DaimlerChrysler revs up

As rating bands for entries as established writes Dana Paxton

Saturday May 17th 2003, Author: Dana Paxton, Location: Transoceanic
Some of the sailors have won around-the-world races, while others have not yet made an ocean passage. For all those competing in this June’s DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge the 3600 nautical mile race will be an adventure of a lifetime. Starting from Newport, R.I., the course travels across the northern Atlantic Ocean, north around Great Britain to Cuxhaven, Germany and then on to Hamburg.

From Albatros of Germany to Zwerver of the Netherlands, 63 very different yachts from 10 nations have entered. Ranging in length from 40 to 152 feet, they include classic beauties built as early as 1936 as well as brand new yachts.

The majority of the fleet - 57 boats divided into two classes - will start the race on Saturday, June 14. A third class, including the fastest of the ocean racers, will head out a week later on June 21. The first finishers are expected in Germany at the end of June or early July.

Racing under IRC, the fleet was divided into three classes by the organizing group, Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV). The rating of each yacht is based on the theoretical speed potential, a factor that will be multiplied with the elapsed time to get the corrected time for general scoring. A time correction coefficient (TCC), assigned to each yacht, was used to divide the fleets. Class I yachts have a TCC of less than 1.100. Class Ia yachts have a range of TCC between 1.100 and 1.450. Those with a TCC of 1.450 or greater are in Class II, the group in the second start day. The full entry list is available on www.dcnac.de.

The fastest yacht on paper is Zephyrus V, the maxZ86 owned by Robert McNeil. The high-tech yacht, which won the 2002 West Marine Pacific Cup, will race in Class I and will be helmed by John Bertrand. Zephyrus V has a TCC of 1.693. This means the boat must sail 1,693 times faster than a yacht with a TCC of 1.000 such as the Sonate Ovni 43 Leon de Mar, owned by Jürgen Brenner from Oldenburg, Germany.

Latest Entries

The latest entry confirmed from England on Tuesday, May 13 is Maiden, now owned by Terence Neilson of the U.K., but best known for its participation in the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race with an all-woman crew headed by Tracy Edwards. Designed by Bruce Farr and built in 1979, it will start in the Class Ia.

Title sponsor DaimlerChrysler has entered an employee-crewed boat, the famous Whitbread Round the World race Swan 65 King’s Legend. It will compete in Class Ia with a TCC of 1.117. The German-American crew of 11 was selected from more than 800 applicants from DaimlerChrysler offices in Germany and America.

Tracking the competitors
All of the competing yachts will install the Inmarsat D+ tracking device. Similar to a pager, the small unit transmits a position report at pre-set intervals using its own integrated GPS, via the Inmarsat Satellite Network.

Specially-designed software, developed by the DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge, has been integrated into all of the units and will be activated at the start.

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