2016 NEWPORT CHARTER YACHT SHOW – ONLINE REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Charter Brokers, Agents and Marine Industry Professionals are invited to
participate in the only trade- focused show in the United States, June 21-24, 2016

NEWPORT, R.I. (February 16, 2016) – Online registration for the 2016 Newport Charter Yacht Show, which will be held at its new location at Newport Shipyard in downtown Newport, R.I., is now open: www.NewportCharterShow.com. Dates for the four-day event, which welcomes registered and credentialed industry professionals who represent clients interested in chartering a luxury yacht in New England, are June 21-24, 2016. The Newport Charter Show is the only one of its kind in the U.S. and will feature an exquisite collection of world-class yachts for charter.

 photo: © Billy Black

photo: © Billy Black

“People in the Northeast live for the warm summer months so it isn’t surprising when boat owners and charter guests who experience a New England summer for the first time want to return season after season,” said Sandy Carney (Newport, R.I.), a Charter Yacht Agent for Sanderson Yachting. “Newport is the sailing capital of the U.S., and with this summer overflowing with events and regattas, including the 50th anniversary of the Newport to Bermuda Race; the Candy Store Cup, a superyacht regatta based at Newport Shipyard from July 29-31, 2016; and many more, thousands of yacht enthusiasts – both motor and sail – are heading to Newport.”

Participating yachts – ranging in size from 80 feet up to 225+ feet – will be available for tours dockside at Newport Shipyard, 1 Washington Street. Show attendees will enjoy a variety of shore side exhibits and activities including festive social gatherings and a themed “yacht hop” where captains and crew on participating vessels serve guests signature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

“The experience of chartering a yacht for vacation is really second to none," said Jennifer Saia of B&B Yacht Charters, who has been a Charter Specialist and business owner for over 26 years. “Being on the water on a private yacht with family and friends really allows you to escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy coveted time away from work, school, and busy everyday life,” Saia said. “The charter industry continues to grow in North America and with a trade-only event like the Newport Charter Show, brokers and agents have the opportunity to do our research and meet captains and crew who will make our guest’s charter experience exemplary. I am excited about the Newport Charter Show’s new location at Newport Shipyard, it should add a fun new atmosphere and be very appealing for brokers, agents, sponsors, and vendors,” Saia concluded.

 photo: © Billy Black

photo: © Billy Black

Culinary Competitions and Tablescaping Challenge
Chefs and interior crew aboard participating yachts will add zest to the show on Tuesday, June 21st, Wednesday, June 22nd, and Thursday, June 23rd when they contend head-to-head in three culinary competitions and a tablescaping challenge. Organized by Winnie DeCoster of Captains’ Concierge, details regarding this year’s culinary theme can be found online: http://goo.gl/qwcMOg

Industry Focused Seminars
On Thursday, June 23rd, the American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA) will host its Annual “Signature” Educational and Informative Seminar from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. The AYCA PR Committee is actively working on the topics, speakers, and sponsors. Interested parties should contact PR Chairperson, Jennifer M. Saia, jennifer@bnbyachtcharters.com, 401-619-1210.

Registration - Discounts are in place for yachts, brokers and agents who register prior to April 1st. Register online at: http://goo.gl/SxPUVI

Hotel Block - A specially discounted room block is available to show attendees at the Newport Marriott (walking distance to the show site), which offers a rate of $259/night (double occupancy). The number of rooms is limited, so book early at http://goo.gl/Q1V593, 1-800-228-9290 (toll free), 401-849-1000 (local). When making the reservation by phone, reference the Newport Charter Yacht Show.

Exhibiting & Sponsoring - For information on exhibiting, contact Veronica Brown, Show Manager, Newport Shipyard, +1 401 846 6000, veronica@newportshipyard.com.

For information on sponsorship opportunities, please visit http://www.newportchartershow.com or contact Veronica Brown, Show Manager, Newport Shipyard, +1 401 846 6000, veronica@newportshipyard.com.  

Connect on Social Media, ‘Like’ Newport Charter Yacht Show on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/newportchartershow) and/or ‘Follow Us’ on Twitter (https://twitter.com/CharterYachtsRI).

Newport Shipyard, owner and producer of the 2016 Newport Charter Yacht Show, is also host to many other prestigious yachting events including the biennial Newport to Bermuda Race Crew Party and the Candy Store Cup (formerly the Newport Bucket), an annual superyacht regatta to be held July 29-31, 2016. Newport Shipyard is a full-service marina and shipyard with over 3,500 linear feet of dock space that can accommodate yachts up to 300+ feet LOA. Newport Shipyard owns and operates three Marine Travelifts, one of the which (500 MT) is the largest lift in New England. One of the most popular and recommended shipyards in the USA, Newport Shipyard offers many amenities to captains and crew including: dockside café, ship store, fitness center, courtesy vehicles, crew housing and more. To capture the complete Newport Shipyard experience, visit: www.NewportShipyard.com

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NEWPORT SHIPYARD ACQUIRES NEWPORT CHARTER YACHT SHOW

Charter Show moves from Newport Yachting Center to Newport Shipyard and will be held June 21-24, 2016

Newport, Rhode Island, USA (November 18, 2015) – Newport Shipyard General Manager Eli Dana announced today that Newport Shipyard has acquired the Newport Charter Yacht Show from Newport Exhibition Group. “We are very pleased to announce that the 2016 Newport Charter Show will be managed and hosted by our team at Newport Shipyard. We will work closely with the Newport Exhibition Group for a smooth transition and look forward to executing a well-run event for many years to come,” Dana said.

 Newport Charter Yacht Show will be held June 21-24, 2016 at Newport Shipyard. Photo ©Billy Black

Newport Charter Yacht Show will be held June 21-24, 2016 at Newport Shipyard. Photo ©Billy Black

The 2016 Newport Charter Show, which will be held June 21-24, 2016, has been managed by Newport Exhibition Group for four years and showcases luxury charter yachts alongside a display of related goods and services for the charter industry. “We felt Newport Shipyard was the natural fit for the long term growth of the show,” said Nancy Piffard, Show Director of Newport Exhibition Group. “The amount of dock space, services, and amenities that Newport Shipyard offers lends itself to the larger yacht industry,” Piffard said. “Transfer of the Charter Show will also provide us the opportunity to focus on the Newport International Boat Show, which takes place annually in September. We are confident that the Newport Charter Show will thrive in its new home,” she concluded.

“We have been a proud supporter and sponsor of the Newport Charter Show for the last four years and we are excited to take ownership of an event that Nancy and her team at Newport Exhibition Group have grown and perfected since 2012,” Dana said. “We plan to carry on many show features that the Newport Exhibition Group started including chef competitions and tablescape contests, which brings the attendees together in a casual and fun environment,” Dana said. “We plan to have vendors on site throughout the show and we will work closely with sponsors, captains, crew, vendors and charter brokers to be sure this perennial show continues to thrive here in Newport,” he concluded.

Stay tuned to www.NewportShipyard.com and www.NewportCharterShow.com for more information.

Newport Shipyard Contacts:

Eli Dana, General Manager
Newport Shipyard
401-846-6000 (o)
401-662-1081 (m)
eli@newportshipyard.com

Mindy Gregson, Dock Master
Newport Shipyard
401-846-6002 (o)
mindy@newportshipyard.com

Veronica Brown, Event Coordinator
Newport Shipyard
401-855-0945 (m)
veronica@newportshipyard.com

###

About Newport Shipyard:

As a yachting destination, Newport is hard to beat. The beautiful harbor, lively regatta circuit, charming town life and central location ensure that "America's Sailing Capital" lives up to its billing every summer. At the center of the action is Newport Shipyard. With the biggest lifts, cleanest facilities, and the most dock space in town - as well as a full-service yard, ship store, restaurant and fitness center all right on the harbor front - Newport Shipyard has become New England's Yachting Hub, attracting the best boats on the East Coast. Find out more at: www.NewportShipyard.com

Photo ©: Billy Black

 

Albury Brothers Boats Opens Newport Shipyard Office

RIVIERA BEACH, FL   August 25, 2015 -  To better serve clients in the Northeast, Albury Brothers is opening an office at Newport Shipyard and Marina, in Newport, Rhode Island.  This office opens in September, coinciding with the annual Newport Boat and Brokerage Shows.   

To inaugurate this new location, an Albury Brothers 27 will make the voyage from Sandy Hook, NJ to Newport, RI on Friday September 4.  This boat is available for inspection or sea trial all along the route, and in Narragansett Bay during Labor Day weekend.  She will remain on display at Shipyard through September.  The Newport office will be staffed on a seasonal, part time, basis.

 An Albury Brothers 27 will come from Sandy Hook, NJ to Newport, RI on September 5th

An Albury Brothers 27 will come from Sandy Hook, NJ to Newport, RI on September 5th

Jeff Lichterman, President of Albury Brothers said, “We are excited and pleased to have this opportunity. Our boats have a nice following from Marblehead and Maine, through Shelter Island and the Hamptons. Having a central location in Newport, especially at the fabulous Shipyard, will allow prospective clients to inspect and sea trial our boats, without having to travel to West Palm Beach. ”

Albury Brothers is also pleased to announce our association with Eastport Yacht Co./ Weaver-Price Design, in Annapolis, Maryland.  Tom Weaver will be representing Albury Brothers Boats on the Chesapeake Bay on a non-exclusive basis.   

“Tom and I share mutual friends from Tom’s superb Grand Prix and America’s Cup sailing career.  I earned additional respect for Tom after seeing the level of customer service he provides his Eastport 32 clients.  We shared a vision of many Albury Brothers Boats running around Chesapeake Bay, as they do in the Sea of Abaco”, said Lichterman.  New Albury Brothers Boats will be on display in Newport and Annapolis on aperiodic basis. 

Albury Brothers Boats are built in Man O’ War, Abaco, Bahamas and Riviera Beach, Florida.  Recently Albury Brothers in Florida expanded into a second production facility.  The new facility is dedicated to building the 27 and 33 foot models.  The 20 and 23 foot models are built in the original plant.  In addition, the company operates a 4,500 square foot sales and rigging shop. 

For additional information, contact Jeff Lichterman at 561-863-7006 or info@alburybrothers.com  or visit our website at www.alburybrothers.com.

Ida Lewis Distance Race 2015: A Different Experience Each Year

NEWPORT, R.I. (August 16, 2015) – The Ida Lewis Distance Race, a popular sailing overnighter hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, R.I., wrapped up its 11th edition this weekend with the entire 36-boat fleet finishing within the time limit – a stark contrast to last year when many entries had to retire due to inclement weather. The race started Friday (August 14) at 12:30 p.m. off Fort Adams, near the mouth of Newport Harbor, with a steady breeze and calm seas that remained consistent on two courses: the 153-nautical mile Block Island Course for the IRC Class and the 121-nautical mile Point Judith Course for PHRF and Doublehanded Classes. Brian Cunha’s (Newport, R.I.) Ker 55 Irie 2 crossed the finish line on Saturday morning at 5:50 a.m., claiming line honors and taking the overall win in PHRF division.

  The 2015 Ida Lewis Distance Race Start (Photo Credit: Meghan Sepe)   

The 2015 Ida Lewis Distance Race Start (Photo Credit: Meghan Sepe)
 

“This is the first time we’ve done the Ida Lewis Distance Race, and it was a lot of fun,” said Cunha, who was awarded the Lime Rock Trophy for best-corrected time in PHRF and the Lois J. Muessel Trophy for best elapsed time in PHRF. “The conditions were perfect for us, with the wind staying between eight and 12 knots throughout the entire race.”

lthough the fleet was divided on two courses, all boats had to incorporate an approximately 37 nautical mile upwind leg from Buzzards Bay to Montauk Point. The “tricky beat” called for teams to decide whether to head right or left around Block Island, and for Cunha and his team, the choice was clearly left because of the wind angles, but the following leg posed larger challenges for Irie 2.

“After we hit Montauk we headed back down to Buzzards Bay and had to navigate our way through a fleet of about 200 fishing boats that were right in the middle of the course,” said Cunha. Despite the unusual obstacle, the team finished the race with a three-hour lead on the rest of the fleet.

