Transatlantic Brief

Transatlantic Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

IMA Transatlantic Race Winner charter yacht LEOPARD 3 with new interior by Design Unlimited

December 13, 2012

Following her refit earlier this year that comprised the installation of a new interior designed by Design Unlimited, Mike Slade’s 31-metre canting keel maxi charter yacht ICAP Leopard 3 has set a new course record for the 3,300nm IMA Transatlantic Race of 7d 8h 59m 12s. Chartered by Niklas Zennstrom’s Team Ran, Leopard 3 superyacht smashed the previous record set in 2011 by the 66-metre megayacht Hetairos, by 25 hrs.

Luxury charter yacht ICAP Leopard 3 with new interior by Design Unlimited

Luxury charter yacht ICAP Leopard 3 with new interior by Design Unlimited Credit: Ocean Images

Owner Mike Slade said on Leopard yacht’s arrival at Virgin Gorda,”Isn’t it fantastic? Leopard hasn’t lost any of her pace, even though we have added a couple of tonnes with a full interior. In fact the extra weight of five cabins forward may well have improved her in certain conditions. She looks magnificent and is far more comfortable.”

Luxury yacht ICAP Leopard 3 - Galley

Luxury yacht ICAP Leopard 3 - Galley Credit: Ocean Images

A popular day and race charter yacht Leopard 3 previously had very little in the way of a conventional interior, with just a crew area plus a basic galley aft and a simple saloon amidships. Design Unlimited retained the crew area but restyled the existing saloon to create a spacious and comfortable space that seats twelve along with a dining area, and drew a completely new, fully-equipped galley.

Leopard 3 superyacht - Saloon

Leopard 3 superyacht - Saloon Credit: Ocean Images

Five luxury cabins, three double with en suite and two single, were designed and installed in the forward part of the hull that had previously been used for stowing sails. The entire interior was built to tight weight tolerances and now allows luxury yacht Leopard to undertake longer charters in the Mediterranean.

Design Unlimited is the leading studio for creating ultra-lightweight interiors for large racing yachts, but this was their first project to essentially convert an outright raceboat into a fully-fledged superyacht equally capable of comfortable cruising.

Superyacht Leopard 3 - Double Cabin

Superyacht Leopard 3 - Double Cabin Credit: Ocean Images

At the end of the race Niklas Zennstrom, owner of 72′ Mini Maxi yacht Ran 2 which also has an interior by Design Unlimited, commented that he and his wife had “chartered a superb offshore boat, which was very comfortable. We enjoyed hot showers and cooked meals with homemade bread, which would not have been possible in our own boat.”

Below is a selection of other stylish charter yachts with design by Design Unlimited:

Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Regatta 2012: Line honours claimed by charter yacht Rán Leopard

December 05, 2012

This year’s Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Regatta was completed by the Farr 100 charter yacht Rán Leopard in 7 days, 8 hours, 59 minutes and 12 seconds, claiming line honours as well as breaking the course record. Rán Leopard superyacht was helmed by Niklas Zennström, with Adrian Stead on tactics.

Luxury charter yacht Ran Leopard moored at YCCS Marina, Virgin Gorda (BVI) Photo credit YCCS

Luxury charter yacht Ran Leopard moored at YCCS Marina, Virgin Gorda (BVI) Photo credit: YCCS

Zennström and his 18-strong crew crossed the finish line off Virgin Gorda shortly after 10 p.m. UTC last night after covering 3,300 miles at an average speed of 18.6 knots. The new course record beats the previous one set by superyacht Hetairos in 2011 by 25 hours, 59 minutes and 18 seconds.

The race is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) in collaboration with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and saw six maxi yachts and superyachts leave Tenerife on 26th November bound for the YCCS Clubhouse and Marina in Virgin Gorda’s North Sound.

With a curriculum that includes wins in the Rolex Fastnet Race, Copa del Rey and Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, Zennström approached his first transatlantic regatta with the enthusiasm and concentration that has made Rán one of the top names in international racing. Chartering the 30.5-metre supermaxi yacht Leopard was certainly a smart first step and the crew regularly reported boat speeds of 20 knots and above.

“It was an amazing crossing!” said a delighted Zennström on his arrival at YCCS Virgin Gorda. “The crew did an excellent job and the boat achieved the result we were aiming for. During the crossing we faced a maximum wind of 35 knots and the boat’s maximum speed was 32-33 knots. Thankfully we had no major failures onboard, just the usual minor breakages for a comfortable racing boat. We are very happy to have established a new record for this transatlantic regatta and we are very happy to be here in the new YCCS Clubhouse.”

The crew of Ran Leopard yacht at YCCS Virgin Gorda Photo credit YCCS

The crew of Ran Leopard yacht at YCCS Virgin Gorda Photo credit: YCCS

The 32-metre Baltic Yachts sailing yacht Nilaya was in second place at approximately 395 miles from the finish at 9 a.m. UTC. Peter Harrison’s Farr 115 charter yacht Sojana, a veteran competitor in all five editions of the Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Regatta, followed approximately 100 miles behind in third place with Oscar Konyukhov’s Med Spirit yacht, the 27.7-metre sloop representing the Russian Yachting Federation, in fourth.

Following a more southerly course are fifth-placed superyacht Cape Arrow, a 2011-launched Southern Wind 100, and the majestic Shenandoah of Sark yacht, the 1902-launched 55-metre triple masted schooner owned by Francesco, Carlo and Andrea Micheli.

Rán Leopard yacht’s excellent crossing time leaves them on track for victory in corrected time while the battle is now on between the remaining five sailing giants for second and third places. It is advised to follow the rest of the arrivals with Live Tracking from both the YCCS and IMA websites. Several of the boats are updating individual blogs while racing and further updates are published on the IMA website.

Trophies will be awarded at the prize giving ceremony scheduled to take place at the latest on 12th December at the YCCS Virgin Gorda Clubhouse which was officially inaugurated in January of this year and overlooks the purpose-built YCCS Marina which has been operational since March 2011.

Swan 56 Sailing yacht Clem Wins ARC 2011 Transatlantic Trophy

December 22, 2011

The Swan 56 sailing yacht Clem is celebrating being the first Swan yacht to cross the ARC 2011 finish line in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia after the 26th ARC finished in fine style on Saturday 17th December with a spectacular prize giving ceremony at the Gaiety Nightclub. S/Y Clem victoriously finished the 2,700 nautical mile race from Las Palmas to St. Lucia to become the highest placed Swan yacht and also win the Swan Transatlantic Challenge.

