WHAT'S A CENTURY BETWEEN FRIENDS? Newport to Bermuda Yacht Race Celebrates 100 anniversary and Gosling's Brothers Celebrates 200 Anniversary
2 May 2006
The bi-annual "Thrash To The Onion Patch" is already a hot topic of conversation in Bermuda and Newport, Rhode Island. There is even more anticipatory talk this year since it is the 100th anniversary of this classic biennial blue water event, and the 200th anniversary of its favourite rum - Gosling's Black Sealģ Rum.
Mark Twain once declared,"Bermuda is a paradise, but you have to go through hell to get here." Some blue water racers would agree. When the yachts, sloops, yawls, ketches and cutters set out from Newport on the 16th of June it will be the forty-fifth time stalwart sailors will face the rigors of sailing the 635 nautical miles, the rhumb line that tethers Newport to Bermuda.
A Dark 'n Stormy party featuring Bermuda's favourite cocktail (of the same name - made with Gosling's Black Seal Rum, Bermuda ginger beer and a squeeze of lime) will be held on June 14th at The Newport Shipyard hosted by Gosling Brothers and the Bermuda Department of Tourism. Gosling's new Bermuda Gold Rum will also be featured in the Ginger Gale! cocktail.
Centennial competitors set out on June 16, 2006 from the mouth of Narragansett Bay in the Rhode Island Sound between Castle Hill Lighthouse and the Beavertail Lighthouse. Once passed St. David's Head, and safely in port in Bermuda, sailors look forward to a warm welcome, a shower and letting off steam.
On Friday, June 23rd, in generous bi-centennial mode, Gosling Brothers will be hosting The Onion Thrash Bash at Barrs Bay Park, Hamilton. An evening of liberal libations and fabulous food, entertainment and fireworks is planned for the sailors, guests and friends.
The Newport Bermuda race was originally the New York to Bermuda Race. The idea was promoted by the editor of Rudder, Thomas Fleming Day. Day asked Sir Thomas Lipton to donate a silver trophy, which he did - the Sir Thomas Lipton cup. Thought lost, the elaborate Victorian affair sporting sea horses, mermaids and merman has surfaced at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News, Virginia.
The first race, in 1906, had only three competitors and the little yawl, Tamerlane won - skippered by Day himself. Ambrose Gosling was Commodore of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in those days. Wanting to make this a time the sailors would not soon forget, he assessed the RBYC membership 2 £ sterling to pay for the big welcoming party. By 1908 there were thirteen entries and a bi-annual tradition was underway. This year a record number (200, plus) entries will race to
the "Onion Patch." Prize Giving, including the St. David's and Gibbs' Hill Lighthouse trophies, will be held at Government House on Saturday, June 24th.
For further information please visit the Newport Bermuda Race website.
The first maxi Boomerang blasting toward the finish off St. Davidís Head and one of her three elapsed time victories.
(Credit: Bermuda News Bureau photo)