Amory Ross /

Keep calm and carry on

Maltese Falcon and ICAP Leopard home as the remainder of the Transatlantic Race 2011 fleet wallows

Wednesday July 13th 2011, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom

Yesterday at 20:42 GMT, as the sun was setting on the Cornish coast, ICAP Leopard, skippered by Clarke Murphy, passed The Lizard to finish the Transatlantic Race 2011.

Since 4 July when ICAP Leopard snapped her bowsprit, there has been no whinging from on board. ICAP Leopard did not even report the breakage until several days after the incident. After the finish, Clarke Murphy was quick to praise the crew: “To break the sprit 36 hours into the race was a shock and incredibly frustrating. The first focus was to make sure we were still safe and then to keep us in the race. The sprit was bouncing into the hull, hanging off the bobstay, but after having recovered it and checked the hull, we were back racing again in 40 minutes. We had to change our strategy, think on our feet, and to cross the Atlantic in nine days was a great achievement from the position we were in. The crew has been outstanding in every department, and there has been no lack of humour in this crowd, or lack of ribbing. We still had a good time, and the chocolate thieves were caught eventually! This is an incredibly experienced group of people with great character who could adapt and keep us going.”

Maltese Falcon received high praise from other competing yachts, and rightly so. The skill of the crew was there for all to see right from the start when the immense superyacht tacked in confined quarters to perfection, casting an enormous shadow on the spectator fleet. Later in the race, the crew on the Cookson 50 Jazz was aghast as the Maltese Falcon gybed their enormous three-masted rig time after time to stay in the pressure.

Last night, just after 0100 GMT, Maltese Falcon arrived at The Lizard. Sean Truscott, a crewman on the 289ft Perini Navi sent this: “A jubilant crew brings the Big Bird to the line at The Lizard, and the race has ended for us. This is no time to mourn our loss to Phaedo, which has our sincerest congratulations for their outstanding victory. With Maltese Falcon built not as a race boat but a large sailing super yacht, we are proud of our performance and proud to have been part of this spectacular event with all her challenges. Thank you to all the organisers, sponsors and participants. It was wicked!

“The remaining hours of our race presented us with an awe-inspiring seascape view of the setting sun over Bishops Rock. Tonight, as the props turn for their first time since the start, the moon sets to our stern, a large yellow orb. Sadly we cannot linger to enjoy the festivities and the camaraderie with the other crew, as our purpose and business hails us back to the Med, but we wish we were able to, and the fleet still at sea we wish the best.”

For the remaining 19 boats yet to finish the Transatlantic Race 2011, progress is agonisingly slow. Most of the yachts out on the race course are approximately 250 miles from the finish, and lining up for a restart. Fair winds still elude these yachts; however, more wind is expected to arrive from the south or southwest in about 24 hours time, to propel them towards The Lizard. Most of the yachts should finish the Transatlantic Race this weekend.

The big decision at the moment is whether to try to make it to the southern coast of Ireland and pick up breeze from the land or to stay to the south, where the breeze should fill in first. Tony Lawson’s Class 40, Concise 2, skippered by Ned Collier-Wakefield is heading for the Irish coast. The young British team have seen their substantial lead over class rival, the doublehanded Dragon, skippered by Mike Hennessy, evaporate to just a few miles. Similar anguish must be present on Carina, skippered by Rives Potts. Their main rival British Soldier, skippered by Nick Bate, is now in a threatening position, but the British Army team does owe Carina a considerable amount of time in IRC Class Four.

Amory Ross reports from the STP65 Vanquish:

Not much to report from the Vanquish today. I may be grossly mistaken but I think the Oakcliff All-American Offshore Team has relocated somewhere near the equator and we're stuck in the doldrums. We spent most of today virtually motionless, which is not the way we saw a transatlantic race coming to an end. Our three-day “training” session before the July 3 start was considerably windier than anything we encountered these past ten days and, in reality, the lightwind Block Island Race earlier this spring was more relevant from a preparatory perspective.