In addition to event newcomers like Cunha, a slew of returning race veterans competed, including Steve and Heidi Benjamin (Jamestown, R.I./Norwalk, Conn.) aboard the Carkeek 40 Spookie and Tristan Mouligne (Boston, Mass.) aboard the Quest 30 Samba. Both teams defended their wins in IRC Overall and PHRF A, respectively.

  Steve and Heidi Benjamin's Carkeek 40   Spookie   (left) and Tristan Mouligne's Quest 30   Samba   (right) during the 2015 Ida Lewis Distance Race (Photo Credit: Meghan Sepe)

Steve and Heidi Benjamin's Carkeek 40 Spookie (left) and Tristan Mouligne's Quest 30 Samba (right) during the 2015 Ida Lewis Distance Race (Photo Credit: Meghan Sepe)

“This is the sixth Ida Lewis Distance Race that I’ve done in a row, and what is great about it is you never experience the same race twice,” said Mouligne, who was also awarded the newly-established Rhode Island Offshore Challenge Trophy for best-combined score in the Ida Lewis Distance Race and the Sid Clark Offshore Race (which took place in July). “I’ve had Samba for a while and have done a lot of point-to-point sailing and distance racing. I’ve gone to Bermuda and back twice with the boat and raced in six New England Solo/Twin Championships, a very similar race to this one. We’ve done that offshore leg between Buzzards Bay and Montauk about 25 times, so we are starting to figure out what to look for and which way to go. Last year, we had a really heavy-air start and a tough port-tack beat all the way up to Montauk, but this time it was a very pleasant sail, and we were on starboard tack the entire time.”

Mouligne added that the level of competition at the Ida Lewis Distance Race is what brings him back every year. “We are always trying to race against as many boats as we can. This year in the PHRF class, we had an awesome offshore fleet of 25 boats.”

The separately-scored Youth Challenge also saw a repeat victory with Alfred Van Liew’s (Middletown, R.I.) J/111 team aboard Odyssey winning the Arent H. Kits van Heyningen Trophy for the second year in a row.

 When asked about how her experience on Odyssey differed this year compared to last, 18-year-old Kate Nota (Newport, R.I.) said, “We definitely approached racing with a different mindset. Last year, the wind was pretty crazy. With calmer conditions this year we were able to focus on all the little details and make every second count. It’s good to have different conditions to test us as sailors and build up our experience.”

The Youth Challenge was developed by the race organizers nine years ago as a stepping stone for junior sailors interested in transitioning into offshore racing. This year, the Youth Challenge hosted five teams. (To qualify, more than 40% of the crew had to have reached their 14th birthday but not turned 20 prior to August 15, 2015.)

Nota added that the Odyssey team consisted of seven junior sailors and two adults: Van Liew and David Brodsky. “We had a few junior sailors on our team that were new to the event and one who had never sailed in an overnight race before, so it was fun to go through the experience with them and see how excited they were.”

Starting Line Sponsors for the 2015 Ida Lewis Distance Race include Bluewater Technologies, the City of Newport, Helly Hansen, New England Boatworks and Newport Shipyard; Contributing Sponsors are DYT Yacht Transport, Flint Audio & Video, Gosling’s Rum, Mac Designs, Toni Mills Graphic Design, Triton Insurance, North Sails, Rig Pro Southern Spars and Stella Artois.

The Ida Lewis Distance Race also is a qualifier for the New England Lighthouse Series (PHRF) and the Northern and Double-Handed Ocean Racing Trophies (IRC).

For more information, visit  http://www.ildistancerace.org

Follow the race on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

2015 Ida Lewis Distance Race (top 3 per class)
Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

IRC (IRC - 9 Boats)
1. Spookie, Carkeek HP 40, Steve & Heidi Benjamin, Norwalk, Conn., USA
2. Temptation-Oakcliff, Ker 50, Arthur Santry, Oyster Bay, N.Y., USA
3. White Rhino 2, Carkeek 47, Todd Stuart, Key West, Fla., USA

PHRF A (PHRF - 14 Boats)
1. Samba, Quest 30, Tristan Mouligne, Boston, Mass., USA
2. Invictus, Sun Fast 3600, Paul Fenn, Annapolis, Md., USA
3. URSA, J 109, Brooke Mastrorio , Lakeville, Mass., USA  

PHRF B (PHRF - 11 Boats)
1. Irie 2, Ker 55, Brian Cunha, Newport, R.I., USA
2. Tarahumara, J/122, Jack Gregg, Bryn Mawr, Penn., USA
3. Heron, J/120, Greg Leonard, Bowie, Md., USA  

PHRF - Doublehanded (PHRF - 2 Boats)
1. Eagles Dare, J/111, Jonathan Green, Wakefield, Mass., USA
2. Meridian, Tartan 4600, Murray Beach, Westwood, Mass., USA  

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Transatlantic Race 2015 Now in the History Books

If the Transatlantic Race 2015 were easy, to borrow a popular expression, it wouldn’t be nearly as worthwhile an experience. So the energy level was high last Friday, July 24, as competitors, race officials and dignitaries gathered at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Castle, in Cowes, England, to honor the winners, recount a few sea stories and celebrate the shared experience of racing across one of the planet’s least hospitable bodies of water. 

A nearly 50 percent increase in entries from 2011, the last time this race was run, shows that interest in long-distance blue-water racing remains high. The six starters that failed to finish due to a variety of technical issues are an equally strong indication that despite modern materials, construction techniques and communication technology, racing from Newport, R.I. to The Lizard off the southwestern tip of England isn’t getting any easier. 

 Start 1 of the Transatlantic Race 2015 (photo credits Daniel Forster

Start 1 of the Transatlantic Race 2015 (photo credits Daniel Forster

“The weather was the dominant feature of the race,” said Event Co-Chair George David, of the New York Yacht Club, who also raced in the event onboard his Rambler 88. “For the [Start 2] starters, they had great wind the whole way across, in some cases more wind than people wanted.”

Bryon Ehrhart’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Lucky had the boat speed and crew to take best advantage of the favorable conditions afforded the 20 boats in the second of three starts, a feature of this race designed to group the finishers a little more closely together. Blasting away from Newport in a stiff southwesterly breeze, Ehrhart and his team rarely strayed too far from the rhumb line. The 100-year-old schooner Mariette of 1915 and the 100-foot super maxi Nomad IV were both contenders to be the first boat across the finish line, but Lucky held them off, putting down a time that, once corrected for handicap, would prove impossible to beat.

  Start 2 of the Transatlantic Race 2015   (photo credits Daniel Forster)

Start 2 of the Transatlantic Race 2015 (photo credits Daniel Forster)

“The whole crew worked so well together,” said Ehrhart, a Chicagoan who previously had success with a 52-foot boat of the same name. “I grew up as a golfer. This is, in my view, one that we prepared a lifetime for; this is like the Masters. It’s humbling to have such a great crew perform as high as they did to get to this spot.”

Overall elapsed time honors went to Lloyd Thornburg’s 70-foot trimaran Phaedo3 (7d:2h:4m:5s) and Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s Comanche (7d:11h:35m:11s), which was skippered by Ken Read during the race. Early in the race, a full day of fighting through drifting conditions put any hopes of a course record out of reach. But when the breeze did fill in, the four boats that comprised the final start reveled in the conditions. Comanche set a new record by sailing 618.01 miles in a 24-hour period, becoming the first monohull to break the 600-mile barrier.

  Start 3 of the Transatlantic Race 2015   (photo credits Daniel Forster)

Start 3 of the Transatlantic Race 2015 (photo credits Daniel Forster)

“This was the 100-foot boat that Jim Clark wanted: The fastest monohull in the world,” said skipper Ken Read. “Our top speeds were into the mid-30s a bunch of times. It is not like you are surfing down a wave, you just go…fast. You sail it heeled over, and it feels like you are right on the edge, but when you grab the wheel you are in control. The boat is a phenomenal piece of machinery.”

The final two finishers were Dizzy, a 48-year-old yawl that started with the first group and completed the longest crossing in the race at just more than 20 days, and Persevere, a four-year-old sloop that started with the second group, but turned around for a repair not long after the start and missed a crucial weather window. Both boats, however, finished in high spirits and, not coincidentally, in time for the final party. Among the crew on Persevere were 14-year-old Breana Rath, the race’s youngest participant, and Wasabi, the family cat.

  Transatlantic Race 2015   (photo credit Rick Tomlinson)

Transatlantic Race 2015 (photo credit Rick Tomlinson)

The next running of the Transatlantic Race is scheduled for the early summer of 2019. While the transatlantic course was one of the first offshore courses to be contested—the first race starting from New York in December of 1866—it never settled a regular schedule or a consistent group of organizing clubs until very recently.

“The committee likes the idea of this four-year sequence,” said David. “It seems about the right cadence to get enough boats interested and wishing to do it. The preferred format is to run this race collectively by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club. It is a good format with four great clubs, and it seems like we have run a good race and everything works pretty well. I expect we’ll see that back in 2019.”

Sponsors for the Transatlantic Race 2015 are Rolex, Newport Shipyard and Peters & May.

  View Wrap-up video of the Transatlantic Race 2015   (credit Onne van der Wal photography)

View Wrap-up video of the Transatlantic Race 2015 (credit Onne van der Wal photography)


Podium Positions on Corrected Time:

IRC Overall:
1. Lucky, 13d 11h 7m 41s
2. Outsider, 13d 16h 51m 51s
3. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s

IRC Class 1:
1. Rambler 88, 14d 11h 38m 10s
2. Comanche, 14d 18h 40m 59s

IRC Class 2:
1. Lucky, 13d 11h 7m 41s
2. Outsider, 13d 16h 51m 51s
3. Grey Power, 15d 17h 6m 29s

IRC Class 3:
1. Snow Lion, 14d 21h 44m 0s
2. Maximizer, 15d 12h 59m 30s
3. Prospector, 15d 16h 39m 4s

IRC Class 4:
1. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s
2. Dorade, 14d 22h 12m 53s
3. Scarlet Oyster, 15d 2h 34m 18s

Class 40:
1. Stella Nova, 10d 7h 11m 44s
2. Visit Brussels, 11d 3h 9m 0s
3. Dragon, 11d 20h 12m 7s

Cruising:
1. Lady B, 16d 22h 14m 46s
2. Zephyr, 17d 10h 35m 51s
3. Charisma, (still to finish)

Classics:
1. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s
2. Dorade, 14d 22h 12m 53s

Open Class (MOCRA):
1. Paradox, 12d 7h 33m 33s
2. Phaedo3, 13d 23h 12m 15s

Fastest multihull (elapsed time): Phaedo3 7d 2h 4m 5s
Fastest monohull (elapsed time): Comanche 7d 11h 35m 11s

Full results are available here:  http://bit.ly/1MaABwd

·         Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticRace      

·         Website: http://transatlanticrace.com  

·         Boat Blogs: http://transatlanticrace.org/tr2015-media/boat-blogs

·         Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace

·         Instagram: @nyyc_regattas

Newport Shipyard is proud sponsor of the 2015 Transatlantic Race.

Transatlantic Race 2015: Curtain Closes

Approaching the end of the third week of the Transatlantic Race 2015 and following the arrival at The Lizard this morning at 09:06:37 EDT (13:06:37 UTC) of Constantin Claviez’s Swan 441 Charisma, the tally now stands at 28 finishers, two still at sea, and five boats retired.

Of this latter group three boats - Amhas, Shearwater and Solution - have all successfully now reached Horta in the Azores while the remaining two - Brigand and Altair - pulled out earlier in the race and limped back to Newport, R.I., with technical issues.

  Rambler 88  takes IRC Class 1 Honors while  Comanche  breaks the 24-hour speed record making her the fastest monohull on the planet!

Rambler 88 takes IRC Class 1 Honors while Comanche breaks the 24-hour speed record making her the fastest monohull on the planet!

