The once-in-a-lifetime race across the North Atlantic will take competitors 3,600 nautical miles around the top of the British Isles and into the Elbe River to the finish. The race is organised by the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein of Hamburg with the support of the New York Yacht Club.
A second fleet of five boats will start next weekend on Saturday, June 21.
Hundreds of spectators took to Newport Harbour and the seawall surrounding historic Fort Adams to witness the one of the largest fleets ever assembled for a transatlantic race. Under the expert eye of the NYYC race committee, Class I started at 2:00 p.m. with Zaraffa, the Reichel/Pugh 65 owned by Huntington "Skip" Sheldon taking a commanding lead of the 26-boat fleet. The 32 yachts in Class II started ten minutes later.
Ten countries are represented in the fleet: Antigua, Belgium, Canada, Grand Cayman, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and United States.
After finishing, the yachts will continue onto Hamburg, where the city is hosting a maritime festival to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt, a long-standing sailing club based in Hamburg, GER. Over 150,000 visitors per day are expected in the historic seaport during the weeklong celebration.
Sponsors of the race include Holsten Brewery, Deutsche Bank, SAP, World of TUI, Hanseboot International Boat Show from Hamburg, and Marinepool.
See more photos on page 2