(Wednesday, July 8, 2015) – Severe conditions in the mid-north Atlantic have continued to punish the bulk of the fleet in the Transatlantic Race 2015.
Yesterday Daniel and Gretchen Biemesderfer made the decision to retire from the race after their Mason 43 Shearwater suffered mainsail and rigging damage. She is heading for the Azores. Similarly, just before midnight UTC, Carter Bacon’s Nielsen 50 Solution sustained damage to her rudder and was taking on water. She becomes the sixth boat in the Transatlantic Race to retire and is now diverting to the Azores, albeit without electronics, which went down in a previous deluge.
(Tuesday, July 7, 2015) – Gales and prolonged strong winds since the start have taken their toll as the bulk of the fleet reaches the halfway stage of the Transatlantic Race 2015.
On board the Class 40 Amhas, doublehanded crew Mackenzie Davis and Brian Harris have been forced to retire with mast issues and are currently nursing their Akilaria RC3 towards the Azores.
For those following the YB tracker, there were some nervous moments last night as Daniel and Gretchen Biemesderfer’s Mason 43, Shearwater, appeared to be slowly heading in the direction of the Caribbean. Unable to raise the crew, the Race Committee scrambled Sir Geoffrey Mulcahy’s Swan 56 Noonmark VI to assist. As they closed Noonmark’s crew was able to raise the Shearwater crew, who subsequently sent this update: “We sustained some damage: broken boom vang, traveller and importantly mainsail. We're hove to until the weather abates. At that point we'll decide if we can continue racing. However, the boat is fine and the crew are all well and in good spirits. We're all getting some much needed rest.”
Comanche, Rambler 88, Phaedo3 and Paradox – the four fastest boats in the Transatlantic Race 2015 – are now in hot pursuit of the remainder of the fleet.
Overnight the four have made solid progress with the Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 trimaran Phaedo 3 leading, having covered some 307 miles in the first 18 hours since starting. Jim and Kirsty Clark’s 100’ maxi Comanche was already 50 miles astern of the electric green tri, but was leading her smaller rival, George David’s Rambler 88, by 20 miles with Peter Aschenbrenner’s 66’ trimaran, Paradox, a further 30 miles back. This has been in less than ideal conditions, VMG running and having to gybe frequently in a 13-15 knot westerly as they attempt to take advantage of favorable eddies in the Gulf Stream.
“So far it is beautiful sailing,” said Ken Read, skipper of Comanche. “It is a nice way to break into a Transatlantic Race.”
Miles Seddon, navigator on board Phaedo 3, agreed: “We had stronger breeze than forecast getting out of Newport and it has been good fun. It is nice to get offshore and into the routine of racing again.” This morning, Phaedo 3 was averaging 18-20 knots in an 11-12 knot westerly, gybing along the top of a Gulf Stream eddy, while also trying to circumnavigate the top of some high pressure approaching from the south.