Transatlantic Race 2015

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June 28: First of Three Starts

By Barby MacGowan

Transatlantic 2015 Start NEWPORT, R.I. (June 28, 2015) – An intense low-pressure system rolling up the Atlantic Coast put competitors and race officials on edge for the 48 hours leading up to the first start of the Transatlantic Race 2015, from Newport, R.I., to The Lizard off the southwest coast of England.

© Daniel Forster

Contingency plans were made by both groups, with the option of delaying the start for a few hours getting serious consideration. The storm passed through overnight, however, leaving behind excellent, albeit unseasonably cool, conditions and a favorable boost from the outgoing current and the run-off from Saturday night’s heavy rain.

Group 1 crossed the starting line set off the Castle Hill Lighthouse at the entrance to Narragansett Bay’s East Passage just after 2 p.m. Twenty-one boats will get underway on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 1, and the four fastest yachts in the race will make up the final start on Sunday, July 5.

Watch Start 1 video produced by Onne van der Wal Nautical Photography:

 Start 1 video

June 30: Transatlantic Race Update

Since passing the exclusion zones yesterday – around Nantucket Shoals and, further to the east, the Northern Right Whale Critical habitat – the 13-strong first wave of boats competing in the Transatlantic Race has entered the Atlantic proper now, where it has divided in two groups.

The twin-masted schooner Mariette of 1915, which at 138 feet is the largest yacht competing, picked up the breeze and surged ahead on the first full day of racing. She has been leading the charge to the southeast ahead of a cold front, chased by two of the world’s most famous classic ocean racers, Dorade and Carina, plus the more modern British Lightwave 48, Scarlet Oyster.

The aim of spearing off to the southeast is to key into a band of stronger southwesterly winds that are currently spinning around a giant area of high pressure situated in the mid-Atlantic. The weather forecast indicates that the high is set to remain in situ for the rest of this week, and that the present southwesterlies (or westerlies) could hold for this period, propelling the boats to, and possibly beyond, the southerly limit of the ice exclusion zone around the Grand Banks at 41°30N between 51°30 and 48°W. The western limit of this was still some 650 miles away from Mariette of 1915 this morning.

Depending upon how much further she continues on her present course, Mariette of 1915 could well reach one of the strongest parts of the Gulf Stream, the warm current that, in this area of the ocean, flows in a favorable northeasterly direction. If she passes 39°N the Gulf Stream could for a time boost her boat speed towards the finish line by a very welcome three knots. But will she take up this option while all the boats astern of her have already gybed?

If heading southeast is the adventurous option, there are boats to the north that have adopted an equally valid tactic: The age-old approach of staying close to the great circle, thereby sailing the shortest course. This usually favors the slower boats so the Transatlantic Race 2015, at this stage, is turning into something of a tortoise and hare contest.

Tomorrow those already out on the race course will be joined by a further 21 boats, representing the bulk of the Transatlantic Race 2015 fleet. This includes five Class 40s, one of which, Visit Brussels, is being sailed by Belgian round the world sailor Michel Kleinjans; an IRC Racer-Cruiser fleet with the Maxis Nomad IV leading the charge; and the racing class including Grey Power, the Open 60 of living legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail non-stop around the world singlehanded.


July 1: Transatlantic Race Start 2 

Transatlantic 2015 StartNEWPORT, R.I. (July 1, 2015) –  The majority of the 37 boats competing in the Transatlantic Race 2015 launched off the starting line into a brisk southwesterly breeze just after 2 p.m. local time. A line of thunderstorms, which had initially been forecast to come through at mid-day, passed over Newport just as the crews of 20 entries were waking to begin final preparations for the second of three starts for the 2,800-mile race from Newport, R.I., to The Lizard off England’s southwestern tip.

2015 Daniel Forster/NYYC

By the time the first cannon sounded at 1:50 p.m., the sun was shining and the breeze was blowing, and the competitors reveled in the ideal conditions. First off the starting line were the five Class 40s, purpose-designed ocean racing yachts that are sailing with between two and four crew onboard, less than half what any other boat in the race is carrying.

The Class 40s are the smallest boats in the race but are likely to provide the most intense competition. The boats are very even in speed and are racing in a level class, which means the first boat across the finish line will win class honors.

In a video posted earlier today on Facebook, Mike Dreese, the skipper of Toothface 2 and the co-founder and owner of the pop culture retailer Newbury Comics, had this to say about his team’s plan for the first 24 hours: “We want to try to race [south] before the winds die out. That’s probably the main strategy of most of the fleet, to head south a little more than east in the first 24 hours.”

Dreese and teammate Rob Windsor have targeted a waypoint approximately 180 miles from the start. The goal is to make it to that waypoint within 24 hours. “That’s pretty close to the limit of what these boats can do,” he continued. “It’s going to be a little touch-and-go as to whether the fleet can make it there before the winds die.”

