Transatlantic Race Brief

Transatlantic Race Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

New monohull 24 hour distance record set by striking 100ft Supermaxi Yacht COMANCHE by Hodgdon Yachts

July 14, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The striking 100-foot supermaxi yacht COMANCHE by Hodgdon Yachts has set a new monohull 24 hour distance record at the 2015 Transatlantic Race. The record of superyacht COMANCHE is still to ratified off the boats tracker by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC).

100ft sailing superyacht COMANCHE by Hodgdon Yachts at full speed

100ft sailing superyacht COMANCHE by Hodgdon Yachts at full speed

Update off COMANCHE yacht from Ken Read: “What started off as a very frustrating light air Transatlantic Race 2015 has turned to gold for all of us aboard Hodgdon’s 100 foot super-maxi Comanche. Approximately 1300 miles out of Newport, Rhode Island in the North Atlantic we set up underneath an approaching low pressure. We’ve had a phenomenal stretch of strong wind and reasonably flat sea which has propelled us to what we believe is a new record for the greatest distance covered by a monohull in a single 24-hour period.”

The previous 24-hour monohull distance record was set by Ericsson 4 in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 race. They covered 596,6 nautical miles during Leg 1 between Alicante, Spain and Cape Town, South Africa with an average speed of 24,85 knots.

“We believe the distance will be at least 620 nautical miles. Hodgdon Comanche is still on the same course and the distance could still grow as the record calculation is made off the most miles in 24 hours. We are currently going faster now than we were at the start of the run,” added Ken Read.  

New Supermaxi Yachts to Battle For Line Honors in Transatlantic Race 2015

December 09, 2014

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The Transatlantic Race 2015 will kick off from Newport in Rhode Island in late June and early July of 2015 and finish some 2,800 miles away, off the southwestern tip of England. The race, which was last sailed in 2011, is being run by the Royal Yacht Squadron and New York Yacht Club, in partnership with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and Storm Trysail Club.

Jim Clark’s 100-foot supermaxi yacht Comanche off Newport, Rhode Island

Jim Clark’s 100-foot supermaxi yacht Comanche off Newport, Rhode Island - Photo by Onne van der Wal 2014

As the skipper of two successful race boats named sailing yacht Rambler 90 and superyacht Rambler 100, respectively—George David has been the favorite for line honors in most of the long-distance yacht races he has entered during the past decade. But this will change next July when David skippers his third Rambler, a soon-to-be-launched 88-footer, in the Transatlantic Race 2015. The boat could well be faster than either of his two previous yachts. But, in terms of raw speed across a range of conditions, David’s boat will find itself looking up at Jim Clark’s 100-foot superyacht Comanche, which will be skippered by two-time Volvo Ocean Race skipper Ken Read.

This time, as David notes with a smile, “We’re the little boat.”

An international field of more than 50 boats from 40 to 290 feet in length is expected to take part in the 2015 race. A handicapping system will afford each yacht, regardless of speed potential, the opportunity to compete for overall honors.

“The fleet is more than double what we had in 2011 race, and there are plenty of high-profile competitors,” says David, who is also serving as the co-chairman for the event. “An ocean race such as this spreads the fleet out over multiple weather systems. Anyone can win.”

Distance races usually recognize two winners: the one who has the fastest corrected time and the one that sails the course in the shortest elapsed time. Comanche was built with only the latter goal in focus.

“Comanche was designed to leverage advanced technology in monohull boat design, and hopefully break some records with the result,” says Clark. “If it’s successful, we hope to hold these records until someone builds a better boat with later technology. The design is pretty radical, very powerful.”

This is not the case for Rambler, says David: “We’re paying attention to two things: speed through the water and results on handicap. The new Rambler has been optimized for IRC [a rating rule that will be utilized by the race] and that’s one reason we like having 12 less feet of waterline length.”

Crews of both boats are in for a wild ride. The North Atlantic is one of the toughest stretches of ocean to cross, and the Transatlantic Race 2015 is one of the most daunting races on the grand prix yachting circuit. Read, who has twice rounded the fabled Cape Horn during the Volvo Ocean Race, was unequivocal in his assessment of the challenge of sailing the modern breed of no-holds-barred raceboats.

“This is not a ‘been there, done this before’ boat,” says Read, the president of North Sails. “Comanche is out there. It’s going to scare the crap out of you. Then there will be times when you’ve got the biggest smile on your face, and a lot of time somewhere in between. This is definitely a little different. It’s not a 50-knot flying multihull in San Francisco Bay, but it might be a monohull equivalent to that.”

With the potential to exceed 40 knots of boatspeed in the right conditions, these yachts are often sailed on the edge of control. Aside from keeping the sailors and boat in one piece, a crew that knows when to push, and how hard, is the key to victory.

