Almost all yachts taking part in The Transatlantic Race 2015 are safely in, after 3 weeks at sea. By 17th July, the tally stands at 28 finishers, two still at sea, and five boats retired.
It has been a race of extremes & superlatives…storm force winds & gales mid Atlantic with 40-50 knots recorded, calm weather for others, and an ice exclusion zone 'Point Alpha' that yachts had to sail south of.
Bryon Ehrhart’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Lucky has been confirmed as the winner of the Transatlantic Race 2015 , and was first across the line in 8 days, 21 hours and 34 minutes; Rambler's record in 2011, of 6 days, 22 hours, 8 mins & 2 seconds still remains as the fastest crossing!
Mariette of 1915, the biggest, heaviest & celebrating her centenary year was the oldest boat in this year’s Race. For the crew sailing this ancient Herreshoff design at 138 ft overall, it felt like history in the making. Mariette led the fleet east across the North Atlantic for the majority of the race, during which they cranked the 165 ton gaff schooner up to a top speed of 17.8 knots. Captain Charlie Wroe explained: “All boats have their limitations, but you get on a boat like Mariette and she gets a rumble on and you feel it from your toes - it is pretty special. This boat is amazing to sail, she just keeps on giving. She is an amazingly competitive boat.” She wins her class, with a crossing of 12 days, 8 hours & 21 minutes.
The superlatives came in the form of the 'speedtser class' - fastest speed for Phaedo 3 and the new 24 hour monohull record for Comanche! Towards the end of the race Phaedo³ recorded a peak speed of 41.2 knots when navigator Miles Seddon was driving. As owner Lloyd 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, a resounding performance!
Jim Clark's 100ft maxi Comanche set two new records when she covered 618.01 miles over a 24 hour period, becoming the world’s fastest monohull & the first single hulled vessel to break the 600 mile/day barrier.
Skipper Ken Read was overwhelmingly satisfied “As a group, we are very excited about it,” paying tribute to owner Jim Clark & his vision of high technology and amazing machines, as well as the designers, boat builders, crew and shore crew, that all contributed to the record. “This was the 100-foot boat that Jim Clark wanted: The fastest monohull in the world.”!
As to what it was like on board, Read added: “Our top speeds were into the mid-30s a bunch of times. It is not like you are surfing down a wave, you just go….fast. The boat is amazing! You sail it heeled over and it feels like you are right on the edge, but when you grab the wheel you are in control. The boat is a phenomenal piece of machinery.”
The world’s fastest sailor, Australian Paul Larsen, was on board Paradox, Peter Aschenbrenner’s 66ft Irens-Cabaret designed trimaran, 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 four faster yachts in the IRC Racing (Rambler & Comanche) & Open Class Division (Phaedo 3 & Paradox) all finished within 16 hours of each other, with the fastest crossing time for Phaedo3 of 7 days 2 hours & 4 minutes, Rambler's record of 2011 therefore still stands.
On board Open 60 Grey Power was skipper & sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who in 1969 became the first man ever to sail singlehanded non-stop around the world. He is accompanied by an all-star cast of old friends, including former RORC Commodore David Aisher, leading yacht broker Bernard Gallay & Dilip Donde, the first Indian to sail singlehanded around the world. “It is lovely having some old and trusted friends with you and enjoying crossing an ocean again,” said Knox-Johnston.
The famous 52 ft Sparkman & Stephens yawl Dorade, who won the 1931 TR Race in just over 17 days, with Olin & Rod Stephens on board, has taken 2nd place position in the IRC Class 4 Racer/Cruiser, crossing in a very respectable 14 days, 22 hours & 55 minutes this time, 84 years later!
This amazing event sponsored by Rolex, Captains Recommended Services Newport Shipyard & Peters & May culminates in an awards ceremony & an owners dinner on Friday 24th July at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes.
There is the Royal Yacht Squadron's Bicentenary International Regatta in the Solent from the 25th-31st July, bringing together clubs & friends from around the globe, who share a common interest & love of sailing, with five days of spectacular racing in a 200-strong fleet, including modern & classic boats, and up to five J-Class yachts. An event not to be missed!