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  • Transatlantic Ocean Race: A study in contrasts

    Some images from aboard the 289' Maltese Falcon taken July 4th:

















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  • #2
    And the 65' Vanquish with the All American Offshore Race











    all photos © Amory Ross/ all american offshore team


    Newport, R.I. USA (July 5, 2011) – The Maxi Yachts that started on July 3 from Newport, R.I. to The Lizard in southeast England have been making fantastic progress in the Transatlantic Race 2011. Little in the way of tactics have come into play thus far, as all six yachts in IRC Class One have been taking the direct route, coaxing every knot of speed out of their powerful machines.

    Rambler 100 has been averaging close to 20 knots and with just under 2000 miles to go is predicted to finish on the 10th of June. The Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed 100’ canting keel maxi is on course to set an exceptional benchmark for a transatlantic.

    “Great sailing, so far, aboard Rambler 100,” said navigator Peter Isler (San Diego, Calif.), confirming by satellite link that Rambler 100 is fully in the groove. “By our calculations we did a 464-mile 24-hour run from the start. That's a 19.3 knot average! Great sailing for sure. We've had basically the same sail combination up since turning the corner at Nantucket Shoals.

    ”On the water Rambler 100’s nearest competitor is PUMA's mar mostro, skippered by Ken Read (Newport, R.I.). PUMA has taken up a slightly more northerly position and is in good breeze, however, the Point Alpha ice gate is looming and the Volvo 70 may need to alter course towards the east to leave the mark of the course to port. Nearly one hundred miles behind Rambler 100, ICAP Leopard, skippered by Clarke Murphy (New York, N.Y.), is south of the rhumb line and enjoying better breeze than the two rivals in front. Even at this early stage in the race, it looks as though Rambler 100 will take the spoils -- as long as they do not suffer any major gear failure.

    The Oakcliff All American Offshore Team, racing aboard the Reichel Pugh-designed Vanquish, is under no illusions about the quality of the opposition, but the experience is a massive education for the young team, as they explained in their blog:

    “We obviously have our work cut out for us, but morale is great and everyone’s just happy to be out here. Winds and waves are forecasted to build over the next 24 hours as the low we left Newport in slides further to the North and compresses with the Atlantic High to the Southwest. Twenty-five knots on the quarter should make things a little more interesting!

    ”Meanwhile in IRC Class Two, front-runner Jazz, skippered by Nigel King (Lymington, U.K.), is trying to hit a moving target. The Cookson 50 has altered course north, aiming for a low-pressure system, and, if Jazz can connect with it, this will result in high wind speeds from a very favorable direction. This move north also avoids an area of little wind to the south of Jazz. The German Rogers 46s, Shakti and Varuna, have been unable to take this northerly route as they have remained south to pass the ice gate, and it will be interesting to see if they follow Jazz.

    In IRC Class Three, Zaraffa, skippered by Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.) is still the class leader. Ambersail’s move south saw the Lithuanian crew make up good ground, however, the advance was short lived. Ahead of Ambersail lies an area of little wind and they should make the move north, effectively sideways, to get into pressure.

    In IRC Class Four, Carina, skippered by Rives Potts, Jr. (Essex, Conn.), has been the star of the show. In the last 24 hours, however, their competition has most definitely caught up some miles. Carina chose a southerly route, while the Army Sailing Association’s British Soldier, among others, stayed to the north. British Soldier has advanced 30 miles on Carina, but the American team is still over 170 miles ahead.

    Ned Collier-Wakefield’s (Oxford, U.K.) Concise 2 is currently 60 miles ahead of Dragon, skippered by Mike Hennessy (Mystic, Conn.). The two Class 40s have been enjoying some fast-reaching conditions and are now fully offshore many miles from land.

    “Dragon passed the longitude of Point Alpha and now the next mark of the course is Lizard Point, a mere 1800 miles down the road,” reported Hennessy in a message revealing his thoughts as they head out into the Atlantic. “Funny enough, our entire race thus far has been within about 100 miles of land. Now we are heading off into that big open space in between, the wild blue yonder. See you on the other side.

    ”There are some highly amusing blogs and uplifting commentary coming from the racecourse. Crossing the Atlantic on sail power is a life-changing experience and the race blogs bring those feelings to life for a worldwide audience.

