NEWPORT, R.I. — At 1600 hours ET, four and a half hours after the final start of the Transatlantic Race 2019, the fleet of 13 yachts was south of Martha’s Vineyard and was beating in 15 to 20 knots of south/southeasterly wind towards the first virtual mark south of Nantucket Shoals, led by the three largest boats, SHK Scallywag (Dovell 100), Wizard (Juan K VO70) and Aegir (Rogers 82).
Based on weather forecasts, the race is shaping up to be a long one for the 120 sailors competing in the 3,000-nautical-mile race to Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England. Tonight is forecast to be very wet as a front clears off the East Coast of the U.S., followed by light winds with the likelihood of the fleet compressing around Point Alpha, the ice zone limit. The line-honors winner might be eight or nine days on elapsed time, well outside the 6-day, 22-hour record. In fact, the first night might be the hardest of the race.
A clear favorite for overall honors and possibly line honors in the upcoming Transatlantic Race 2019 is David and Peter Askew’s Wizard. The canting-keel VO70 will take the starting line next Tuesday with a widely experienced professional crew and a pedigree that is rooted in winning.
“The general rule of thumb is if you’re not fully canted, you’re not winning. Or, you’re not capable of winning,” says 52-year-old Peter Askew of Baltimore, Md. “The boat is very powerful and fast, very wet, but a heck of a lot of fun to sail.”
The 2019 edition of the Transatlantic Race begins next Tuesday, June 25, with 15 yachts set to cross the start line off Newport’s scenic Castle Hill Lighthouse. The race is organized jointly by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club, and is a direct descendant of the first great transatlantic ocean race in December 1866. The 2019 edition will be the 31st transatlantic race organized by the New York Yacht Club, and it remains one of the sport’s most enticing challenges.