32 signed up for the 2011 Transatlantic Race

George David's Rambler favourite for July's Transatlantic Race

Friday April 22nd 2011, Author: Barby MacGowan, Location: none selected

32 yachts are due set sail on this year's Transatlantic Race, with staggered starts spanning late June until early July, and a course that stretches 2,975 nautical miles from Newport, RI to the Lizard. The event is organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club, with pre-start activities taking place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport and the awards taking place at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight.

The line-up ranges from sleek traditional designs, such as the 94ft William Fife-designed Sumurun, to sophisticated superyachts, such as the 289ft custom Perini Navi clipper Maltese Falcon, with three masts so tall they barely clear Newport’s Pell Bridge, which serves as a gateway into Rhode Island’s City by the Sea. And as ocean racing veterans of will attest, crossing the Atlantic Ocean is no small feat, especially when storms, testing seas and even icebergs (still a danger in the North Atlantic in June) are included in the mix of challenges encountered.

“What I find so incredible with open-ocean racing is that there are very few things that you can do these days that are the same as what people did 400 years ago,” said Sumurun’s owner Robert Towbin . “You have such a sense of history when you’re out there and for a couple weeks you get to feel, in effect, the same way Columbus felt.”

Towbin has sailed Sumurun in two previous transatlantic races, winning the Classic Division in the 2005 Rolex Transatlantic Challenge and taking overall victory in the 1997 Atlantic Challenge Cup presented by Rolex. He is currently preparing his classic yacht, which was built in 1914, to endure what will be its first challenge of the 2011 sailing season. “If you have an older boat, a race of this complexity takes a lot out of it, so we are putting a lot of work into it to get it up to date,” said Towbin.

Three separate starts on 26 June, 29 June and 3 July are scheduled (Sumurun will be in the first start) to stagger the yachts of different sizes and speeds so that they will arrive in England in close proximity to one another. Challenging their crews both mentally and physically, the larger boats hope to finish the race in 8 to 12 days, while the smaller boats may take up to 18 to 22 days.

In addition to class winners, whichever yacht finishes the course with the fastest elapsed time will set the benchmark for a new racing record from Newport to Lizard Point, to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council. Rolex watches will be awarded to the record holder and the overall winner under IRC.

Favourite for line honours will be Rambler 100, George David’s maxi rocket ship, although the Juan K-designed supermaxi has previously failed to complete this course. She will be up against the new Puma VOR 70 and Mike Slade's ICAP Leopard.

Among the line-up will also be two youth teams, one from Germany aboard the Andrews 56 Norddeutsche Vermoegen and one from the US, the All American Offshore Team’s IRC 65 Vanquish. In addition, four Class 40s will have their own class, with the second group.


Yacht Name Owner/Skipper Yacht Type LOA
Maltese Falcon Pleon, LTD Custom Perini Navi 289
Sojana Peter R. Harrison CBE Farr ketch 115
ICAP Leopard Clarke Murphy Farr 100
Rambler 100 George David Maxi 100
Sumurun Robert Towbin W. Fife 94
Nordwind Hans Albrecht Henry Gruber 86
Beau Geste Karl Kwok Farr 80 80
PUMA Ocean Racing Ken Read VOR70 70
Chieftain Gerard O'Rourke VOR 70 2006 70
Vanquish USMMA Youth Entry Reichel Pugh 65
Zaraffa Huntington Sheldon, MD Reichel Pugh 65
Ambersail Simonas Steponavicius Farr 63
Hound Frank Eberhart A&R 60
Ourson Rapide Paolo Roasenda Finot-Conq 60
Noonmark VI Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy Swan 56
Norddeutsche Vermoegen Hamburg HVS/Eike Holst Andrews 56
Scho-ka-kola Uwe Lebens Reichel Pugh 56
Persevere Arthur "Bugs" Baer / Colin Rath Judel/Vrolijk 54
Prodigy Chris Frost Simonis/Voogd 54
Jazz Chris Bull Cookson 50 50
Lee Overlay Partners Adrian Lee Cookson 50 50
Snow Lion Lawrence Huntington Ker 50
Carina Rives Potts McCurdy & Rhodes 48
Dawn Star William Hubbard III and William Hubbard IV C&C 46
Shakti Avenarius & Gondesen Simon Rogers 46
Varuna Jens Kellinghusen Simon Rogers 46
Jacqueline IV Robert Forman McCurdy & Rhodes 42
Sasha Albrecht Peters S & S 42
British Soldier ASA Lt Col Nicholas Bate Joubert-Nivett 40
Concise 2 Ned Collier-Wakefield Class 40 40
Cutlass Nick Halmos Class 40 40
Dragon Michael Hennessey Class 40 40
Kamoa'e Eric LeCoq Class 40 40

The Transatlantic Race 2011 is the centerpiece of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS), which includes the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, RORC Caribbean 600, the Annapolis to Newport Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Biscay Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Of the seven races in the AORS, three races, including the TR 2011 must be completed to qualify for a series victory. Each race is weighted equally in overall series scoring with the exception of TR 2011, which is weighted 1.5 times. All entered yachts are scored using their two best finishes in addition to the TR 2011. Awards for the AORS will be presented in November, 2011 at the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Awards Dinner in Manhattan.

Panel Discussion

On 26 April, the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club, organisers of the Transatlantic Race 2011, will host a TR2011 Panel Discussion at the Manhattan headquarters of race sponsor Thomson Reuters. Gary Jobson will moderate the discussion, which will focus on the history of transatlantic racing, the challenge and appeal of transoceanic racing, as well as the upcoming TR2011 and its entries.

Panelists will include George David, owner/skipper of Rambler 100; Chris Gartner, captain of Maltese Falcon; Larry Huntington, owner/captain of Snow Lion; Bob Towbin, owner/captain of Sumurun and representing the Royal Yacht Squadron; Rives Potts, Rear Commodore of NYYC and owner/captain of Carina; and sailing historian and author John Rousmaniere.


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