Comanche’s Transatlantic Record

It’s over and they did it – Team Comanche has unofficially smashed the transatlantic record by 1 day and 3 hours!

Photo by Shannon Falcone

Photo by Shannon Falcone

The 100 foot boat broke a longstanding TransAt record set by Mari Cha IV who set the Transatlantic Record in 2003, making the crossing in 6 days, 17 hours, 52 minutes, at an average speed above 19 knots.

This sailing machine was built to smash records, meaning she has a MANUAL sail trim system aboard, allowing the sailors to trim and ease the massive sails by human power – no hydraulics or help from machines. This was required for the record and was no small task as the boys were sailing 24/7 – well – 24/6 and almost 18 hours.

So congrats to the Comanche team! What a feat! What could be next for this super yacht? This video clip is really sudio but gives you some on board insight into the record setting run! Well done, boys!


[The Best] Ocean Racing in the Caribbean 600

Screenshot 2016-02-22 10.18.11

What sailors among us would turn down the chance to blast around the Caribbean, zig zagging around 11 mountainous, tropical islands in search of silver – the kind that comes in the form of a trophy. For this TotalBoatShow post, we defer to the already well written story about the showdown starting off Antigua right now: The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Caribbean 600.  With a starting line packed with a record number of entries (over 70), modern racing machines like Comanche and Phaedo 3, and super star sailors like Eric Tabarly, Ken Read and pour local favorite, Charlie Enright aboard Lucky, there is plenty to see as the boats head out off the line off of Antigua.  Follow along with the tracker here and check out with their updates and commentary on this spectacular ocean race.

From Sailing

Surfing on ocean swell in 20 knots of warm tradewinds, on a course resembling a Formula One race track, the RORC Caribbean 600 is hard to resist. A record fleet for the 8th edition is expected, with a 20% increase in pre-Christmas entries compared to last year, making a fleet of 80 yachts highly likely.

The Caribbean’s premier offshore race will feature two of the world’s fastest multihulls. Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70, Phaedo3 set the course record for multihulls last year and is back, but will have hot competition from Tony Lawson’s MOD 70, Concise 10. Phaedo3 won their latest duel by under two hours, in a six-day, high-speed match race for the RORC Transatlantic Race.Concise 10 and Phaedo3 will be competing for the Multihull Line Honours Trophy.

The RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy is awarded to the monohull with the best corrected time under the IRC rating rule. Jim & Kristy Hinze Clark’s American Maxi, Comanche will be making its RORC Caribbean 600 debut. The 100ft Maxi, skippered by Kenny Read, holds the World Sailing Speed Council monohull 24 hour record (618.01 nautical miles) and is very capable of beating the RORC Caribbean 600 monohull course record, which was set by George David’sRambler 100 in 2011 (40 hours 20 mins 02 secs).

“Absolutely 100%,” commented Kenny Read, when asked if Comanche could beat Rambler 100‘s record. “I was on Rambler 100 that year and it was an ideal wind direction, but really not that windy. So I think with good solid trades, 20 knots plus, absolutely, the record could fall. Technically Comanche is 10 years newer and not trying to be over the top, Comanche should be quicker in every department. If you want me to tell you how fast we are going to be, then I will need an accurate weather forecast. As with everybody in the race, the weather gods will decide that.”

Joining Comanche in IRC Canting Keel will be Donnybrook, James Muldoon’s Andrews 80, racing with a corinthian crew from the Annapolis Yacht Club, Maryland, USA and Bouwe Bekking’s Dutch Volvo Ocean 65, Team Brunel. Lee Overlay Partners, skippered by Irishman, Adrian Lee is the minnow of the pack, but the Cookson 50 won the first race in 2009. Also heading to the Caribbean is Jens Kellinghusen’s brand new German Ker 56 Varuna VI. The canting keelers will be hoping for strong breeze and reaching conditions to maximize their performance against the fleet.


IRC Zero has a powder-keg for an entry list with four Maxi 72s; three TP52s; Ker 51 Tonnerre 4; RP63 Lucky; RP82 Highland Fling XI; RP90* La Bête* and Southern Wind 102 Farfalla. The overall winner of last year’s race was Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente. This year Bella Mente will need to get the better of three other equally matched Maxi 72s to retain the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, which has not been accomplished before, but they will be coming in hot after a victory in Key West.

In probably the best offshore line-up in the history of the Maxi 72 Class, Belle Mente is joined by Jethou sailed by Sir Peter Ogden, Momo sailed by Jan-Henrik Kisteit and Proteus sailed by George Sakellaris.

“It is going to be fantastic; one hell of a race,” enthused Bella Mente‘s owner, Hap Fauth. “The Maxi 72s are just a few clicks apart in rating and every boat is crewed by the world’s best, so it is going to be unbelievably close racing. This will be our fourth race and we have made enough mistakes to know this course pretty well by now, but George’s (Sakellaris) team and Momo have plenty of talent that have done this race before as well. Also don’t count out the other yachts. Comanche is incredibly powerful and the TP52s are very strong in reaching conditions, plus the one-off designs with well drilled teams and well prepped boats.

“We will sail our own race. I don’t know how the other teams approach this race but on Bella Mente we break it down into 13 sprints and treat each one like an individual race. There are lots of twists and turns where we look to make gains and we try to stay focused. We run a watch system to suit the different legs, because make no mistake, this race is a ‘crew beater’. The geography of the course makes it a lot of fun, but it is tough on the body and the guys are exhausted when we get in. Bella Mente is back for a fourth race in a row because of all the top races in the world, the RORC Caribbean 600 is definitely one of them, and I am really looking forward to every minute of it,” concludes Fauth.

The past seven editions of the RORC Caribbean 600 have all been won overall by yachts of 50ft or over. However, Maurice Benzaquen’s 40ft Pogo 1250,Aloha was in impressive form in the RORC Transatlantic Race, placing second, just two hours behind the overall winner on corrected time, Nomad IV, Jean-Paul Riviere’s100ft canting keel Maxi.

“Four of the crew have all skippered yachts for Eric Tabarly so they are fantastic sailors and very experienced,” commented Benzaquen. “Aloha is at her best reaching, so the ‘600 course should suit us. How we deal with the wind shadow at Guadeloupe will be a big factor on our performance. We realise that we are under-dogs against the bigger yachts, but our spirits are high after the RORC Transatlantic Race and we intend to push hard for the ‘600.”

RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine will be taking part in his seventh race as skipper of Grand Soleil 46, Bella Donna. All of the Bella Donna crew are members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and Commodore Michael Boyd will be navigating, taking part in his fifth race.

“The RORC Caribbean 600 has beautiful weather and spectacular nature; whales and turtles are often sighted. At night conditions are warm with impressive meteor showers lighting up the sky. All of these elements make this a very special race,” explained RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd. “Everyone that takes part has their story from the race. Sailors come from all over the world with aspirations of winning their class, but win or lose, over the past seven editions of the race the competitors have told the RORC what a memorable experience it has been. I am sure those feelings will continue.”

The Fastnet Race Starts Today!


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:


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/

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

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!