Swan 56 sailing yacht Clem, was the first Swan yacht to cross the ARC 2011 finish line - Photo Credit Kurt Arrigo

Swan 56 sailing yacht Clem, was the first Swan yacht to cross the ARC 2011 finish line - Photo Credit Kurt Arrigo

A brisk northerly wind and blue sky provided the perfect conditions for a downwind start in Gran Canaria. Classic trade wind conditions provided excellent downwind sailing for the first part of the passage across the Atlantic. Most of the fleet experienced a ‘wind hole’ as they closed in on Saint Lucia but it still managed to be the fastest passage since 2006. S/Y Clem completed the ARC crossing in 15 days, 21 hours on corrected time to finish in second place in the RORC IRC Racing Division Class A.

The final evening of the St. Lucia programme saw a packed house at the Gaiety Nightclub in Gros Islet Town for the ARC 2011 prize giving ceremony. All boats that did not divert en route made the finish line in time for the festivities. The 2011 Swan Transatlantic Challenge has been an immense success with 17 entries successfully completing the race. Yacht Clem took home the esteemed silver Asprey trophy.

Jaime Olazabal, Owner and Skipper, of the Clem sailing yacht commented; “We had the best crossing imaginable, great sailing, great food and above all great company, we even managed some fishing! The icing on the cake has definitely been the Swan Transatlantic Trophy, it means a great deal to us to be the proud custodians of this beautiful trophy for a year. Our boat Clem has once again behaved herself impeccably…. I am a very happy Swan owner.”

Part one of the prize giving also included some special awards which included ARC’s youngest skipper award presented to Lucy Reynolds, 24, of Swan 51 sailing yacht Northern Child.

Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup 2011

October 31, 2011

The entry list for the Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Yacht Regatta which starts on the 21st November 2011 is growing with a total of nine sailing yacht giants confirmed to assemble in Tenerife in less than one month’s time.  The 2011 Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup is scheduled to leave Santa Cruz in Tenerife (Spain) on 21st November destined for Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands) and the new winter base of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). The event, organized by the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the YCCS with the collaboration of Real Club Nautico de Tenerife, will see participating yachts cover approximately 2700 nautical miles and encounter varied wind and sea conditions.

YCCS Marina Virgin Gorda - Photo Credit Superyacht Media

YCCS Marina Virgin Gorda - Photo Credit Superyacht Media

A wide range of maxi yachts will be competing in the 2011 Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup: the largest boats in the fleet are the newly launched 66 metre Dykstra-designed ketch superyacht Hetairos on her first regatta outing; the 54.35 metre S/Y Shenandoah of Sark, a legendary yacht launched in 1902, and sailing yacht Zefira, owned by Italian Salvatore Trifirò. The fleet also includes the 35 metre Sojana charter yacht, owned by Peter Harrison, skippered by Marc Fitzgerald and winner of last year’s edition of the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup, and Tobias Koenig’s Grey Goose of Rorc, a Swan 82. Andrea Recordati’s Indio and Carla Comelli’s Kenora will represent both Italy and the Wally class. The “smallest” in the fleet are the 18.20 metre Swan 60 Emma, owned by Johann Killinger, and the 20.2 metre Karuba V. After leaving Tenerife the participating yachts will be looking to pick up on the northeast trade winds between approximately 30° latitude and the equator which generally blow at a steady 11 to 15 knots. As the maxis near Virgin Gorda and the finish line the more gentle Alizé Caribbean trade wind will kick in and crews can expect to be accompanied by 10 to 12 knots of north easterly winds.

Sailing yacht Zefira racing off Virgin Gorda - Photo Credit Superyacht Media

Sailing yacht Zefira racing off Virgin Gorda - Photo Credit Superyacht Media

The Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup 2011 is perfectly timed to tie in with the traditional transfers from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean for the winter charter season and will have participants arriving on the other side of the Atlantic as the superyacht racing season kicks off there. Many of the participating yachts also plan to participate in the Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous organized by the YCCS and Boat International Media in Virgin Gorda in March 2012.

Trophies will be awarded at the prize giving ceremony scheduled to take place on 8th December where participants will enjoy a special sneak preview of the services and hospitality of the newly opened YCCS Clubhouse. The YCCS Virgin Gorda Clubhouse will be officially inaugurated on 3rd January 2012 while the purpose built YCCS Marina has been operational since March 2011.

A satellite tracking system accessible online will keep fans and supporters up to date on each yacht’s progress for the duration of the race.

Provisional Entry List for the Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta – Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup 2011

Yacht Name – Owner – LOA, Type

Sailing yacht Emma – Johann Killinger – 18.2, Swan 60

S/Y Grey Goose of Rorc – Tobias Koenig – 24.89, Swan 82

Yacht Hetairos – Panamax Ltd – 66.0, Baltic

Karuba V – Magma Int Ltd – 20.07, X-Yachts

Kenora, Long Beach Ltd – 30.44, Wally

Indio – Andrea Recordati – 30.5, Wally

Charter yacht Sojana – Peter Harrison – 35.0, Farr

Classic yacht Shenandoah of Sark – Misty Skies Ltd – 54.35, Townsend

Superyacht Zefira – Salvatore Trifirò – 49.7, Dubois

About the event

The Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup was created in 2007 and then run in 2009 and in 2010. The event was created by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with IMA in response to requests from owners for a transatlantic race dedicated specifically to maxi yachts. The regatta is also part of the IMA’s efforts to establish a seasonal circuit for maxis that will allow owners to compete in summer offshore events in the Mediterranean and Europe before moving to the Caribbean for the traditional winter racing season.

Transatlantic Race 2011 Winners Take a Bow

August 15, 2011

Cowes, England (August 12, 2011) – With the presentation of the awards this week at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight, the cast of players has taken its final bow, and the production that was the Transatlantic Race 2011 has closed to rave reviews.  The race made history with the establishment of a new record – crossing 2,975 miles of ocean from Newport, R.I. to The Lizard on the south coast of England – and was the result of a successful collaboration between the Royal Yacht Squadron (founded in 1815), the New York Yacht Club (1844), the Royal Ocean Racing Club (1925) and the Storm Trysail Club (1938).

Transatlantic Race 2011 Presentation of the awards at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight.  (Photo Credit TR2011Paul Wyeth)

Transatlantic Race 2011 Presentation of the awards at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight. (Photo Credit TR2011Paul Wyeth)

A twenty-one gun salute greeted HRH the Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association, as she arrived at Cowes Castle for the official Prize Giving Reception.  The Princess Royal’s father, HRH Prince Phillip, has been the Admiral of the Royal Yacht Squadron for over 40 years and Princess Anne seemed very much at home as she was introduced to the honored guests before presenting the trophies.