    “Life onboard is going well and the boat is looking tidy and shipshape which makes all the difference,” said Christian Ripard (Valetta, Malta), explaining by satellite link what life is like for the crew on Jazz. “Our food is good, considering it’s freeze-dried, but already, after six days, I look forward to eating some fresh salad or something with a bit more crunch to it. WOW! Just got a call on deck, we just missed a huge whale by 50 feet. Last night was pretty crazy too....bombing down waves at 20 knots in thick fog with NO visibility is pushing one’s fate. My wife Jackie is probably right in thinking that anyone in his right mind doing this is fit for the loony bin. Sometimes I think she’s right.....but, actually experiencing this sort of stuff is somewhat overwhelming and beautiful.

    "Hearing the snoring of the off-watch crew is also something which I come out here time after time to find comforting....knowing that you can go to sleep and truly trust that the guys on deck will keep you safe.... that’s something we sailor’s have.... a bond very difficult to find when one is on dry land..... So back to my call of duty on deck, Mike Broughton wants to get back on his nav table to check our progress and work on our next move... bring it on!”

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    • #3
      2011 Transatlantic Race Videos


      Interviews with navigators on ICAP Leopard, Rambler 100, and Mar Mostro, Pumas Volvo 70'



      Start of Day 3 Fleet


      Open Class Start



      2nd Start




      1st Start
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      • #4
        The Pace Picks Up in Transatlantic 2011


        July 6th Positions, not the convergence of the fleets!


        Newport, R.I. USA (July 6, 2011) – In the last 24 hours, the arrival of big breeze and sea state for the fleet in the Transatlantic Race 2011 has seen boat speeds whipped into near record-breaking pace. Rambler 100 has just recorded a 12-hour run of 288.8 nautical miles, and, with the breeze building, a new world record is a definite possibility. By comparison, the standing 24-hour monohull world record was set by the Volvo 70, Ericsson 4, at 596.6 nautical miles in October of 2008.


        Onboard ICAP Leopard


        “Some awesome sailing out here,” said Peter Isler (San Diego, Calif.), navigator for Rambler 100. “Down below its like riding in a subway car, hurtling along at full speed. Up on deck it’s like being on ... well, one of the world’s fastest monohulls in big breeze just sending it. No more smooth seas, no more cruise-y ride, it’s all on now and the boys (and girl) on Rambler 100 are loving it. It is very wet everywhere... especially on deck where visibility is only a few dozen yards in fog.


        The stern of Rambler 100

        ”The second boat on the water in IRC Class One is PUMA’s Mar Mostro, this is the first time the latest version of the Volvo Ocean Race yacht has raced and the ‘sea monster’ is an absolute flier, having recorded a boat speed of 28 knots today.

        “Right now, we are doing 25 knots,” said Ken Read (Newport, R.I.) by satellite phone. “We are really delighted with the boat’s performance and a lot of credit should go to the shore crew who has done as good a job as the sailing team. While we have literally been heading straight for England since we left Nantucket Shoals, there is an area of light winds up ahead. But right now, we are sailing really fast and enjoying the ride.



        ”On ICAP Leopard, skipper Clarke Murphy (New York, N.Y.) is having the time of his life:

        “This cat can run! Leopard is aptly named this afternoon as she blast reaches, scampering across the North Atlantic at 25 knots of boat speeed. She is all speed and jumping through and across the waves like her namesake cat on land. Though foggy, the boat is performing and the ride is a thrill. Like a 100’ foot kayak flying through rapids. The day started out gray as we hit the Labrador Current and the fogbanks settled in with little visibility, though the breeze held. But for several hours it was torrential, torrential rain as we tested the foulies and seals on our boots. Fairly quiet on deck at that point!! The rain abated and as predicted the breeze built a knot per hour to the current consistent 25 knots. Everyone who is on deck perches in the stern quarter, egging on the helmsman and the speedo with bravado and an occasional hoot as we surpass the watch before.

        ”In the Open Class, Phaedo, the Gunboat 66, has enjoyed the best of the duel with Maltese Falcon thus far and are still some miles ahead. However, the rising seas and extra breeze is propelling the 298’ Perini Navi at some pace and they are most definitely closing the gap.


        In IRC Two, the yachts are also showing some ballistic pace. Jazz, skippered by Nigel King (Lymington, U.K.), is still the class leader on the water. However, Varuna, driven by Jens Kellinghusen (Hamburg, Germany), is now only 19 miles astern and probably leading the class after time correction



        Concise 2 Crew in the fog


        “As I am sitting (working) on the laptop the boat lifts out of a wave,” said Kellinghusen via satellite link of the thrilling ride. “Check the speedo.. 22...24...25,8...29 knots! This is what we came for; Varuna is alive and the boys are loving it. Everybody is on deck, just the helmsmen sleep every hour to be able to drive our grey lady with the concentration she needs. The boys are working hard to keep up the speed. A great team effort.

