Mapfre, Volvo Ocean 65 - © Tom Gruitt/CWL

Mapfre, Volvo Ocean 65 – © Tom Gruitt/CWL

 

Two world speed sailing records fell today in the Sevenstar Triple Crown series at Lendy Cowes Week, subject to ratification by the World Speed Sailing Record Council.

The Spanish Volvo Ocean 65 Mapfre completed the 50 mile course around the Isle of Wight in 3 hours, 13 minutes and 11 seconds, setting a new outright Around Isle of Wight world record by a monohull yacht.

Her time was 6 minutes 58 seconds ahead of that set by Mike Slades’ 100ft ICAP Leopard in 2013. Unlike the Volvo Ocean 65s, ICAP Leopard has powered winches. Mapfre therefore also beat the previous world record for a monohull without power assistance by an impressive margin of more than 36 minutes.

Propelled by winds gusting to 40 knots on the south side of the Isle of Wight, the next four boats in the race – Team Brunel, Team Akzonobel and Dongfeng Race Team – also beat the previous record times.

“We had a good start, were able to control the fleet a bit, and then we were always in the lead,” said Mapfre skipper Xabi Fernandez. “It was a very close race with the other boats, there were some very fast moments, and it was great fun.”

“We were delighted with this first opportunity for the fleet to compete together and show their speed at Lendy Cowes Week’s Sevenstar Triple Crown.” added VOR race director Phil Lawrence.

“It was fantastic to see such a long-standing record being broken,” says Wouter Verbraak, head of Racing Yacht Logistics at Sevenstar Yacht Transport. “We’re now looking forward to seeing other record breaking yachts and their crews raising the bar still further at the next Sevenstar Triple Crown.”

 

More information at www.cowesweek.co.uk

 

 

A Race Day To Remember
1459 entries / 1323 finished  /  52 retirements  /  6 OCS  /  DSQ

Saturday 1st June was certainly a day to remember, a day of highs, and more highs and, it was a day for Round the Island Race records to tumble.  It was the day when Great Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor, Sir Ben Ainslie and his all-British crew aboard J.P. Morgan BAR, trounced the existing Round the Island Race multihull record, held for 12 years, by an impressive 16 minutes.

In the monohull fleet the biggest boat in the IRC classes, Mike Slade’s 100ft ICAP Leopard was not far behind. He crossed the finish line 40 minutes after Ainslie, shaving almost ten minutes off the monohull race record he had set back in 2008.

Title sponsor J.P. Morgan Asset Management, summed up their team’s thoughts on the day. Jasper Berens, Head of UK, J.P. Morgan Assert Management, commented: “It’s so fantastic to be here and to raise such superb amounts for the Race charity, the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust. It was a vintage year in terms of weather and the racing and it was incredible to see so many happy, smiling faces in Cowes. The fact that Ben and his team on J.P. Morgan BAR achieved the Round the Island race multihull record, just topped it off. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.”

On behalf of the Island Sailing Club, Dave Atkinson, Race Safety Officer, had little cause for concern during his long day that started at 0245 and finished at 2350. He commented: “We had the least number of incidents to deal with for a very long time and nothing major occurred out on the water. The entire Race team, that numbers around 170 people on the day and ranged from spotters to results teams, cannot be praised highly enough.”

Today, Sunday 2nd June, wrapped everything up nicely with more great weather and the Race Prize giving which was held at the Island Sailing Club where the Commodore Rod Nicholls was joined on stage by Corrie McQueen from J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston to hand out the gold and silverware to the deserving prizewinners.

The most coveted prize, the Gold Roman Bowl and JPMAM Salver for First Overall IRC went to 5 West, the TP52 owned and helmed by Sir Keith Mills and Robert Greenhalgh.
The Silver Roman Bowl and JPMAM Salver for Second Overall IRC went to Pace and Johnny Vincent. The Observer Trophy and JPMAM Trophy for First Monohull to finish went to Mike Slade and ICAP Leopard.

Next year, the Race is held on Saturday 21st June and the Island Sailing Club, the title sponsor J.P. Morgan Asset Management and the family of Race Partners all look forward to welcoming everyone back to Cowes.

