Transatlantic Race 2011 Starts in Newport

With just three days of sailing already behind them, the first six yachts of this year’s Transatlantic Race are already in the thick of it—racing toward Lizard Point before the second fleet, which left Newport earlier today, has the chance to catch their sterns.This year’s Transatlantic Race, organized by four of the world’s leading yacht clubs (Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club,
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With just three days of sailing already behind them, the first six yachts of this year’s Transatlantic Race are already in the thick of it—racing toward Lizard Point before the second fleet, which left Newport earlier today, has the chance to catch their sterns.

This year’s Transatlantic Race, organized by four of the world’s leading yacht clubs (Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club), runs between Castle Hill in Newport, R.I. to Lizard Point in South Cornwall, UK—a total sailing distance of 2,975 nautical miles.

Held since 1866 , the TR2011 sends 26 boats across the Atlantic: the largest being the Maltese Falcon, which measures in at an impressive 289 feet. One of the largest privately-owned sailboats in the world, the yacht is complete with three self-standing and rotating carbon fiber masts, and her main deck features a main saloon, a spacious aft-cockpit, two separate studio areas and a magnificent dining room.

That said, the Maltese Falcon is unlikely to be the first to cross the finish line. Going up against her will be Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard and George David’s Rambler 100—which are both canting keel, carbon fiber Maxi yachts. Kenny Read’s Volvo 70, PUMA Ocean Racing takes the TR2011 as its premire event, and Kari Kwok’s Farr 80, Beau Geste has been optimized for IRC handicap. All four boats boast certain advantages, but only time and 2,975 miles of sea will decide the victor.

Balancing majestically on the thin line between performance vessel and just looking really cool, millionaire Lloyd Thornburg has entered his Lamborghini orange Gunboat 66, Phaedo, to see what it can do. Furthermore, to represent the classics, Northwind, an 86 foot former German Navy vessel, set sail on the race’s first day of launch.

Three 40 foot yachts are participating in this year’s event. Notable is Michael Hennesy’s Class 40, Dragon, coming off his recent Atlantic Cup win, will attempt to make the crossing as the only doublehanded boat.

The staggered starting sequence allows the boats to reach Lizard Point in closer proximity to each other, creating for a more dramatic finish. When the last fleet of boats leaves Newport on Sunday, they will have seven days to make up on their furthest competitor. It’s a good thing it’s such a big ocean.

For more information, click www.transatlanticrace.org

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