The two boats still racing are Paul Anstey and Craig Rastello’s C&C 41 Dizzy and the appropriately named Persevere, Colin Rath’s Hanse 55. This morning at 0700 EDT (1100 UTC) Dizzy had 184 miles to go and was making 6.7 knots while yesterday at 1600 EDT (2000 UTC), Persevere was still 418 miles from the finish line at The Lizard off southern England making 5.8 knots. Their ETAs at The Lizard were Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon, respectively, with Dizzy claiming the prize for the longest crossing this year having been among the first starters on June 28, while Persevere set sail with the second group three days later.

Last night Colin Rath reported: “We have a clear night for the first time in four days; it has been mostly drizzling rain previously.  We are steadily sailing at 10 knots. We fixed the problems with our B & G instrument system. The crew is in good spirits and looking forward to starting the Coastal Race since we spent the whole Transatlantic Race trying to catch our fleet to no avail. Now with the second race, we have a clean slate to start with and hopefully we will hit the tides right. Persevere has plenty of food and the watermaker has been working well. The crew is well showered.”

Sailing on board Persevere is the race’s youngest competitor, 14 year old Breana Rath, Colin’s daughter. “Breana has been enjoying the race and has improved greatly in driving and sail trim,” reports her father. “Her personal best is driving Persevere at 16 knots, surfing waves. The boat record for the trip is 18.6 knots.

“All in all it has been a good first crossing for Persevere and we look forward to the Rolex Fastnet Race to improve further with our amateur crew racing together for the first time.”

The curtain call for race participants will be the Transatlantic Race 2015 Awards Ceremony Dinner on July 24, hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight. The RYS is celebrating this year its Bicentenary with numerous events -- including the International Regatta in which many of the Transatlantic Race participants are competing in the lead up to the Rolex Fastnet Race in August.  

Podium Positions on Corrected Time:

IRC Overall:
1. Lucky, 13d 11h 7m 41s
2. Outsider, 13d 16h 51m 51s
3. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s

IRC Class 1:
1. Rambler 88, 14d 11h 38m 10s
2. Comanche, 14d 18h 40m 59s

IRC Class 2:
1. Lucky, 13d 11h 7m 41s
2. Outsider, 13d 16h 51m 51s
3. Grey Power, 15d 17h 6m 29s

IRC Class 3:
1. Snow Lion, 14d 21h 44m 0s
2. Maximizer, 15d 12h 59m 30s
3. Prospector, 15d 16h 39m 4s

IRC Class 4:
1. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s
2. Dorade, 14d 22h 12m 53s
3. Scarlet Oyster, 15d 2h 34m 18s

Class 40:
1. Stella Nova, 10d 7h 11m 44s
2. Visit Brussels, 11d 3h 9m 0s
3. Dragon, 11d 20h 12m 7s

Cruising:
1. Lady B, 16d 22h 14m 46s
2. Zephyr, 17d 10h 35m 51s
3. Charisma, (still to finish)

Classics:
1. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s
2. Dorade, 14d 22h 12m 53s

Open Class:
1. Paradox, 12d 7h 33m 33s
2. Phaedo3, 13d 23h 12m 15s

Fastest multihull (elapsed time): Phaedo3 7d 2h 4m 5s
Fastest monohull (elapsed time): Comanche 7d 11h 35m 11s

Transatlantic Race 2015: Lucky Claims Top Honors

Bryon Ehrhart’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Lucky has been confirmed as the winner of the Transatlantic Race 2015 by the event’s four organizers: the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.

 Bryon Ehrhart’s  Lucky  is the overall victor in the Transatlantic Race 2015. (photo credit Hamo Thornycroft)  

Bryon Ehrhart’s Lucky is the overall victor in the Transatlantic Race 2015. (photo credit Hamo Thornycroft) 

This almost closes the latest chapter in what is the world’s oldest trans-oceanic yacht race. In 1866, just 15 years after they famously won off the British what would become the America’s Cup, the New York Yacht Club ran its first Transatlantic Race. Since then it has been held irregularly, the most famous occasion being in 1905 when it was of political consequence in the build up to the First World War. Intended by Kaiser Wilhelm II as a means of illustrating German supremacy at sea at a time when ‘Britannia ruled the waves’, he presented the solid gold ‘Kaiser’s Cup’ as the trophy for which the 1905 event would be raced. Ultimately the Kaiser’s yacht Hamburg was roundly dispatched by American Wilson Marshall’s Atlantic with Charlie Barr, the Russell Coutts of his day, driving the 227’ three-masted schooner from New York to The Lizard in just 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds.

The Transatlantic Race 2015 has once again proven that America rules the waves, with Chicagoan Bryon Ehrhart’s Lucky claiming the overall victory under IRC along with a Rolex timepiece. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s 100’ maxi Comanche recorded the fastest monohull crossing in 7 days 11 hours and 35 minutes (outside of the course record of 6 days 22 hours 8 minutes and 2 seconds set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011), and Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 trimaran Phaedo³ the fastest multihull in a time of 7 days 2 hours and 4 minutes.

"We are thrilled to have achieved the result in our tenth year of campaigning various versions of Lucky in offshore events,” said Ehrhart. “We have competed in substantially all of the global ocean racing classics; the Transatlantic Race was properly held in our program as the classic of all the classics. We were humbled just to be allowed to compete in the longest standing and most respected ocean race.

“I remain in awe of the crew that prepared us so well over the last 10 years and led us to the opportunity to compete in the Transatlantic Race 2015. To win the event is well beyond our expectations given the long list of competitors we have come to respect. The win is a testament to the strength of the commitment we have made to the program and to each other."

Dragon’s Den

Winning the unofficial doublehanded sub-division of the Class 40 was Michael Hennessy’s Owen Clarke-designed Dragon, which arrived in 11 days 20 hours and 12 minutes, 1 day and 13 hours after the Class 40 winner Stella Nova

While the German boat was being sailed by a crew of four, Dragon, along with the other two American Class 40s competing, was racing doublehanded.

“That dictated a lot of our choices,” said Hennessy, who made the crossing with Kyle Hubley. “They [Stella Nova] made the choice to get north in front of the low, so that it would catch up to them, and then ride out the heaviest wind there. Whereas I just felt that would break us and the boat and going doublehanded with a cockpit that has very little protection. I think that Amhas’ experience demonstrated that.” Amhas was the only Class 40 to retire from the race.

As a result Dragon was ‘only’ subject to winds in 30-knot range that briefly built to the 40s in squalls. “It was really the sea state that made it difficult, it was pretty wild in certain places,” said Hennessy.

Otherwise Hennessy felt the trip went well: “It was fantastic. We had a fast passage and nothing broke and I feel like we made the right choices with rig settings. If it wasn’t for Stella Nova putting together the performance of a lifetime we would be really proud of ourselves…”

And overall, their passage between Newport, R.I., and The Lizard was fast, in fact much faster than Hennessy’s expectations: “Before the race I was telling some folks that I was taking food for 18 days, expecting 14 days and on the best possible conditions 12 days. And we beat my best estimate!”

Lady B – Second in Cruising Class

Jack Madden’s Swan 60 Lady B was the only boat to arrive in Cowes today, claiming second place in the Cruising Class, behind Earl St. Aldwyn’s Shipman 50 Zephyr.

This was Madden and his crew’s first Transatlantic Race, although he and his crew, who are all from the New York/New England area, have been racing together for many years and have previously competed in the Newport Bermuda Race.

“It went wonderfully, we had a great time, it was a lot of fun,” said Madden. “The crew worked out very well. We didn’t have any major problems whatsoever, only a few minor things, so we are very pleased with that. We were surprised by the intensity of the wind from day two until about day seven or eight. We were also surprised by the lack of sun. We thought there might be sun on the way to the U.K., but we had a grey umbrella with us all the way! But all in all it was great; we had a wonderful time.”

Lady B has a well-appointed interior, with cabins and comfortable beds, and they also had a cook on board to prepare hot meals. “The comaraderie of the crew was great and fun and the entertainment we had teasing each other was wonderful. So the whole experience was a 10,” concluded Madden.

Podium Positions on Corrected Time:

IRC Overall:
1. Lucky, 13d 11h 7m 41s
2. Outsider, 13d 16h 51m 51s
3. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s

IRC Class 1:
1. Rambler 88, 14d 11h 38m 10s
2. Comanche, 14d 18h 40m 59s

IRC Class 2:
1. Lucky, 13d 11h 7m 41s
2. Outsider, 13d 16h 51m 51s
3. Grey Power, 15d 17h 6m 29s

IRC Class 3:
1. Snow Lion, 14d 21h 44m 0s
2. Maximizer, 15d 12h 59m 30s
3. Prospector, 15d 16h 39m 4s

IRC Class 4:
1. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s
2. Dorade, 14d 22h 12m 53s
3. Scarlet Oyster, 15d 2h 34m 18s

Class 40:
1. Stella Nova, 10d 7h 11m 44s
2. Visit Brussels, 11d 3h 9m 0s
3. Dragon, 11d 20h 12m 7s

Cruising:
1. Lady B, 16d 22h 14m 46s
2. Zephyr, 17d 10h 35m 51s
3. Charisma, (still to finish)

Classics:
1. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s
2. Dorade, 14d 22h 12m 53s

Fastest multihull (elapsed time): Phaedo3 7d 2h 4m 5s
Fastest monohull (elapsed time): Comanche 7d 11h 35m 11s

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Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
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Transatlantic Race 2015: Further Podium Positions Decided

While the oceanic speedsters of the Transatlantic Race 2015 have long since docked after making the 2,800 mile crossing from Newport to The Lizard in just over a week, a thought needs to be spared for the nine boats still at sea. Six of these have been battling the North Atlantic for two and a half weeks, while the back marker of these, Paul Anstey and Craig Rastello’s Florida-based C&C 41, Dizzy, this morning has broken the ‘500 miles to go’ barrier with an ETA at The Lizard of Saturday afternoon.

The only boat to make her way up the English Channel to Cowes in the last few hours has been Earl St. Aldwyn’s elegant, fast, Shipman 50, Zephyr. She crossed the finish line off The Lizard at 03:47:09 UTC yesterday (23:47:09 EDT on July 13) and then ticked off the Coastal Race, arriving in Cowes early this morning (03:13 UTC).

 The crew of S iren  are all smiles at the   Transatlantic Race 2015 finish line. (photo credit ELWJ Photography)  

The crew of Siren are all smiles at the Transatlantic Race 2015 finish line. (photo credit ELWJ Photography) 

“We had light airs coming into The Lizard and skidded over the line with a following tide, inside the outer marker,” said skipper David Sharples, shortly after tying up at Trinity Landing and being presented with the finishers’ beer and champagne. “Then in the Channel it was a dead easy, just one gybe the whole way.”

Sharples has completed transatlantic races going the ‘pretty way’ (i.e. ending in the Caribbean) on several occasions, but this was his first eastbound crossing from the United States. The race clearly lived up to expectations, Zephyr recording one of the biggest gusts – 59.6 knots. “It was very short lived, but very intense,” he recalled. “The second one that came through was more sustained with winds in the mid-40s for a couple of hours, while the third one was a ‘yachtsman’s gale’ – Force 7-8.”

They eeked out a new top speed of 22 knots for Zephyr, but apart from running over a kite at one point, there was surprisingly few issues otherwise. Sharples attributed this to the preparation work the crew put in before leaving.

Zephyr is one of two Royal Yacht Squadron boats completing in the Transatlantic Race 2015, alongside Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s Open 60 Grey Power. She currently leads the Cruising Class in which she is first to finish.

At the time of writing, the latest boat to cross the finish line off the Lizard point, is Ian Matthews’ Jinja, a French designed and built Pogo 12.5, which her owner describes as being a cruising version of a Class 40, without water ballast and with a shorter rig. 

Rather than head to Cowes in light winds, Matthews and his crew, mostly a family affair including two sons and a son-in-law, opted to head for their homeport of St. Mawes, opposite Falmouth, close to The Lizard.

“I think it went well,” said Matthews of the crossing. “We are new to ocean racing, so we were quite happy with it. It was good fun. We enjoyed it. There were a few snags along the way, but I think all the boats had that – that’s normal.”

