The Fastnet Race Starts Today!

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The Rolex Fastnet Race 2015 will start for the first class – the multihulls – at midday today, Sunday 16th August. The course is unchanging; 603 miles along the south coast of England to Lizard Point, and then turning north-west into the Irish Sea and heading for the Fastnet Rock off the southern tip of Ireland. Once around, it’s south-east back to the Isles of Scilly, before turning back east to the finish in Plymouth.

Of the entry list of 400 boats, many raced across the Atlantic from Newport in the Transat and stuck around to compete in the Fastnet Race, like the speed machine, Comanche and the storied race course classic, DoradeDorade has won the legendary 603-mile race twice before: in 1931 and again in 1933 and part of her mission with these big ocean races is to again capture the silver at the finish line.

After the start full coverage of the Rolex Fastnet Race will continue with pictures and video on the multimedia page, the latest news and the Competitors’ Blog to keep race fans up to date. All of the yachts in the Rolex Fastnet Race will have YB Trackers so the worldwide audience can track their progress in real time – 24 hours a day.

Visit the official Rolex Fastnet website: www.rolexfastnetrace.com/

 

Tall Ships Challenge 2015

With only 4 stops along the Atlantic Coast, the 2015 Tall Ships Challenge was known mostly this summer for the special guest appearance of the Tall Ship L’Hermione from France. The Tall Ships Challenge 2015 brought this fantastic voyage of the French tall ship into the limelight, as the replica visited all 4 ports with her fellow tall ships and added another 5 Atlantic ports to her own itinerary.

Hermione is an exact replica of General Lafayette’s 18th-century ship also called the Hermione. Today, the majestic vessel is the largest and most authentically built Tall Ship in the last 150 years. The Hermione has set sail in France, launching an adventure that comes to the USA in the summer of 2015 for an unprecedented voyage. Her route is similar to the route taken by Lafayette when he came to the States in 1780 to meet George Washington. She came ashore from her transatlantic voyage with 80 sailors, making landfall on June 5 in Yorktown in Virginia, where US troops led by George Washington and French soldiers accompanied by General Lafayette scored a decisive victory over the British in 1781.

“The Hermione, the ship that reunited Lafayette and Washington and sealed our freedom, sails again for America,” trumpets the website promoting the reconstruction of the epic journey. Lafayette’s willingness to support the American Revolution was symbolized by his arrival on Hermione who sailed him to Boston, MA in only 38 days.

The project is the brainchild of a group of history and sailing enthusiasts who two decades ago embarked on the arduous task of recreating the vessel using only eighteenth-century shipbuilding techniques.

Not to be overshadowed by this great ship, the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Series of international sailing races, cruises, and maritime festivals is organized by Tall Ships America in cooperation with Great Lakes, Atlantic and Pacific Coast port cities in the United States and Canada. This summer was the Atlantic Coast’s turn at hosting the 2 month long event, with great interest in the 4 ports of call, as is typical when these majestic ships sail into town.

If you live near Portland, Maine, Greenport, NY or Portland and Castine, Maine you might have had the opportunity to see these ships up close for yourself. They are now onto their other summer sailing and sail training, but this video from the Greenport, NY stop shows the beauty a crowd of tall ships lends to any dock or pier.

And if you’re near Boston this weekend, you can tour America’s largest tall ship, The USCG Cutter Eagle. At 295 feet in length, the Eagle is the largest tall ship flying the American flag and the only active square-rigger in U.S. government service. She will be docked at Pier 4 at the Charleston Navy Yard as part of the 2015 cadet summer training deployment.

EAGLE will be open for free public tours:

TODAY!  – Saturday: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Did you catch L’Hermione on her US tour? How about any of the other tall ships? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Transatlantic Race Records & Finishes

The Transatlantic Race 2015 is nearly done as some of the slower boats continue to finish off the Lizard, UK, some 2+ weeks after the first start. There were many notable finishes with some fun video footage and we will look at a few here! A running commentary of the finishes and race news can be found here on the Transatlantic Race’s website.
Also from their website is this wrap up which was too thorough to attempt to rewrite. The Chicago based Reichel/Pugh 63 Lucky has been confirmed as the winner of the Transatlantic Race 2015 by the event’s four organizers: the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.

This almost closes the latest chapter in what is the world’s oldest trans-oceanic yacht race. In 1866, just 15 years after they famously won off the British what would become the America’s Cup, the New York Yacht Club ran its first Transatlantic Race. Since then it has been held irregularly, the most famous occasion being in 1905 when it was of political consequence in the build up to the First World War. Intended by Kaiser Wilhelm II as a means of illustrating German supremacy at sea at a time when ‘Britannia ruled the waves’, he presented the solid gold ‘Kaiser’s Cup’ as the trophy for which the 1905 event would be raced. Ultimately the Kaiser’s yacht Hamburg was roundly dispatched by American Wilson Marshall’s Atlantic with Charlie Barr, the Russell Coutts of his day, driving the 227’ three-masted schooner from New York to The Lizard in just 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds.

The Transatlantic Race 2015 has once again proven that America rules the waves, with Chicagoan Bryon Ehrhart’s Lucky claiming the overall victory under IRC along with a Rolex timepiece. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s 100’ maxi Comanche recorded the fastest monohull crossing in 7 days 11 hours and 35 minutes (outside of the course record of 6 days 22 hours 8 minutes and 2 seconds set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011), and Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 trimaran Phaedo³ the fastest multihull in a time of 7 days 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Towards the end of the race Phaedo³, at one point, recorded a peak speed of 41.2 knots when navigator Miles Seddon was driving. As Thornburg recounted: “The sea opened up before him. It was the biggest wave you have ever seen and we were pointing down it!” But it was the consistently big daily runs that were most impressive – four days at 610 miles/day and this was despite a generally short wavelength that required them to stack everything hard aft and have appendages and rig raked back to the maximum setting.
Matt Brooks and his team aboard the classic S&S, Dorade arrived in Cowes after finishing the 2015 Transatlantic Race. The team shaved over a day off Rod and Olin Stephen’s 1931 time in the race, covering 3,220 nautical miles in 14 days, 22 hours, 55 minutes and 57 seconds.
Dorade,Finishing the Transatlantic Race 2015, Photo Credit: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Dorade,Finishing the Transatlantic Race 2015, Photo Credit: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Here are some videos from a few of the finishers. It’s been fun tracking the fleet and impressive to watch these teams prepare, get out there and of course to finish with little or no damage or drama. Kudos to Lucky for the overall win, to Comanche for the new speed record and to Dorade for another great trip across the big pond! Onward for many to more ocean racing – like the crew of Phaedo3 who is heading to the west coast for the TransPac!