Transatlantic Race 2011 - Locked and Loaded

Newport, R.I. USA (July 6, 2011) – In the last 24 hours, the arrival of big breeze and sea state for the fleet in the Transatlantic Race 2011 has seen boat speeds whipped into near record-breaking pace.  Rambler 100 has just recorded a 12-hour run of 288.8 nautical miles, and, with the breeze building, a new world record is a definite possibility.  By comparison, the standing 24-hour monohull world record was set by the Volvo 70, Ericsson 4, at 596.6 nautical miles in October of 2008.

“Some awesome sailing out here,” said Peter Isler (San Diego, Calif.), navigator for Rambler 100.  “Down below its like riding in a subway car, hurtling along at full speed.  Up on deck it’s like being on ... well, one of the world’s fastest monohulls in big breeze just sending it.  No more smooth seas, no more cruise-y ride, it’s all on now and the boys (and girl) on Rambler 100 are loving it.  It is very wet everywhere... especially on deck where visibility is only a few dozen yards in fog.”

The second boat on the water in IRC Class One is PUMA’s Mar Mostro, this is the first time the latest version of the Volvo Ocean Race yacht has raced and the ‘sea monster’ is an absolute flier, having recorded a boat speed of 28 knots today.

“Right now, we are doing 25 knots,” said Ken Read (Newport, R.I.) by satellite phone. “We are really delighted with the boat’s performance and a lot of credit should go to the shore crew who has done as good a job as the sailing team.  While we have literally been heading straight for England since we left Nantucket Shoals, there is an area of light winds up ahead.  But right now, we are sailing really fast and enjoying the ride.”

On ICAP Leopard, skipper Clarke Murphy (New York, N.Y.) is having the time of his life:

“This cat can run!  Leopard is aptly named this afternoon as she blast reaches, scampering across the North Atlantic at 25 knots of boat speeed.  She is all speed and jumping through and across the waves like her namesake cat on land.  Though foggy, the boat is performing and the ride is a thrill.  Like a 100’ foot kayak flying through rapids.  The day started out gray as we hit the Labrador Current and the fogbanks settled in with little visibility, though the breeze held.  But for several hours it was torrential, torrential rain as we tested the foulies and seals on our boots.  Fairly quiet on deck at that point!!  The rain abated and as predicted the breeze built a knot per hour to the current consistent 25 knots.  Everyone who is on deck perches in the stern quarter, egging on the helmsman and the speedo with bravado and an occasional hoot as we surpass the watch before.”

In the Open Class, Phaedo, the Gunboat 66, has enjoyed the best of the duel with Maltese Falcon thus far and are still some miles ahead.  However, the rising seas and extra breeze is propelling the 298’ Perini Navi at some pace and they are most definitely closing the gap.

In IRC Two, the yachts are also showing some ballistic pace.  Jazz, skippered by Nigel King (Lymington, U.K.), is still the class leader on the water.  However, Varuna, driven by Jens Kellinghusen (Hamburg, Germany), is now only 19 miles astern and probably leading the class after time correction.

“As I am sitting (working) on the laptop the boat lifts out of a wave,” said Kellinghusen via satellite link of the thrilling ride.  “Check the speedo.. 22...24...25,8...29 knots!  This is what we came for; Varuna is alive and the boys are loving it.  Everybody is on deck, just the helmsmen sleep every hour to be able to drive our grey lady with the concentration she needs.  The boys are working hard to keep up the speed.  A great team effort.”

Huntingdon Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.), skipper of Zaraffa, is still way out in front in IRC Class Three and could well be a contender for the overall winner.  The Reichel Pugh 65 turned south of the rhumb line today and is currently in a transition zone between two weather systems but should get into fresh pressure before tomorrow.  The next weather system could provide near gale-force conditions and Zaraffa could ride the system all the way to the finish.  If they do, the Canadian-born skipper could well be in line to win his second Transatlantic Race, on corrected time.

In IRC Class Four, Carina, skippered by Rives Potts, Jr. (Essex, Conn.) is no longer the closest boat to the finish.  Zaraffa has overtaken Carina and many more are sure to follow.  Carina, however, is very much the favorite to win the class.  The crew on Carina has now been at sea for over 10 days and apart from wildlife nothing else will have existed outside the 48’ boat, save miles and miles of ocean.  Onboard is Dirk Johnson, Jr., who, at 16 years of age, is the youngest sailor in the race.  Also onboard is his father, Dirk Johnson, Sr., an experienced offshore sailor who will no doubt be teaching his son about life on the ocean.

Embed the code for latest video (Ken Read, PUMA’s Mar Mostro) at

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 took 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.

PUMA's Mar Mostro, skippered by Ken Read (photo credit TR2011/Billy Black). Rambler 100 Navigator Peter Isler (photo credit TR2011/Jan Harley).

PUMA's Mar Mostro, skippered by Ken Read (photo credit TR2011/Billy Black).

Rambler 100 Navigator Peter Isler (photo credit TR2011/Jan Harley).