Built by Structures, which is best known for its Class 40s and Class 6.50m yachts that compete in the Mini Transat, the Pogo 12.5 has a strong ocean racing heritage and it was perhaps for this reason that it saw the Jinja crew successfully cross the North Atlantic with minimal damage outside a small rip in their mainsail, which they managed to patch.

“We saw some quite big gusts,” said Matthews. “The highest we recorded was about 45 knots, which was quite a lot, but it was steadily 30 to 35 knots a lot of the time.”

This Transatlantic Race 2015 completes an Atlantic circuit that Jinja started with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers from the Canaries to the Caribbean in 2013. “But this was a bit tougher than the ARC,” observed Matthews.

The only Spanish boat in the race, Jose Diego-Arozamena’s Farr 72 Maximizer finished the race yesterday morning at 02:42:45 UTC (13 Jul 22:42:45) and then headed for Plymouth. She is currently lying in second place in IRC Class 3 behind Larry Huntington’s Snow Lion. Among Maximizer’s crew was short-handed non-stop round-the-world sailor Pachi Rivero.

“The Transatlantic has been a spectacular race,” Rivero wrote. “We have fought against much newer vessels in our class, and that has forced us to be very precise with our sailing and tactics. I am very proud to represent the only Spanish yacht to complete this race and to add more points to the Atlantic Offshore Racing Series.” The AORS comprises four events including the Transatlantic Race 2015, preceded by this year’s RORC Caribbean 600, and followed by the Rolex Fastnet and Middle Sea Races.

Rivero thanked owner Jose Diego-Arozamena and Maximizer’s crew of 11 ‘conquistadors’ for their dedication throughout the race. “At no point did we ease up the pace, and we managed to keep on top of any hold-ups despite the North Atlantic gales.”

Mike Dreese and Rob Windsor were the final Class 40 to finish. Their Akilaria RC3, Toothface2, passed The Lizard finish line yesterday morning at 04:17 UTC (00:17 EDT).

Unlike the two European Class 40s, winners Stella Nova and runner-up Visit Brussels, the American Class 40 entries were all sailed doublehanded with Mike Hennessy and Kyle Hubley on Dragon winning their private race with Toothface2, after the fifth boat in the class, Amhas, retired into the Azores.

While the Transatlantic Race 2015 was Windsor’s 10th Atlantic crossing, it was the first for Toothface2’s owner Mike Dreese, for whom it was an ocean racing baptism of fire. On two occasions they saw winds of more than 50 knots and, according to Windsor, they suffered in the latter stages of the race lacking a much needed A5 fractional spinnaker which they’d blown up early on in the race. They were also slowed for a period as they were sailing with something wrapped around their keel which required them to back down to remove it.

Almost all the boats competing suffered sail damage of varying degrees but on Toothface2 they tore the top of the mainsail. This required the sail to be dropped while Windsor hand stitched it, stuck on a sail cloth patch and then had to wait patiently for the glue to dry. “We sailed for eight hours with just the staysail up,” he said. 

Apart from this, Windsor was pleased: “This is a brand new boat and it really has potential. I think the owner was pretty pleased with the boat speed in general, and we are now going to sail it home to give him a little more time on the boat. Hopefully we’ll come back in four years and do better.”

CORRECTION:  In yesterday’s release we reported the wrong finish time for Rambler 88. The correct time for George David’s maxi at The Lizard was 11:08 UTC (07:08 EDT) on July 13th, causing her to beat Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s 100’ maxi Comanche on corrected time by 7 hours 2 minutes and 49 seconds.

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Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
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TRANSATLANTIC RACE 2015: 60 Knot Winds, Record Boat Speeds and an Outstanding Classic

Twenty boats, or just over half the fleet, have now finished the Transatlantic Race 2015.

George David’s Rambler 88 was roughly 120 miles astern when her rival, Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s 100’ Comanche, crossed the finish line at The Lizard off the south coast of England on Monday, 13 July, at 1:49 EDT. Rambler 88 eventually followed at 04:46 EDT, for an elapsed time of 7 days 14 hours 32 minutes – and, on corrected time, a massive 7 hours and 11 minutes win over her larger opponent.

Rambler 88’s sailing manager and tactician Brad Butterworth commented: “The boat performed pretty well. It took us a while to get ourselves sorted out with the sail combinations and we were experimenting with the side boards all the while we were racing. It got windy around day four, when the sea state didn’t really suit us and it wasn’t until the last two days when we felt comfortable against the big boat [Comanche].”

According to the four time America’s Cup winner, Rambler 88 didn’t break anything during the race, despite seeing strong winds for the second two thirds of it. “It is going to take a while for us to get the ultimate out of it. We were doing what we could to go as fast as possible. Believe me there was plenty of water coming over the deck. It was as wet downstairs as it was upstairs.”

A boat that did a fine job of hanging on to Rambler 88, finishing just four hours after her on the water, was another of the final four starters, Peter Aschenbrenner’s 66’ Irens-Cabaret designed trimaran, Paradox. She is unusual in being ostensibly a fully-fledged racer, like Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 Phaedo³, but down below hides a proper owner’s cabin, a refrigerator, running hot water and even the ultimate luxury of a flushing toilet. And yet this ultimate racer cruiser is capable of daily runs which only a couple of decades ago would have made her the world’s fastest offshore race boat.

Sailing on board was the world’s fastest sailor, Australian Paul Larsen, who described the ride: “It was just a classic transatlantic multihull blast – everything was just saturated and everyone was still in the same underpants they started off in, eyes were raw, beds were getting wetter and wetter until you’re just sleeping in your foul weather gear. It was fantastic!”

The fastest part of their voyage was reaching under masthead genniker along the southern side of Point Alpha, the ice exclusion zone, with the boat making 30 knots. “The top mast was bending and everything was loaded up,” Larsen recalled. “We raced it really hard and she just took it. We certainly weren’t treating it like a cruising boat”

Aside from this, one of the highlights of the trip was the start in Newport, when Paradox luffed her three-hulled rival Phaedo³ into irons, which Larsen admitted gave them a warm feeling for the remainder of the voyage.

Rather than sail all the way to the Solent, the exhausted and sodden crew chose to put into Dartmouth last night to regroup and get warm and dry.

Also finishing yesterday, at 08:49 UTC (04:49 EDT), was former New York Yacht Club Commodore Larry Huntington and his much travelled Ker 50 Snow Lion.

This is Huntington’s eighth transatlantic race and he says it was exceptional: “Never have I seen the pattern of us catching a southwesterly all the way across the ocean; it never let up, we never had any soft spots. This is the fastest passage I have done; usually it takes around 20 days, but we have done this in eleven and a half. I could not have imagined that we would have done that.”

At present it appears that Snow Lion has won Class 3 by a crushing 15 hours, although there are several boats yet to finish.

The last few days Huntington said he was amazed by the relentless high speed running conditions, in 18-25 knot winds, which remained steady in direction and speed causing them to register a new top speed of 27 knots. “It is about the fastest we’ve ever been. When you do that, there is water everywhere - it keeps your attention!”

Sadly Snow Lion had to retire from the Coastal Race between The Lizard and Cowes when she sustained a tear in her mainsail.

  The crew on   Dorade   celebrate reaching the Royal Yacht Squadron to conclude their     Transatlantic Race 2015.

The crew on Dorade celebrate reaching the Royal Yacht Squadron to conclude their Transatlantic Race 2015.

Dorade

One of the greatest stories of this Transatlantic Race 2015 is the participation of Dorade, the 53’ yacht that a young Olin Stephens, of S&S design house fame, campaigned in this same race 84 years ago. Today the restored boat is being raced by Matt Brooks who won the 2013 Transpac with her to repeat Dorade’s 1936 victory in that race. He hoped to repeat the boat’s 1931 Transatlantic Race victory this year.

Dorade did not manage to repeat her success, as conditions favored newer, more powerful boats. South African America’s Cup sailor Mike Giles, who has been brought on as sailing master, described sailing this piece of ocean racing history: “Anything you know about modern boats and how they should be sailed, you have to erase out of your mind - this is a different animal altogether. Reaching or upwind - don’t even try. If you are going downwind she rocks a lot and you have to be mindful of safety, because everything is done at the mast and for the past five days there’s been no moon…”

The boat has less stability so you have to reef early, although over the course of the race, with time to be recovered towards the end, this was redefined. “When we started sailing, we said we’d reef at 23 knots and it would be kite down at 26,” Giles continued. “The last 48 hours coming in [in more wind than this], we had full main, A4 [spinnaker], full mizzen, mizzen, kite, staysail, no moon, while absolutely sending it, rocking from pole tip in the water to boom tip. We did 30-odd sail changes in that last period.”

Despite this last giant effort Dorade was unable to beat the biggest boat in the fleet, Mariette of 1915, to victory in the Classic division and IRC Class 4, but finished a respectable second in both. Most importantly Dorade finished in just under 14 days 23 hours to take more than a day off Olin Stephens’ 1931 time. 

Siren sees 60 knots

Father and son team Bill and William Hubbard returned for this their third Transatlantic Race, their first having been in this event 10 years ago aboard their S&S-designed IOR boat, Tempest. This time they were back on their newly acquired Reichel-Pugh 56, Siren.

“Last time took 18 days and it was fairly pleasant,” Hubbard Senior recalled with a wry grin. “This year there were a few trials and tribulations - to put it mildly.” He seemed relieved that it was his son who had been on deck when the wind speed topped out at 60 knots (Force 11 on the Beaufort Scale).

“We had split the main and we had the trysail on and the No. 2 jib,” recounted his son. “We tried to protect the sails by going fast, as going along at 20 knots in 60 knots isn’t so bad...” During this period Siren’s speed peaked at 27 knots.

Conditions did take their toll on both boat and crew. “There was a lot of water - we had green water coming the full length of the boat,” recounted Hubbard Junior. “Phil [Wilmer] broke a couple of ribs when he got thrown into the helm station.”

Destroying sails was also becoming quite common place on board, but fortunately they had a sewing machine with which to fix them. Unfortunately in using this they underestimated its power consumption and as a result weren’t able to start the engine. “So we were operating on handheld GPS and no watermaker,” said Hubbard Senior. This remained the case until last night at 2200 local time, when they dipped into Plymouth where they were met by an electrician who was able to fix the issue. “A big cheer went up after that.”

Follow the Race:

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Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
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TRANSATLATNIC RACE 2015: The Fast and the Furious Reach The Lizard

A giant runway of strong southwesterly wind spanning the breadth of the North Atlantic for the last few days has allowed the grand prix boats competing in the Transatlantic Race 2015 to cover staggering mileage.

While Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s 100’ maxi Comanche set a new monohull 24-hour record when she covered 618.01 miles over Friday-Saturday (subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council), Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 trimaran Phaedo³ also put in a resounding performance.

Towards the end of the race Phaedo³, at one point, recorded a peak speed of 41.2 knots when navigator Miles Seddon was driving. As Thornburg recounted: “The sea opened up before him. It was the biggest wave you have ever seen and we were pointing down it!” But it was the consistently big daily runs that were most impressive – four days at 610 miles/day and this was despite a generally short wavelength that required them to stack everything hard aft and have appendages and rig raked back to the maximum setting.

  Phaedo³  celebrates finishing the Transatlantic Race 2015. (photo credit Rachel Jaspersen)  

Phaedo³ celebrates finishing the Transatlantic Race 2015. (photo credit Rachel Jaspersen) 

While Thornburg competed in the Transatlantic Race 2011 on board his Gunboat 66 catamaran, his crossing this time in the MOD70 was an entirely different experience. “It was intense, like a time warp - it felt like four weeks at sea on any other boat all compressed into seven days. It is incredible; the boat is pure Formula 1,” he enthused of his team’s first race across the Atlantic with their latest yacht. “One of the hardest things was trying to live on board, which is a challenge psychologically and physically, day after day of slamming into waves, and with all the acceleration and the deceleration.”

As testament to what a phenomenal boat the MOD70 trimaran is, according to skipper Brian Thompson, they broke nothing on the crossing despite the furious pace.

Including a day and a half being becalmed, Phaedo³ crossing time of 7 days 2 hours and 4 minutes is not exceptional, but nonetheless establishes a new multihull race record, substantially faster than the previous Phaedo’s time of 12 days 15 hours 42 minutes and 58 seconds set in 2011.