The second start was a fleet of 10 boats varying in size from 50 to 100 feet. Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy’s Noonmark VI was first across the line, followed closely by Siren, which is being skippered by the father and son team of William Hubbard III and William Hubbard IV. Within 90 minutes of the start, it was the length and power of Clarke Murphy’s chartered 100-foot Nomad IV that had taken over the lead of this group, sailing at 14.7 knots on a compass heading of 120 degrees.

The news was decidedly less positive for Colin Rath’s Persevere, the crew of which includes his 14-year-old daughter Breana and the family cat. “Persevere has suspended racing at 15:01 returning for rig repairs without outside help,” Colin Rath emailed from onboard. This evening, Persevere is back underway.

The final five boats to cross the line included one boat that is a favorite for overall handicap honors under IRC, the 63-foot Lucky. The boat, which is owned by Bryon Ehrhart, has a proven track record in windy races (the original owner was an Australian that raced the boat extensively) and the presence of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill, who raced across the Atlantic two months ago as part of Team Alvimedica’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, put the odds better in the team’s favor.

Approximately 90 minutes after the start, Lucky at the head of the IRC 2 pack, was closely trailed by Ron O’Hanley’s Privateer and Tilmar Hansen’s 52-foot Outsider, from Germany.  Shortly after 5 p.m., however, a spokesperson from onboard Privateer called the New York Yacht Club Race Office to say the team was retiring from the race.  They were in no danger and did not need assistance. “We have technical problems, and we’re not going out there with these technical problems,” said the spokesperson.

One last start, for the monohulls Comanche and Rambler and the multihulls Phaedo 3 and Paradox, is scheduled for Sunday, July 5, at 2 p.m.

TR 2015 Roster of Entries Starting on July 1 (20 boats)

Altair, Bob Eichler, Bellevue, Wash.

Amhas, MacKenzie Davis, Portland, Maine, USA

Brigand, Sean Saslo, Westbrook,Conn., USA

Dragon, Michael Hennessey, Mystic, Conn., USA

Grey Power, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Portsmouth, GBR

Jinja, Ian Matthews, St. Mawes, GBR

Lady B, Jack Madden, Newport, R.I., USA

Lucky, Bryon Ehrhart, Chicago, Ill., USA

Maximizer, Jose Diego-Arozamena, New York, N.Y., USA and ESP

Nomad IV, Clarke Murphy, MLT

Noonmark VI, Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy, Southampton, GBR

Outsider, Tilmar Hansen/Thomas Jungblut, Kiel/Hamburg, GER

Persevere, Colin Rath, liveaboard, USA

Privateer, Ron O’Hanley, Newport, R.I., USA

Prospector, Shelter Island Transatlantic Partners, Paul McDowell/ Larry Landry, Shelter Island, N.Y., USA

Siren, William Hubbard III/Bill Hubbard IV, New York, N.Y., USA

Snow Lion, Lawrence Huntington, New York, N.Y., USA

Stella Nova, Burkhard Keese, Munich, GER

Toothface 2, Mike Dreese/Rob Windsor, Boston, Mass., USA

Visit Brussels, Michael Kleinjans, Antwerp, BEL

In the meantime today (July 1), the The 138’ Mariette of 1915 was first to reach the strong southwesterlies yesterday and is now thundering east, in a rich get richer scenario.

This morning du Moulin reported that Carina was seeing 20-25 knots from the west southwest, still with an awkward sea. “This whole race has had a very active sea state with very sloppy conditions making for a lot of wear and tear on the boat. Even with just the jib up the waves are making steering challenging.” The surging and snapping meant they wore through multiple spinnaker halyards. 

As to the weather ahead, both Sharples and du Moulin reckon that the southwesteries/westerlies are looking good to hold, with Sharples anticipating 18-30 knots for the next 48 hours. Du Moulin is more optimistic still: “We could keep them the whole way over, apart from intermittent light areas when fronts come through. Right now it looks like trade wind sailing!


July 5: Transatlantic 2015 - Third of Three Starts. Final Four Make Lasting Impressions

Transatlantic 2015 Start Phaedo3 ParadoxNEWPORT, R.I. (July 5, 2015) –  With 2,800 miles to sail and just two boats on the starting line, a conservative start would seem like the smart play. But for the 63-foot trimaran Paradox, owned by Peter Aschenbrenner and skippered by Jeff Mearing, the start of the multihull class in the Transatlantic Race 2015 offered up a wondrous opportunity to throw a little mud in the eye of Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo3, the 70-foot MOD 70 trimaran that is the odds-on favorite to take overall line honors in the race. It was too good to pass up, no matter what the overall risk-reward analysis might say.

Phaedo3 (left) and Paradox at the start of the Transatlantic Race 2015 © 2015 Daniel Forster/NYYC

The starboard end of the starting line was heavily favored due to the straight shot it provided out the channel, so both boats set up off the Jamestown shore for a long timed run on starboard tack. Paradox led into the starting area off the Castle Hill Lighthouse and, with both boats a few seconds late, seemed to be content to cross the line with a slight lead. At the last second, however, Aschenbrenner hardened up and cut off the path of the hard-charging Phaedo3, forcing the larger boat to spin head to wind on the wrong side of the starting line and turn an achingly slow 360, before setting off in pursuit of its rival.

