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.
In Bermuda, cricket is king. This international sport, with its deep British roots and genteel traditions, is played in private clubs across the island from April through September and the island’s top players are akin to the stars of the NBA in the United States.
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, or the Somerset Cricket Club, Broome Street off Somerset Road. Buy your tickets at the gate on the day of each event. For information about all events and tournaments contact the Bermuda Cricket Board (www.cricket.bm, tel. 441/292-8958).
Bermuda offers some of the finest golfing terrain in the world, partly due to the climate, which supports lush driving ranges and putting greens. These days the two biggest tournaments are the Grey Goose World Par 3 Championship, an annual event held in March at the Turtle Hill Golf Club in Southampton, which draws former PGA professionals and amateurs alike; and the Goodwill Golf Tournament, the longest running pro-am in golf, which is played at Port Royal, Tucker’s Point and the Mid Ocean Club (www.bermudagoodwillgolf.com). For more information about tournaments and events, contact the Bermuda Golf Association (www.bermudagolf.org; tel. 441/295-9972).
In addition to several club teams that play on public fields from September through April, Bermuda is chiefly known for the World Rugby Classic (www.worldrugby.bm; tel. 441/295-6574)—an annual tournament in November when the world’s top players (who are mostly retired from the sport) compete at the National Stadium in Devonshire. Seats in the general admission grandstands are at the 50-yard line ($25); in the VIP Members Tent ticket (from $275), you’ll rub elbows with the island’s moneyed ex-patriates who come for the unlimited food and drinks as much as they do for the zone views.
Better known as football, soccer is one of Bermuda’s two national sporting pastimes—second only to cricket, as discussed above. In fact, Bermuda is so serious about its soccer that most kids start playing at the age of four and the competition in local clubs can be fierce. Because of this, you can watch spirited games kick off on the pitch of the Bermuda Athletic Association (www.baa.bm, tel. 441/292-3161) in the City of Hamilton or, you can catch the occasional national team match, typically held at the Bermuda National Sports Centre (www.bermudanationalsportscentre.com, tel. 441/295-8085) in Devonshire. Since national team matches are infrequent, your best bet for watching live action is by going to a Bermuda Premier League game. Comprised of ten teams made up of athletes who represent the highest level of professional soccer in Bermuda, these games are played on Sunday afternoons, September through April, on fields across the island. For more info contact the Bermuda Football Association (www.bermudafa.com; tel. 441/295-2199).
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.
Another world class regatta is the Argo Gold Cup when international one design yachts race from Hamilton Harbour to Bermuda’s Great Sound, all vying to win the coveted King Edward VII cup, indeed the oldest trophy in match racing (www.argogroupgoldcup.com).
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.