World’s Fastest Monohull

Likewise for Comanche, which started 14 minutes after Phaedo³, light conditions early on the race ensured the boat’s crossing of 7 days 11 hours and 35 minutes was outside of Rambler 100’s record time of 6 days 22 hours 8 minutes 2 seconds from the Transatlantic Race 2011. Otherwise skipper Ken Read was overwhelmingly satisfied having claimed their other two stated goals prior to the race start: The 100-foot VPLP-Verdier design recorded the fastest monohull time in the race and, once her 24-hour record is ratified, can claim to be the world’s fastest monohull and the first singlehulled vessel to break the 600 mile/day barrier.

Without the light patch at the start, Read states that the race record would have been “crushed.” “On a boat like this a five-day crossing would be attainable.” He also believes that on a different point of sail, a faster 24-hour passage would be achievable, possibly in the range of 650-plus miles.

As with Phaedo³, Comanche was able to use her speed to select the wind speed in which she performed, in this case best, by staying in the southern part of the band of southwesterlies, where there was 25 to 30 knots of wind. “That is what boats this fast can do - that is modern sailing now,” commented Read. “You pick your spot which isn’t necessarily the windiest, but it is the spot where the boat can perform at its best.”

Earlier this morning, Comanche stopped off in Falmouth to unload several crew who were due at another regatta, along with navigator Stan Honey who hit his head during a fall right at the end of their 24-hour record run on Saturday.

“I know a lot of people are concerned for Stan, who, to set the record straight, whacked the back of his head when he slipped and fell in the central cabin area,” said Read. “He showed immediate concussion symptoms, but was never unconscious. He was monitored not only by our on board medics, but also by doctors off the boat, just to make sure that everything was done correctly.”

Read says that after the incident Honey was confined to his bunk for six to eight hours, but for the rest of the race resumed his duties as Comanche’s navigator. “To be safe, early on we decided to get him off the boat right after the finish, so he could go through a concussion protocol at the local hospital in Falmouth. We will update you as soon as tests are complete.” There he was met by his wife Sally and Comanche’s owner and personal friend, Jim Clark.

The Rest

Aside from the ocean racing dragsters, arrivals in the Transatlantic Race 2015 have turned into a steady stream with 12 boats now finished.

Crossing the line at the Lizard at 17:09:00 EDT (21:09 UTC) was Visit Brussels, second home among the Class 40s. She was skippered by singlehanded round the world racer Michel Kleinjans, sailing with two others.

“It was text book,” said Kleinjans. “It was a really good downwind ride and in the middle there was a nice depression.” Unfortunately they had underestimated the depression’s size and Kleinjans, who has previously sailed a Class 40 round the world singlehanded, admitted that they found themselves too close to its center in 38 to 42 knots of wind. “The wind was okay, but the sea was so nasty that we had to take the mainsail down.”

Visit Belgium was constantly on the back foot during the race after falling into a wind hole on the first day of racing. “It was a terrible mistake at the beginning. After that it was over and out,” said Kleinjans. Otherwise the boat held together well and the Belgian skipper was pleased with his Kiwi 40’s performance, especially over the final stages. “We did the last 1000 miles in three days. On the whole I think we averaged around 11 knots on a straight line so perhaps 12 on the water.”

One of the hardest fought races has been for the final two Class 4 podium spots behind the giant schooner Mariette of 1915. This has yet to play out fully with Matt Brooks’ 1930s classic Dorade, winner of the 1931 Transatlantic Race in the hands of her designer Olin Stephens, still to finish, but looking strong to be second in class.

A close battle for third has been taking place between Ross Applebey’s Oyster Lightwave 48, Scarlet Oyster, and New York Yacht Club Commodore Rives Potts’ McCurdy & Rhodes 48 Carina, being skippered for this race by Richard du Moulin. These two matched raced throughout the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race, with Carina winning on handicap. This time Applebey exacted his revenge; finishing 7 hours, 1 minute ahead was enough to give Scarlet Oyster the edge on corrected time.

The crew of Carina reported: “We pushed hard to narrow the gap between us and Scarlet Oyster. We have had a back and forth dog fight in the North Atlantic since June 28. With only a few days left in the race and the need to reduce our deficit from 60 miles to closer to 45 miles, we went to work.  Mother Nature assisted us with a healthy serving of 20- to 35-knot southwesterlies.

“Through hard work we managed to close the gap to Scarlet Oyster to 49 miles, just enough to beat them on rating. Unfortunately there was a price to be paid to King Neptune for holding these miles and King Neptune was gladly accepting spinnakers as currency. We ripped the clew out of the A5 and the head out of the A3 and our two heavy weather chutes. Missing these arrows from our sail inventory quiver we found ourselves at a significant disadvantage for the last 500 miles of racing. Congratulations to the Scarlet Oyster team.”

Scarlet Oyster’s Ross Appleby was delighted by the result. “It is a charter crew so we have been working together towards this for a while.” According to Appleby they made their biggest gains two nights out. “We had a storming night - it was as black as the inside of a cow, but Matt [Lees] and I managed to keep the boat under the kite in about 45 knots, which was a good gain as Carina was backing off occasionally.”

Like Carina, their Oyster Lightwave was also eating kites, and finished the race with just two, having blown up their first within 50 miles of the start. And, in an ironic twist, it was some pre-race bottom work done on Scarlet Oyster by the boatyard belonging to Carina’s owner, Rives Potts, which Applebey reckons made the difference to their result.

STOP PRESS: On 13 July at 1310 EDT, just over one mile from the finish of the Coastal Race -- between the Lizard and Cowes -- Scarlet Oyster dismasted and subsequently drifted across the finish line with the tide to officially finish the race. No details are available at present as to the cause of the dismasting.

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Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
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Transatlantic Race 2015: Top Results for Germany

German boats were fourth and fifth home on the water in the Transatlantic Race. Tilmar Hansen’s Outsider crossed the finish line off the Lizard at the southernmost tip of Cornwall, at 13:55:27 UTC (09:55:27 EDT) on Saturday and completed the Coastal Race on to Cowes, finishing off the Royal Yacht Squadron just after dawn this morning.

“Being back in Cowes is a very emotional moment for me,” said Hansen. “We have very nice memories from 1983 and 1985 with our [victorious] Admiral’s Cup campaigns with Outsider.”

This was the present Outsider’s second Transatlantic Race following the HSH Nordbank Blue Race in 2007 in which she claimed line honours, IRC Class 2 and was second overall under IRC. The German team looks set to repeat  the latter result in the present race – a performance all the more remarkable because its satellite communications broke down early in the race, and they were unable to receive vital weather information.

  Outsider  crew shows enthusiasm for their impressive finish in the Transatlantic Race 2015. (photo credit Emma Louise Wyn Jones Photography)  

Outsider crew shows enthusiasm for their impressive finish in the Transatlantic Race 2015. (photo credit Emma Louise Wyn Jones Photography) 

“These days there is so much weather routing and technology, it is a good feeling that you can do it without that help, just like the good old days,” remarked Hansen. “We had to go back to basics, sticking to the rhumb line, hoping that we wouldn’t fall into any wind holes.”

Outsider, a New Zealand designed and built Elliot 52, usually based in Kiel, has a canting keel and provided a wet ride for the crew. Hansen described it as being like “a constant fire drill where we were the fire!” This was particularly bad early on in the race as they were crossing the Gulf Stream. “The sea state would change dramatically, in seconds at times with the eddies. You went from flat water, when the racing was easy, to moments when you were surfing down huge waves and you had to slow down, especially at night time when you couldn’t see anything.”

The most wind they saw was only in the mid-30s. At times they saw peak boat speeds of 27 knots, but Hansen said they preferred to maintain a constant average speed of 16 to 17 knots, under jib top, staysail with one reef in the main.

“They did a really great job and worked like hell,” said Hansen of his crew led by Thomas Jungblut, whose tenure with the Outsider team dates back to the Admiral’s Cup campaigns 30 years ago. “They kept Outsider running and fighting and racing. We had no major damage, only little stuff, and we were amazed how well the boat sailed and was behaving in a long distance race. I am very, very happy about this amazing race.”

Crossing the finish line at 01:11:44 UTC (11 Jul 21:11:44 EDT) was Stella Nova, the Class 40 winner. Class 40s are built for ocean racing, so the big conditions the boats experienced crossing the Atlantic were not overwhelming for her. Burkard Keese’s team, which includes doublehanded round the world sailor Jörg Reichers, performed exceptionally, finishing more than 180 miles ahead of Michel Kleinjans’ second-place Class 40, Visit Belgium.

“It was a big victory for us. We expected to win, but not by that much,” admitted Keese. Of the final days of the race, he added: “There was a troug,h which was very difficult to cross, but other than that it was maximum boat speed, 18 to 24 knots for the last two days, which was amazing. When we arrived at Bishop Rock [off the Scilly Isles] the wind dropped down a bit, but we put the big spinnaker up and went through to the finish.”

During the race, they lost one sail, the Code 0, near the finish. On another occasion while sailing under spinnaker, Stella Nova caught a giant rope towing cable around their keel that required the crew to drop the spinnaker and reverse up to remove the rope. “I have never seen such a big cable. That was the catch of the day!” as Keese put it.

Otherwise Keese paid tribute to his crew and his Sam Manuard-designed Mach 40, built by JPS Productions in France.

Crossing the line off the Lizard at 10:10:59 UTC this morning (06:10:59 EDT) was the Open 60 Grey Power, skippered by 76-year-old Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who in 1969 became the first man to sail solo non-stop around the world. According to Sir Robin this is his 24th transatlantic crossing  and hopefully there will be a few more to come.  “I’m pleased to have beaten 11 days and Rambler and Comanche over the line,” he said.

Sir Robin was sailing with a crew that included former RORC Commodore David Aisher and Dilip Donde, the first Indian to sail singlehanded around the world.

The next 24 hours are set to be busy ones at the Lizard with Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo³ expected later this afternoon (British time) followed by the maxi-monohulls Comanche and Rambler 88 tomorrow. The outcome of the final podium placers in IRC Class 4 after the giant schooner, Mariette of 1915, will also be decided. This will be between three different generations of racing yachts – the 1930s S&S classic Dorade, the 1979 generation McCurdy & Rhodes 48 Carina and the more modern Oyster Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster.

Follow the Race:

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Yellowbrick Tracking: http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015 (will be activated 24 hours before the first start, June 28 at 1400 EDT).

Yellowbrick Tracking on tablet or smart phone – You must first download the YB Races app, then within the app, add the TR2015 race. There is no charge to follow this race. 

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Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
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TRansatlantic race 2015: War Stories of the Giants: Comanche Sets New 24 Hour Record

Since Bryan Ehrhart’s Lucky secured line honours in the Transatlantic Race yesterday afternoon (English time), two of the race’s largest boats have finished.

Crossing the line off the Lizard at 21:30:21 UTC (17:30:21 EDT) last night, Clarke Murphy’s 100ft Nomad IV arrived second, after a tense 24 hours when she’d done well to close on Lucky.

Navigator Mike Broughton explained: “We cut the corner a bit, but at the same time the last part was a bit light.” They were further hampered by sailing for the last 30 hours unable to use their big headsails because their halyard box had pulled off the mast during a crash round-up to avoid a semi-submerged container on Thursday.

This was just one of a catalogue of technical problems Nomad IV suffered during the race, such as having to sail for all but the first two days without the hydraulics vital for most of her sail controls and filling her water ballast tanks.

  Nomad IV  arrived second over the line in the Transatlantic Race 2015. (photo credit Hamo Thornycroft)  

Nomad IV arrived second over the line in the Transatlantic Race 2015. (photo credit Hamo Thornycroft) 

Clarke Murphy summarised their difficulties: “Luckily we have a lot of muscle on board. It is nice to have pictures on the website of people chain-ganging, but to gybe a 15-story high mainsail [without hydraulics], you have to prepare for an hour to make sure it goes perfectly and you have no power to grind things back in. We cursed a few times, but we got everything done super slowly, by being really well prepared and coordinated. But I’m not complaining. You have to deal with the hand you’re dealt.”