        ”Huntingdon Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.), skipper of Zaraffa, is still way out in front in IRC Class Three and could well be a contender for the overall winner. The Reichel Pugh 65 turned south of the rhumb line today and is currently in a transition zone between two weather systems but should get into fresh pressure before tomorrow. The next weather system could provide near gale-force conditions and Zaraffa could ride the system all the way to the finish. If they do, the Canadian-born skipper could well be in line to win his second Transatlantic Race, on corrected time.

        In IRC Class Four, Carina, skippered by Rives Potts, Jr. (Essex, Conn.) is no longer the closest boat to the finish. Zaraffa has overtaken Carina and many more are sure to follow. Carina, however, is very much the favorite to win the class. The crew on Carina has now been at sea for over 10 days and apart from wildlife nothing else will have existed outside the 48’ boat, save miles and miles of ocean. Onboard is Dirk Johnson, Jr., who, at 16 years of age, is the youngest sailor in the race. Also onboard is his father, Dirk Johnson, Sr., an experienced offshore sailor who will no doubt be teaching his son about life on the ocean.

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        • #5
          Quick Quotes

          Foggy and wet

          We are still sailing along nicely at around 22-25 knots in the right direction, the tactical side of the race will begin in the next 48 hrs when we have to cross the ridge looming between us and the UK.
          All well on board albeit damp everywhere but at least it is not cold. We have been through the coldest part of the race and compared to last year when we saw 2 degree water temp this year it was luke warm at 12 degrees.
          Lots of sea life which is good to see especially Whales.
          Best
          Chris`
          ICAP Leopard

          --------------------------------


          With strong winds finally arriving, the frustrations of the first half of the 2011 Transatlantic Race can now be forgotten onboard Concise 2 as weather conditions improve to the level that their Class 40 boat needs to sail at her best. Despite light winds of little more than14 knots, including 12 hours of virtually no wind and two days of solid fog, the mood remains very positive on Concise.

          Navigator Luke McCarthy says “as the first boat in the fleet to head north, it was always a concern if we’d made the right decision. Thankfully it was and resulted in substantial gains for us including more consistent winds and a better angle for our desired course.”

          Concise have caught up with those boats from the first race start and are currently in the middle of the fleet. Most importantly they have a lead of more than 100 miles over their main competitor Class 40 boat Dragon.

          Skipper Ned Collier-Wakefield says “we are in a cluster of boats, some which should be faster and some a little slower than us. This is all good though as it helps us to continue to push the boat hard and gauge our progress.”

          Ned continues “of course in this race, the hunter becomes the hunted with the big boats having started! It has been frustrating to see them start in decent breeze and go on a blast reach straight down the course, which we’d so recently spent time running downwind in light winds or completely becalmed! The speeds of Rambler in particular however have been phenomenal.”

          With just over 1,300 miles to go until they reach the finish at the Lizard, Cornwall, the crew hope that the strong winds remain consistent so they can put Concise 2 through her paces and show just what a Class 40 boat can do!

          The Crew of Concise

          -------------------------------------------

          On the tracker it looks like we are all converging. Who knows, we may even have that "grey poupon" moment with our friends on Carina. (I heard they ran out of mustard a few days ago - I'm sure when they were ripping up the course there was little reason to conserve that precious commodity). The tracker updates remain a steady source of interest as we check it out each half hour to see what progress is being made. We have finally gotten ahead of Zaraffa on a distance to finish basis - this seemed to take an incredibly long time as she has sailed a consistently strong race.

          The fog has lifted today, but all is still grey and misty as the sun remains elusive. Hopefully it will break through today. We have been on starboard for so long now that everyone is conditioned to this heel - when we finally do gybe over I am sure more than a few things will go flying. Some with berths on the port side have asked for fair notice of the gybe so they can get in one last easy shower! Others will have the trade off of losing the washing machine effect in their port holes to relying on lee cloths when they sleep.

          Captain Chris,
          Maltese Falcon

          ------------------------------------------------------------

          Well it has been a fast 24 hours and in the last poll of the yachts we were the fastest on the track taking time out of everyone including Rambler 100 and 10 miles of Puma – I guess our biggest surprise is how quick the new Puma is compared to older generation VOR 70’s – they are incredibly fast off the wind and we are hoping to reel them in over the next few days of beam reaching where our water line length comes into play. As for R100, well they are just that chunk quicker as soon as we are all fully canted which we have been since the beginning – as I said before the race it is a matter of physics, less weight and more righting moment means more speed –fullstop!!

