31st Transatlantic Race

By | January 9, 2019

Transatlantic Race © Daniel Forster / NYYC

It will be the 31st Transatlantic Race organised, at least in part, by the New York Yacht Club. The Transatlantic Race 2019 is organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.

A new addition to the 2019 race will be a doublehanded division. In 2015, a few entries in the 40-foot Class 40 division raced with just two sailors on board but they were scored among all the other entries.

The world’s oldest most challenging of oceanic races
When the race starts on 25th June, it will be the latest edition of the world’s oldest, most respected and most challenging of oceanic races dating back more than a century and a half.

In 1866, just 15 years after a syndicate of its members famously won what would become the America’s Cup, the New York Yacht Club ran its first Transatlantic Race. Three schooners entered – Fleetwing, Vesta and Henrietta, the latter owned by New York Herald heir James Gordon Bennett Jr. – for a prize purse of $90,000 (roughly $1.34 million in today’s money). To ensure it was a true test of seamanship, it set sail from New York in mid-December.

Remarkably all three of these high-powered, inshore racers made it to the finish line off the Needles, though six hands lost their lives, washed off the deck of Fleetwing during a gale.

The Kaiser’s Cup
The most famous Transatlantic Race was in 1905. German emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II put up a solid gold trophy, the Kaiser’s Cup, for the winner. This competition was intended as a forum for Germany to showcase its sea superiority at a time when Britannia ruled the waves.

In the end the Kaiser’s yacht Hamburg was beaten soundly by American Wilson Marshall’s Atlantic. Skipper Charlie Barr drove this now famous 227-foot, three-masted schooner from New York to The Lizard in just 12 days, four hours, one minute and 19 seconds, a record that would stand for 92 years.

The present race record time of 6d:22h:08m:02s was set by George David’s maxi Rambler 100 during the 2011 race.