Another transat dash
The 3,000 mile race from New York to England will take place in mid-May 2005. It is open to single-hulled sailboats with a minimum length on deck of 70 feet and with no maximum size for entrants. The race is expected to attract many of the world 's largest sailing yachts, some 200 feet (61m) and longer. This will include the new generation of giant maxi-monohulls such as Bob Miller's new Mari Cha IV.
Starting off New York Harbour and finishing in the English Channel, the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge 2005 will be sailed over the same course as the famous transatlantic race 100 years earlier by America's Cup and ocean racing skipper - the Peter Blake of his day - Charlie Barr. In May 1905, Barr drove the 185-foot (56m) three-masted schooner Atlantic to victory in this race covering the course in 12 days, four hours, one minute and 19 seconds. This record stood for decades until it was finally broken by Eric Tabarly's tri-foiler Paul Ricard in the 1980s.
"Atlantic's record is the marquee record in yacht racing," said A. Robert Towbin, chair of the organising committee for the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge 2005. "The fastest yacht to race from Sandy Hook to the Lizard Point in less elapsed time than Atlantic will be recognised as the New York Yacht Club's new transatlantic racing-record holder," continued Towbin, who in the last running of this race, in 1997, won the classic division aboard Sumurun, a 94-foot ketch designed and built by William Fife in 1914.
The race will be run by the New York Yacht Club with the cooperation of the Royal Yacht Squadron. The New York Yacht Club has a long history of running transatlantic races over this course. It organised the first race in 1866, started the fastest in 1905 and reprised this race most recently in 1997.
The Rolex Transatlantic Challenge 2005 will have at least three divisions: Classic, Performance Cruising and Grand Prix. The divisions may be further divided into classes. Prizes will be awarded by Rolex and the New York Yacht Club for top boats on both elapsed time and on handicap.
Social events are planned in New York as well as at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. A highlight of the post-race festivities will be a race around the Isle of Wight on the original America's Cup course.