Also officiating at the awards ceremony were the Commodores of the four organizing entities:  Michael Campbell of the Royal Yacht Squadron, Robert C. Towse, Jr. of the New York Yacht Club, Andrew McIrvine of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and Eric Kreuter of the Storm Trysail Club.

A glittering array of prizes had been flown across the Atlantic for the awards presentation that was held in the Pavilion, which had opened in 2000 as the venue to enable the Royal Yacht Squadron to cross burgees with New York Yacht Club in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the America’s Cup.  After an enthusiastic assembly showed their appreciation to every winner, competitors and honored guests enjoyed each other’s company on the Squadron’s lawn before retiring to The Castle for the Transatlantic Race Owners’ Dinner.

Transatlantic Race 2011 Review – On June 26, cannon fire from the iconic Castle Hill Lighthouse signalled the beginning of the historic ocean adventure.  It was the first of three staggered starts, implemented so that yachts ranging in size from 40’ to 289’ would finish off The Lizard in close proximity to one another.  Representing 10 nations, the 26 entries were crewed by world-class professionals as well as Corinthian amateurs.  The youngest competitor was just 16 years of age, the oldest 80, and the fleet was just as diverse: from the 289’ superyacht Maltese Falcon that was nearly three times the length of any other participant, to high performance canting keel Maxis to pocket rocket Class 40s.

NYYC's Commodore Towse (left) with Rambler 100 skipper George David (Hartford, Conn.), who receives the RORC Loujaine Trophy. (Photo Credit TR2011Paul Wyeth)

NYYC's Commodore Towse (left) with Rambler 100 skipper George David (Hartford, Conn.), who receives the RORC Loujaine Trophy. (Photo Credit TR2011Paul Wyeth)

On Sunday, 10 July, at 16h 08m UTC, Rambler 100 was the first yacht to cross the finish line of the Transatlantic Race 2011.   The elapsed time for Rambler 100 was six days, 22 hours, eight minutes and two seconds, which established a new record for the 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, U.K.  PUMA’s Mar Mostro was next across the finish line at The Lizard at 05:40 UTC on July 11, and when calculations proved that none of the 24 yachts still racing could beat them on handicap Mar Mostro was declared winner of IRC Class One and IRC Overall for the Transatlantic Race 2011.

After 22 days, all yachts and sailors were safe in port.  The incredible record set by Rambler 100, the milestone marked by all participants, and the bonds forged while racing across the North Atlantic bear witness to having taken on and successfully completed a great challenge.

Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi and Peters & May, with additional support by apparel sponsor Atlantis Weathergear.

Her Royal Highness Princess Anne presents Phaedo's Lloyd Thornburg (St. Barthelemy) with the RYS Benzie Trophy. (Photo Credit TR2011Paul Wyeth)

Her Royal Highness Princess Anne presents Phaedo's Lloyd Thornburg (St. Barthelemy) with the RYS Benzie Trophy. (Photo Credit TR2011Paul Wyeth)

More about the Transatlantic Race 2011

The Transatlantic Race 2011 charts a 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, England. Pre-start activities took place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, with awards presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight. Three separate starts – June 26, June 29 and July 3 – featured 26 boats ranging from 40 to 289 feet in length. In addition to winners in seven classes (IRC Class 1 Racer, IRC Class 2 Racer, IRC Class 3 Racer/Cruiser, IRC Class 4 Racer/Cruiser, Classic, Class 40, and Open), the yacht that finished the course with the fastest elapsed time set the benchmark for a new racing record from Newport to Lizard Point that was ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council. Rolex watches were awarded to the record holder and the overall winner (on corrected time) under IRC.

The Transatlantic Race 2011 is also the centerpiece of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS), which includes the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, RORC Caribbean 600, the Annapolis to Newport Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Biscay Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Of the seven races in the AORS, three races, including the TR 2011 must be completed to qualify for a series victory. Each race is weighted equally in overall series scoring with the exception of TR 2011, which is weighted 1.5 times. All entered yachts are scored using their two best finishes in addition to the TR 2011. Awards for the AORS will be presented in November, 2011, at the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Awards Dinner in Manhattan.

Transatlantic Race 2011 – Trophies Awarded:

Newport to Lizard Record – RORC Loujaine Trophy and Rolex timepiece
Rambler 100/ George David (Hartford, Conn.)

IRC Overall – RYS Queen’s Cup and Rolex timepiece
PUMA’s Mar Mostro/Ken Read (Newport, R.I.)

Youth Team – NYYC Venona Trophy
Vanquish/Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team (USA)

Open Division – RYS Benzie Trophy
Phaedo/ Lloyd Thornburg (St. Barthelemy)

Class 40 – RORC Gay Gannet Cup
Concise/Ned Collier-Wakefield (Oxford, U.K.)

IRC Cruiser/Racer Class 4 – RYS Cowes Town Trophy
Dawn Star/William Hubbard III & Will Hubbard IV (New York, N.Y.)

IRC Cruiser/Racer Class 3 – NYYC Brenton Reef Trophy
Zaraffa/ Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.)

IRC Cruiser/Racer Class 2 – RYS Lord Iliffe Lighthouse Trophy
Jazz/ Nigel King (Lymington, U.K.)

IRC Racer Class 1 – NYYC Cape May Trophy
PUMA’s Mar Mostro/Ken Read (Newport, R.I.)

Inaugural Biscay Race- Part of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS)

July 29, 2011

The Royal Yacht Squadron is delighted to announce the inaugural Biscay Race that forms part of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS) in which competitors are required to take part in three races, including the Transatlantic Race 2011 (TR 2011), to qualify for a series victory. The Biscay Race is also open to any yacht only wishing to compete in this historic race.

Inaugural Biscay Race- Part of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS)

Inaugural Biscay Race- Part of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS)

Organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, England, with the assistance of Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo in Northern Spain, the Biscay Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) line at midday on Sunday 11th September and finish off the yacht club in Sanxenxo.