It is not to say we aren’t making the most of our drifting hours. Jesse braved the North Atlantic waters for a cold shower. Many have taken to rapping. I’ve been giving camera lessons. Matt has watched each of the movies on his iPod several times, it seems. In a move of utter desperation, Chris finally removed the “Paint” app from the nav station pc’s as they were proving to be too much of a distraction for the rest of us.

For the on-deck watch there’s not much to do but keep tabs on Beau Geste and Sojana to the southwest (9 miles and 14 miles, respectively). We’ve been going toe-to-toe with Beau Geste these last few days and we led the way east for most of yesterday, only to wake this morning and see them parallel to the south. Today we’ve again worked hard to go fast forward and we enter the night in the leading role. We will see what the next 10 hours bring. Nonetheless, it’s nice to know there are others suffering the tropic conditions out here at latitude 51 north.

At this point nobody really knows how long we’ll be out here. Most of us have already missed flights or had to change plans, but so is life and I know there’s nowhere else I’d rather be “stuck” than on this boat, in this ocean, with the AAOT. The stars are out, it’s a full moon, and there’s not a ripple on the water. Life is good!

Crew survey pt. 2:

Mark Towill
Worst memory so far: 0.04 knots on speedo, July 13, day 10
Best memory so far: Downwind driving in 24 knots, day 2
Favorite meal: BBQ Sauce, Sweet Baby Rays
Misses most: Ice Cream
Day sailing or night sailing: Night
Favorite piece of clothing: Cham”wow” boots
What’s next: Home to Hawaii, RC44’s in Marstrand, Sweden
Do it again: In a heartbeat.

Chris Branning
Worst memory so far: Finally finding the ridge of high-pressure
Best memory so far: Seeing us hold 3rd place in standings for a week
Favorite meal: “Tuna helper,” Alfredo with tuna
Misses most: Girlfriend
Day sailing or night sailing: Dawn/Dusk
Favorite piece of clothing: custom seat wedge, nav table necessity
What’s next: Moving to Airstation Miami (now an official Coast Guard helicopter pilot)
Do it again: In a heartbeat.

Charlie Enright
Worst memory so far: 3 days and counting in the ridge
Best memory so far: 25 knots of boatspeed
Favorite meal: Texas Pete hotsauce
Misses most: His girl and their dog
Day sailing or night sailing: Night
Favorite piece of clothing: Crocs
What’s next: Back to North Sails in Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Do it again: Tomorrow.

Kaity Storck
Worst memory so far: Sleepy driving
Best memory so far: Jan’s singing/Colin’s speaking
Favorite meal: Twix Bars
Misses most: The “guy”
Day sailing or night sailing: Definitely day
Favorite piece of clothing: New Dubarry sea boots
What’s next: Team racing with two brothers in Newport
Do it again: Absolutely, I’d be disappointed if I didn’t.

Jesse Fielding
Worst memory so far: Watching his cooler floating away
Best memory so far: Swimming in the North Atlantci
Favorite meal: Alfredo with Tuna
Misses most: The Ravers.
Day sailing or night sailing: Both
Favorite piece of clothing: Gill Crosswind pants
What’s next: Rhode Island.
Do it again: Hands down.

Jan Majer
Worst memory so far: TBD
Best memory so far: TBD
Favorite meal: Buffalo Chicken mac/cheese
Misses most: My iPhone
Day sailing or night sailing: Night
Favorite piece of clothing: His Le Chameau boots, the “ferrari” of sea boots
What’s next: Staying with boat, Fastnet Race
Do it again: You bet.

Benjamin Allen
Worst memory so far: Doing 0.
Best memory so far: Doing 20.
Favorite meal: Alfredo w/ Tuna
Misses most: His Bed
Day sailing or night sailing: Dusk/Dawn
Favorite piece of clothing: Dubarry Boots
What’s next: Traveling to Palma, Mallorca, Spain
Do it again: “Most Def.”

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