Ran Leopard claims line honours

Handicap honours also on the card for Niklas Zennstrom's team in the Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Regatta

Tuesday December 4th 2012, Author: Jill Campbell, Location: British Virgin Islands

Rán Leopard, helmed by Niklas Zennström and with Adrian Stead on tactics, completed the Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Regatta in 7 days, 8 hours, 59 minutes and 12 seconds to claim line honours and smash the course record.

Zennström and his 18-strong crew on their 100ft maxi crossed the finish line off Virgin Gorda shortly after 2200 UTC last night after covering 3,300 miles at an average speed of 18.6 knots.

The new course record beats the previous one set by Hetairos in 2011 by 25 hours, 59 minutes and 18 seconds.

Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the International Maxi Association, the race saw six maxi yachts and superyachts leave Tenerife on 26 November bound for the YCCS Clubhouse and Marina in Virgin Gorda's North Sound.

With a sailing CV including wins in the Rolex Fastnet Race, Copa del Rey and Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, Zennström approached his first transatlantic regatta with the enthusiasm and concentration that has made Rán one of the top campaigns in international yacht racing.

Chartering Mike Slade's 100ft maxi, ICAP Leopard, the crew regularly reported boat speeds of 30+ knots during their passage.

"It was an amazing crossing!" said a delighted Zennström on his arrival at YCCS Virgin Gorda. "The crew did an excellent job and the boat achieved the result we were aiming for. During the crossing we faced a maximum wind of 35 knots and the boat's maximum speed was 32-33 knots. Thankfully we had no major failures onboard, just the usual minor breakages for a comfortable racing boat. We are very happy to have established a new record for this transatlantic regatta and we are very happy to be here in the new YCCS Clubhouse."

The 32m Baltic sloop Nilaya was in second place approximately 395 miles from the finish at 0900 UTC. Peter Harrison's Farr 115 Sojana, a veteran competitor in all five editions of the Transatlantic Superyacht & Maxi Regatta, followed approximately 100 miles behind in third place with Oscar Konyukhov's Med Spirit, the 27.7m sloop representing the Russian Yachting Federation, in fourth.

Following a more southerly course in fifth place is Cape Arrow, a 2011 Southern Wind 100, and the majestic Shenandoah of Sark, the 1902 55m three masted schooner owned by Francesco, Carlo and Andrea Micheli.

Rán's fast crossing time leaves them on track for victory in corrected time while the battle is now on between the remaining five sailing giants for second and third places.

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