RYS Commodore Yachting, David Aisher explains the RYS’ foray into offshore racing: “When the New York Yacht Club first announced that they wished to join with RYS, RORC and the Storm Trysail Club to form the AORS, the Royal Yacht Squadron was the only club that did not have a race that was a part of this new circuit. On the East side of the Atlantic, the RORC was the Organising Authority for the Rolex Fastnet and was also a part of the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Between the two races was a large gap in the sailing calendar that we felt was an ideal opportunity for the RYS to run its first offshore race. The RYS has for many years been organising some of the best inshore regattas in the UK and for us, to be a true part of this new AORS event, we needed to show that we could also run a first rate offshore event as well. This is not an attempt to compete with the RORC or any other of the excellent offshore clubs, but is our contribution to this exciting racing series.”

Top Boats to Compete

Interest has already been received from two yachts who recently competed in the Transatlantic Race 2011, the fourth race in the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series: George David’s Rambler 100 (USA) who set the benchmark for the new transatlantic route from Newport, Rhode Island (USA) to The Lizard (UK) and British Soldier, the Army Sailing Association’s A40. Both are going on to compete in the classic offshore race, the Rolex Fastnet Race. Interest has also been received from Alex Thomson’s IMOCA 60, Hugo Boss (GBR), whose sights are set on the Transat Jacques Vabre later this year. A number of the other TR2011 boats are also expected to take part.

Feeder Race

Racing for the Biscay Armada Dish, The Biscay Race may also act as a feeder race for competitors in the Rolex Middle Sea Race (22nd October); those wishing to sail to the Mediterranean and could also attract yachts taking part in World Cruising Clubs’ Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) which sets off from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria for St Lucia on 20th November.

As an added incentive, The Real Club Náutico de Sanxenxo is offering free berthing for a week to competitors on completion of the race and a prize giving dinner will be held by the kind invitation of club on Friday 16th September for all crews.

The Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS):

The Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS) organized by the New York Yacht Club, Royal Yacht Squadron, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club includes the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, RORC Caribbean 600, Annapolis to Newport Race, Transatlantic Race TR2011, Rolex Fastnet Race, Biscay Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Of the seven races in the AORS, three races, including the TR 2011 must be completed to qualify for a series victory. Each race is weighted equally in overall series scoring with the exception of TR 2011, which is weighted 1.5 times. All entered yachts are scored using their two best finishes in addition to the TR 2011.  Awards for the AORS will be presented in November 2011 at the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Awards Dinner in Manhattan.

The Biscay Race:

•The minimum crew on any yacht shall be three apart from as allowed under NoR 5.5, Two Handed Class.

• The minimum size for yachts is determined by their rating and their SSS/STIX numbers.

•The minimum LOA for multihulls is 9.15 metres/30ft. There is no maximum size.

• Experience: At least half the crew, including the person in charge, must have completed an offshore race of at least 300 miles in the yacht in which they will race the Biscay Race, in the 12 months preceding the start. Previous legs of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series, including the Rolex Fastnet Race, will qualify under this requirement.

Transatlantic Race 2011

July 22, 2011

As “an extended adventurous voyage,” the odyssey that is the Transatlantic Race 2011 was a defining event in ocean racing, as well as in the lives of the sailors aboard the 26 competing yachts.  The race made history with the establishment of a new record – crossing 2,975 miles of ocean from Newport, R.I. to The Lizard on the south coast of England – and was the result of a successful collaboration between the Royal Yacht Squadron (founded in 1815), the New York Yacht Club (1844), the Royal Ocean Racing Club (1925) and the Storm Trysail Club (1938).

Transatlantic Race 2011 - Stunning horizon - Photo by Jeremy Smith

Transatlantic Race 2011 - Stunning horizon - Photo by Jeremy Smith

“This race will bring together generations, to build character and to reaffirm values,” said Commodore Robert C. Towse, Jr., during the send-off celebration held at New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse two days before the first yachts departed.  “The cold North Atlantic may test that purpose, but at The Lizard finish those boats and their crews will have earned one of the hardest of sailing distinctions.”

On June 26, cannon fire from the iconic Castle Hill Lighthouse signaled the beginning of the historic ocean adventure.  It was the first of three staggered starts, implemented so that yachts ranging in size from 40’ to 289’ would finish off The Lizard in close proximity to one another.  And, over the three weeks the yachts were at sea, thousands of armchair sailors were captivated by the drama as it unfolded.  Using state-of-the-art satellite communication systems, life onboard was beamed to a global audience as the competing yachts raced across the desolate North Atlantic.  An ice gate established by the Race Committee prevented the fleet from going too far north, but sea temperatures lower than 4º Celsius were recorded during the race and sea fog obscured the sun for days on end.

Transatlantic Race 2011 - Phaedo - Photo by Richard Langdon-Ocean Images

Transatlantic Race 2011 - Phaedo - Photo by Richard Langdon-Ocean Images

Representing 10 nations, the 26 entries were crewed by world-class professionals as well as Corinthian amateurs.  The youngest competitor was just 16 years of age, the oldest 80, and the yachts themselves were just as diverse.  The 289’ Maltese Falcon was nearly three times the length of any other participant and the fleet included maritime creations from high performance canting keel Maxis to pocket rocket Class 40s.  All 26 yachts entered were destined to finish but each has written a different story.

On June 26 the sunshine burned off the morning fog as the first start of the Transatlantic Race 2011 got underway with six of the smallest yachts beginning their journey across the Atlantic in champagne sailing conditions.  With four fathers and five sons onboard, local favorite Carina got away to a great start with Rives Potts, Jr. (Essex, Conn.) at the helm.  Within a few days, Carina had extended on the fleet by some by 400 miles.  Later in the race, however, an area of high pressure mid-Atlantic was to be their nemesis, as well as that of many others.

There was high drama for the second start of the Transatlantic Race 2011 on June 29.  With the 14 yachts on final approach and the breeze building, three boats were caught over early and were forced to turn back just as the mighty Maltese Falcon was bearing down on the line.  Announcing its intentions with a bone-rattling blast of air horns, the 289’ Perini Navi set sail for the open ocean.  Zaraffa made the best start as 80-year-old Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.) held the helm, hoping to emulate his Transatlantic win of 2003.  The second start was also notable for the inclusion of the Volvo 60 Ambersail, the first-ever Lithuanian yacht to compete in a Transatlantic Race.  “To see our flag flying at the New York Yacht Club was very special,” said skipper Simonas Steponavicius (Vilnius, Lithuania).   For the next few days the North Atlantic would fail to live up to its notorious reputation as light winds frustrated the 20 yachts taking on this North Atlantic odyssey.