          Back to us – we are all in good spirits and getting good bang for our buck sailing at around 20 knots of boat speed in flat water with a bit of drizzle just setting in – it has been an unbelievable first few days with the water being so flat – brilliant sailing conditions. This time last race at this point we were battling 40 knot head winds so we won’t complain.

          Chris Sherlock
          ICAP Leopard
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          • #6
            Moist And Moving, Mar Mostro Just Misses 24 Hour Record

            Newport, R.I. USA (July 7, 2011) – Although conditions in the North Atlantic for the 26 yachts competing in the Transatlantic Race 2011 put at least one on pace to break speed sailing records, the existing record, set in 2008, will stand for a while longer. Via satellite link, navigator Peter Isler (San Diego, California) detailed the knarly conditions of the last 24 hours aboard Rambler 100, which left Newport bound for The Lizard on July 3 (the final start of the three staggered starts for the participating yachts).“As the sun sets on the fourth day of the Transatlantic Race, the crew aboard Rambler 100 has settled into the shipboard rhythm of the four-hour watches. The drama this afternoon has been our watch on the numbers for our 24-hour run. We've had some awesome sailing and in the end came just 12 miles shy of the 596 nautical mile (nm) 24-hour record set by the Volvo 70 Ericsson 4.“Our 24-hour run from 1400 EDT yesterday to today was 582 miles. Each hour we kept calculating, hoping for an increase, but the best we could do was 584 nm between the 1500 hours and the same for the 1600 hours. The breeze has backed off a bit now, so the numbers are starting to decrease a bit.

            “That was fun to watch - but the team’s focus is firmly on the race - sailing hard, making good decisions and no major mistakes. This boat is so big, that every sail change takes a long time. The sails are so heavy, the loads so great - that every step of the process takes time and often shared hands on the heavy loads.“Looking forward - the big tactical decision that could decide this race is coming up tomorrow morning (our clocks are still on Newport R.I. time!), when it looks like the clocking wind will favor the other gybe for the first time since we started. That's always interesting after a few days sailing on one tack - getting used to the feel of going the other way. The timing of the gybe is crucial because it looks to set up the track of the boat through probably the lightest winds we will see in this race... at the boundary between the low over Labrador and the low that's been hovering over Ireland. It looks like we are going to have some very light winds for what looks like about four hours before we connect into the northwesterly from the eastern low.“So we'll pick a ‘lane’ tomorrow morning - with the breeze still nice and fresh. A few hours later we'll see how our choice panned out as we enter the light air. The weather models have a much harder time predicting the conditions in light winds compared to stronger winds (right now its blowing 23 knots) so there's a bit of voodoo and luck involved.”

            Indicating it was “time for a nap before all the action,” Isler signed off and sent along photos of the Rambler 100 team averaging over 24.5 knots of boat speed for over 26 hours.







            Kenny Read updates us from Mar Mostro:

            Quite a moist race thus far. And, I mean moist in more than ways than one…rain, fog, waves crashing over the deck. It makes for a moist boat, and all of the cold adds to a problem with condensation dripping everywhere. Sound glamorous?

            There are a few up sides though. First of all, we are hauling ass. We are already done with half of an Atlantic crossing and it seems like we just started. Tactically, there hasn’t been much in it so far, and it’s kind of a flat-out boat speed contest. With conditions that really suit our boat, there is already talk on board that maybe we should have done a couple easy things to improve our IRC rating...ahhh hindsight is a beautiful thing.




            images courtesy PUMA Ocean Racing

            I forgot to introduce our special guest on board in my first note. Hakan Svensson, the CEO of BERG Propulsion, is with us on his first Atlantic crossing. He’s a very good guy, and a friend, not just a sponsor. It has been priceless to see his face at times during this trip. As we careen down the waves going 30 knots, and you see a wall of water about to crash over the deck, at first Hakan's eyes would get pretty big. Below, he is sleeping in a make-shift bunk, and when big waves hit, or major squealing or creaking noises came from the winches, he would pop his head up quickly and say "Is that normal?"

            "I'm afraid it is," I would return, trying to give him a bit of peace with a friendly smile. I don't think he bought it at first. Now, after only a few days, he is turning into a speed junkie like the rest of us, wanting to hear those horrible noises as they mean we are going fast. He is becoming a Volvo sailor. Be careful Hakan!




            A strange thing noticed by most of the crew moving the gear around down below was that Hakan’s personal gear bag was REALLY heavy. Nobody wanted to say anything, and we just let it go. A short while ago, we found out why. He presented the crew with a "half way there" gift of smoked sausages that are terrific. I'm not what you would call a smoked sausage guy. But, in contrast with freeze dried meals, anything tastes good, and those sausages certainly made the crew forget the fact that his gear weighed about 50 lbs!

