Chicago Man(Lucky) Claims Top Honors in Transatlantic Race 2015

Bryon Ehrhart’s Reichel/Pugh 63 Lucky has been confirmed as the winner of the Transatlantic Race 2015 by the event’s four organizers: the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.

Bryon Ehrhart’s Lucky is the overall victor in the Transatlantic Race 2015. (photo credit Hamo Thornycroft)
Bryon Ehrhart’s Lucky is the overall victor in the Transatlantic Race 2015.
(photo credit Hamo Thornycroft)

This almost closes the latest chapter in what is the world’s oldest trans-oceanic yacht race. In 1866, just 15 years after they famously won off the British what would become the America’s Cup, the New York Yacht Club ran its first Transatlantic Race. Since then it has been held irregularly, the most famous occasion being in 1905 when it was of political consequence in the build up to the First World War. Intended by Kaiser Wilhelm II as a means of illustrating German supremacy at sea at a time when ‘Britannia ruled the waves’, he presented the solid gold ‘Kaiser’s Cup’ as the trophy for which the 1905 event would be raced. Ultimately the Kaiser’s yacht Hamburg was roundly dispatched by American Wilson Marshall’s Atlantic with Charlie Barr, the Russell Coutts of his day, driving the 227’ three-masted schooner from New York to The Lizard in just 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds.

The Transatlantic Race 2015 has once again proven that America rules the waves, with Chicagoan Bryon Ehrhart’s Lucky claiming the overall victory under IRC along with a Rolex timepiece. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s 100’ maxi Comanche recorded the fastest monohull crossing in 7 days 11 hours and 35 minutes (outside of the course record of 6 days 22 hours 8 minutes and 2 seconds set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011), and Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 trimaran Phaedo3 the fastest multihull in a time of 7 days 2 hours and 4 minutes.

"We are thrilled to have achieved the result in our tenth year of campaigning various versions of Lucky in offshore events," - said Ehrhart. We have competed in substantially all of the global ocean racing classics; the Transatlantic Race was properly held in our program as the classic of all the classics. We were humbled just to be allowed to compete in the longest standing and most respected ocean race.

The crew of Lady B celebrates their finish of the Transatlantic Race 2015.
(photo credit James Bremridge)
The crew of Lady B celebrates their finish of the Transatlantic Race 2015.
(photo credit James Bremridge)

"I remain in awe of the crew that prepared us so well over the last 10 years and led us to the opportunity to compete in the Transatlantic Race 2015. To win the event is well beyond our expectations given the long list of competitors we have come to respect. The win is a testament to the strength of the commitment we have made to the program and to each other."

Dragon’s Den
Winning the unofficial doublehanded sub-division of the Class 40 was Michael Hennessy’s Owen Clarke-designed Dragon, which arrived in 11 days 20 hours and 12 minutes, 1 day and 13 hours after the Class 40 winner Stella Nova.

While the German boat was being sailed by a crew of four, Dragon, along with the other two American Class 40s competing, was racing doublehanded.

“That dictated a lot of our choices,” said Hennessy, who made the crossing with Kyle Hubley. “They [Stella Nova] made the choice to get north in front of the low, so that it would catch up to them, and then ride out the heaviest wind there. Whereas I just felt that would break us and the boat and going doublehanded with a cockpit that has very little protection. I think that Amhas’ experience demonstrated that.” Amhas was the only Class 40 to retire from the race.

As a result Dragon was 'only' subject to winds in 30-knot range that briefly built to the 40s in squalls. "It was really the sea state that made it difficult, it was pretty wild in certain places," - said Hennessy.

Otherwise Hennessy felt the trip went well: "It was fantastic. We had a fast passage and nothing broke and I feel like we made the right choices with rig settings. If it wasn’t for Stella Nova putting together the performance of a lifetime we would be really proud of ourselves…"

And overall, their passage between Newport, R.I., and The Lizard was fast, in fact much faster than Hennessy’s expectations: "Before the race I was telling some folks that I was taking food for 18 days, expecting 14 days and on the best possible conditions 12 days. And we beat my best estimate!"

Lady B – Second in Cruising Class
Jack Madden’s Swan 60 Lady B was the only boat to arrive in Cowes today, claiming second place in the Cruising Class, behind Earl St. Aldwyn’s Shipman 50 Zephyr.

This was Madden and his crew’s first Transatlantic Race, although he and his crew, who are all from the New York/New England area, have been racing together for many years and have previously competed in the Newport Bermuda Race.

"It went wonderfully, we had a great time, it was a lot of fun," - said Madden. "The crew worked out very well. We didn’t have any major problems whatsoever, only a few minor things, so we are very pleased with that. We were surprised by the intensity of the wind from day two until about day seven or eight. We were also surprised by the lack of sun. We thought there might be sun on the way to the U.K., but we had a grey umbrella with us all the way! But all in all it was great; we had a wonderful time."

Lady B has a well-appointed interior, with cabins and comfortable beds, and they also had a cook on board to prepare hot meals. "The comaraderie of the crew was great and fun and the entertainment we had teasing each other was wonderful. So the whole experience was a 10," concluded Madden.

Podium Positions on Corrected Time:

IRC Overall:
1. Lucky, 13d 11h 7m 41s
2. Outsider, 13d 16h 51m 51s
3. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s

IRC Class 1:
1. Rambler 88, 14d 11h 38m 10s
2. Comanche, 14d 18h 40m 59s

IRC Class 3:
1. Snow Lion, 14d 21h 44m 0s
2. Maximizer, 15d 12h 59m 30s
3. Prospector, 15d 16h 39m 4s

IRC Class 4:
1. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s
2. Dorade, 14d 22h 12m 53s
3. Scarlet Oyster, 15d 2h 34m 18s

Class 40:
1. Stella Nova, 10d 7h 11m 44s
2. Visit Brussels, 11d 3h 9m 0s
3. Dragon, 11d 20h 12m 7s

1. Zephyr, 17d 10h 35m 51s
2. Lady B, 17d 16h 11m 35s
3. Charisma, (still to finish)

1. Mariette of 1915, 14d 8h 39m 48s
2. Dorade, 14d 22h 12m 53s

Fastest multihull (elapsed time): Phaedo3 7d 2h 4m 5s

Fastest monohull (elapsed time): Comanche 7d 11h 35m 11s

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More about the Transatlantic Race 2015
The Transatlantic Race 2015 charts a 2,796-nautical-mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, England. The race is organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club. 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 28, July 1 and July 5 - will feature 40-plus boats ranging from the newest designs of 2015 to those of 1915.

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Rolex – Leading brand of the Swiss watch industry, Rolex, headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivaled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster watches, all certified as chronometers for their precision, are symbols of excellence, performance and prestige. Pioneer in the development of the wristwatch as early as 1905, the brand is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism introduced in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities, as well as philanthropic programs.

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Newport Shipyard - Newport Shipyard has been the center of New England sailing action for years. Newport kicks off this season with the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in May while the 2015 Transatlantic Race yachts prepare at Newport Shipyard. For glamorous yachting action, downtown dockage, a 500MT Marine Travelift, a dedicated workforce and every convenience from Belle's Cafe to a gym, visit The TR 2015 is proud to designate Newport Shipyard as its official shipyard/marina and the host of the race's kick-off party on June 24.

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Video of Dragonsbane, a globe-trotting 43-foot Sceptre, at the 35th Heineken Regatta in St. Maarten, March 2015.
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