Transatlantic Race 2011 - Photo Mark Lloyd

Transatlantic Race 2011 - Photo Mark Lloyd

“If we were looking to set an Atlantic record, we would choose to leave today,” said a smiling Peter Isler (San Diego, Calif.), navigator on Rambler 100, on the morning of July 3 as Newport was bathed in warm sunshine giving an indication he knew conditions were about to change.  A low-pressure system was sweeping across the Midwest, right on cue, to give the fastest boats in the Transatlantic Race 2011 a blistering start.  As if by magic, grey clouds rolled in as the Maxi fleet powered up in the starting area.  Beau Geste, skippered by Karl Kwok (Hong Kong) got away well and showed a clean pair of heels to the giants of world offshore racing.  It was not long, though, before the 100’ Maxis, ICAP Leopard, skippered by Clarke Murphy (New York, N.Y.), and Rambler 100, skippered by George David (Hartford, Conn.), caught up.  PUMA’s Mar Mostro, helmed by Ken Read (Newport, R.I.), and the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team’s Vanquish were the two smallest yachts in the class but their crews could not be more different:  Vanquish sailed by young sailors with little offshore experience, and Mar Mostro bristling with Volvo Ocean Race winners.  The PUMA was on the prowl and by the end of the race the black cat had caught its prey.

The 20 yachts that had preceded the high performance fleet had a significant head start, but it wasn’t long before Rambler 100 was running them down, ripping through the Atlantic swell at speeds in excess of 25 knots with PUMA’s Mar Mostro in hot pursuit.  Within three days, Rambler 100 was leading the entire fleet, but what was surprising was that ICAP Leopard was well off the pace.  It was July 4 when ICAP Leopard heard a big bang which, unfortunately for them, had nothing to do with celebrating America’s birthday.  The bowsprit had sheered off and the Leopard was badly wounded.  The crew rallied round and mitigated the danger of the carbon fibre spear smashing into the hull, but without the sprit, the chance for a race win was effectively over just 36 hours into the race.  Rambler 100 and PUMA’s Mar Mostro continued to power ahead as fast as the wind could carry them, and sometimes even faster.

2011 Transatlantic Race - Photo by Jeremy Smith

2011 Transatlantic Race - Photo by Jeremy Smith

By July 8, however, most of the fleet could not ride the weather system and soon would be languishing in the vacuum and turbulent waters left behind. Using guile and no less amount of skill, several yachts managed to escape the windless zone, including Zaraffa and Jazz, skippered by Nigel King (Lymington, U.K.).  Phaedo, the Gunboat 66 owned by Lloyd Thornburg (St. Barthelemy), managed to escape the clutches of the 1100-ton Maltese Falcon in the light air.  But it was a short-lived freedom as all, bar the leading boats, were entangled in the eerie calm that spread across the mid-Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Rambler and PUMA’s Mar Mostro were experiencing their defining moments of the race.  The wind was dying and the big decision was how to hook into another weather system which was slowly moving in from the north. The problem was how to get to it, judging where to cross the windless zone and to get onto the new pressure at the right angle.  It was like trying to jump onto a merry-go-round, and while Rambler 100 did a good job, PUMA was even better.

On Sunday, 10 July, at 16h 08m UTC, Rambler 100 was the first yacht to cross the finish line of the Transatlantic Race 2011.   The elapsed time for Rambler 100 was six days, 22 hours, eight minutes and two seconds. which established a new record for the 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, U.K.

“For the first 80 hours of this race we were ripping along,” said David at the finish.  “Towards the end we hit a few holes in the wind but we feel very happy about the time.  Crossing the Atlantic in under seven days is pretty exhilarating.  Kenny Read is about 100 miles behind us with his PUMA Team.  The odds are he is probably going to win the race on corrected time.”

Tranatlantic Race 2011 - Image Jeremy Smith

Tranatlantic Race 2011 - Image Jeremy Smith

David’s hunch was right.  PUMA’s Mar Mostro crossed the finish line at The Lizard at 05:40 UTC on July 11, and once calculations proved that none of the 24 yachts still racing could beat them on handicap, PUMA’s Mar Mostro was declared winner of IRC Class One and IRC Overall for the Transatlantic Race 2011.  And, even with a four-day head start, it would be more than 24 hours before another yacht would cross the finish line.  In time, Zaraffa, Phaedo and Jazz finished to claim well-deserved victory in their respective classes.

On July 15, more than a dozen yachts completed the race, providing some dramatic close encounters in a dash to the finish.  From IRC Class One, which took the final start of the Transatlantic Race 2011 on July 3, Beau Geste was followed eight minutes later by the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team’s Vanquish, and 13 minutes later, Sojana, the grand ketch skippered by Peter Harrison (Reigate, U.K.) had completed the race as well.

In IRC Class Two, Christoph Avenarius and Gorm Gondesen’s Shakti and Jens Kellinghausen’s Varuna had enjoyed a match race across the ocean.  The two Simon Rogers 46-footers, both based in Hamburg, Germany, had barely been out of sight of each other for 16 days.  Varuna was first to cross the line, with a mere three-minute lead, but Shakti won the duel on corrected time to claim second in class.  Prodigy, owned by Chris Frost (Durban, South Africa), was to finish less than an hour later to take fourth place overall.

In IRC Class Three, Ambersail became the second yacht to finish the race followed by Scho-ka-kola, skippered by Uwe Lubens (Hamburg, Germany), however, neither yacht was to make the class podium on corrected time.  The youth team on Norddeutsche Vermogen Hamburg had put in a stellar performance in the second half of the race, as did Snow Lion, skippered by former NYYC Commodore Lawrence Huntington (New York, N.Y.), to claim second and third, respectively, in the division. Ourson Rapide skippered by Paolo Roasenda (Vedano al Lambro, Italy) finished just before dawn to complete the race.

Tony Lawson’s Class 40 Concise 2, skippered by Ned Collier-Wakefield (Oxford, U.K.), had one of the best performances of any yacht in the early part of the race, putting an impressive 300-mile lead on their class rival, Dragon, skippered by Mike Hennessy (Mystic, Conn).  However, the mid-Atlantic doldrums wiped out their advantage as Dragon, sailing double-handed, not only caught Concise 2 but also passed the six-strong British youth team.  In a fight to the finish, Concise 2 managed to get ahead and take the line by less than half an hour.

