Although the first Long Distance Race took place on May 20, 1944, the Race was subsequently moved to what was the Queen’s
Birthday Holiday, and is now National Heroes Days.
That first Race in 1944 had twelve (12) boats in the fleet. This year, the 75th Annual Edward Cross Long Distance Comet Race has surpassed that number and will host sixteen (16) boats. The Race will start from West End Sailboat Club (WESC) at 11am and travel down the North Shore, ending in St George’s Harbour at East End Mini Yacht (EEMYC).
Participants in this year’s Race will include last year’s winning skipper – Malcolm Smith, sailing for WESC, in his boat SUMMER, as well as the winningest skipper in the Race so far, Stevie Dickinson, from EEMYC, in his boat KITTYHAWK.
Stevie has won the Race 20 times, beginning in 1976 when he won the Race as a sixteen year old in his original boat, SCORPION. He won the Race in SCORPION six times before he purchased the KITTYHAWK from Alton Milton, one of the original members of East End Mini Yacht Club. Alton Millet won the Long Distance Race 10 times in the KITTYHAWK from 1955 to 1983 and Stevie Dickinson has won the Race 14 times in the KITTYHAWK from 1992 to 2017.
In addition to the 75th Race itself, all three clubs who participate in the Race – West End Sailboat Club, Mid Atlantic Boat and Sports Club (MABSC) and East End Mini Yacht Club, are hosting a number of events to celebrate this 75th Race.
The celebrations start off at EEMYC on Thursday, June 13, starting at 6pm when there will be an interactive discussion about African Bermudian Maritime History.
Bermudians were involved in all aspects of the maritime industry long before the Long Distance Race. In fact 100 years exactly before the first Long Distance Race in 1944, in early 1844 the first yacht club in Bermuda – the Bermuda Native Yacht was formed by a number of African Bermudians.
The focus of the interactive discussion on Thursday will be on history from the Bermuda Native Yacht Club to the Edward Cross Long Distance. Persons are invited to come out and share their families’ stories of Bermudians and the sea.
On Friday, June 14, the WESC will host a Members Social, when all members of all 3 clubs, not just the sailors, are invited to WESC to enjoy an evening of music and fun. This is an opportunity for members from all 3 clubs, who may not know each other to get together.
On Saturday, the MABSC will host a Children’s Day from 12noon – 5pm. Families are invited to come with their children to enjoy bouncy castles, games and food. There is no entry fee and children will be treated to hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks free of charge while adults will be required to purchase their food. The Bar will be closed for duration of the event, opening again once the event is over.