsoring Clubs are working together closely to make the 2006 centennial race a special event drawing the largest possible fleet.' Andy COX, Vice Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, confirmed that, 'We expect a big turn out in the main Cruiser/Racer Division where we will be using both rules. The use of IRC should also build participation in the Onion Patch Series of races that occur just before and after the Newport Bermuda Race.'
The Newport Bermuda Race is co-sponsored by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.