All of the yachts in IRC Class Four finished the race on July 15.  Class line honors went to the oldest yacht in the race, Nordwind, the 86’ yawl skippered by Hans Albrecht (Germany).  Carina and British Soldier, crewed by members of the British Army, were engaged in a battle royal.  While Carina was well ahead on corrected time, it did not stop the two yachts having a close-reaching duel through the night — within touching distance of each other.  British Soldier won the race to the line by less than a minute, an astounding finish after nearly three weeks at sea, and while Carina looked likely to win Class IRC Four on corrected time, their hopes were about to be dashed.  Before the day was out, Dawn Star, co-skippered by Bill Hubbard and his son Will Hubbard (both New York, N.Y.), finished The Transatlantic Race to claim the class victory by less than an hour.  Jacqueline IV, the McCurdy & Rhodes 42′ skippered by Robert Forman (Bay Shore, N.Y.), finished the following day to beat British Soldier on corrected time and claim third in class.

As the last yacht to finish, Sasha, skippered by Albrecht and Erika Peters (Munich, Germany), experienced the roughest weather conditions of any yacht in the race.  As they approached The Lizard a storm took hold in the Western Approaches with very high waves with overhanging crests, large patches of foam turning the sea white with rage, and large amounts of airborne spray, which dramatically reduced visibility.

After 22 days at sea, Sasha came screaming through the finish line in a dramatic conclusion to the Transatlantic Race 2011.  With all yachts and sailors safe in port, there is now time to reflect: on the incredible record set by Rambler 100; the bonds forged while racing across the North Atlantic; and the lessons of dedication and courage that every valiant soul that completed the challenge will value forever.

Transatlantic Race 2011: A Great First Day onboard Superyacht Maltese Falcon

July 01, 2011

The 289ft Perini Navi designed superyacht Maltese Falcon which is one of the largest privately-owned sailboats in the world had a fantastic start to the 2011 Transatlantic Race on the 29th of June, as described in Jeremy Smith’s blog, a Deckhand onboard sailing yacht Maltese Falcon.

Transatlantic Race 2011 A Great First Day onboard Superyacht Maltese Falcon

Transatlantic Race 2011 A Great First Day onboard Superyacht Maltese Falcon

“Yesterday afternoon, we had a fantastic start for the Transatlantic Race 2011. We were thrilled to see so many yachts and spectators come out to see us off! We started against Phaedo, the orange 66′ Gunboat catamaran, and they managed to sneak in front of us for now. After all, they weigh less than just one of our three rigs! Luckily, they aren’t too far ahead and we still have plenty of time to try and catch them. As of 1945 EST, S/Y Jazz is just off our starboard bow.

Transatlantic Race 2011: A Great First Day onboard Superyacht Maltese Falcon

Transatlantic Race 2011: A Great First Day onboard Superyacht Maltese Falcon

We had a great first 24 hours, covering about 320 nm with an average speed of 13.3kts, with 15-20kt winds and pretty flat seas. We have seen several whales and a few dolphins, and everybody is adjusting well to our life at sea.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress!”

Jeremy Smith
Deckhand

Phaedo and Maltese Falcon at the Transatlantic yacht race 2011 - Richard Langdon

Phaedo and Maltese Falcon at the Transatlantic yacht race 2011 - Richard Langdon

The Transatlantic Race 2011 – A Start 2 Preview

June 29, 2011

Newport, R.I. USA – Having cheered on the first six yachts when they departed on the Transatlantic Race 2011 two days ago, the 14-strong group of yachts that will take the second of the three staggered starts now have less than 24 hours until they begin the race across the North Atlantic for themselves.  The warning signal at 13:50 Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, June 29, will cue the largest group of yachts to depart, including the show-stopping Maltese Falcon, and spectators are guaranteed to see a unique sailing spectacle when the cannon is fired at Castle Hill Light.

The start of the race

The start of the race

Without doubt, tomorrow’s start will feature the most diverse battle of the race.  The Open Class has just two yachts, but they are two of the showiest yachts in the race.  Maltese Falcon, at 289’, is the largest yacht competing and is up against the only multihull entered in the race, Phaedo, the Gunboat 66 owned by Lloyd Thornburg (St. Barthelemy).  The Lamborghini-orange catamaran and the futuristic Perini Navi will be a spectacular sight as they head off into the Atlantic.

In IRC Class Two, Jazz, a Cookson 50, has a star-studded crew including the highly experienced navigator, Mike Broughton (Hamble, U.K.), and skipper, Nigel King (Lymington, U.K.).  Unfortunately, due to family commitments, owner Chris Bull is unable to make the trip.  Two German teams on nearly identical yachts will also go head-to-head in the class:  Christoph Avenarius and Gorm Gondesen’s Shakti and Jens Kellinghusen’s Varuna should virtually match race across the North Atlantic.

Chris Bull's Jazz Rolex Sydney Hobart 2010/Carlo Borlenghi

Chris Bull's Jazz Rolex Sydney Hobart 2010/Carlo Borlenghi

IRC Class Three will feature six yachts, including Snow Lion, the Ker 50 owned by former NYYC Commodore Lawrence Huntington (New York, N.Y.).  Snow Lion is a proven winner, having won her class in the Newport Bermuda Race, and should be highly competitive on corrected time.  There are, however, some real fliers in this class, not the least of which is Zaraffa, the Reichel Pugh 65 owned by Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.), whose crew includes several veterans of the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.  The Volvo 60 Ambersail, skippered by Simonas Steponavicius (Vilnius, Lithuania), is a much-travelled yacht having logged over 100,000 miles since being purchased in 2008 to celebrate a thousand years of Lithuanian history. After sailing around the world, Ambersail took part in the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, winning class honors and placing second overall.

The youth entry from Germany, Norddeutsche Vermoegen Hamburg, will be helmed by Eike Holst whose third Transatlantic Race will be his first as skipper.  And while the majority of the team aboard the Andrews 57 are university students in their 20s, two of the crew are just 18 years old.  Many of sailors in the race were introduced to the sport as a family activity, which means the parents of these sailors, in particular, have a degree of understanding and ease with the undertaking at hand.  That was not the case for Jerome Vigne, the Parisian-born mechanical engineering student who will have a very relieved mother welcoming him home to Germany.

Yacht Vanquish

Yacht Vanquish

Blending a comfortable interior with the performance of an Open 60 is Ourson Rapide, the Finot-Conq 60 owned by Paolo Roasenda (Vedano al Lambro, Italy).  This is a special boat that should have a dream-like ride downwind.  Scho-ka-kola, named for the German chocolate confection, is a Reichel Pugh 56 owned by Uwe Lebens (Hamburg) that has completed two previous Atlantic crossings.

