The biennial yacht race spanning the 635 nautical miles between sailing capitals Newport and Bermuda is the oldest scheduled ocean race and one of the most thrilling for both participants and observers. This year’s race begins in the Rhode Island seaport on June 17th and a $50,000 package assembled by Newport’s Hammetts Hotel, one of the race’s sponsors, will put onlookers in direct access of both ends of the action for the first time.
On race day, two seats are reserved on board a captained 36 foot Hinckley yacht for direct viewing of the two hour send off from Newport as over 100 boats sail off. Also that day: a champagne lunch for five guests at Giusto, the Italian restaurant on Hammetts Wharf overlooking the water where that send off takes place. And on race weekend, also included is a two night stay at the hotel in a Marina King room, designed to resemble luxury quarters on board a ship with views overlooking Newport Harbor. The hotel, which opened in 2020, has nautical décor throughout, designed as a modern yacht club as befits its sponsorship of yacht races and partnership with the New York Yacht Club.
Depending on the boat’s size, the weather, the currents in the Gulf Stream, the race, nicknamed “The thrash to the Onion Patch” due to the high winds and waves expected near Bermuda, can take two-to-six days before winding up near St. David’s Lighthouse on the east end of the island. After the flight down, arranged by the booking team, guests stay for a week nearby at the private Leamington Estate, an eight bedroom, 12,000 square foot manor house originally developed by the commodore of the Harrington Sound Sailing Club with a ridged whitewashed roof distinctive to island architecture and an infinity pool overlooking the Sound. The staff of the house can arrange a champagne picnic aboard a private yacht to watch the boats come in and a visit aboard the tall ship Spirit of Bermuda, built to resemble a 19th century Bermuda schooner. When not on the sea, guests can visit the series of caves with crystal formations beneath the property that was formerly a major tourist attraction on the island but is now only accessible by residents of Leamington House.
While in the two locations, guests have a variety of options apart from sailing activities. For first time visitors to Newport, the off the charts opulence of Gilded Age families’ “summer cottage” mansions is always worth a look. Visitors can combine a look at their exteriors with the sound of crashing waves by doing the Cliff Walk along the Atlantic. Shoppers can stroll the cobbled streets downtown and on the wharfs checking out art galleries and boutiques. And there are a number of excellent waterfront restaurants such as 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar & Grille and the famed Black Pearl on Bannister’s Wharf for clams, oysters and lobster rolls.
Bermuda has its own set of attractions from the world famous pink sand beaches such as the much photographed Horseshoe Bay Beach and more world class golf courses per capita than any other place in the world. The town of St. George’s on the east end is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its perfectly preserved 17th century architecture and military sites. The pastel storefronts on Front Street in the capital Hamilton have been the place to buy British china and fabrics and the island’s own Bermuda shorts for decades. Other shopping is at the other end of the islands, the West End, is what was another nautical landmark, the Royal Naval Dockyard, formerly the United Kingdom’s largest naval base in the Atlantic and the Spirit of Bermuda’s home dock.
For more information on this package: (401) 324-7502.