            The fast portion of the trip has less than 24 hours to go, then we jibe and head for England. No sun yet and not much in the forecast. Oh well. If it’s fast, don't complain.

            -- Kenny


            ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Onboard Vanquish, the All American Offshore Team reports:


            images©amory ross AAOT

            Our apologies for the late report, we’ve just made our third gybe today, gybes 1 and 2 coming in the past few hours. While we are still very much committed to our southerly route, we’ve been taking small hitches to the north to position ourselves to encounter the high-pressure ridge coming from the south at its narrowest latitude. It also brings us closer to the approaching low from the northwest. We’ve done a pretty good job in the Micro, jibing on good pressure, moving sails (we’ve opted to stack on the rail for a 2% rating penalty), moving gear and sailors below, making sure the boat is sailing fast all the time. But in the Macro we’ve got a long way to go: this ridge, when it does pass, will bring light winds, and the approaching low is weak to the south and won’t be offering us much help.



            The high-pressure ridge became a focal point this morning when the favorable 18-20 knot winds we enjoyed for most of yesterday receded to a lighter 10-14 knots and heavy fog. It’s still extremely damp outside and visibility is but a few boat lengths. We were hoping to stay in front of the ridge but the lesser winds slowed progress enough that we had to reposition ourselves to the north. While the going is slow, there’s a lot that can happen in the next 24 hours so we’re all focused on staying positive and coming out of this in better shape than everyone around us.



            Speaking of “around us,” our race strategy has evolved pretty dramatically, but in a lot of ways, not at all. We’re no longer sailing with our IRC 1 class in mind: they are literally in another time zone. Boats like Puma and Rambler put what seems like 100 miles a day on us and they have the ability to jump weather systems. We do not, so we can no longer make our decisions with those guys in mind. Our attention has now turned to the closer IRC competitors like Zaraffa, Phaedo, and Maltese Falcon, all closer on the race track and more similar in speed. We are still confident in our game plan though, and we have been all along. There has been no second-guessing and we will eventually turn east and push towards England when we feel that the ridge has passed us by. But only then.


            It will likely be a night of a few more gybes, and a night of very little sleep for our navigator Chris Branning.



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            • #7
              ICAP Leopard Has Been Running With A Broken Limb



              Friday 08 July 2011

              ICAP Leopard’s captain, Chris Sherlock, has announced that their bowsprit broke at 20.20 UT on Monday 04 July, just over a day after leaving Newport, R.I. The damage happened in flat water after passing the George’s Bank with a fractional sail flying off the sprit.

              No one was hurt in the incident and both the sail and the sprit were recovered safely. Since then Chris has been working with the crew and the Farr office, Leopard’s designers, to work out ways to keep racing safely.
              Fortunately the way the boat is built has meant that there is no threat to the integrity of the hull nor to the strength of the bow so that sails can still be flown from the stem. This has meant that Leopard’s performance on the long beam reach of the first three days from Newport has not been much compromised except that the yacht has had to sail slightly higher than optimum, which is why it is to the south side of its main competition. However, as the high pressure system is approached, there are very few options for sailing downwind without the sprit.

              “Obviously we are very disappointed but happy that nobody was hurt and we are now concentrating on finishing as well as possible,” said Sherlock by sat phone earlier today. “We have a team on stand-by for our arrival in Southampton to make an effective repair in time for our corporate charter commitments and the start of the Fastnet Race. We are unable at this stage to establish the cause of failure.”

              Leopard’s owner, Mike Slade, who is not onboard for this race, is as ever determined that Leopard will be back racing as soon as possible and Clarke Murphy, who is the charterer and skipper for the Transatlantic race, is still loving the sleigh ride across the Atlantic.
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              • #8
                Plenty of Parking In Mid-Atlantic


                http://www.transatlanticrace.com/tracker.html




                Newport, R.I. USA (July 8, 2011) – Breaking news from the North Atlantic is that just over 24 hours into the Transatlantic Race 2011, at 20:20 UTC on July 4th, ICAP Leopard had a major problem onboard when the bowsprit broke off on the 100’ Maxi yacht. None of the crew was injured and the boat is still structurally sound, but the failure will have had significant effects on the yacht’s performance over the last four days. The ICAP Leopard crew is obviously in a defiant mood; they have not only stayed in the race, but also have a real chance of winning on corrected time.




