Giants set sail from the Canaries
Six maxis and superyachts set off on the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Regatta 2012 starting from Santa Cruz de Tenerife at 1300 (UTC) today.
The fifth running of this event, organized in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA), will see the fleet sail 2700 miles to the finish line off the YCCS's winter clubhouse on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. The course record was set by last year's line honours winner, Hetairos, in just under 8 days and 11 hours.
Racing got underway today in 26 to 28 knots of NNWerly winds. Only the superyacht Shenandoah of Sark chose to head south of Tenerife, while the rest of the fleet left the island to port.
The race start, set against the backdrop of the Santiago de Calatrava Auditorium and the island's volcanic peak Pico de La Teide, was a sight to behold thanks to the dimensions of some of the competing yachts - such as the 55m Shenandoah, a beautiful triple-masted gaff schooner, and the two supermaxis Sojana and Nilaya, respectively a Farr 115 and a Reichel-Pugh 112. Nilaya was first to the weather mark.
The fleet also includes two maxi racer/cruisers - Cape Arrow, a Southern Wind 100, and the 92ft Med Spirit and the maxi racer Farr 100 Rán Leopard, sailed by the Rán crew with Niklas Zennström at the helm.
Trophies will be awarded at the prize giving ceremony scheduled to take place at the latest on 12 December in Virgin Gorda.