Murphy praised Nomad’s crew and their problem-solving skills in learning how to use the traveller, main sheet, vang, etc. all without hydraulics. “Just before we finished we figured out how to unfurl the J2 [headsail] manually with someone at the top of the rig and someone at the middle of the sail. The determination to come up with solutions brought this group together.”

Murphy’s most memorable highlight was screaming along in big wind and the Gulf Stream, making high daily averages early on in the race. His worst was getting disorientated and stressed, sailing at night in fog approaching Ireland.

Third home on the water, finishing at 02:21:18 UTC, was Mariette of 1915, the biggest, heaviest and -- celebrating her centenary this year – oldest boat in this year’s Transatlantic Race.

For the crew, sailing this ancient Herreshoff design, which measures 80 feet long on the water, 108 feet on deck and 138 feet overall, felt like history in the making. Mariette led the fleet east across the North Atlantic for the majority of the race, during which they cranked the 165 ton gaff schooner up to a top speed of 17.8 knots.

Skipper Charlie Wroe explained: “All boats have their limitations, but you get on a boat like Mariette and she gets a rumble on and you feel it from your toes - it is pretty special. This boat is amazing to sail, she just keeps on giving. She is an amazingly competitive boat.”

While yesterday’s forecast indicated that Mariette would finish in pressure ahead of a cold front, in fact the front stalled. They were faced with six hours of light winds yesterday evening and when the front did arrive, it only delivered 20 knots.

Throughout the race, the crew were referencing the passage of American sailing legend Charlie Barr, the Russell Coutts of his day, who drove the 227-foot three-masted schooner Atlantic from New York to the Lizard (within 50 miles of the length of the present course) in a time of 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds during the New York Yacht Club’s Transatlantic Race in 1905. Sadly, Mariette finished just outside of this time.

Mariette is lining up to claim the Classic class and IRC Class 4 on handicap.

Comanche sets new 24 hour record
In stark contrast to the two days they spent wallowing in no wind last week, a corridor of strong southwesterly winds straddling the breadth of the North Atlantic for the last 48 hours has provided last Sunday’s starters with conditions to cover huge mileage.

A boat built exactly for this is Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s VPLP-Verdier designed 100-foot maxi Comanche, which this morning broke the monohull 24-hour distance record. In the period between 0530 UTC Friday and 0530 this morning, Comanche covered 618.01 nautical miles (or 25.75 knots average); however, it is important to note that this is subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.

This betters the previous record of 596.6nm set by Torben Grael and the Ericsson 4 VO70 crew during the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race. Two Ericsson 4 crew, Tony Mutter and Ryan Godfrey, are sailing on board Comanche in the Transatlantic Race. 

“As a group, we are very excited about it,” confirmed skipper Ken Read, paying tribute to owner  Jim Clark and his vision of high technology and amazing machines, as well as the designers, boat builders, crew and shore crew, that all contributed to the record. “This was the 100-foot boat that Jim Clark wanted: The fastest monohull in the world.”

As to what it was like on board, Read added: “Our top speeds were into the mid-30s a bunch of times. It is not like you are surfing down a wave, you just go….fast. The boat is amazing! You sail it heeled over and it feels like you are right on the edge, but when you grab the wheel you are in control. The boat is a phenomenal piece of machinery.”

On board the shorter Rambler 88, owner George David reckoned that they covered 587 miles over a similar period, “but for me that is my personal best. I did 584 on Rambler 100.”

Despite communication being difficult over satellite phone from what sounded like a water-born war zone, David summarised: “We’ve been going along the bottom side of a low and we’ve had wind speed of 24-26 knots for almost 48 hours. Boat speed has been 25-26 knots, around 1.5 knots off Comanche’s pace, which is not unexpected given their bigger righting moment and stability.”

David said that they have their special side foil deployed to leeward, and this has been helping to keep the bow out of the water. “It helps keep water off the deck but there is still a lot of water on the deck. When you are going 25 knots in these sea conditions, you are going faster than the wave train and you [go over a wave and] slam into the back of the next one.

“Everyone is fine and everyone’s wet and it is a production getting foul weather gear on and off, but it is a good ride. I think it will back off in the next 12-15 hours, because we are slowly outrunning it.”

Follow the Race:

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Yellowbrick Tracking: http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015 (will be activated 24 hours before the first start, June 28 at 1400 EDT).

Yellowbrick Tracking on tablet or smart phone – You must first download the YB Races app, then within the app, add the TR2015 race. There is no charge to follow this race. 

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Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
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TRAnsatlantic RAce 2015: Line Honors and Bragging Rights for Lucky

Late afternoon, British time, Bryon Ehrhart’s Lucky was the first boat in the Transatlantic Race 2015 to cross the finish line at The Lizard, ending a brutal 8 days 22 hours 5 minutes and 3 seconds at sea on a 2,800-mile eastbound crossing of the North Atlantic, sailed mostly in strong winds.

At present Lucky holds the lead in the Transatlantic Race 2015 under IRC handicap, but the title remains under threat from boats yet to finish. Similarly, her impressive course time is likely to be bettered by the maxis which started four days after her.

  Lucky  is first-to-finish in the Transatlantic Race 2015 (photo credit Lloyd Images)  

Lucky is first-to-finish in the Transatlantic Race 2015 (photo credit Lloyd Images) 

“We are excited to have finished; it was an interesting test,” said Ehrhart, who earlier this year acquired his Reichel/Pugh 63 (formerly the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart winner, Loki) with the principle aim of competing in this race.  Erhart, a Chicagoan, is a member of the New York Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club – two of the four clubs, with the addition of Storm Trysail Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron – that comprised the organizing authority for the race.

Navigator Ian Moore added: “Obviously the whole crew are really excited to have made it to the finish and to be the first boat home. It has been a very long night and a very long day. The beat to the finish felt like it would never end and the wind started to run out. It is a fantastic feeling to finally finish the race.”

Competing in IRC 2, Lucky set off from Newport, R.I., on July 1 with the second group of starters, including Clarke Murphy’s longer and much-higher-rated 100’ Nomad IV. Nomad and Lucky sailed neck and neck for the first few days, but Lucky took a more direct easterly route towards Point Alpha, the ice exclusion, which allowed her to reach its south-western tip 13 miles ahead.

The two boats continued due east after passing the south-eastern corner of the exclusion zone, staying in the best breeze as they determined how cross to a patch of light winds on Sunday, July 5. Ultimately Lucky made the best of it, adding six miles to her lead over Nomad IV. By this stage both boats had passed all of the first starters, which had departed three days before them, with the exception of the biggest boat in the fleet, the 138’ Mariette of 1915. Lucky finally passed the 100-year-old schooner two days from the finish, at the same time as she was splitting from Nomad IV to head north.

With the Azores High forecast to extend over the western tip of the U.K. as Lucky made her final approach to the finish, she headed north where the breeze would remain strongest for longest. Thanks to this she managed to extend her lead to more than 60 miles, but with the risk that Nomad IV, approaching from the west-southwest would come in with pressure and overtake her.

Lucky lost ground as she headed north of the Scilly Isles early this morning and was forced to beat up the narrow passage between Land’s End and its off-lying Traffic Separation Scheme allowing Nomad IV to close. But it was too little too late.

Lucky crossed the line while Nomad still had 37 miles to sail in a dying breeze. Nonetheless it was close after more than 3,000 miles of racing—in distance sailed—considering the two boats are so different: Lucky, a 63’ long stripped out racer; Nomad IV, at 100’, a much bigger boat but fitted out with a luxury interior, and also having suffered a catalogue of problems on this race.

“It was always in the back of our minds that they were out there charging along,” admitted Moore. “But it would have been a big job for them to catch up 50 miles in 12 hours.”

As to what contributed to Lucky’s success, Ehrhart commented: “It was everything. The crew is certainly the leading star in this and the boat was well prepared as was the crew. It was a good navigational plan by Soapy [Ian Moore]. We think we sailed as well as we could. They didn’t leave anything out and there was nothing I wish we could have changed. I just hope that the result stands.”

Elsewhere in the fleet, last Sunday’s starters now have the bit between their teeth and are making fast progress. All four boats—the two maxis, Comanche and Rambler 88, and the two trimarans, Phaedo³ and Paradox—have been eating up the miles, none more so than Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 Phaedo³. In the 24 hours until 1030 ETD (1430 UTC) she had sailed a massive 626 miles at an average speed of 26.5 knots. In the inter-maxi monohull dust-up, Rambler 88 was doing a good of job of staying in touch with the 100’ Comanche, having lost only 30 miles to her in the last 24 hours.

These boats are now picking off the rest of the fleet. Some 275 miles north of Phaedo³ is the current Cruiser class leader, Jack Madden’s Swan 60, Lady B.

“We have been doing well,” reported Lady B’s navigator J.J. Schock. “We are averaging about high nines speed over ground and everyone is in good health and spirits.” This morning Lady B was seeing 25 knots from the southwest and two-meter seas, which Schock described as having a long period, so “quite comfortable. We are sailing along on starboard tack under main and No. 3. Everything is calm on board and we’re just trying to make good speed.”

Schock acknowledges that this crossing has been particularly breezy, with wind speed having remained in the high 30s for days, occasionally accompanied by squalls into the 40s and one gust reaching 50 knots.

Being in the Cruiser class means they have the luxury of not having to eat reconstituted freeze dried food. “We have a wonderful cook on board and she is taking very good care of us. When it has been rougher, we have been having some peanut butter and jelly and crackers. When it has been nice we have had some nice meals,” said Schock.

Further up the fleet Earl St. Aldwyn’s Shipman 50 Zephyr experienced some drama last night when the shackle on the spinnaker halyard exploded, causing the kite to tumble into the water and for the boat to run over it. “We managed to recover it remarkably with no damage,” reported skipper David Sharples. “We sent George Bullard up the mast to recover the halyard at first light.”

Now up to sixth on the water, Ross Applebey’s Oyster Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster was this morning running downwind, but had prudently dropped the spinnaker in the early hours after the breeze had built to 30 knots. “We are pointing at the mark, but it is pretty rolly. I think we have managed to find ourselves a bit of current again, so it is heating up again. We are in pretty good shape,” commented Applebey.

The battle remains relentless against the ocean racing classics Carina and Dorade, but Scarlet Oyster is now ahead of the former on handicap, but still lying third to the immaculate S&S classic in IRC Class 4.

Follow the Race
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticRace

Yellowbrick Tracking: http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015 (will be activated 24 hours before the first start, June 28 at 1400 EDT).

Yellowbrick Tracking on tablet or smart phone – You must first download the YB Races app, then within the app, add the TR2015 race. There is no charge to follow this race. 
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Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
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Transatlantic Race 2015: Tricky Finish Ahead for Lucky

With a day and a half to go, the three-way battle to be first home in the Transatlantic Race 2015 has changed complexion, with Bryon Ehrhart’s Lucky taking the lead on the water. Yesterday afternoon the Reichel/Pugh 63 finally passed the giant schooner, Mariette of 1915, a vessel twice her size, but some 93 years her senior.

Lucky, also favorite for handicap honors, had 312 miles left to sail at 1000 EDT (1400 UTC). Yacht racing wisdom would dictate she should now keep herself between her competition and the finish line off The Lizard. Instead she chose a different path and this morning appeared bound for southern Ireland rather than southern England.

 Lucky at the start of the TR2015 in Newport, RI. ©Daniel Forster/NYYC

Lucky at the start of the TR2015 in Newport, RI. ©Daniel Forster/NYYC

The reason for this is that there remains one final challenge all three boats — Lucky, Mariette and Clarke Murphy’s 100-foot maxi Nomad IV — must tackle: a patch of light or no wind hovering around the Scilly Isles/Land’s End. For Lucky, this is the worst scenario with Mariette and Nomad IV likely to close from astern in strong wind ahead of a cold front. Should Lucky get trapped in a wind-less hole, Nomad IV could weave a path around her and claim bragging rights as the first boat across the finish line.

