Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Newport Bermuda Race - Almost a spectator sport

"If the Newport Bermuda Race is any one thing, it’s historic,” writes yachting historian John Rousmaniere. “Founded in 1906 as the first ocean race for amateur sailors in normal boats, it has inspired other long-distance races, and has attracted almost 4,500 boats crewed by some 46,000 men and women who have raced nearly 3 million miles to Bermuda. It’s a blue-water habit obsession.”

But when the race begins June 18th, the test will be if this classic ocean race lives up to its website billing as being ‘almost a spectator sport’. In the new era of Internet information, the Newport Bermuda Race has historically lagged behind its distance race brethren, but heightened emphasis on race communication this year is eagerly anticipated.

Race coverage on the event website will be provided by an international team of writers, editors, photographers, and videographers. Video and still cameras in chase boats and helicopters cover the start at Newport. The finish line at St. David's Lighthouse, Bermuda, is on video, stills, and Webcam. Additionally, iBoat tracking system will follow the fleet of more than 180 boats from the start to the finish of the last boat.

John Rousmaniere will be writing race commentary, while Chris Museler files shoreside stories plus reports from the race course in his Bermuda Race ride, Titan XV. Barry Pickthall is the race’s official photographer, with Daniel Forster providing helicopter coverage of the start. Videographer Pete Slack of Godfather Productions is a veteran of the Discovery Channel, MTV, VH1, and other outlets and has done many shows on sailing. Coordinating the renewed effort is Talbot Wilson.

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