Transatlantic Race 2011 - The Leopard and The Falcon Come to Rest

Newport, R.I. USA (July 13, 2011) – Yesterday, as the sun was setting on the Cornish coast, ICAP Leopard, skippered by Clarke Murphy (New York, N.Y.), passed The Lizard to finish the Transatlantic Race 2011 at 20:42 UTC. Since the 4th of July when ICAP Leopard snapped its bowsprit, there has been no whinging from on board. ICAP Leopard did not even report the breakage until several days after the incident. After the finish, Clarke Murphy was quick to praise the crew.

“To break the sprit 36 hours into the race was a shock and incredibly frustrating. The first focus was to make sure we were still safe and then to keep us in the race. The sprit was bouncing into the hull, hanging off the bobstay, but after having recovered it and checked the hull, we were back racing again in 40 minutes. We had to change our strategy, think on our feet, and to cross the Atlantic in nine days was a great achievement from the position we were in. The crew has been outstanding in every department, and there has been no lack of humour in this crowd, or lack of ribbing. We still had a good time, and the chocolate thieves were caught eventually! This is an incredibly experienced group of people with great character who could adapt and keep us going.”

The Maltese Falcon received high praise from other competing yachts, and rightly so. The skill of the crew was there for all to see right from the start when the immense superyacht tacked in confined quarters to perfection, casting an enormous shadow on the spectator fleet. Later in the race, the crew on the Cookson 50 Jazz was aghast as the Maltese Falcon gybed their enormous three-masted rig time after time to stay in the pressure.

Last night, just after 0100 UTC, the Maltese Falcon arrived at The Lizard, and the magnificent 289’ Perini Navi sent a heartwarming message back from the racecourse, written by crewmember Sean Truscott.

  “A jubilant crew brings the Big Bird to the line at The Lizard, and the race has ended for us. This is no time to mourn our loss to Phaedo, which has our sincerest congratulations for their outstanding victory. With Maltese Falcon built not as a race boat but a large sailing super yacht, we are proud of our performance and proud to have been part of this spectacular event with all her challenges. Thank you to all the organisers, sponsors and participants. It was wicked!

“The remaining hours of our race presented us with an awe-inspiring seascape view of the setting sun over Bishops Rock. Tonight, as the props turn for their first time since the start, the moon sets to our stern, a large yellow orb. Sadly we cannot linger to enjoy the festivities and the camaraderie with the other crew, as our purpose and business hails us back to the Med, but we wish we were able to, and the fleet still at sea we wish the best.”

ICAP Leopard and Maltese Falcon may not have tasted victory at The Lizard, but their performance and attitude has been commendable and a credit to the sport.

Keep Calm and Carry On
For the remaining 19 boats yet to finish the Transatlantic Race 2011, progress is agonisingly slow. Most of the yachts out on the racecourse are approximately 250 miles from the finish, and looking at the tracker, it resembles the start line for a foot race, with the competitors waiting for the starting pistol.

Fair winds still elude the yachts; however, more wind is expected to arrive from the south or southwest in about 24 hours’ time, which should increase in strength, giving the yachts a roaring finish into The Lizard. Most of the yachts should finish the Transatlantic Race over the coming weekend.

The big decision at the moment is whether to try to make it to the southern coast of the island and pick up breeze from the land or to stay to the south, where the breeze should fill in first. Tony Lawson’s Class 40, Concise 2, skippered by Ned Collier-Wakefield (Oxford, U.K.) is heading for the Irish coast.  The young British team have seen their substantial lead over class rival Dragon, skippered by Mike Hennessy (Mystic, Conn.), evaporate to just a few miles. Similar anguish must be present on Carina, skippered by Rives Potts (Essex, Conn.). Their main rival, British Soldier, skippered by Nick Bate (Falmouth, Cornwall, U.K.) is now in a threatening position, but the British Army team does owe Carina a considerable amount of time in IRC Class Four.

The morale on board the yachts still racing will have become a very important factor towards their performance. After many days at sea, living in close quarters with the same people, tempers can and do get tested. Sleep deprivation and dwindling food supplies adds tension to the mix. “Keep calm and carry on” is an old phrase that has become popular again, especially with relevance to the late-2000 recession. These would be wise words for the competitors in the Transatlantic Race 2011 to cogitate, if they want to get the result that their performance deserves.

Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi and Peters & May, with additional support by apparel sponsor Atlantis Weathergear.

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More about the Transatlantic Race 2011
The Transatlantic Race 2011 charts a 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, England.  Pre-start activities will take place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, while awards will be presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight.  Three separate starts – June 26, June 29 and July 3 – featured 26 boats ranging from 40 to 289 feet in length.  In addition to winners in seven classes (IRC Class 1 Racer, IRC Class 2 Racer, IRC Class 3 Racer/Cruiser, IRC Class 4 Racer/Cruiser, Classic, Class 40, and Open), 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 (on corrected time) under IRC.

The Transatlantic Race 2011 is also 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.

Sunset from onboard Maltese Falcon, which has now finished the Transatlantic Race 2011 ICAP Leopard (shown at start) sailed the majority of the Transatlantic Race 2011 with a broken bow sprit.  It has now finished. (photo credit TR2011/Billy Black)
Sunset from onboard Maltese Falcon, which has now finished the Transatlantic Race 2011 ICAP Leopard (shown at start) sailed the majority of the Transatlantic Race 2011 with a broken bow sprit. It has now finished. (photo credit TR2011/Billy Black)