Dr John Osmond, chairman of the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, urges sailors to adhere to ‘age old sailing and safety practices’. *Photo supplied
Dr John Osmond, chairman of the Bermuda Race Organizing Committee, urges sailors to adhere to ‘age old sailing and safety practices’. *Photo supplied

Physician, sailor and golfer John Osmond is also chairman of the 2012 Bermuda Race Organizing Committee (BROC). He has been on the committee 12 years.

“Every cycle I am awed by the dedication demonstrated by the 45 Cruising Club of America and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, mostly volunteers that form the Organizing Committee,” Dr Osmond said.

He views his chairmanship as an opportunity to give back to fellow ocean racers, perpetuate the culture, and contribute to the traditions of the oldest ocean race of its kind.

He noted the enthusiasm and preparation of sailors, who are the ‘essence’ of the Bermuda Race.

Over the last 18 months, he has dedicated to it three-to-five-hours per day. He expects this to exponentially increase through post-race in Bermuda when the BROC will start looking to the next race.

The BROC chairman has participated in the last 15 Bermuda Races — in his own C&C 40 Thorfinn, his co-owned Frers 45 Brigadoon VI, aboard Kodiac and Matador as watch captain and on Gold Digger as helmsman.

Dr Osmond said: “Of all my 40,000 miles of ocean sailing and racing, this event is always at the top on my list of favourites.”

His goals for the 2012 race are: “providing a rewarding offshore experience commensurate with past traditions of the (race’s) 106-year history… helping newcomers enter this experience with as much assistance and absence of hassles as possible… encouraging the best sailing safety practices with state of the art safety equipment, education, preparation and training advice… continuing to research the fairest rating system for our competitors… [and presenting] an exciting sailing adventure coupled with unparalleled social activities prior to and after the race.”

Dr Osmond noted the evolution of the Bermuda Race from its three starters and two finishers in 1906 to its more than 160 boats in six divisions today.

The Newport-Bermuda Race has never had a title sponsor.

Partnerships

Dr Osmond explained: “The race is and has for some time enjoyed mutually beneficial partnerships with organizations and companies. There is a nice blend of this arrangement allowing the organizing authority (BROC) to provide the sailors with an unforgettable experience at a fair value. Without these arrangements, the per boat entry costs would be prohibitive, or at least not competitive, with other leisure venues and activities.”

Sponsors

Gosling’s Rum, Newport Shipyard, State of Rhode Island, Hinckley Yachts, Vineyard Vines and Butterfield Bank are sponsoring the 2012 event, while the Bermuda Department of Tourism has been a major supporter since the beginning.

The BROC chairman defined a perfect blue water racing crew as seasoned offshore sailors. They would skilfully perform at multiple positions in a watch rotation and be capable of transferring that knowledge to crew mates. They would be concerned with the safety of shipmates and boat, and would enjoy a sense of humour and zest for adventure.

Such a crew member would adhere to all requirements, rules and regulations and follow race prescriptions for drills and reviews.

Adventure

“The Newport Bermuda Race is a true blue water sailing experience, requiring a high degree of experience, personal team training, coupled with boat preparation, weather and Gulf Stream analysis. It is for most a rite of passage and a lifetime adventure.”

Dr Osmond said his single, most important piece of advice to Newport Bermuda sailors is: “Accommodate and adapt, adhering to age old sailing and safety practices. Wear a PFD and harness and stay clipped on.”