(June 29, 2015) - Instead of launching straight into a downhill sleigh ride, the 13 first starters in the Transatlantic Race 2015 have endured a tricky first night at sea. The course west to east across the North Atlantic between Newport, USA, to the Lizard, in southwest England, is renowned for conditions that allow fast sailing, but last night a significant left-over swell, combined with an absence of wind to the south of the island of Martha’s Vineyard, instead left the fleet wallowing and rolling precariously.
NEWPORT, R.I. (June 28, 2015) – An intense low-pressure system rolling up the Atlantic Coast put competitors and race officials on edge for the 48 hours leading up to the first start of the Transatlantic Race 2015, from Newport, R.I., to The Lizard off the southwest coast of England. Contingency plans were made by both groups, with the option of delaying the start for a few hours getting serious consideration. The storm passed through overnight, however, leaving behind excellent, albeit unseasonably cool, conditions and a favorable boost from the outgoing current and the run-off from Saturday night’s heavy rain.
A baker’s dozen of boats got underway in Start 1, crossing the starting line set off the Castle Hill Lighthouse at the entrance to Narragansett Bay’s East Passage just after 2 p.m. Twenty-one boats will get underway on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 1, and the four fastest yachts in the race will make up the final start on Sunday, July 5.
Start time: 1350 EDT (ten-minute warning signal).
Newport, R.I., Starting line off Castle Hill Lighthouse (Castle Hill Inn)
Aphrodite, Christopher Otorowski, Seattle, Wash./Newport, R.I., USA
Arrowhead, Steve Berlack, Franconia, N.H., USA
Carina, Rives Potts, Essex, Conn., USA
Charisma, Constantin Claviez, Hamburg, GER
Dizzy, Paul Anstey/Craig Rastello, Melbourne, Fla., USA
Dorade, Matt Brooks, San Francisco, Calif., USA
Jaqueline IV, Robert Forman, Bay Shore, N.Y., USA
Kiva, Mark Stevens, New Castle, N.H., USA
Mariette of 1915, Charlie Wroe, Falmouth, GBR
Scarlet Oyster, Ross Applebey, GBR
Shearwater, Dan & Gretchen Biemesderfer, Guilford, Conn., USA
Solution, Carter Bacon, Hyannis Port, Mass.
Zephyr, Micky St. Aldwyn, Lymington, UK
The 2,800-mile Transatlantic Race 2015 has drawn entries ranging from classic yachts to modern technical marvels, crewed by sailors with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. Each entered yacht is assigned to one of three starts (June 28, July 1 and July 5) that are geared toward having all boats arrive at the finish off Plymouth, England, in close proximity to each other with the expectation of finishing in 15 to 20 days.
The 13 smaller vessels will take the first start, although one entry is an anomaly in both size and pedigree: the 140-foot-long, twin-masted schooner Mariette of 1915. Designed by the legendary Nathanael Green Herreshoff and built by the world-renown Herreshoff Manufacturing Co. (now the Herreshoff Museum in Bristol, RI), she is entered in the Transatlantic Race 2015 as a celebration of her 100th birthday. (She also competed in the Transatlantic Race 1997.)
One of the greatest rewards of participating in the sport of sailing is becoming part of the larger sailing community: a group united by a shared love of the sea and the varied forms of sailing that take place on it. For some lucky sailors, that community includes family, and for the Transatlantic Race 2015, at least two fathers are cherishing the fact that they will share the challenge of sailing 2,800 nautical miles across the ocean with their offspring.
Bill Hubbard and his son Will Hubbard (both New York, N.Y.) will co-skipper the Reichel/Pugh 56 Siren, which will start off Newport’s Castle Hill Light on July 1 during the second of three staggered starts and begin the journey to the race’s finish at The Lizard, the southernmost point in England. This will be the third Transatlantic Race for the Hubbards, who previously sailed the 2005 and 2011 editions.
“I am incredibly lucky to be able to have this experience with him,” said Will Hubbard of racing with his father. “It’s special; not too many people get to do this at all, much less a couple of times.” Hubbard counts six Newport Bermuda Races, The Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and The Rolex Fastnet Race among the distance races that have factored into the 10,000+ nautical miles he and his father have sailed together. When asked why the two were doing the Transatlantic Race for a third time, Will Hubbard laughed: “Why not! We’ve been lucky the last two times, managing to do well in our class both times. We hope to do it again.”