Transatlantic Race 2011 - PUMA Catches the Game

Newport, R.I. USA (July 11, 2011) – PUMA’s Mar Mostro is not only the second boat across the Transatlantic Race 2011 finish line at The Lizard on the south coast of England (at 05:40 UTC on July 11) but also the current overall standings leader based on corrected time. Skipper Ken Read (Newport, R.I.) and crew completed the 2,975 nautical mile course in 7 days, 11 hours and 40 minutes. After careful calculations, the race committee has confirmed that none of the 24 yachts still racing has a mathematical probability of beating PUMA’s Mar Mostro on corrected time, and they shall be declared provisional winners of IRC Class One and IRC Overall for the Transatlantic Race 2011.

“We entered the race with zero expectations, just like the other IRC handicap racing we’ve done this year,” said Ken Read. “We wanted to learn the boat and the crew. Now here we are in the position of possibly winning a race that we didn’t expect to win. We are pleasantly shocked. We didn’t break anything, the sails held up, the team is certainly coming together, and there’s not a single negative to this race. It was a great experience.”

PUMA’s Mar Mostro reached a maximum speed of just over 30 knots early in the race, traveling 551 nautical miles on day three. By day five, however, light air slowed their pace towards the finish at The Lizard and the last several hundred miles were slow going.

“The finish was excruciating,” said Read as he detailed a bizarre twist to the finish. “We approached The Lizard knowing we had to get there quick because the current was about to change and go against us. As we entered the English Channel the breeze was dying steadily to the point where the current did change. Literally, when the race committee said we were finished, we were stopped and about to throw the anchor as we would have been going backwards with the current. ”

While PUMA’s Mar Mostro is now making its way to the team’s summer training camp in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Rambler 100, which took line honors yesterday and established a new record with an elapsed crossing time of 6 days, 22 hours, 8 minutes and 2 seconds, has made its way under motor to Endeavour Quay (Gosport, Portsmouth, U.K.) where the 100’ Maxi will be based until competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race next month.

“Puma made it through the windless zone better than us,” said George David (Hartford, Conn.), the skipper of Rambler 100 who was quick to compliment Read and his team. “Maybe they had a better roll of the dice or maybe they just outdid us. PUMA’s Mar Mostro is a 2011-edition Volvo 70 and has a world-class crew, so to just lose out on handicap is not such a bad thing. Our time was the fastest average speed that any monohull has ever crossed the Atlantic Ocean and we have got to be very happy with that.”

Meanwhile back out on the North Atlantic where 24 boats are still racing, Jazz, a Cookson 50, has opened up a big lead on the other competitors in IRC Class Two. With 240 miles to go, Jazz expects to get to the finish line early evening Tuesday and have a cushion of about 270 miles over Varuna and Shatki.

“We have cracked sheets after having a light spot during the early hours and then we have been on the wind by mid morning,” said Jazz navigator Mike Broughton (Hamble, U.K.). “The highlight of the morning has been a welcome onto the continental shelf by, at times, an escort of over 40 dolphins. Seeing groups of them speed in from the side at about 30-40 knots, then arc in to parallel our course and slow down on and ride our bow waves is an awesome sight that even the most seasoned sailors never tire of seeing.”

In IRC Class Three, Zaraffa, skippered by Huntington Sheldon (Shelburne, Vt.), looks like a certainty for the class win and has just about 100 miles left to finish the race. Unfortunately, it could take some time yet as there is a complete lack of decent wind in the vicinity of The Lizard, so much so that Zarraffa is now well north of the rhumb line -- in the Celtic Sea -- looking to pick up breeze.

The leading boats in IRC Class Four still have over 500 miles left to race. Carina, the McCurdy and Rhodes 48 skippered by Rives Potts, Jr. (Essex, Conn.), is still leading on the water, but the Army Sailing Association’s British Soldier, with lighter displacement, has made up substantial miles. The British Army crew is 60 miles behind Carina but the new wind is due to fill in from the west and British Soldier should get into fresh pressure before Carina.

In the Open Class, Maltese Falcon was never going to be able to compete with Phaedo in light air. The 289’ Perini Navi weighs 1100 tons, while Phaedo is a mere 17 tons. Phaedo is nearly 200 miles ahead of Maltese Falcon with just over 100 miles to the finish.

As for the two Class 40s, Dragon has started reeling in Concise 2. “We have had one heck of an opportunity over the past 48 hours, riding what has seemed like a private seam of pressure,” said Mike Hennessy (Mystic, Conn.) who is sailing Dragon double-handed with Rob Windsor (East Northport, N.Y.), while Concise has six in crew. “As a result, we have clawed back something like 200 miles that Concise was able to put on us with their brilliant run in the middle of last week. Now comes the tricky bit, as our low pressure catches up to their high pressure. Are we far enough out on the leading edge of our system that it will pull us right up to their stern? How will the passing lanes play out as we cross below Ireland? Will we end up in the same mess they have been wallowing in? Questions to ponder over our oatmeal this very chilly morning.”

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

To follow the race via tracker and get real insight into life on board via the blogs, visit

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 Ocean Racing team hard at work before the finish (photo courtesy of PUMA Ocean Racing Team) Casey Smith of PUMA's Mar Mostro (photo courtesy of PUMA Ocean Racing Team)

PUMA Ocean Racing team hard at work before the finish (photo courtesy of PUMA Ocean Racing Team).

Casey Smith of PUMA's Mar Mostro (photo courtesy of PUMA Ocean Racing Team).