                After three days of fast, adrenaline-pumping, downwind sailing in Atlantic swell, the leading boats in the Transatlantic Race 2011 have started to slow down. There is a complex weather scenario around the fleet and the front-runners are in a transition zone between two weather systems with the result that boat speeds have fallen like a stone. This has renewed hope for the chasing pack, which is still in pressure. These boats are catching up with the leaders in their respective classes, but they too must negotiate the tricky, tactical part of this fascinating race. It may seem counterintuitive, but light headwinds provide some of the most grueling conditions for the crews; the myriad sail changes mean hard physical work and just about every sailor out there will be feeling the effects of fatigue compounded by poor diet and lack of sleep.


                The big tactical decision, as the yachts enter the transition zone, is angle of attack. The yachts will be aiming to cross the doldrums in the wind at its narrowest point, minimizing the drop in boat speed. This is not straightforward, however, as the pressure system ahead of them is a moving target and getting the boat into the correct position is a complex equation, one that will be different depending on where each boat is on the racecourse.




                In IRC Class One, Rambler 100, skippered by George David (Hartford, Conn.), has slowed down to under half the speed achieved in their near record-breaking run of yesterday and the true wind has clocked around to the north, barely more than five knots. However, the apparent wind created by Rambler 100 is allowing them to achieve over 10 knots of boat speed while another effect of this apparent wind is that they are now beating into this breeze. If Rambler 100 has a weakness, it is beating into light air and PUMA’s Mar Mostro, skippered by Ken Read (Newport, R.I.), is reeling them in. This morning, the two yachts were almost side-by-side on the water. Beau Geste, skippered by Karl Kwok (Hong Kong), has kept to the rhumb line and is the most northerly yacht of the entire fleet. Before the race, tactician Gavin Brady (Annapolis, Md.) commented that Beau Geste would need a variety of conditions to have a chance to win on corrected time and it would seem those wishes are coming true; perhaps their angle of attack to the north will pay big dividends.


                ICAP Leopard was still 100 miles behind Rambler 100 and PUMA’s Mar Mostro, but achieving a boat speed of over 17 knots gave fresh hope to ICAP Leopard skipper Clarke Murphy (New York, N.Y.).




                “We are ripping along, it’s been a great ride and it still is,” said Murphy. “We can see that yachts are parked up in front of us and we are still going fast and we are talking through the options that we have to take advantage of that. The next day and a half could be the most important part of the race for us and so we are pushing as hard as we can. This race just started again and we are full in the new race.”


                In IRC Class Two, Jazz, the Cookson 50 skippered by Nigel King (Lymington, U.K.), has seen its lead reduced and Varuna and Shakti, the two Rogers 46s behind them, are a big threat, especially after time correction.


                “They are a big worry,” confirmed King by satellite link. “Right now, we are barely making headway and we are fighting for every ounce of boat speed. One of our greatest motivations is to do our best for the owner of Jazz, Chris Bull. He cannot be with us due to family commitments and doing the best we can is our way of rewarding him for the gesture of letting us carry on and do this race without him. All of the crew on Jazz is digging deep and morale is high.”


                In IRC Class Three, Zaraffa has been a contender for the overall handicap prize since the start of the race. “Zaraffa is a great boat with an excellent crew,” said skipper Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.) speaking via satellite phone this morning. “And although we slowed up for about an hour today, we believe we are through the ridge of high pressure and will be back up to speed very soon. The weather models we have been looking at, and I am sure they are similar to the ones that are on the tracker, have not always been totally accurate but all is good on board and we are enjoying a fantastic race.”


                The young team on the Class 40 Concise 2 lead by Ned Collier-Wakefield (Oxford, U.K.) is finding conditions tough on board. “We are now beating into a northeasterly wind with a following sea, which is not the most comfortable angle for a Class 40,” said navigator Luke McCarthy (Cowes, U.K.) by satellite phone. “The crew is all pretty tired and we are looking forward to finishing this race in a few days’ time. It looks as though we will be into better conditions soon, but for the meantime it is hard going on Concise at the moment.”


                By sharp contrast to life aboard the 40’ Concise 2, with six crew living in cramped, damp and difficult conditions, the 16 crew on the 289’ Perini Navi Maltese Falcon are working hard but enjoying far more comfortable surroundings. Recent pictures sent back from the Maltese Falcon show fabulous fare from a galley fit for a gourmet chef, a king size bed with crisp linen bed sheets and even a steam bath.


