Newport, R.I. USA (June 27, 2011) –Twenty-four hours after the first start of the Transatlantic Race 2011 and all six yachts are now into the open ocean and sailing off the breeze. The first night at sea was a calm affair, a gentle introduction to the North Atlantic where there was only a slight sea state as the breeze has continued to be light but from the north. With conditions fresher to the south, all six yachts are now below the rhumb line.One hundred miles into the Atlantic, William N. Hubbard, owner of Dawn Star, sent an update from the racecourse by satellite link.
“To start our voyage off, a short ceremony was held in the cockpit and a tot of rum was poured over the side to toast Old Man Neptune, who we hope will speed us to the finish ahead of our competition. Weeks of preparation are now behind us and the only task at hand is to sail the boat as hard and as best as we can for the next few weeks.”
The 86’ classic Nordwind, owned by Hans Albrecht, made an early move south and is now 50 miles south of the rest of the pack and is cracking along on a beam reach using every inch of its waterline. Sailing a beautiful wooden boat in glorious sunshine, heading out to sea must be an exhilarating feeling. Tactically, Nordwind looks to be taking advantage of the Gulf Stream, the northern branch of which usually extends to 40º North, and Nordwind seems to have altered course to the east at that juncture. With peak velocities near six feet per second, the Gulf Stream is the fastest ocean current in the world. Multiply that by Nordwind’s waterline and the additional miles travelled to get there pale into insignificance.
Further north, Nick Bates’s British Soldier and Rives Potts’s Carina are already locked in a close duel. At around midday Eastern Daylight Time, Carina gybed north to take up a position to weather of British Soldier. It has been an excellent 24-hour run for the seven crew on Robert Foreman’s Jacqueline IV as well. For yesterday’s start, Foreman’s daughter, Kara, had the helm of the Hinckley 42. Built in 1996, Jacqueline IV is a proven ocean going competitor, completing the Newport Bermuda Race no less than 11 times.
Meanwhile, back on dry land, the Newport Shipyard has another magnificent resident. Peter Harrison’s 115’ Farr designed ketch, Sojana, arrived last night from Antigua. “It took us seven days and it was one of the easiest deliveries we have had,” said Sojana’s Captain Marc Fitzgerald. “No bad weather save a spectacular lightning storm on one night.”