Early lead for Stamm
New York Harbor was transformed from a commercial port into a spectacular venue for the start of Around Alone 2002-03. From early in the morning, all the Open class yachts were towed off the pontoons of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, where they had been docked for two days after the prologue race from Newport, RI.
With the tall buildings of lower Manhattan as a backdrop and a moderate 10 to 15 knot southerly wind blowing, the 13 yachts set off for their 28,000 mile voyage around the world. It was an amazing sight, the yachts looking like giant butterflies as they floated across the harbor towards the King's Pointer Military Training Ship, which was the starting boat on the other end of the line from 'Ground Zero'.
Just as the start gun was fired from Battery Park by Deputy Mayor of NYC Daniel L. Doctoroff, the smallest boat in the fleet, 40ft BTC Velocity, helmed by Bermuda's Alan Paris, scooted across the line clearly ahead of the fleet. It must have been a sweet moment for Alan whose dream has always been to sail around the world by himself. He was soon overtaken by the larger Open 60 yachts as they powered away from Ground Zero towards the Verazanno Narrows bridge and beyond into the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Earlier forecasts of Tropical Storm Hanna paying an unwelcome visit did not materialise and the cloud cover lifted just as the start sequence got underway. As the yachts short tacked up towards the Statue of Liberty, Canadian Derek Hatfield on Spirit of Canada took the lead and clung to it for a few minutes before being overhauled by the larger yachts. First to pass him was Bobst Group-Armor Lux skippered by the Swiss sailor Bernard Stamm closely followed by Garnier skippered by Belgian Patrick de Radiguès. Despite being a lot smaller, Spirit of Canada hung close to the Open 60 before their waterline length gave them an advantage that even the tenacious Hatfield could not match.
As the first boats approached the Verazanno Narrows bridge fog rolled in and a line of squalls passed overhead. The good weather held just long enough for the fleet to clear the tricky sailing in the channel. Tonight they will be well past Ambrose light sailing along the Long Island coast heading towards England.
Times are being taken at the Ambrose light - veteran French circumnavigator Thierry Dubois was confident earlier in the day that this first leg of Around Alone could be record-breaking conditions.
See page two for more photos from the start
Positions at 1900 GMT
|1||Bobst Group Armor-Lux||40 28.880 N||73 55.480 W||9.36 nm||4.84 kt||145 °T||2953.75 nm|
|2||Ocean Planet||40 28.880 N||73 55.520 W||10.36 nm||5.36 kt||145 °T||2953.78 nm|
|3||Solidaires||40 29.080 N||73 55.600 W||9.69 nm||5.10 kt||145 °T||2953.89 nm|
|4||Hexagon||40 28.920 N||73 55.720 W||9.96 nm||5.15 kt||146 °T||2953.93 nm|
|5||Tiscali||40 29.240 N||73 55.920 W||5.71 nm||2.95 kt||132 °T||2954.17 nm|
|6||Pindar||40 29.480 N||73 56.440 W||9.91 nm||5.12 kt||148 °T||2954.62 nm|
|7||Garnier||40 29.640 N||73 56.440 W||9.64 nm||4.99 kt||147 °T||2954.66 nm|
|1||Tommy Hilfiger||40 29.760 N||73 56.480 W||6.95 nm||3.59 kt||140 °T||2954.73 nm|
|2||Everest Horizontal||40 30.000 N||73 57.040 W||9.65 nm||5.08 kt||149 °T||2955.21 nm|
|3||Spirit of Canada||40 30.040 N||73 57.200 W||8.99 nm||4.65 kt||149 °T||2955.33 nm|
|4||Bayer Ascensia||40 30.960 N||73 59.160 W||0.32 nm||4.76 kt||120 °T||2957.03 nm|
|5||BTC Velocity||40 42.160 N||74 01.840 W||1.59 nm||0.39 kt||21 °T||2963.74 nm|
|NC||Spirit of Yukoh||-||-||-||-||-||-|