DaimlerChrysler builds up steam

35 boats confirmed with another 75 interested for trans-atlantic spectacular in June next year

Saturday December 7th 2002, Author: Dana Paxton, Location: Transoceanic
With six months until the start of the DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge, 35 entries have been confirmed by Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) Hamburg and New York Yacht Club (NYYC). More than 100 international yachts from classic gaff-rigged schooners to high-tech race-machines have registered their interest to start the 3,500 nautical mile ocean race. The regatta will depart from Newport, R.I., USA on June 14 for Cuxhaven, Germany and on to Hamburg. The race will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the German sailing club Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt (HVS).

"Interest is building among American offshore racers," said Richard von Doenhoff, New York Yacht Club's event chairman for Newport. "Since early 2001, the New York Yacht Club has been sharing the news about this race among members and with our friends in sailing. We hope to see a significant contingent from this side of the Atlantic based on the conversations we've had with key bluewater sailors. "The first U.S. entries are the 50-foot Nelson/Marek designed Snow Lion, owned by New York Yacht Club Commodore Lawrence Huntington, and the 65-footer Zaraffa, built in 2000 and owned by Skip Sheldon of Shelburne, Vt.

A diverse range of ocean going yachts is preparing for this once-in-a-lifetime test of endurance and skill. The largest yacht entered to date is the Dutch 152-foot schooner Windrose, a modern high-tech design sailing under the British flag of the Cayman Islands. There are the purpose built yachts such as the 94-foot Wally Y2K, presently under construction for Claus-Peter Offen of Hamburg, and the recently christened 85-foot carbon fiber maxi-racer UCA built for Germany's Klaus Murmann. Also competing are various classic boats such as the 57-foot yawl Peter von Seestermühe, built in 1936 and owned by Christoph von Reibnitz. Previously known as Peter von Danzig, it competed in the 1973/74 Whitbread Round the World Race.

The race will start on June 14, 2003 from Newport, R.I., USA and take competitors across the northern Atlantic Ocean, with a "Point Alpha" established as a mandatory waypoint round to port. The yachts will then keep the British Isles to starboard. The finish line will be at Cuxhaven, Germany, located at the mouth of the River Elbe. From there, the yachts will continue to their final destination in Hamburg.

It is estimated that the fastest boats will arrive in 10 to 12 days. The smaller vessels -- which must be at least 40 feet (12.20 meters) in length -- will complete the distance in roughly three weeks time. The organizers will host a maritime festival from July 4-12 in Hamburg with daily social activities to coincide with the finish of the race.

The DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge will use the IRC and IMS handicap ratings. Yachts will be organized into divisions based on their ratings and will include Racer, Cruiser/Racer and the Classic division for those yachts designed before 1960.

Prizes will be awarded on July 11 at the Rathaus, the Hamburg City Hall. The DaimlerChrysler trophy is a reproduction of the S/Y Hamburg Ocean Trophy of 1905, a priceless porcelain figure standing close to two feet high, which will be awarded to the overall first place yacht in the fleet on corrected time (IRC). The Endymion Trophy from 1905 will be awarded to the yacht finishing first in the Racer Division on corrected time (IRC). The Seefahrts Herausforderungs Preis, an HVS Trophy from 1913, will be awarded to the yacht finishing first in the Cruiser/Racer Division (IMS).

Additional trophies will be awarded including those to the first yacht to finish, the winning yacht club team, the yacht finishing first with more than half of its crew under the age of 25 and the best placing yacht with majority female crew. Every yacht competing will receive a memorial prize.

Prior to the race's start, social events are planned at Harbour Court, the New York Yacht Club's on-the-water clubhouse in Newport. Special shipping transport for yachts is arranged from Europe to the U.S. before the race and return after the race.

See page 2 for details of two of the boats...

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