At the helm: Cruising Club of America commodore Daniel P. Dyer III, seen here on the yacht Artemis, advises sailors ‘to be safe, stay clipped on, and practice good seamanship’. *Photo by Roberta Burke
At the helm: Cruising Club of America commodore Daniel P. Dyer III, seen here on the yacht Artemis, advises sailors ‘to be safe, stay clipped on, and practice good seamanship’. *Photo by Roberta Burke

Bermuda Race co-sponsor, the Cruising Club of America (CCA) is 84 years old. It functions without a clubhouse, shore-side base or paid staff.

Instead, a rear commodore and officers for each, lead the 11 geographical stations, which have individual cruising schedules, meetings and social agendas.

Daniel P. Dyer III, an around-the-world yachtsman and winner of several hundred races, heads up the CCA.

Commodore Dyer said:  “We have two club meetings each year. The fall meeting rotates among stations.

“The spring meeting is also our awards dinner at the NYYC and is the time of the presentation of the Blue Water Medal, perhaps the most well-known and coveted cruising award.”

“As commodore I am fortunate to have the opportunity to meet many of the members from Southern California to Bermuda and Canada.”

His goal for the two years through 2014 that he holds the office of commodore is to further increase member participation in the club through more extensive Internet communications between them and the CCA’s leaders.

Mr Dyer said: “It is a great honour being commodore of the Cruising Club of America.

“It is humbling to follow in the wake of some outstanding cruising and racing yachtsmen, some of whom I have had the pleasure of knowing and others known in the history and literature of the sport of sailing.”

Mr Dyer is intimately associated with the Newport-Bermuda Race. He sailed his first of 16 Bermuda Races as foredeck crew in 1968, navigated for most of the races after 1990 and in 1998 won the George Mixter Navigator’s Trophy on overall winner, Kodiak.

But commodore Dyer, jointly with commodore Jonathan Brewin of race co-sponsor, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC), is sitting out this year. The two are required to be available on land.

Mr Dyer said: “The co-sponsorship works as the objective is the focus of both clubs, to have an outstanding race to Bermuda for offshore racer/cruising yachts.”

The CCA and RBYC commodores, and Bermuda Race Organizing Committee (BROC) chairman John Osmond comprise the BROC’s executive committee, which according to Mr Dyer, approves all aspects of the race.

The CCA, according to its website, uses its members’ collective wisdom and experience of good seamanship, seaworthy yachts, safe practices and environmental awareness to influence the ‘adventurous use of the sea’.

“The Bermuda Race is an ideal platform to influence ‘adventurous use of the sea,’ Mr Dyer said, “from the challenge of ocean racing across the Gulf Stream in varied meteorological conditions, in boats that must conform to defined sea-
worthy characteristics, including stability.”

According to the commodore, more than 300 Cruising Club members assist the approximately 30 CCA heads of BROC committees, from the technical to environmental.

“This race is an all-volunteer effort on the part of the CCA,” he said.

Twenty-three CCA boats and 68 members have entered the race, according to Mr Dyer.

“For some of us, it is the (biennial) opportunity to race with some of our best friends for a challenging and rewarding offshore experience. For others, it is high on their bucket list; some sailors dream of competing in a Newport-Bermuda Race. For others, it is a family experience.”

‘Safety’ is his overall goal for the 2012 event — “a safe race that allows all competitors an opportunity to successfully compete.”

Mr Dyer said: “The most important advice for sailors in the Newport-Bermuda Race is to be safe; stay clipped on, practice good seamanship [and] avoid being struck by the boom or flogging sheets.”