Prodigy, a Simonis/Voog 54, is a proven winner.  Owner Chris Frost (Durban, South Africa) took line honors in the 2011 Heineken Cape to Rio Race and will compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race, as well as the Rolex Middle Sea Race, as part of a year-long campaign.  Of the 10 crew on Prodigy, two – including Aaron Gillespie (Butler, N.J.) and John Fryer (New York, N.Y.) – were recruited by Frost using the “Crew Finder” feature on the event’s website.  It will be Gillespie’s first Transatlantic crossing.

The two smallest yachts in start two are both Class 40s: Dragon and Concise 2, the latter skippered by Ned Collier-Wakefield (Oxford, U.K.).   Tony Lawson (Haslemere, Surrey, U.K.) assembled a crew of young aspiring sailors from Great Britain to make up Team Concise.  The team has become a force to be reckoned with having won the 2009 Class 40 World Championship, set a world record for the Round Britain and Ireland course and taken class honors at the RORC Caribbean 600 for the last three years.

Right whale

Right whale

Dragon is the only boat racing across the Atlantic double-handed. Owner Michael Hennessy (Mystic, Conn.) has been an avid sailor ever since introduced to the sport by his father at the age of four on San Francisco Bay.  Following college, Hennessy logged thousands of miles cruising along the New England coast before he started to focus on short-handed distance racing in 2002.  Since then he has competed in four Newport Bermuda Races, as well as dozens of other races across New England.  In 2008 he took notice of the fast growing Class 40 fleet and took delivery of his Owen Clarke-designed boat. In just two short years, Dragon has become a fixture on the ocean racing circuit.  Joining Hennessy will be co-skippered Rob Windsor (East Northport, N.Y.) who grew up sailing with his family on Long Island Sound.

Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi and Peters & May, with additional support by apparel sponsor Atlantis Weathergear.

The First Six yachts:

After two nights at sea, Robert Foreman’s Hinkley 42, Jacqueline IV, leads on the water and after time correction.  However, having completed over 50,000 miles of ocean sailing, the highly experienced owner, who hails from Bayshore, N.Y., knows that this is a marathon not a sprint.

Yacht Nordwind

Yacht Nordwind

One of the principle keys to success in the Transatlantic Race 2011 will be predicting the weather and reacting in the correct way to maximize that knowledge.  The crew aboard Dawn Star blogged that light winds are expected today which may account for their move north of the rhumb line.  The C&C 46, skippered by William Hubbard III and William Hubbard IV (both N.Y., N.Y.), may well be trying to get to the thermal wind activity that could be found off the coast of Maine and Nova Scotia.  This move was not possible earlier in the race due to a “no-go” zone put in place by the race committee to protect the right whale feeding area.

With only 400 in existence, the North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis, which means whale of the ice) are among the most endangered whales in the world and are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.  Vessel strikes and entanglement in fixed fishing gear are the two greatest threats to their recovery.  The crew aboard the Army Sailing Association’s British Soldier reported spotting a glimpse of a whale in their blog.  Hopefully there will be more sightings of these rare creatures.

Twenty-four hours after the first start of the Transatlantic Race 2011 and all six yachts are now into the open ocean and sailing off the breeze.  The first night at sea was a calm affair, a gentle introduction to the North Atlantic where there was only a slight sea state as the breeze has continued to be light but from the north.  With conditions fresher to the south, all six yachts are now below the rhumb line.
One hundred miles into the Atlantic, William N. Hubbard, owner of Dawn Star, sent an update from the racecourse by satellite link.

“To start our voyage off, a short ceremony was held in the cockpit and a tot of rum was poured over the side to toast Old Man Neptune, who we hope will speed us to the finish ahead of our competition.  Weeks of preparation are now behind us and the only task at hand is to sail the boat as hard and as best as we can for the next few weeks.”

The 86’ classic Nordwind, owned by Hans Albrecht, made an early move south and is now 50 miles south of the rest of the pack and is cracking along on a beam reach using every inch of its waterline.  Sailing a beautiful wooden boat in glorious sunshine, heading out to sea must be an exhilarating feeling.  Tactically, Nordwind looks to be taking advantage of the Gulf Stream, the northern branch of which usually extends to 40º North, and Nordwind seems to have altered course to the east at that juncture.  With peak velocities near six feet per second, the Gulf Stream is the fastest ocean current in the world.  Multiply that by Nordwind’s waterline and the additional miles travelled to get there pale into insignificance.

cocktails

cocktails

Further north, Nick Bates’s British Soldier and Rives Potts’s Carina are already locked in a close duel.  At around midday Eastern Daylight Time, Carina gybed north to take up a position to weather of British Soldier.  It has been an excellent 24-hour run for the seven crew on Robert Foreman’s Jacqueline IV as well.  For yesterday’s start, Foreman’s daughter, Kara, had the helm of the Hinckley 42.  Built in 1996, Jacqueline IV is a proven ocean going competitor, completing the Newport Bermuda Race no less than 11 times.

Meanwhile, back on dry land, the Newport Shipyard has another magnificent resident.  Peter Harrison’s 115’ Farr designed ketch, Sojana, arrived last night from Antigua.  “It took us seven days and it was one of the easiest deliveries we have had,” said Sojana’s Captain Marc Fitzgerald.  “No bad weather save a spectacular lightning storm on one night.”

Transatlantic Race 2011: Perini Navi Sailing Yacht Maltese Falcon largest in fleet

June 16, 2011

The extremes of crossing the Atlantic Ocean will be experienced very differently by crews on the longest and shortest yachts competing in the upcoming Transatlantic Race 2011 (TR 2011).  This adventure challenge, which aims to add 2,975 nautical miles to its participants’ log books, is co-organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club.  The TR 2011 starts off Castle Hill in Newport, R.I. (on Sunday, June 26; Wednesday, June 29; and Sunday, July 3) and expects to greet its first finisher off Lizard Point in South Cornwall (UK) sometime in mid-July, depending on many things, not the least of which are the lengths of the boats making the crossing.

The 289-foot Maltese Falcon (shown here sailing in New York) will be the largest yacht in the 2,975 nm Transatlantic Race 2011.

The 289-foot Maltese Falcon (shown here sailing in New York) will be the largest yacht in the 2,975 nm Transatlantic Race 2011.

On the one hand there is the  Perini Navi designed sailing yacht Maltese Falcon, at 289 feet, one of the largest privately-owned sailboats in the world.  On the other there are two Class 40s, which at 40 feet are specially designed for short-handed offshore and coastal racing.  These extremes are punctuated by the fact that Maltese Falcon looks every bit the world cruiser, with stem-to-stern luxury incorporated into its design, while the Class 40s seem relatively stark–even like dinghies–in comparison. But each team at either end of the spectrum has its reasons for undertaking the TR2011 challenge, and each team intends to succeed, if not win.

