In this tradition-bound British colony, the most popular spectator sports are cricket, soccer, field hockey, and the not terribly genteel game of rugby. As you might expect, boating, yachting, and sailing are also popular. The Bermuda Department of Tourism can provide dates and venues for upcoming events.
Far more Bermudians than you might suspect have memorized this terribly British sport's arcane rules. If you arrive in midsummer (the game's high season), you'll probably see several regional teams practicing on cricket fields throughout the island. Each match includes enough pageantry to remind participants of the game's imperial antecedents and enough conviviality (picnics, socializing, and chitchat among the spectators) to give you a real feel for Bermuda.
The Cup Match Cricket Festival is Bermuda's most passionately watched cricket event, with hundreds of viewers turning out to cheer on family members and friends. Conducted during late July or early August, it pairs Bermuda-based teams against one another. The event usually occurs at the headquarters of two of the island's approximately 30 cricket teams, either the St. George's Cricket Club, Willington Slip Road (tel. 441/297-0374), or the Somerset Cricket Club, Broome Street off Somerset Road (tel. 441/234-0327). Buy your tickets at the gate on the day of each event, and expect to pay between $12 and $20 per ticket for entrance to this long-standing Bermuda tradition.
Bermuda offers some of the finest golfing terrain in the world, partly due to the climate, which supports lush driving ranges and putting greens. In addition, the ever-present golfers play at surprisingly high levels. Golf tournaments are held throughout the year, culminating in the annual, much-publicized Bermuda Open at the Port Royal Golf Course in early October. Amateurs and professionals are welcome to vie for one of the most sought-after golfing prizes in the world. For information or an application, contact the secretary of the Bermuda Golf Association (tel. 441/295-9972; www.bermudagolf.org).
Horse Racing & Equestrian Competitions
Contact the National Equestrian Centre, Vesey Street, Devonshire Parish (tel. 441/291-7223), for information about upcoming events. From September to Easter, harness races take place about twice a month.
A major equestrian event is in October: the FEI/Samsung Dressage Competition and Show-Jumping. Details are available from the Bermuda Equestrian Federation, P.O. Box DV 583, Devonshire DV BX, Bermuda (tel. 441/234-0485; www.bef.bm).
Bermudians view soccer as an important part of elementary education and actively encourage children and teenagers to participate. In early April, teams from countries around the Atlantic and Caribbean compete in three age divisions for the Diadora Youth Soccer Cup. Games are held on various fields throughout the island. More accessible to spectators at other times are the many high-school games held regularly throughout the year. Contact the tourist office for a schedule.
Bermuda capitalizes on its geographical position in the mid-Atlantic to lure the yachting crowd. The racing season runs from March to November, with most races scheduled on weekends in the relatively calm waters of Bermuda's Great Sound. The best land vantage points include Spanish Point, the islands northeast of Somerset, and Hamilton Harbour. Shifting sightlines can make it confusing to watch races from land. Better views are available from the decks of privately owned boats that anchor near the edge of the racecourse, so it's good to befriend a private boat owner. Although the carefully choreographed regattas might be confusing to newcomers, the sight of a fleet of racing craft with spinnakers and pennants aloft is always exciting.
Bermuda is the final destination in two of the most important annual yacht races: the Annapolis-Bermuda Race (www.bermudaoceanrace.com) and the even more prestigious Newport-Bermuda Race (www.bermudarace.com), both held in late June. Both provide enough visual distraction and maritime pageantry to keep you enthralled. Participating yachts range from 9 to 30m (30-98 ft.) in length, and their skippers are said to be among the most dedicated in the world.
Around Halloween, the autumn winds propel dozens of less exotic racing craft through the waters of the Great Sound. They compete in a series of one-on-one playoffs for the King Edward VII Gold Cup International Match Racing Tournament.
The island's yachting events are by no means limited to international competitions. Bermuda's sheltered bays and windswept open seas provide year-round enticement for anyone who has ever wanted to experience the thrill of a snapping jib and taut mainsail.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.