                Life aboard the 26 yachts in the Transatlantic Race 2011 varies considerably, but one thing that will be common to all is fatigue. Even on Maltese Falcon, running systems and maintaining the yacht is an arduous task for the crew. Over the last few days, the adrenaline levels on board the racing yachts will have been spiking. However, now that the boats have slowed, the come down off the adrenaline high will be huge. How the sailors cope with this fatigue will become extremely important. Concentration levels are of the utmost importance when driving the boat and trimming the sails. With such a change in weather scenario ever present, navigators and tacticians will need to be at the top of their game just when their eyelids are begging to close.
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                • #9


                  Puma skippper Ken Read gave Volvo Ocean Race a call yesterday as his new ride " Mar Mostro" blazed across the ocean in the 2011 Transatlantic Race. Ken and his team are using the race as a training opportunity and also a chance to complete their 2000 mile qualification run for the Volvo Ocean Race which starts in Alicante on November 5th.
                  The super slo-mo footage was shot during training on a windy day off of the Newport.
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                  • #10
                    Breaking News: Rambler 100 Takes Line Honors in 2011 Transatlantic Race

                    Rambler 100, skippered by George David (Hartford, Conn.) crossed the finish line of the Transatlantic Race 2011 on Sunday 10th July at 16h 08m UTC.

                    The elapsed time for Rambler 100 was 6d 21h 52m.It has established a new record for the 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, RI to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, UK, which is to be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council
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                    • #11
                      Gut Check Time On Vanquish


                      all photos © amory ross /all american offshore team




                      It’s gut check day for the AAOT. The wheels are off the wagon and it’s time for us to double up on the tough stuff out here. The past 24 hours have been hard on the Vanquish. Jan and Molly spent all night feeding buckets of salty aqua to the watermaker because the scoop is too high at our present angle of heel. The door to the head was taken clean off its hinges earlier this morning (unnamed assailant), which will prove to be a real exercise in team bonding. There’s a winter hat thief running rampant when times are at their coldest. My cameras will not dry. The sun will not show. Everyone looks tired (someone was asked if they had a black eye) and it “feels like day 36.” Maybe worst of all, we’re fresh out of candy. One weather model suggested we’d get to Lizard Point in 10 days.



                      Thankfully that’s not going to happen, we’re all pretty sure of that, but how bad it’s going to get is really anybody’s guess. Navigator Chris Branning has worked hard to put us in a great spot up here, and we’ve sailed a really good race to this point, but we could fall victim to circumstance (Annapolis to Newport de-ja-vu) as we sail head first into the unavoidable ridge of high-pressure sitting between us and the finish.





                      We have the German youth entry dead ahead, 45 miles to our east and sailing upwind on the same heading. It will be fun to get around them and give a hearty wave, but we’re racing and that’s about as much courtesy as we might extend! We’ve also managed to shave 100-plus miles off the Beau Geste in the past 24 hours, but they’re back up to speed now and will be exiting the high-pressure zone just as we enter it. That happens in about 5 hours or so, and after that our success is really a matter of good fortune.



                      Best case scenario, the upwind conditions we have now dissipate, as does the low-pressure trough to our northwest, propelling us through the high relatively unscathed, and we stay on pace with our competitors and reach straight towards England in a strong southerly, arriving in 3-4 days. Worst case scenario, the trough wedges us between the low and the high, which widens at our latitude, and we wallow for days while everyone ahead and to the south sails home. That model puts is into England in 5-6 days time. In reality, it’s probably not going to be one or the other, but a combination of the two. We expect most of the fleet to the south to sail through the high before we get out, but it’s an unfortunate reality we have to accept. We will continue to push through on our heading and hope the ridge is a) not as wide as it looks, and b) not as light as at looks.

                      If we were ever going to fold it’d be now, but spirits remain high and most (I can speak for myself) find gleeful humor in such times. Everyone is laughing in relative misery, which is always a good sign, and our team chemistry only strengthens through the tougher times.

                      Tomorrow’s report will feature part one of our Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team “sailor survey.” Stay tuned for some insider info.

                      -Amory
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                      • #12
                        July 11th Update: Mar Mostro finishes, corrects ahead of Rambler 100'



                        July 11th. Next finishers listed, to be followed by a surge



                        Onboard Mar Mostro as they finish earlier today, correcting out ahead of Rambler 100


                        Newport, R.I. USA (July 11, 2011) – PUMA’s Mar Mostro is not only the second boat across the Transatlantic Race 2011 finish line at The Lizard on the south coast of England (at 05:40 UTC on July 11) but also the current overall standings leader based on corrected time. Skipper Ken Read (Newport, R.I.) and crew completed the 2,975 nautical mile course in 7 days, 11 hours and 40 minutes. After careful calculations, the race committee has confirmed that none of the 24 yachts still racing has a mathematical probability of beating PUMA’s Mar Mostro on corrected time, and they shall be declared provisional winners of IRC Class One and IRC Overall for the Transatlantic Race 2011.

