First yachts pass Cowes finish line in Transatlantic Race

Suzanne and Alan share this latest news from the 2019 Transatlantic Race which saw yachts arriving in Cowes over the weekend.

Transatlantic Race 2019 Newport, RI USA to Cowes, Isle of Wight UK. Scallywag takes line honours in Cowes Isle of Wight.

Suzanne and Alan share this latest sailing news. Ed


After leaving the US shores on the 25th June the yachts in the Transatlantic Race were well spread out by the 28th June.

TR19 continued to be a slog upwind for the 13 boats racing towards Cowes and aside from the three lead boats, which by this time were in following winds on top of a low pressure, there had been scant few opportunities for the boats to use  a full set of sails.

David and Peter Askew’s VO70 Wizard had moved into the overall lead on the water after overtaking David Witt and the supermaxi SHK Scallywag, which had been leading since the start.

Setting a blazing pace
By Saturday 1st July Wizard continued to set a blazing pace across the Atlantic, leading the fleet of, now, 12 yachts competing as Triple Lindy had retired.

Wizard, the canting keel VO70 that won the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race as Groupama 4, got into a low-pressure system delivering strong southerly winds between 25 and 40 knots, and took off but still had a further1,196 nautical miles to get to the finish in Cowes.

Transatlantic Race 2019 Newport, RI USA to Cowes, Isle of Wight UK. Wizard finishes in Cowes Isle of Wight.
Wizard © Rick Tomlinson

Big speeds and special moments
2nd July saw the big speeds and special moments come to an end for the two frontrunners Wizard and Lee Seng Huang’s 100-foot maxi SHK Scallywag.  Wizard’s boatspeed had dropped from 20 knots to 15 but both boats were well ahead of the rest of the fleet.

On the 4th July, when the US celebrated Independence Day, the spirit of cooperation with “the old country” was alive and well in the Transatlantic Race with it co-organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron Cowes, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club also based in Cowes and Storm Trysail Club. This race is a friendly reminder of the tight bond that exists between the two seafaring nations.

For some crews the day dawned with renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner and later, on the 4th, Scallywag was marginally southeast of her arch-rival, finally nosing back into the lead, as they both sailed that bit nearer to the Lizard gate.

Follow my leader
At this time, having the hardest time in the fleet are those following the leaders, led by Clarke Murphy’s British boat 82-foot Aegir and the French 54-footers, Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine and The Kid, skippered by Vendée Globe legend Jean-Pierre Dick.

Transatlantic Race 2019 Newport, RI USA to Cowes, Isle of Wight UK. Scallywag takes line honours in Cowes Isle of Wight.
Scallywag © Rick Tomlinson

Further back and with some boats still nearer to the US shore than the Lizard gate, the other seven yachts were progressing well having battled a gale.

Mark Stevens, skipper of the McCurdy 49 Kiva, said,

“We are getting on fantastically.

“We are about 1,400 nautical miles from the Lizard, so we will be there in about one week.”

The Needles in sight
By the 5th July, with the lead boats sailing around 200NM per day both Wizard and Scallywag were nearing the end of the race at Cowes.  Scallywag was ahead of Wizard by around 40 miles and by late afternoon the Needles were in sight for Scallywag.

Sailing with hardly any wind between the Needles and Cowes the crew must have been longing to step ashore and just before 18.00 hours the finish line at the Royal Yacht Squadron was reached and Scallywag with skipper David Witt took line honours.

Pitch-black finish line
In the early hours of Saturday 6th July BST, the familiar VO70 crossed a pitch-black Royal Yacht Squadron finish line off Cowes. David and Peter Askew’s Wizard arrived home second in the Transatlantic Race 2019 with an elapsed time of ten days, nine hours, one minute and 42 seconds.

Wizard completed the 2,970 nautical miles some six hours and 48 minutes after the 100-foot maxi SHK Scallywag.

Of the two finishers so far, the American VO70 is the present leader under IRC corrected time and Wizard is guaranteed to defeat SHK Scallywag on corrected time to win IRC 1.

Overall victory in contention
However, Wizard is in contention for the overall victory, although that decision won’t come for a few more days with the other boats still racing and Wizard owing all of them time allowance.

Rolex Fastnet Race
Both Scallywag and Wizard are entered in the Rolex Fastnet Race which leaves Cowes on 3rd August.

Around midnight BST on the 7th July British boat Aegir was heading for Land’s End whilst Teasing Machine was 100 nm behind her and the last yacht in the fleet Charisma mid Atlantic.

Other boats not already mentioned are: Carina, Hiro Maru, Lucy Georgina, Pata Negra and True.

Image: © Rick Tomlinson

Tuesday, 9th July, 2019 8:51am

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Filed under: Cowes, Island-wide, Sailing, Sports

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