Article by Peta Stuart-Hunt the race press officer

Photos courtesy of Barry James Wilson

Cilck on Image to Enlarge

 

The first race took place in 1931 with 25 entries and it was indeed one of the smaller boats that won. The successful skipper, Peter Brett, competed in a 22 foot Cornish fishing boat Merry Conceit. He had bought it, in partnership with his friend Henry Trefusis, from the builders in Looe, for the sum of £45. (Photo by Kirk of Cowes)

It’s Friday! It’s pre-Race day!

 

The final part of the 2013 J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race Video Series, ‘Top Tips from the Experts’, has been published on the Race website with winning tactical advice from some well-known names and faces associated with this iconic annual event. Watch the latest Winners Tips video here http://rtir.me/videos

 

Weather Briefing

All Race competitors are invited to the Island Sailing Club (ISC) at 1800hrs this evening for the all-important Raymarine Weather Briefing.  Competitors are given the latest weather and tidal information live, combined with expert tactical advice from professional meteorologist and Met Office-trained Chris Tibbs. In addition, competitors can evaluate the weather prior to the Race by viewing the course overview and tidal strategy video here:http://www.raymarine.co.uk/view/?id=7418.

The Weather Briefing is replayed on the RTI Race website from 2000hrs.

 

20 years …&, we hope, still going strong

We make special mention today of Yvonne Margerison and her long-term partner Mike Flint who are racing in their 20th Round the Island Race.

The couple entered their first Round the Island Race back in 1993 in their boat Charis and we believe they have entered every year, apart from one when the mast was broken awaiting repair, and another when they sold Charis and were waiting to buy their new boat Gernee (S31) which is entered this year.

 

The couple are passionate about sailing, have been very active members at Rutland Sailing Club – Mike is a Past Commodore – plus they are both Past Commodores at the Newparks Cruising Association Club. There’s been talk of retirement from racing – let’s hope that they won’t be retiring until after tomorrow’s Race and, meanwhile, the Race organisers wish them all the very best.

 

A tribute to Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson

The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race pre-Race Press Conference will take place at 12 noon today, hosted by the Island Sailing Club.  There is a terrific line up of guests including Dame Ellen MacArthur and Alex Thomson. There will be a short tribute to Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson whose memorial service and private funeral is also being held today. The ISC will fly the ensign at half-mast from 1150-1400hrs.

 

This is an invitation-only event but organisers have agreed to stream it live on the Race website http://rtir.me/pressconference and on Event TV throughout Cowes.

 

How to follow the Race Day action

Here are some useful links to the Official Race website to help keep spectators fully up to speed on the racing as it unfolds from 0500hrs.

 

The Blog rtir.me/liveblog

The Tracking rtir.me/livetracking

The Weather rtir.me/weather

The Latest News rtir.me/news

The Results rtir.me/results

 

The Race Facebook page will be maintained with news and the Race Twitter feed will be fully fed. For those wishing to contribute to the Twitter news as they sail around the Island, please use hashtags #RTIR and/or #raceforall to raise another £1 for the Official Charity, The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

 

Official Race website: 

 

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round The Island Race 2012 (Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt

Photos by Barry James Wilson
The  81st J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race set off from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, started by Olympic 470 sailor Hannah Mills, with over 1,600 boats heading in a westerly direction round the Isle of Wight.
The wind conditions are as forecast with most of the fleets starting in a moderate south-westerly breeze.  However, the forecast is for the wind to increase, with the predicted conditions having already put paid to racing for some of the smaller classes including sportsboats, J80s, 707s, SB20s (formerly known as SB3s) and the small MOCRA multihull fleet (LOA less than 9.15m).

(Photo by Barry James Wilson)

There was also a safety call made for all competitors to wear lifejackets.
The likes of Mike Slade’s 100ft Farr-designed superyacht – ICAP Leopard – revelled in the conditions and soon slotted in to her natural position at the head of the fleet. She led the fleet round the Needles but was soon challenged by last year’s line honours winner, Lionel Lemonchois and team on the Multi 50  Prince de Bretagne. However, first across the line at 10.19.57, just over one minute outside the overall record, finishing in 3hrs.09mins and 57secs, was former Mini Transat winner Yves Le Blevec on the Multi 50 trimaran – Actual.

(Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Elsewhere the fleet are battling the strong winds round the south of the island and as the day progresses there are a number of retirements. However, it is great to see the likes of Dame Ellen MacArthur on the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust’s boat Dark Star, which is a 90ft sloop loaned to the Trust for the day. She is currently the leading yacht in the Trust’s four-boat fleet.

(Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie at the helm of the 162ft schooner, Eleonora, is now round St Catherine’s Point and enjoying a final blast home to the finish.
The overall winners of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race have been confirmed, with the 81st edition of the event bringing triumph for boats both large and small.

The winner of the prestigious Gold Roman Bowl for first boat overall on IRC handicap is Tony Langley’s TP52 Manroland Sheetfed. Competing in IRC 0, Manroland Sheetfed (aka Weapon of Choice) was the second monohull to complete the course, finishing in 4hrs, 42mins and 12secs to win on corrected time by just 3 minutes.

(Photo by Barry James Wilson)

Tony Langley’s crew held off a strong challenge by last year’s Gold Roman Bowl winner Sundowner.  Jo Hutchinson’s  Contessa 26 won IRC Division 3D by completing the course in 8hrs, 31mins and 17secs giving them a corrected time of just 3 minutes and 4 seconds slower than the TP52 and awarding them the Silver Roman Bowl for second overall in IRC.

Sundowner also faced a fierce challenge from another previous winner of the race, Ed Donald’s Madelaine, a Nordic Folkboat that won the Gold Roman Bowl in 2007. Racing in the same class, Madelaine finished just two and a half minutes behind Sundowner on the water, to take third overall on corrected time.

Line honours went to the Multi 50 trimaran Actual, which crossed the finish line at 10.19.57 this morning, finishing in a time of 3hrs, 09mins and 57secs to just miss out on the outright record set by Francis Joyon in 2001 by just 1min, 28secs.

Skipper Yves Le Blevec, a Jules Verne record and Mini Transat winner, said: “We had three objectives for this race. Firstly don’t break the boat, secondly don’t arrive behind Prince de Bretagne, and in third it was to arrive in 1st overall across the line. We had those three points but we didn’t think about the fourth point – which was the record, and we missed the record by very little!”
Blevec said they weren’t aware of how close to the record time they were as they neared the finish: “We didn’t check that before, and when we saw the time we realised it was very close. But it was a very nice race, and on the south of the island there was big waves and windy, very nice conditions.”

They were followed home by last year’s line honours winner Prince de Bretagne, while first monohull home was the current course record holder ICAP Leopard, who rounded the Island in 03hrs, 59mins and 04secs.

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Rambler 100 (Photo by George Bekris)
Rambler 100 (Photo by George Bekris)

Since 1866, the cornerstone of offshore yacht racing has been transatlantic races, due, in part, to legendary yachts sailed by icons of the sport.  Few, however, would disagree that the impending showdown between Rambler 100 and ICAP Leopard ranks right up there with the best battles of all time.

Sunday, July 3, the third and final start for the Transatlantic Race 2011 will commence at 1350 Eastern Daylight Time, when the warning signal is fired at Castle Hill Lighthouse.  Six yachts will then begin this historic and epic race across the wilds of the Atlantic Ocean.  The following day as 4th of July celebrations are underway ashore, the action out on the race course is sure to be every bit as explosive.

While Rambler 100 and ICAP Leopard, sailed by George David (Hartford, Conn.) and Clarke Murphy (New York, N.Y.), respectively, are likely to contest for line honors in the Transatlantic Race 2011, the other combatants are not just filling out the numbers.  The conditions will play a big part in deciding the overall class winner in IRC Class One and the victor will claim the Cape May Trophy, which James Gordon Bennett – winner of the first-ever Transatlantic Race in 1866 — presented to the New York Yacht Club in 1872.

For Sojana, whose owner Peter Harrison (London, U.K.) is a member of New York Yacht Club, the Transatlantic Race 2011 is an opportunity to resolve unanswered questions.

