Today, Wednesday, June 29, the largest group of 14 yachts departed on the Transatlantic Race 2011, a 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, England, featuring 30 boats ranging from 40 to 289 feet in length.
The sight of the Open Class, which is
comprised of just two, albeit show stopping yachts heading off into the Atlantic Ocean was a spectator spectacular. The 289’ head turning Perini Navi, Maltese Falcon, is racing against the only multihull entered in the race, the Lamborghini orange catamaran Phaedo.
In IRC Class Two, Jazz, a Cookson 50, with a star-studded crew challenges two German teams on nearly identical yachts competing in the class. Given the racing records of these top yachts, Jazz, Shakti and Varuna should virtually match race across the North Atlantic.
IRC Class Three will
feature six yachts, including Snow Lion, a winner that should prove highly competitive on corrected time. Zaraffa, the Reichel Pugh 65, will undoubtedly be a fierce competitor boasting a crew that includes several veterans of the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. The Volvo 60 Ambersail has logged over 100,000 miles since being purchased in 2008 in tribute to a thousand years of Lithuanian history. Ambersail took part in the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, winning class honors and placing second overall.
The two smallest yachts are the Class 40s, Dragon and Concise 2. Team Concise will be a force to be reckoned with, having won the 2009 Class 40 World Championship, set a world record for the Round Britain and Ireland course, and taken class honors at the RORC Caribbean 600 for the last three years. Dragon is the only boat racing across the Atlantic double-handed. Owner Michael Hennessy started to focus on short-handed distance racing in 2002. Since then he has competed in four Newport Bermuda Races, as well as dozens of other races across New England. In 2008 he took delivery of Dragon, an Owen Clarke-design, which will be co-skippered by Rob Windsor.
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.
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