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.
NEWPORT, R.I. — The 2011 Transatlantic Race ended in gut-wrenching fashion for skipper Rives Potts and the adept crew of the fabled Carina. Leading by a comfortable margin for perhaps the first 17 days of the crossing, Carina sailed into a large windless area that allowed the smaller boats that had fallen off the back of the class to come roaring up from behind.
The incident meant that Carina lost out on Class 4 honors by less than an hour. After more than 18 days of racing, of being buffeted and becalmed, soaked and parched, fatigued from too little sleep in a soggy sleeping bag on a soggy bunk, a mere 54 minutes—0.2 percent of their race—is all that separated Carina from another transatlantic victory, and her crew from the memory of a lifetime.
Potts (Essex, Conn.), a Corinthian yachtsman to the bone, took the loss in stride. “We did very well in that race up until a day before the finish, but then we were becalmed for almost a day,” he says. “The boats behind us were smarter than us and went north and avoided the dead spot that we had sailed into. Our hats are off them, they did a great job.”
NEWPORT, R.I. — In less than one month, on June 25, a fleet of 15 yachts will set off from Newport, R.I., on the 2019 Transatlantic Race. Among the entrants one stands out as a clear favorite for line honors in the 3,000-nautical mile race across the Pond – SHK Scallywag, the 100-foot super maxi skippered by David Witt, the well-traveled ocean racer from Sydney, Australia.
SHK Scallywag, backed by Hong Kong-based Seng Huang Lee and Sun Hung Kai & Co., recently won line honors in the Antigua-Bermuda Race, covering the 935-nautical-mile course in 3 days, 8 hours and 54 minutes. After seeing the speedo top out between 25 and 30 knots blast reaching on the first night, the race turned light for a stretch. Still, Witt said it offered valuable work on crew maneuvers and systems.
“It was good to do the Antigua-Bermuda Race, good to do a thousand-mile race,” said the 48-year-old Witt. “It helped us develop our crew work for the Transat, but it was quite light, a bit different from what the Transat will be. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
The Transatlantic Race 2019 is organized jointly by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club. The race is a direct descendant of the first great transatlantic ocean race, which started from New York Harbor on December 11, 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. To see the full entry list, please click here.
After the start on the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, off Newport’s picturesque Castle Hill Lighthouse, this year’s race will finish off Cowes, which stretches the course length to 3,000 nautical miles. A gate will be established off Lizard Point, the traditional landfall for transatlantic crossings, through which the fleet must pass to preserve reference to the 2,975-nautical-mile course record of 6d:22h:18m:02s set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011 and recognized by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.
You have to take your hat off to Eric de Turckheim. Having grown up in a sailing family in France, he fantasized from an early age about offshore racing. Now after forging a hugely successful business career, he’s quite literally living his dream through his series of Teasing Machine yachts.
“The Sydney Hobart was the child’s dream I had in the 1970s,” says de Turckheim, now 68. “I would see all the guys going off to do it and I was thinking ‘one day, if I can, I would love to do that race.’” And so, he has.
After returning to competitive yachting in 2009, he raced his first Rolex Sydney Hobart in 2015 and was leading until falling becalmed on the Derwent River just short of the finish line. He returned again last year and, despite the race being on the other side of the world from his native France, he plans to return for a third attempt this year.