“The experience of sailing on Maltese Falcon is incredible,” said the boat’s longtime captain Chris Gartner (Antibes, France). “Since there is no other boat in the world like it, it’s really a one-off. Every time I go sailing on her and we get her wound up, I’m almost in awe just looking up at the rigs.”

The yacht’s three self-standing and rotating carbon fiber masts, which carry 15 sails with a combined sail area the size of three and a half tennis courts (25,833 square feet), are of such an imposing height–190 feet, in fact—that recent visitors to Newport have experienced “the Falcon” at almost eye level as they’ve crossed the 206’ high Claiborne Pell Bridge, which serves as the gateway to Narragansett Bay and its adjacent Newport Harbor.

With its long waterline and such magnificent sail power, Gartner thinks superyacht Maltese Falcon has a good chance to win, but “it’s hit or miss with the weather,” he says.  “If we get good pressure coming up behind us and we stay with it, we could finish this race nicely.”

Gartner added that logging 500-mile days would make Maltese Falcon’s voyage about six days, but longer is more likely. “If we do it in less than 12, I would be very happy,” he said, noting that the World Sailing Speed Record Council will ratify a new Newport to Lizard Point race record based on the fastest yacht’s elapsed time.

And while S/Y Maltese Falcon will be dry and comfortable, and sailing with a large crew, the two Class 40s will be roughing it with minimum comfort, eating freeze-dried food and sailing with anywhere from two to six onboard.

Team Concise was set up four years ago by owner Tony Lawson (Haslemere, UK) specifically to encourage and develop young British offshore sailors and will be entered in the TR 2011’s challenge for the Youth Trophy.  His team of six (the maximum for the Class 40) will be skippered by Ned Collier-Wakefield (Oxford, UK).

“We sail six-up when allowed simply to give the largest number of young sailors a chance to do these big races,” said Lawson, explaining that the Class 40, built to a box rule and considered the world’s fastest growing offshore class, is designed for short-handed sailing, but several of the events on the class’s calendar are fully crewed. “So far, Concise teams have won the Class 40 World Championships, broken the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race record for a 40-foot boat, and twice set a new Class 40 course record at the RORC Caribbean 600.”

Sailing yacht Dragon, at 40 feet, will be the shortest yacht competing in the Transatlantic Race 2011 and will be sailed by a crew of two. Credit Billy Black

Sailing yacht Dragon, at 40 feet, will be the shortest yacht competing in the Transatlantic Race 2011 and will be sailed by a crew of two. Credit Billy Black

Sailing double-handed in the Class 40 division will be Michael Hennessey  (Mystic, Conn.) on Dragon.

“Just me and one other guy (co-skipper Rob Windsor) – less people to get along with,” joked Hennessey, adding seriously, “We’ll be on deck at the same time for sail changes, but otherwise it’s typically two hours on, two hours off.”

Hennessey was encouraged that in April of this year a Class 40, skippered by Eric Defert, sailed from Ambrose Light (off Sandy Hook, NJ) to Lizard Point (a distance of 2880 miles) in 11 days and 11 hours.

“That sort of sets the benchmark at the bottom end of the range; however, Eric was able to pick his weather system,” said Hennessey.  “I would be thrilled with anything less than 12 days. I’m realistically expecting 13 to 14 days, and upper end who knows? It’s up to the weather gods.” As for plotting Dragon’s course relative to the rest of the fleet scheduled for the June 29 start (that includes Maltese Falcon), Hennessey said, “We’ll be most conscious of where Concise 2 is, as she is our pace horse, if you will. For the rest of the fleet, I think it really depends on how the IRC (handicap rating) spread looks.”

There are 26 entries sailing in the TR 2011, with the U.S. fielding 10 teams, Germany six, the UK four, and South Africa, St. Barth’s, Italy, Monaco, China and Lithuania one each. The yachts will be tracked with Yellowbrick Trackers, self contained units that transmit the position of each boat at regular intervals using GPS and Iridium (a global satellite phone network). Synchronized position reports will be available to the public by using the Race Player Application at the www.transatlantic.org website, where regular race reports will appear and Facebook and Twitter accounts are linked.  As well, throughout their journeys, many of the boats will be posting blogs and sending back photos and videos to the race website, so race fans can be further assured of an up-close and personal experience with the teams and the racing action.

Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi, and Peters & May.

TR 2011 Roster of Entries

Yacht Name, Skipper, Hometown

Ambersail, Simonas Steponavicius, Vilnius, Lithuania
Beau Geste, Karl Kwok, Hong Kong, China
British Soldier, Lt. Col. Nick Bate, Falmouth, Cornwall, U.K.
Carina, Rives Potts, Essex, Conn., USA
Concise 2, Ned Collier-Wakefield, Oxford, U.K.
Dawn Star, William N. Hubbard III /William N. Hubbard IV, both New York, N.Y., USA
Dragon, Michael Hennessy, Mystic, Conn., USA 
ICAP Leopard, Clarke Murphy, New York, N.Y., USA
Jaqueline IV, Robert Forman, Bay Shore, N.Y., USA
Jazz, Nigel King, East London, U.K.
 S/Y Maltese Falcon, Elena Ambrosiadou, Monaco
Norddeutcshe Vermoegen Hamburg, Eike Holst , Hamburg, Germany
Nordwind, Hans Albrecht, Munich, Germany
Ourson Rapide, Paolo Roasenda, Vedano al Lambro, Italy
Phaedo, Lloyd Thornburg, St. Barthelemy
Prodigy, Chris Frost, Durban, South Africa
PUMA Ocean Racing mar mostro, Ken Read, Newport, R.I., USA
Rambler 100, George David, Hartford, Conn., USA
Sasha, Albrecht Peters, Hamburg, Germany 
Scho-ka-kola, Uwe Lebens, Hamburg, Germany 
Shakti, Christoph Avenarius / Gorm Iver Gondesen, Hamburg, Germany / Flensburg, Germany
Snow Lion, Lawrence Huntington, New York, N.Y., USA
Sailing yacht Sojana, Peter Harrison, U.K.
Vanquish, USMMA Oakcliff All American Offshore Team, Kings Point, N.Y., USA
Varuna, Jens Kellinghausen, Hamburg, Germany
Zaraffa, Huntington Sheldon, M.D., Shelburne, Vt., USA