“The ability to have good group of guys that can let the boat do its thing, unless we’re sailing in conditions where it needs to be held back, is crucial,” says Read. “Comanche is no different from any other boat, people make it by making the design, engineering and sailing decisions, and deciding how to position it relative to the other boats. It’s an amazing tool, but at the end the day it’s all about people.”

For David [center, with some of his line-honors-winning crew from the 2011 Transatlantic Race], successfully campaigning a boat like Rambler shares much in common with the business world. “You have all the same elements: organization, planning, people, design, strategy and tactics, and the rules,” says David. “But in business, it can take years before you see the outcomes. In a boat race, you win or lose in a much shorter time frame. It’s like a year in business compressed into a couple of days.”

With a lot of seawater, adrenaline and sleep deprivation thrown into the mix.

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

December 13, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

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

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

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.

Six maxis and superyachts participating in the Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Regatta 2012

November 27, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

A total number of six maxis and superyachts taking part in the Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Regatta 2012 crossed the starting line off Santa Cruz de Tenerife at 1 p.m. (UTC) yesterday. During the fifth edition of the race, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda as well as the International Maxi Association (IMA), the fleet of sailing giants will cruise around 2700 miles to reach the finish line in British Virgin Gorda where the YCCS has its winter Clubhouse.

55m sailing yacht Shenandoah of Sark at the start of the race - Photo credit Juan Ruiz

55m sailing yacht Shenandoah of Sark at the start of the race - Photo credit: Juan Ruiz

The passage under sail usually takes from 10 to 16 days if the north-east trade winds collaborate, although the course record was set by last year’s line honours winner, superyacht Hetairos, in just under 8 days and 11 hours.

Live tracking is available on both the YCCS website and the IMA website. Live tracking will show each yacht’s progress in real time while links to several of the boats’ individual blogs covering the regatta are published on both the IMA & YCCS websites.

Racing got underway yesterday in 26 to 28 knots of north/north-westerly winds. Only the 55m superyacht Shenandoah of Sark headed south of the island of Tenerife, while the rest of the fleet left the island to port. The race start, set against the backdrop of the Santiago de Calatrava Auditorium and the island’s volcanic peak Pico de La Teide, was a sight to behold thanks to the dimensions of some of the competing yachts – such as the beautiful 55-metre triple-masted gaff schooner Shenandoah of Sark, and the two supermaxis, charter yacht Sojana and sailing yacht Nilaya, respectively a 35-metre Farr 115 and a 32-metre Reichel/Pugh 112. Nilaya was also first to the weather mark.

The fleet also includes two maxi racer/cruisers (the Southern Wind 100 superyacht Cape Arrow, and the 92-foot Med Spirit). Rounding off the lineup is the maxi racer Farr 100 charter yacht Leopard 3, a highly competitive entry with Niklas Zennström at the helm.

Sail Yacht LEOPARD 3 -  Main

Sail Yacht LEOPARD 3 - Main

Trophies will be awarded at the prize giving ceremony scheduled to take place at the latest on December 12 in Virgin Gorda. The YCCS Virgin Gorda Clubhouse was officially inaugurated last January, while the purpose-built YCCS Marina has been operational since March 2011.

Southern Wind Launches New SWS Blog Community

November 23, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The prominent South African luxury yacht builder, Southern Wind, is delighted to present the launch of the new SWS Blog Community. Some of SWS owners as well as crew are happy to share their Blue Water Experiences and invite all the enthusiastic sailors or simply passionate to follow them through their yachts blogs.

SW 100 RS superyacht Cape Arrow by Southern Wind

SW 100 RS superyacht Cape Arrow by Southern Wind

The SWS blogs community will also christen Cape Arrow superyacht‘s sailing blog. Cape Arrow will leave from Tenerife on November 26th competing in the Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta. Captain Andrea Balzarini and crew invite everybody to stay tuned on the yacht’s sailing blog and to track Cape Arrow Atlantic crossing as well as her next destinations and regattas.

IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Vérandas´ mast broken

November 04, 2011

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Around 0330hrs (UTC/GMT) this Friday morning skipper Arnaud Boissières confirmed that the mast of their IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Vérandas had broken some 270 miles WNW of the Breton peninsula. The duo had been in ninth place in the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed Transatlantic race which started at Le Havre, France on Wednesday.

IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Veradas

IMOCA Open 60 sailing yacht Akena Vérandas

Arnaud Boissières reported that both he and Akena Vérandas yacht’s co-skipper Gérald Veniard were uninjured. The mast is said to have broken in several places and the duo have managed to retain only a deck spreader, the boom and a short piece of tube. They are making progress towards the French coast around 2.5 kts. “We are not hurt other than our pride. There was a very large crack. It was as if we had hit a cliff at ten knots. The mast is broken in several places.” Reported Boissieres to his team early this morning.

Transatlantic Race 2011 Winners Take a Bow

August 15, 2011

Written by Chelsea Smith

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

Written by Chelsea Smith

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

Written by Eva Belanyiova

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.