To avoid this, Lucky is heading north where she can remain in stronger winds for the longest period. Conversely Mariette is now on a more southerly course.  Last night at 2200 UTC (1800 EDT) she crossed some 15 miles astern of Lucky. This morning, Mariette and Nomad IV were on parallel courses with the schooner some 46 miles north of the 100’ maxi, which is the most southerly of the three boats closing in on the finish.

Mid-morning the three horse race nearly became a two horse race. As Nomad IV’s Clarke Murphy recounted: “I was at the wheel in pea-soup fog, no visibility, going 15 knots. All of a sudden I see, 10 meters off the bow, a huge breaching whale and I scream ‘whale’ — I have hit whales before in previous trips. So I shoved the wheel to windward and we passed two to three meters by a floating 40-foot container covered in barnacles on the port side. We were so close, you could see its registration number.”

Going nearly head to wind caused the spinnaker halyard to explode, causing the team’s Code 0 to topple into the water. Fortunately it was recovered without incident and Nomad IV recovered and continued, albeit with the crews’ hearts still pounding.

“A container floating is always my greatest fear,” said Murphy. “If I had a clot in any valve of my heart, it has been flushed through successfully…”

Meanwhile the mood has lightened at the back of the fleet after the race’s four fastest boats endured a windless 48 hours.

In search of breeze, navigator Stan Honey got the crew on Jim and Kristy Clarke’s 100-foot Comanche to head north, enabling the giant maxi to find a way through the mess. But behind, Rambler 88 had been able to cut the corner as the high receded to the south.

Despite the conditions having since turned favorable,  Comanche skipper Ken Read was still vocal about the previous two days: “We finally got into the same breeze as our friends on Rambler did. They spent the last two days sailing in more wind than us. We were living in torture the entire time knowing that they were reeling us in and knowing there was nothing you could do about it.”

On a more positive note, Comanche yesterday managed to overtake Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 Phaedo³. Later the two boats converged around 40 miles short of the southwestern end of Point Alpha, the ice exclusion zone. Inevitably Phaedo³ pulled ahead, starting her run along the southern side of the ice zone at 0600 UTC (0200 EDT) followed by Comanche some 45 minutes later.

Later this morning Comanche was jib reaching along the bottom of the ice zone in 19 to 20 knots of wind making 24.7 knots. “The fat-bottomed girl is pretty lit up right now. If we could do this for the next few days we’d be pretty darned happy,” Read continued. “But you also remember just how violent these boats are, how angry they can be in certain conditions. And it looks like it is going to get worse.”

The four boats at the back are now set to have a relentless, high-speed run toward the British Isles at possibly record-breaking pace. “We have a couple of cold fronts and it’ll be ‘hold on fellas’ because it is going to get pretty interesting,” said Read, warning that while they would be going fast, it was also their objective to make it to the finish.

With strong south westerlies currently spanning the breadth of the North Atlantic, the freshest breeze today remained in the mid-fleet which was still seeing 35 knots.

South of the group experiencing the severest conditions was Snow Lion of former New York Yacht Club Commodore Lawrence Huntington, who is doing his seventh transatlantic race at the age of 80. His Ker 50 passed the ‘1000 miles to go’ mark this morning and was experiencing 15 to 20 knots from the west. 

“We have had a beautiful downwind sailing trip so far,” reported Huntington. “A couple days of fairly strong wind, but now it is picture perfect sailing with the wind over the stern and a beautiful seascape with beautiful white puffy clouds. Everything is okay - so far! This is a good strong boat and we aren’t worried about it. We have very minor damage to a lifeline/stanchion but otherwise nothing to report. Everything is in good shape.”

Follow the Race
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticRace     

Yellowbrick Tracking: http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015 (will be activated 24 hours before the first start, June 28 at 1400 EDT).

Yellowbrick Tracking on tablet or smart phone – You must first download the YB Races app, then within the app, add the TR2015 race. There is no charge to follow this race. 
Apple iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yb-races/id452193682?mt=8
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Website: http://transatlanticrace.com
Boat Blogs: http://transatlanticrace.org/tr2015-media/boat-blogs

Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
Instagram: @nyyc_regattas

Transatlantic Race 2015: Storm Force Winds in the Mid-Atlantic

Severe conditions in the mid-north Atlantic have continued to punish the bulk of the fleet in the Transatlantic Race 2015.

Yesterday Daniel and Gretchen Biemesderfer made the decision to retire from the race after their Mason 43 Shearwater suffered mainsail and rigging damage. She is heading for the Azores. Similarly, just before midnight UTC, Carter Bacon’s Nielsen 50 Solution sustained damage to her rudder and was taking on water. She becomes the sixth boat in the Transatlantic Race to retire and is now diverting to the Azores, albeit without electronics, which went down in a previous deluge. 

Last night the mid-fleet took a pounding as a depression passed to their north and they were blasted by its associated cold front. During this one of the most northerly boats, Earl St Aldwyn’s Shipman 50 Zephyr saw sustained winds in the low 40s and one gust of 59 knots (i.e. Force 11/violent storm on the Beaufort scale)

 From the deck of  Prospector

From the deck of Prospector

“It was a little bit more than we anticipated, but we knew it was going to blow so we hunkered down,” recounted Zephyr skipper David Sharples. “It was just the front of the squalls which were a bit hefty.” During this time, while running under triple-reefed main and working jib, Zephyr scored a new personal high speed of 22 knots down one surf.

This morning, conditions had abated and the wind was ‘merely’ in the low 30s from the southwest. “We have been remarkably lucky with breakage, so far—touch wood that continues,” continued Sharples. “We are still chasing Dorade and Carina and hoping we can catch one of them before the line.”

113 miles ahead of Zephyr, the mostly German crew on the Class 40 leader Stella Nova also had a lively night. However, rather than being a fast cruiser, their Mach 40 is a pure ocean racer.

“It is a great team on board, all working together,” said skipper Burkard Keese, pleased to be rolling past 60-footers. “A Class 40 is designed for conditions like we’ve got, and the Mach 40 from JPS Production is just a dream, amazing.” No doubt contributing to boat speed in the crew is leading Class 40 sailor Jörg Riechers, who earlier this year sailed an IMOCA 60 around the world doublehanded in the Barcelona World Race.

According to Keese, last night they ‘only’ saw 40 knots and were able to eat up the miles under two reefs and spinnaker. Today the wind had dropped and they were awaiting the arrival of the next front. Generally all is well except the sails have taken a hammering and they destroyed their Code 0 during one particularly violent squall.

Meanwhile the depression and cold front that pummeled the mid-fleet is now catching up with the front-runners, who are benefitting from not being so close to its center. The lead trio currently resembles three sprinters gunning for the line. At 0800 EDT (1200 UTC), the mighty 138’ gaff-rigged schooner Mariette of 1915 was still a nose in front with 643 miles to go compared to Lucky and Nomad IV, on 655 and 683 miles, respectively. However Mariette’s younger carbon-fiber rivals will certainly pass her, with Bryon Ehrhart’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Lucky hunting ‘the double’— overall victory under IRC and bragging rights of being first home — if she can stay ahead of Clarke Murphy’s well-appointed 100-foot performance maxi Nomad IV. At present, a Friday-night finish is likely, but will ultimately depend on whether or not conditions go light approaching the Scilly Isles.

Meanwhile, there is the faint noise of V8 engines revving in the western Atlantic, where the world’s two fastest monohulls and two of the world’s fastest trimarans have been wallowing for the last 24 hours. Here the wrong sort of records are being set: this morning Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 trimaran Phaedo3, usually capable of average speeds of 30-plus knots and peak speeds of more than 40, had covered just 91 miles over the previous 24 hours, or an average speed of 3.7 knots.

Over the course of this morning Jim and Kristy Clark’s 100-foot Comanche managed to find some pressure to the north and has rolled even  Phaedo3,  opening up a lead of almost 50 miles over her direct competition, George David’s Rambler 88.

 Onboard George David's  Rambler88  during the Transatlantic Race. Former America's Cup winners and  Alinghi  teammates Josh Belsky (left) and Simon Daubney surely debate the merits of getting to sleep in your own bed each evening versus a swampy pipe cot inside a carbon fiber drum.

Onboard George David's Rambler88 during the Transatlantic Race. Former America's Cup winners and Alinghi teammates Josh Belsky (left) and Simon Daubney surely debate the merits of getting to sleep in your own bed each evening versus a swampy pipe cot inside a carbon fiber drum.

“It is lovely out here!” said Rambler 88’s Australian navigator Andrew Cape with the tone of a man who spent the last hours pulling his hair out. “We had a really bad patch, but it was always in the plan, and we’ve had to live with it.”

This morning the wind was slowly filling in and Rambler 88 was recording eight knots and Cape, who has barely drawn breath after finishing the Volvo Ocean Race as navigator on Team Brunel, was expecting the breeze to fill in later today. “Tomorrow we should be smoking along, happily on our way.”

Thanks to the park up, George David’s monohull race record of 6 days 22 hours, set on Rambler 100 in 2011, looks set to stand.  However, Cape warns that the two maxis may be in for a fast run over Friday-Saturday as they scream towards the UK. Record breaking? “We could give it a real good nudge,” he advises. 

Follow the Race
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticRace     

Yellowbrick Tracking: http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015 (will be activated 24 hours before the first start, June 28 at 1400 EDT).

Yellowbrick Tracking on tablet or smart phone – You must first download the YB Races app, then within the app, add the TR2015 race. There is no charge to follow this race. 
Apple iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yb-races/id452193682?mt=8
Google Play/Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yellowbrick.raceviewer&hl=en

Website: http://transatlanticrace.com
Boat Blogs: http://transatlanticrace.org/tr2015-media/boat-blogs

Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
Instagram: @nyyc_regattas

Gales and Flat Calms in the Atlantic

 

Gales and prolonged strong winds since the start have taken their toll as the bulk of the fleet reaches the halfway stage of the Transatlantic Race 2015.

On board the Class 40 Amhas, doublehanded crew Mackenzie Davis and Brian Harris have been forced to retire with mast issues and are currently nursing their Akilaria RC3 towards the Azores.

For those following the YB tracker, there were some nervous moments last night as Daniel and Gretchen Biemesderfer’s Mason 43, Shearwater, appeared to be slowly heading in the direction of the Caribbean. Unable to raise the crew, the Race Committee scrambled Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy’s Swan 56 Noonmark VI to assist. As they closed Noonmark’s crew was able to raise the Shearwater crew, who subsequently sent this update: “We sustained some damage: broken boom vang, traveller and importantly mainsail. We're hove to until the weather abates. At that point we'll decide if we can continue racing. However, the boat is fine and the crew are all well and in good spirits. We're all getting some much needed rest.”

A few hours later, Shearwater checked in via Sat Phone with the Race Office and confirmed that they were dropping out of the race and sailing to the Azores to effect repairs.

 Follow the TR 2015 on Yellow Brick Tracker:  http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015

Follow the TR 2015 on Yellow Brick Tracker: http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015

With boats spread out across some 1500 miles of race track, the weather they are currently experiencing is hugely contrasting. Early this morning, boats off the eastern end of Point Alpha, the ice exclusion zone, were seeing 40 to 50 knots, while at the front of the fleet, Mariette of 1915 had been becalmed and those still closest to America, the fastest boats in the fleet, were uncharacteristically clocking some of the slowest speeds, trapped in high pressure extending from Newfoundland south to Bermuda.

Furthest south among the lead group, the Open 60 Grey Power this morning had 11 to 15 knots from the southwest after a big Monday. “Yesterday we were blasting, really shifting, getting 17-knot averages. We slowed down overnight, and today it is down to 11 to 12,” reported skipper and living legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who in 1969 became the first man ever to sail singlehanded non-stop around the world.

On board Grey Power, he is accompanied by an all-star cast of old friends, including former RORC Commodore and chief blogger, David Aisher, leading yacht broker Bernard Gallay (regular crew on his British Airways catamaran in the mid-1980s) and Dilip Donde, the first Indian to sail singlehanded around the world. “It is lovely having some old and trusted friends with you and enjoying crossing an ocean again,” said Knox-Johnston.