                        “We entered the race with zero expectations, just like the other IRC handicap racing we’ve done this year,” said Ken Read. “We wanted to learn the boat and the crew. Now here we are in the position of possibly winning a race that we didn’t expect to win. We are pleasantly shocked. We didn’t break anything, the sails held up, the team is certainly coming together, and there’s not a single negative to this race. It was a great experience.

                        ”PUMA’s Mar Mostro reached a maximum speed of just over 30 knots early in the race, traveling 551 nautical miles on day three. By day five, however, light air slowed their pace towards the finish at The Lizard and the last several hundred miles were slow going.

                        “The finish was excruciating,” said Read as he detailed a bizarre twist to the finish. “We approached The Lizard knowing we had to get there quick because the current was about to change and go against us. As we entered the English Channel the breeze was dying steadily to the point where the current did change. Literally, when the race committee said we were finished, we were stopped and about to throw the anchor as we would have been going backwards with the current.

                        ”While PUMA’s Mar Mostro is now making its way to the team’s summer training camp in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Rambler 100, which took line honors yesterday and established a new record with an elapsed crossing time of 6 days, 22 hours, 8 minutes and 2 seconds, has made its way under motor to Endeavour Quay (Gosport, Portsmouth, U.K.) where the 100’ Maxi will be based until competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race next month.

                        “Puma made it through the windless zone better than us,” said George David (Hartford, Conn.), the skipper of Rambler 100 who was quick to compliment Read and his team. “Maybe they had a better roll of the dice or maybe they just outdid us. PUMA’s Mar Mostro is a 2011-edition Volvo 70 and has a world-class crew, so to just lose out on handicap is not such a bad thing. Our time was the fastest average speed that any monohull has ever crossed the Atlantic Ocean and we have got to be very happy with that.

                        ”Meanwhile back out on the North Atlantic where 24 boats are still racing, Jazz, a Cookson 50, has opened up a big lead on the other competitors in IRC Class Two. With 240 miles to go, Jazz expects to get to the finish line early evening Tuesday and have a cushion of about 270 miles over Varuna and Shatki.

                        “We have cracked sheets after having a light spot during the early hours and then we have been on the wind by mid morning,” said Jazz navigator Mike Broughton (Hamble, U.K.). “The highlight of the morning has been a welcome onto the continental shelf by, at times, an escort of over 40 dolphins. Seeing groups of them speed in from the side at about 30-40 knots, then arc in to parallel our course and slow down on and ride our bow waves is an awesome sight that even the most seasoned sailors never tire of seeing.

                        ”In IRC Class Three, Zaraffa, skippered by Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.), looks like a certainty for the class win and has just about 100 miles left to finish the race. Unfortunately, it could take some time yet as there is a complete lack of decent wind in the vicinity of The Lizard, so much so that Zarraffa is now well north of the rhumb line -- in the Celtic Sea -- looking to pick up breeze.

                        The leading boats in IRC Class Four still have over 500 miles left to race. Carina, the McCurdy and Rhodes 48 skippered by Rives Potts, Jr. (Essex, Conn.), is still leading on the water, but the Army Sailing Association’s British Soldier, with lighter displacement, has made up substantial miles. The British Army crew is 60 miles behind Carina but the new wind is due to fill in from the west and British Soldier should get into fresh pressure before Carina.

                        In the Open Class, Maltese Falcon was never going to be able to compete with Phaedo in light air. The 289’ Perini Navi weighs 1100 tons, while Phaedo is a mere 17 tons. Phaedo is nearly 200 miles ahead of Maltese Falcon with just over 100 miles to the finish.

                        As for the two Class 40s, Dragon has started reeling in Concise 2. “We have had one heck of an opportunity over the past 48 hours, riding what has seemed like a private seam of pressure,” said Mike Hennessy (Mystic, Conn.) who is sailing Dragon double-handed with Rob Windsor (East Northport, N.Y.), while Concise has six in crew. “As a result, we have clawed back something like 200 miles that Concise was able to put on us with their brilliant run in the middle of last week. Now comes the tricky bit, as our low pressure catches up to their high pressure. Are we far enough out on the leading edge of our system that it will pull us right up to their stern? How will the passing lanes play out as we cross below Ireland? Will we end up in the same mess they have been wallowing in? Questions to ponder over our oatmeal this very chilly morning.”

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

                        To follow the race via tracker and get real insight into life on board via the blogs, visit www.transatlanticrace.com
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