“When they announced they were doing it again we were delighted to enter, because, for Sojana, it is unfinished business,” said skipper Marc Fitzgerald (Gurnard, U.K.).  “We had a dramatic race in 2005.  We had a medical evacuation when one of the crew broke his arm and we diverted to drop him off for surgery.  We were leading our class at the time and lost 36 hours in the race.  At that time we were on for the course record.  Obviously we had no hesitation in getting treatment for the injured crew, but this race is unfinished business.  That race was wet, windy and cold, which is not a problem on Sojana.  We have hot showers, comfortable beds and proper food.  If we have an advantage it will be in heavy air reaching and horrible conditions, simply because the conditions onboard the high performance race boats will be uncomfortable for their crew.  We are a superyacht in with the racing yachts.  We like playing with the big boys, but we are under no illusions, we are not even thinking about giving them a hard time.  However, we did beat Leopard on corrected time in the RORC Caribbean 600, so it’s not impossible.”

Mark Thomas (Perth, Australia), watch captain on ICAP Leopard, gave an overview of the 100’ canting keel super maxi as final preparations were being made dockside.

“ICAP Leopard has a 47m cathedral rig,” said Thomas.  “All of our mast locks are rated for 16 tons, which means the tack of the sail loads can take up to 14 tons.  Leopard has got to have locking halyards – they take compression out of the rig and without them you would need to have massive halyards.”

Thomas added that the rigging is made from an exotic material called PBO and solid thermoset carbon fiber from Future Fibres.  The running backstays cost roughly $8,000 each and are an essential part of trimming the sails, “however, the most important piece of equipment we have onboard is the toasted cheese sandwich machine.  It will be a dark day when we run out of bread, as the rest of our rations are freeze dried.”

The young sailors on the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team are absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this race and are reveling in the thought of crossing the start line with some of the legends of the sport.  Vanquish, the Reichel Pugh 65, has two young women in crew — Kaity Storck and Molly Robinson – who are both in their twenties.

“Although I am just 65kg there is little I can’t do on the boat,” said Storck (Huntington, N.Y.), an Inter-collegiate Sailing Association All-American.  “These sails are heavy and need a group of people to drag them into place.  Weight distribution is also very important.  The pedestal grinders onboard are very efficient and most of the time fitness is more important than brute strength.  Also, when we need the weight off the rail, if one of the lighter crew comes down to trim the main, the boat doesn’t heel over as much.  I have done a lot of match racing and 470 sailing before and the basic principles are just the same.  One of the big differences is that when you race inshore, if you fall out with someone you can just walk away and resolve it later.  In the middle of the Atlantic that is not an option, everybody has to get along, all the time.  We all take part in many different roles onboard and for me to drive a 65’ racing yacht is fantastic.”

Prior to joining the Vanquish crew Robinson (San Francisco, Calif.) was primarily crewing on 29ers.  “This is a big step up for me and very different.  We might be bathing in sunshine now, but we could well be heading up into the northern latitudes where it will be cold and the weather can be pretty bad.  We all realize how lucky we are to be part of this program and we hope that the team will be able to carry on after this race and compete in others such as the Rolex Fastnet Race.”

The Farr 80 Beau Geste, skippered by Karl Kwok (Hong Kong), was in fine form in the Annapolis Newport Race, beating both Rambler 100 and ICAP Leopard overall after time correction.  Watch captain Gavin Brady (Auckland, New Zealand) is an America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race veteran who has been sailing with Kwok for many years:  “The ideal conditions for us will be a variety of wind angles and wind speeds.  The other yachts will prefer one type of condition the whole way across.  Puma, for example, is half the weight of Beau Geste and will go better in light conditions.  All of the canting keel boats have dagger boards that give zero leeway and in heavy upwind conditions, that is a big advantage.  Virtually all of our competitors are extreme boats, but Beau Geste was designed for a variety of wind angles and if we get upwind, downwind and reaching conditions that would be our perfect scenario.  I also think that it is important to stress that this race rewards good seamanship, handling the boat well and pre-empting changes will be rewarded and that’s a good thing.  The overall winner will probably be the boat that is sailed the best; we should all get the result that our performance deserves.”