For a race of this extreme distance, such an advantage at the outset means little. To wit, by 3:30 p.m., 90 minutes into the race, Phaedo3 had rolled over the top of Paradox and was scorching south of Martha’s Vineyard on an east-southeast heading at 30 knots. Paradox wasn’t exactly plodding along, hitting over 22 knots according to the tracker, but was quickly losing touch with the competition. Hopefully the early win helped ease the pain of watching Phaedo3 disappear over the horizon.

Anticipation for today’s second start—the final act of the fortnight of U.S.-based activity for the Transatlantic Race—has been building since last summer when the news broke that two new super maxis – the 100-foot Comanche and Rambler 88 – would be competing in the race. While both skippers have downplayed the duel—the boats have different design briefs and there is a 12-foot difference in overall length, in a sport where longer is often faster—the sailing public hasn’t let go of the “which one is faster” debate. It doesn’t hurt that the two skippers—Ken Read, who is skippering Comanche for owners Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark, and George David, the owner/skipper of Rambler  88—were once crewmates on David’s IMS 50 Idler, which competed as a part of the American team in the 1999 Admiral’s Cup.

Transatlantic 2015 start Rambler ComancheWhether despite this or because of it, the final start of the Transatlantic Race 2015 was more true to expectations for such an event. Both boats maneuvered significantly through the pre-start, probing for an advantage. But with neither boat providing an opening, the afterguards of each boat were content to blast across the line in sync, Comanche to leeward and slightly ahead.

Rambler 88 (left) and Comanche at the start of the Transatlantic Race 2015. © 2015 Daniel Forster/NYYC

As with the trimarans, the speeds jumped significantly once the boats passed the R4 channel marker south of Brenton Reef and were able bear off and ease the sheets. At press time, Comanche had pulled out to approximately a 1.3-mile lead over Rambler 88, with both boats recording speeds in the low 20s.

No matter where they stand relative to their respective competitors, sailors on all four boats have to be extremely pleased with the weather, which provided them with ideal reaching conditions for the escape from Newport. Whether it lasts, however, is a significant question. In the immediate future it appears to be some lighter winds. Any advantage or disadvantage at the start will be quickly forgotten if any of the boats struggle to push through to the next band of breeze.

TR 2015 Roster of Entries Starting on July 5 (4 boats)
Comanche, Jim Clark & Kristy Hinze-Clark, New York, N.Y., USA
Phaedo3, Lloyd Thornburg, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Paradox, Peter Aschenbrenner, San Francisco, Calif., USA
Rambler, George David, Hartford, Conn., USA


July 7: Transatlantic 2015 Update - Gales and Flat Calms in the Atlantic

(Tuesday, July 7, 2015) – 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.

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.

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.”


July 8 Update: Storm Force Winds in the Mid-Atlantic

(Wednesday, July 8, 2015) – 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)

“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.

“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. 


July 9 Update: Tricky Finish Ahead for Lucky

(Thursday, July 9, 2015) – 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.

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.”


July 10 Update: Line Honors and Bragging Rights for Lucky

(Friday, July 10, 2015) –  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.


Lucky is first-to-finish in the Transatlantic Race 2015 © 2015 Daniel Forster/NYYC

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.

“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.


July 13 Update: The Fast and the Furious Reach The Lizard

(Monday, July 13, 2015) – 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 Transatlantic finish

Phaedo³ celebrates finishing the Transatlantic Race 2015. ©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.

July 14 Update: 60 Knot Winds, Record Boat Speeds and an Outstanding Classic

(Tuesday, July 14, 2015) – 20 boats, or just over half the fleet, have now finished the Transatlantic Race 2015.

june14prdeckwater.jpgGeorge 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.

Wet and Wild on Paradox during the Transatlantic Race 2015.  © Helena Darvelid

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.


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.


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

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.”

July 16 Update: Lucky Claims Top Honors in Transatlantic Race 2015

(Thursday, July 16, 2015) – 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.  © 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

1. Zephyr, 17d 10h 35m 51s
2. Lady B, 17d 16h 11m 35s
3. Charisma, (still to finish)

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



TR2015 Tracker July 14, 2015

You can track the fleet online.

Boat Crew Lists:…/…/tr2015_crewlist.pdf

For weather and navigation analysis, visit offshore sailing team Pleiad Racing’s commentary.

Ed Cesare of Pleiad Racing was a late scratch for the Transatlantic Race, but he's doing some arm-chair quarterbacking for the Class 40 fleet... For anyone wondering about the intricacies of modern weather routing, this is a great read.


From the onboard Dorade blog

My adventure on Dorade has been a very interesting one. When it comes to the weather, we’ve have had it all; mostly strong winds with a few days of very strong stormy conditions and the occasional light breeze.....




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