Knox-Johnston is renowned for serving up eye-watering curries on board, but this trip has passed this on. “I don’t do curries when Dilip is onboard; I know when I am outclassed. He makes excellent ones!”

It seems probable Grey Power will be fifth home on the water, but in terms of his progress Knox-Johnston is still kicking himself after making a tactical error after the start. Their only major incident to date was when they ran into something, believed to be a whale, three days ago. Fortunately the boat survived intact and they have continued. 

A most extraordinary performance is that of the 1929, 52’ yawl Dorade, which the boat’s eminent yacht designer Olin Stephens raced to victory in the 1931 Transatlantic Race, coming home in 17 days, two days ahead of the nearest competition (for which the Stephens received a ticker-tape parade up New York City’s Broadway). Dorade’s present owner Matt Brooks says that he would like to match or better the yacht’s time; however, this is no mean feat given that today the course is much longer to avoid icebergs and they have experienced heinous conditions.

“A day and a half ago the wind was into the 40s with 15- to 18-ft seas and we were sailing upwind,” said Brooks. “It was the first time we had ever sailed with three reefs.” This morning the wind was 18 knots from the southwest, and another gale was on its way.

Despite this, Dorade is showing her old form, hanging on to the coat tails of boats substantially newer than she is. As Brooks says: “The old girl is keeping up.” Two days ago they set a new speed record of 18.7 knots (compared to 11.4 knots, Dorade’s top speed in 1931).

At the front of the fleet Mariette of 1915 has lost ground on the chasing pack, as she dropped off the back of the depression she had been riding.

“Last night we had no wind at all,” recounted navigator Halvard Mabire. “We never stopped, but we stayed a long time at two to three knots.” Despite the lack of wind, the substantial swell persisted, creating a rolly ride even for the 165-ton classic. “That is very difficult on any boat, but we have eight tons of rigging, masts, sails and gaffs and our main boom is 17 meters long,” said skipper Charlie Wroe of what was clunking around aloft last night.

This morning the wind had returned and the Mariette crew was expecting it to veer from the southeast into the southwest today; and they were expecting to be overhauled by Lucky and Nomad IV in due course. As Wroe stated: “The fast reaching conditions look pretty stable for the next two to three days, so they are going to do a horizon job on us. All we can do is to try and hang on.”

(end)

Follow the Race
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticRace     

Yellowbrick Tracking: http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015 (will be activated 24 hours before the first start, June 28 at 1400 EDT).

Yellowbrick Tracking on tablet or smart phone – You must first download the YB Races app, then within the app, add the TR2015 race. There is no charge to follow this race. 
Apple iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yb-races/id452193682?mt=8
Google Play/Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yellowbrick.raceviewer&hl=en

Website: http://transatlanticrace.com
Boat Blogs: http://transatlanticrace.org/tr2015-media/boat-blogs

Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
Instagram: @nyyc_regattas

Stop-Start Transatlantic Race

IMG_4501.JPG

Comanche, Rambler 88, Phaedo3 and Paradox – the four fastest boats in the Transatlantic Race 2015 – are now in hot pursuit of the remainder of the fleet.

Overnight the four have made solid progress with the Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 trimaran Phaedo 3 leading, having covered some 307 miles in the first 18 hours since starting. Jim and Kirsty Clark’s 100’ maxi Comanche was already 50 miles astern of the electric green tri, but was leading her smaller rival, George David’s Rambler 88, by 20 miles with Peter Aschenbrenner’s 66’ trimaran, Paradox, a further 30 miles back. This has been in less than ideal conditions, VMG running and having to gybe frequently in a 13-15 knot westerly as they attempt to take advantage of favorable eddies in the Gulf Stream.

“So far it is beautiful sailing,” said Ken Read, skipper of Comanche. “It is a nice way to break into a Transatlantic Race.”

Miles Seddon, navigator on board Phaedo 3, agreed: “We had stronger breeze than forecast getting out of Newport and it has been good fun. It is nice to get offshore and into the routine of racing again.” This morning, Phaedo 3 was averaging 18-20 knots in an 11-12 knot westerly, gybing along the top of a Gulf Stream eddy, while also trying to circumnavigate the top of some high pressure approaching from the south. 

The million-dollar question for the fast boats is can they keep this wind? At present there is a depression to their east speeding away towards Europe, leaving a giant, windless area of high pressure in its wake.

Ken Read believes Comanche will be parked in 24 hours: “The ice gate combined with a high that is developing right in front of us is really going to slow us down for a day or two. If we had started even 24 hours before, we probably could have pulled through, but that’s the way it is. You have to play with the deck you’re given.”

On the faster Phaedo 3, prospects are more hopeful. “A high pressure ridge will spoil our party a little bit,” says Seddon.  “If we keep moving quickly we could just get in front of it, but if we slow up then we’ll struggle along at the bottom of the ice gate.”  Tuesday to Wednesday could be difficult, but afterwards the boats will be “ripping east,” as Ken Read puts it, with an ETA at the Lizard finish line sometime next weekend.

Despite the forecast Read says they will keep pushing, as their legendary navigator, Stan Honey, seeks a solution, but at present it looks like a mid-week race restart for them and Rambler 88.

At the front of the fleet a similar transition is occurring. Mariette of 1915 yesterday performed a horizon job on the fleet, with 1065 miles left to sail at 1300 UTC. By being further east she has held on longer to a departing depression as the boats behind her yesterday fell into light wind; her turn will come later today. 

“The wind died completely, because there was no pressure gradient between the two lows,” explained Ian Moore, navigator on board Bryon Ehrhart's Reichel Pugh 63 Lucky, leading this group on handicap. This morning the wind slowly filled in from the east and Moore was expecting the breeze to end up in the southwest, but Lucky first has to endure a large occluded front crossing overhead. This is set to bring a 90° wind shift and indeterminate amounts of wind.

Otherwise, Lucky’s race has been excellent, this being the team’s major event of the season in their newly acquired boat, following the RORC Caribbean 600. With big breeze from the start, they have been leading the race on both elapsed time and on IRC handicap. In fact Moore was proud that until a few hours ago, they had averaged 15 knots for the race, during which time they hit a peak speed of 31 knots.

From here prospects are also good. When the next depression arrives, it should take them most of the way to The Lizard. “We are hoping by mid-afternoon to have 15-16 knots from 120° TWA and that means we’ll be back up into the high teens,” Moore added. “From there on we should be sailing at close to 20 knots for a couple of days.”

Soon after last Wednesday’s start, they had a few issues involving sail damage. The tight luff of their A3 parted company with the body of the sail and it was deemed irreparable. They also managed to rip severely their only fractional sail. This they did repair, after 12 hours spent using every available material on board, including Sikaflex, to put it back together.

(end)

Follow the Race
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticRace     

Yellowbrick Tracking: http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015 (will be activated 24 hours before the first start, June 28 at 1400 EDT).

Yellowbrick Tracking on tablet or smart phone – You must first download the YB Races app, then within the app, add the TR2015 race. There is no charge to follow this race. 
Apple iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yb-races/id452193682?mt=8
Google Play/Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yellowbrick.raceviewer&hl=en

Website: http://transatlanticrace.com
Boat Blogs: http://transatlanticrace.org/tr2015-media/boat-blogs

Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
Instagram: @nyyc_regattas

From the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

Independence Day is bringing mixed reactions from the crew of Nomad IV. The 100-footft maxi is currently lying second in the battle for line honors in the Transatlantic Race 2015 behind Bryon Ehrhart's Reichel-Pugh 63 Lucky, which at present has a stranglehold on the race silverware, also leading under IRC handicap.

 Bryon Ehrhart's Reichel-Pugh 63  Lucky

Bryon Ehrhart's Reichel-Pugh 63 Lucky

The dark red maxi is something of a United Nations effort. The boat was designed in France by Finot-Conq and built in Italy by Maxi Dolphin, where she was launched two years ago. Her charterer for this race is American Clarke Murphy, whose navigator, Mike Broughton is British and her strategist, Ian Budgen, is a Scot. The crew is otherwise the usual blend of Antepodians, Americans and Europeans, typical of a maxi yacht.

So what celebrations will there be on board for Independence Day? “If you sail with Budgie and Micky, it is fireworks every day!” jokes Clarke Murphy of his afterguard. “But at lunchtime today all the Yanks on board will be singing the Star Spangled Banner to ensure we celebrate our independence from the Brits and all the people of the U.K.”

At dawn this morning the topic, along with related aspects such as the Declaration of Independence and its minutiae, in particular who signed it, were drawing heated debate on board Nomad IV. “Our history teachers would have proud of us,” said Murphy. 

Back to the racing and the 20- to 30-knot strong running conditions of the last 48 hours that have torpedoed Nomad IV away from the eastern seaboard. Her racy exterior and flat topped mainsail betray a modern luxury cruising yacht with all mod cons and a displacement that is a few tons heavier than Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard, another 100-foot maxi, which Murphy chartered for the last Transatlantic Race in 2011.

According to Mike Broughton, Nomad IV’s top 24-hour run since starting has been around 455 miles (with assistance from the Gulf Stream) while yesterday morning Aussie crewman Jake Newman notched up the boat’s record top speed of 30.62 knots.

For Murphy this is his sixth Atlantic crossing and the third in a race, following his debut on Stuart Robinson’s Swan 70 Stay Calm a decade ago, which he also sailed with Budgen and Broughton. But this year’s is the best yet: “20 to 25 knots of boat speed, hour after hour, that is about as much fun as it gets. We are having a great race. It has been amazingly flat seas and obviously great breeze and wind angles for this boat.

“The other night we were sailing at 25 to 30 knots in the dark with the spinnaker up and you had to hold on every time there was puff. So we are having a really good time in conditions the boat was designed for.”

To date the only hold-up has been a broken batten in the mainsail and some problems with the halyard locks at the top of the mast when they were trying to reef yesterday. “Al Fraser, our bowman, went up the mast which was not very pleasant in three-meter waves,” Broughton recounted. “When he was holding on, trying to sort out the halyard locks, he saw a giant manta ray following us. He said it was bigger than half of the beam of our boat, which is 7.8 meters!”

Broughton and the Nomad IV crew are not suffering too greatly. Compared to Lucky to the north—on which the crew will be hot bunking in pipecots, but otherwise living on the rail, gratefully receiving reconstituted freeze-dried meals in dogbowls—on Nomad IV there is a chef and a well-stocked larder. “We have food for a month at least and about half a ton of French cheeses. There are crates of oranges that keep coming out of the lazarette,” says Broughton, who gets to reside in a 16 by 12-foot cabin complete with en suite facilities. 

This morning Nomad IV passed some 65 miles south of the southwestern corner of Point Alpha, the Ice Exclusion Zone, with Lucky due north of her. The wind was 25 knots from 250° and according to Broughton the sky had become overcast with the onset of a cold front currently to their northwest. With this, the Caribbean-like temperature crews were reporting (and occasionally even complaining about) yesterday have been dropping.

So far Nomad IV and Lucky have overtaken all but five of last Sunday’s starters. Among these, Mariette of 1915 continues to lead on the water, now with 1815 miles left to sail to the finish off southwest England’s Lizard Point. The 138-foot gaff schooner has held a northeasterly course since yesterday, hugging the perimeter of the Ice Exclusion Zone, where she is now again back into strong southwesterly winds.

Behind among the Class 40s, the largely German crew on Burkhard Keese’s Mach 40 Stella Nova has pulled out an eight-mile lead over the competition.

Sadly Robert Eichler's S&S 96 Altair has suffered boom damage, limiting the use of her mainsail and is now heading on a northwesterly course towards Nova Scotia.

Follow the Race
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticRace     

Yellowbrick Tracking: http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015 (will be activated 24 hours before the first start, June 28 at 1400 EDT).

Yellowbrick Tracking on tablet or smart phone – You must first download the YB Races app, then within the app, add the TR2015 race. There is no charge to follow this race. 
Apple iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/yb-races/id452193682?mt=8
Google Play/Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.yellowbrick.raceviewer&hl=en

Website: http://transatlanticrace.com
Boat Blogs: http://transatlanticrace.org/tr2015-media/boat-blogs

Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
Instagram: @nyyc_regattas