George David, skipper of Rambler 100, explained that his maxi yacht is a very complicated machine, and it takes a very high level of skill to sail it.  “It has been a lot of fun to take a boat like this and modify it to improve it,” said David.  “One of the biggest changes was to the sail plan.  The forestay is now out on a bowsprit, which has increased the foot of the headsails by over four feet making the headsails 30% larger.  The mainsail was reduced in size and these changes have allowed us to rebalance the boat, especially to get the bow out of the water to promote the boat onto the plane.  The sprit is also designed to deflect water off the deck.  In extreme conditions several tons of water can come down the deck; this affects performance and also can cause some serious problems for the crew.  Green water smashing down the deck at 30 knots is not easy to work with.”

According to Tony Mutter (Auckland NZ) watch captain on PUMA Ocean Racing’s Mar Mostro, “this is a very important race for us.  We will be racing with the full PUMA team and in full race mode.  Time on the water is very important, as the rules for the next Volvo Ocean Race do not allow us to test with two boats, so this race will be part of our learning process with the boat.  So far we have sailed about 3,000 miles in the new boat.  The Transatlantic Race 2011, followed by the trip to our training camp in The Canaries will double our time on the water.  We hope to get a variety of conditions to test the systems onboard and especially to look at a variety of sails.  This is all extremely valuable training, but so is racing.  Also with so many boats getting a head start it will give us something to go for.  I don’t think we can catch them all but it will be a good motivation to push as hard as we can.”

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

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

Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticRace2011 and Twitter @TransatRace2011 http://twitter.com/TransatRace2011

More about the Transatlantic Race 2011
The Transatlantic Race 2011 charts a 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, England.  Pre-start activities will take place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, while awards will be presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight.  Three separate starts – June 26, June 29 and July 3 – will feature 30 boats ranging from 40 to 289 feet in length.  In addition to winners in seven classes (IRC Class 1 Racer, IRC Class 2 Racer, IRC Class 3 Racer/Cruiser, IRC Class 4 Racer/Cruiser, Classic, Class 40, and Open), whichever yacht finishes the course with the fastest elapsed time will set the benchmark for a new racing record from Newport to Lizard Point, to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council.  Rolex watches will be awarded to the record holder and the overall winner (on corrected time) under IRC.

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

Maltese Falcon (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Maltese Falcon (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carina passes Castle Hill Lighthouse At Transatlantic Race Start ( Photo by Amory Ross / Transatlantic Race 2011 )

Carina passes Castle Hill Lighthouse At Transatlantic Race Start ( Photo by Amory Ross / Transatlantic Race 2011 )

The sunshine burnt off the morning fog almost on cue as the first start of the Transatlantic Race 2011 got underway with six of the smallest yachts in the fleet beginning their journey across the Atlantic.  A gentle breeze wafted in from the southeast to give the competitors some champagne sailing conditions, at least for the moment — all of the yachts competing in the TR2011 know there are bound to be difficult times ahead.
 
Skippered by Rives Potts, Jr. (Essex, Conn.), local favorite Carina, a 48’ sloop, got away to a great start, hugging the coast to escape a knot of foul current.  Onboard are four fathers and five sons, as well as the youngest crew member in the race, Dirk Johnson, Jr. (Middletown, R.I.).  At just 16 years of age Johnson has been sailing since he was a baby and has always wanted to sail across an ocean.  “I don’t like trimming so much as I find it hard to concentrate.  But I love my position as float.  I like to get involved everywhere on the boat.  I have been sailing short offshore races for a while and I really wanted to do this race,” he explained.  “I guess I will miss home comforts the most, especially my Mum’s lamb chops.  But all of my family are sailors and this is in my blood.”
The Army Sailing Association’s British Soldier currently leads the fleet on the water and her skipper, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Bate(Falmouth, Cornwall, U.K.), was relishing the challenges that lay ahead, as he commented just before the start.
“The first goal for us is to get around Nantucket Shoals and then we’ll head into the Atlantic proper.  I love the open ocean and the big rolling waves.  After a day or so the crew will settle into a routine.  For me, the most marvelous thing about this race is enjoying the fun and banter with the crew, you just cannot get that anywhere else.  There will be difficult times ahead, but we will battle through.  We know that we will get some pretty foul weather, but we know that it will improve.  The crew of British Soldier are not all highly experienced offshore sailors, but they are all good characters who can keep each other entertained when the going gets tough and I think that is priceless.”

