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The dinghy crew makes a considerable commitment to getting our little boat on the start line each race day. The cups and trophies can be seen in our showcase cabin are in the club house.
Race schedules are posted on our website: www.rhadc.bm
The Bermuda Fitted Dinghy is a type of racing-dedicated sail boat used for competitions between the yacht clubs of Bermuda. Although the class has only existed for about 130 years, the boats are a continuance of a tradition of boat and ship design in Bermuda that stretches back to the earliest decades of the 17th century.
By 1880 there was great concern that the need for professional crews in sloop racing was making the sport too expensive, and that its development was stagnating, as a direct result. Dinghy racing was developed as a cheaper alternative. When the Bermuda Dinghy first appeared is uncertain, but the design is scaled down from the earlier sloops, rather than appearing to be an evolution of the dinghies and small boats previously used for more mundane purposes. The first race was held on 26 August 1880. A number of types of smaller boats were raced in different classes. The dinghies were restricted to amateur crews. In 1882, the Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Association was formed, holding its first races on 28 July. This association ultimately became the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club. In 1883, HRH Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, visited Bermuda, and she donated a trophy which was awarded to the winner of a dinghy race held on 8 March, which was restricted to boats both owned and steered by club members. A purse race was held after, which was open to all amateurs. Dinghies for this race were restricted to hulls of 12 feet (3.7 m) of keel, and 14 feet (4.3 m), 1 inch overall.
The dinghy racing, today, is an inter-club activity, fought between the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RBYC), the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC), the St. George’s Dinghy and Sports Club and Sandys Boat Club.
The racing is carried out on set dates in a variety of locations including Hamilton or St. George’s Harbours, Granaway Deep, and Mangrove Bay. The dinghies sail windward leeward courses and the number of legs is decided based on the conditions at race time. Boats always finish to windward. The boats, despite their small sizes, are each normally crewed by six people, necessary to handle the large areas of sail, and also to continually bail the dinghies, which have very little freeboard, and which are often capsized by powerful gusts. A unique rule to racing states that the number of crew to finish a race can be less than the number that started. This can encourage boats to have crew dive off the transom during a race to push the boat forward, help lighten the boat and increase performance.