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Transatlantic Race 2011 fleet builds

by Michael Levitt on 4 Feb 2011
With approximately five weeks remaining until the February 28 deadline, entries are approaching 25 yachts for this summer’s Transatlantic Race 2011 (TR2011), hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club. A number of other yachts are expected to enter.

'We’re delighted with the response so far and expect this to be a very competitive race,' said George David, co-chair of the Transatlantic Race 2011 Committee.


Covering 2,975 miles from Newport, R.I., to the Lizard in England, the race will begin near the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, with three staggered starts from June 26 to July 3. The fleet will include IRC Racing, IRC Racer/Cruiser, Classic and Open divisions with a minimum length overall (LOA) of 40 feet. There is no maximum size.

The awards ceremony and other post-race activities will be held at the Castle, the home of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, England. David Aisher, Rear Commodore Yachting of the Royal Yacht Squadron confirms, 'We are delighted to be working with the New York Yacht Club on this prestigious race and are very much looking forward to welcoming the fleet to Cowes and particularly to the Royal Yacht Squadron where the finishing receptions and prize-giving will take place. We hope many of the competing yachts will also go on to enter the Rolex Fastnet and Middle Sea races, and also our own inaugural Biscay Race, details of which will be available online shortly.'

Among the recent notable entries are: ICAP Leopard, a 100-foot Farr-designed canting keel super-maxi entered by Clarke Murphy, who skippered Stay Calm, a Swan 70, in the NYYC’s Rolex Transatlantic Challenge in 2005. The TR2011 will be Murphy’s fifth crossing of the Atlantic. As he said, 'Having raced against Mike Slade’s previous Leopard in the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge and seeing how well it performed, I couldn’t have been luckier when I heard the current boat was for charter.' Asked what lessons he learned in the previous race, Murphy said, 'You need a lot of experience and waterline to do well in this game.' The crew Murphy has assembled consists of friends from the Chesapeake where he grew up. A number of them previously joined him as well on Stay Calm in the 2005 transatlantic race, including Ian Budgen, a Volvo Ocean Race veteran. 'We bring as much humor as talent. That’s a good combination for a transatlantic race.'

Beau Geste, a Farr 80, skippered by Karl Kwok, and with Gavin Brady, an America’s Cup helmsman aboard. Beau Geste was the second boat to finish the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race, three hours after ICAP Leopard, and she dominated her class in the 2010 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Said Karl Kwok, 'To have a well organized transatlantic race from west to east is pretty rare these days.' He looks forward to 'a good race, and the opportunity to tick off another box on the world’s premier blue-water racing classics.'

Puma’s mar mostro, a new 70-foot Volvo Ocean Race entry, skippered by Ken Read and designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian. In the 2008-09 Volvo, Read’s il mostro, sailing for Puma, finished second. As Read said, 'This race is a fantastic opportunity for us, although we can’t really configure the boat toward IRC (the handicap rule of choice for this race). We need to practice in our Volvo configuration so we’ll take whatever rating we’re given. The bonus for us is simply to sail against other great boats and begin to practice boat positioning and communication and real life boat handling under pressure.' Read looks forward to matching up with ICAP Leopard and Beau Geste, but especially George David’s Rambler 100. Joked Read, 'My crew and I are presently sailing with George and his team on Rambler 100 -- until our new boat goes into the water. Good natured trash talking has already started with George. He wants to put a small wager on the first boat to finish in the Transatlantic between his 100 footer and our 70 footer. We’re going to hold off on the wager until we get a little time from him?like about a day and a half!'

Hound, a 60-foot classic, designed by Abeking and Rasmussen and skippered by Frank Eberhart. Under Eberhart, Hound won her class in the Bermuda Race in 1998 and 2002.

A number of other boats have entered recently. The Andrews 56 Norddeutsche Vermoegen Hamburg will be sailed by a German Youth Team. The skipper is Eike Holst, her watch captain in the transatlantic HSH Nordbank blue race, from Newport, to Cuxhaven, Germany, where the boat finished third. To qualify as a Youth Team, 50 percent of the crew must be 25 years of age or under. The US Merchant Marine Academy’s Sailing Foundation is fielding a youth entry challenge with the 65-foot carbon fiber Reichel-Pugh-designed Vanquish. Persevere, a Hanse 545 co-skippered in this race by Colin Rath and Arthur Bugs Baer, will compete, as will Varuna, a Rogers 46 footer. The classic 86 foot Nordwind, sailed by Dr. Hans Albrecht, which corrected to a second place finish in the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge in 2005, will offer good competition to the 1914 Sumurun, a 94 foot Fife that has entered on a provisional basis. Sumurun won the 2005 Transatlantic Race in the Classic Division.

Uwe Lebens’ Scho-Ka-Kola, a Reichel-Pugh 56-footer from Germany that was first across the finish line in three of four Baltic Sprint Cup legs in 2009 has joined the fleet. There are now three Class 40 entries, the latest being Kamoa'e owned by Eric Lecoq. For a complete list of entries click here.

To enhance the challenge of and interest in the TR2011, the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series has been created. The AORS combines the TR2011 with three races before on the U.S. side of the Atlantic and three after in England and the Mediterranean. Three races including the TR2011 will qualify for the Series. The six companion races and their starting dates are the Pineapple Cup February 5, 2011, RORC Caribbean 600 February 21, Annapolis to Newport June 3, Rolex Fastnet August 14, Biscay September 11-12, and Rolex Middle Sea October 22.

To enter the TR 2011 here
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