British Soldier at Transatlantic Race Start ( Photo by Amory Ross / Transatlantic Race 2011 )

British Soldier at Transatlantic Race Start ( Photo by Amory Ross / Transatlantic Race 2011 )

With just four crew aboard, the German entry Sasha is going extremely well.  Owner Albrecht Peters and his wife Erika had a conservative start with their 42’ Olin Stephens design.  Eighty years ago another Stephens design, Dorade, won the Transatlantic Race that also started in Newport (finishing in Plymouth, England), and, if the right conditions prevail, Sasha could be extremely competitive after time correction.
Hans Albrecht’s beautiful 86’ yawl, Nordwind, is the oldest boat in the race. Built in 1939, Nordwind has been fully restored by her German owners and sailed 11,000 miles to take part in the Transatlantic Race 2011.
While the high performance yachts that are yet to depart will undoubtedly grab headlines, this group of yachts is worthy of equal praise and the starting area was full of spectator boats wishing them well.  The rocky outcrops and grassy hillsides along Fort Adams and Castle Hill were filled with people who cheered the boats on as they crossed the starting line at the Castle Hill Light.  Once they leave the shore, it will be several weeks before these yachts will see land again.
 
For more information, visit http://www.transatlanticrace.org/.
 
More about the Transatlantic Race 2011
The Transatlantic Race 2011 charts a 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, England.  Pre-start activities will take place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, while awards will be presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight.  Three separate starts – June 26, June 29 and July 3 – will feature 30 boats ranging from 40 to 289 feet in length.  In addition to winners in seven classes (IRC Class 1 Racer, IRC Class 2 Racer, IRC Class 3 Racer/Cruiser, IRC Class 4 Racer/Cruiser, Classic, Class 40, and Open), whichever yacht finishes the course with the fastest elapsed time will set the benchmark for a new racing record from Newport to Lizard Point, to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council.  Rolex watches will be awarded to the record holder and the overall winner (on corrected time) under IRC.
The Transatlantic Race 2011 is also the centerpiece of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS), which includes the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, RORC Caribbean 600, the Annapolis to Newport Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Biscay Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.  Of the seven races in the AORS, three races, including the TR 2011 must be completed to qualify for a series victory.  Each race is weighted equally in overall series scoring with the exception of TR 2011, which is weighted 1.5 times.  All entered yachts are scored using their two best finishes in addition to the TR 2011.  Awards for the AORS will be presented in November, 2011, at the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Awards Dinner in Manhattan

You Can Track The Transatlantic Fleet HERE

Transatlantic Race Fleet at Start ( Photo by Amory Ross / Transatlantic Race 2011 )

Transatlantic Race Fleet at Start ( Photo by Amory Ross / Transatlantic Race 2011 )

Brit Soldier (Photo courtesy of Transatlantic Race 2011)

British Soldier (Photo courtesy of Transatlantic Race 2011)

When it comes to serving one’s country, the crew competing in the Transatlantic Race 2011 aboard British Soldier (U.K.) could not be more dedicated. While most have returned from active duty only within the last year, all eight members have completed army tours in Afghanistan within the last 24 months, and two will be heading back there after undertaking a 2,975 nautical mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean. For British Soldier, the Transatlantic Race 2011, co-organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and Storm Trysail Club, starts June 26 from Newport, R.I., and delivers the team back to home soil in the U.K. sometime in mid-August. (Two subsequent “staggered” starts for the race are scheduled for June 29 and July 3 to adjust for the relative speeds of 30 entered boats – ranging in size from 40 to 289 feet – and allow for a tighter finish among them.)

“It’s all about putting a bunch of guys in a demanding situation, out of reach of immediate outside assistance, where they must work as a team in arduous conditions in order to succeed,” said 47-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Bate, who serves as skipper of British Soldier. “That is the ethos of adventurous training; it also provides some excitement and reward in between other demanding duties.”

Bate, who has completed operational tours in Iraq (two), Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo and is trained as a tank commander, explained that British Soldier, an Archambault 40 bought by the Army Sailing Association in 2008, is regularly sailed by a squad comprised of approximately 100 soldiers on return from operational tours, offering them a chance to race offshore when on leave or between assignments. A number of injured soldiers also sail British Soldier as part of their rehabilitation. The yacht is not publicly funded but is supported by generous sponsors (currently Fujitsu), soldiers’ own contributions through the Army Sports Lottery, and some charitable trusts. (www.sailarmy.co.uk)

“We have a core of gladiators, but otherwise it’s a bit of a mix,” said Bate, explaining that 48 soldiers have raced with him recently, and he had a largely different crew aboard for both the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Annapolis to Newport Race, both distance races that – along with the TR 2011 – are part of the inaugural Atlantic Ocean Racing Series that British Soldier has also entered.

“Most of them haven’t done a great deal [of ocean racing],” said Bate, who noted that nevertheless, in 2010, the Army Offshore Team was named Services Sports Team of the Year. “It’s a bit scary for a lot of people actually. You are putting a team of people out there in a demanding situation, so you learn to cope and work as a team and that’s why we are out there. Sailing is demanding, frightening and awesome great fun.”

As for Bate, he has raced a wide variety of yachts from his own International Dragons and Cornish Shrimper up to 153’ classic yachts. He started racing on an IOR ¾ tonner in the early 1980s, and after joining the Army in 1987, he competed in the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race on British Defender and has also sailed the Rolex Fastnet Race eight times. This will be his fourth Atlantic crossing.

“In 2008 British Soldier had a tremendous first season and was selected to represent Great Britain in the Rolex Commodore’s Cup,” said Bate. “On the offshore circuit, she achieved second overall among 250 yachts in the RORC Offshore Series, and we achieved the same overall result in the series again last year (2010), after races such as the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.”

Other crew members are Captain David Holdsworth (age 36),originally an Army engineer completing a tour in Afghanistan in 2010 and now a cardiologist based in Oxford,who has completed two Rolex Fastnet Races and a total of 20,000 miles of cruising and offshore racing in the last four seasons; Second Lieutenant Martin Livingston, a former Royal Navy officer of seven years who qualified as a doctor in March, who haslimited ocean racing experience but has completed around 4,500 cruising and racing miles; Lieutenant Corporal Terence (Polly) Parsons (41), who joined the Royal Engineers in May 1990 as a Combat Engineer and was injuredin Bosnia, sails as a form of rehabilitation and has logged approximately 5,000 “mostly-offshore” miles; Captain Oli Donaghy (31), who is returning from Afghanistan (16 Air Assault Brigade) just in time to start the TR 2011 and has completed roughly 7,000 miles of racing, including three Rolex Fastnet campaigns; Second Lieutenant Phil Caswell (24), commissioned in 2010 into the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, who has sailed 18,000 racing, cruising, military and youth sail training miles, and is making his first Atlantic crossing; Gunner Clarke Small (28), new to the Royal Artillery after completing basic training in April 2011, started sailing at age 16 in his native South Africa and has since completed a circumnavigation, several offshore passages and the Heineken Capeto Rio Race and Rolex Sydney Hobart Race; and Captain Richard Hall, who joined the British Soldier program at its start in 2008, is currently posted with the Army Training Regiment Bassingbourn to train new recruits and will shortly return to an engineer regiment for a second Afghan tour (his first was in 2010).

British Soldier, like several other entries in the TR 2011, is competing in the first-ever Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS), which requires that entrants compete in the TR 2011 plus two other events selected from the now completed Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race and RORC Caribbean 600, the Annapolis to Newport Race (June 3); and the upcoming Rolex Fastnet Race (August 14); Biscay Race (September 11-12) and Rolex Middle Sea Race (October 22). Each race is weighted equally in overall series scoring with the exception of the TR 2011, which is weighted 1.5 times.

Having finished first in class in the RORC Caribbean 600, British Soldier was just over 100 miles from the finish of the Annapolis to Newport Race at press time, and after the TR 2011 will compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Biscay Race if all goes as planned; however, being on “active duty” has its consequences. “I’m, in fact, active enough that my office wants to send me back to Afghanistan at the end of July for nine months!” said Bate.

There are 30 entries total in the TR 2011, with the U.S. fielding 14 teams, Germany six, the U.K. four, and China, Italy, Lithuania, Monaco, Saint Barthelemy and South Africa one each.

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

TR 2011 Roster of Entries
Yacht Name, Skipper, Hometown

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