With the preliminary deadline in its wake, the Transatlantic Race 2019 is boasting a maiden fleet of 14 yachts for its June 2019 departure from Narragansett Bay.
“We’re very encouraged by the early interest,” said Beavertail Road’s Patricia Young, chairwoman of the race committee. “This is no small undertaking. Successfully completing a transatlantic race is a pretty large feather in the cap of any sailor.”
Young, a veteran of the 2011 edition, represents the New York Yacht Club, which co-hosts the 2,960-nautical-mile race to Crowes, England. The upcoming edition will be the first time a double-handed division is featured. In 2015, four boats in the 40-foot division raced with two sailors onboard, although they were scored with the fully crewed fleet.
“We’re more than pleased to acknowledge their persistence, endurance and teamwork with their own division and trophies,” Young said.
Also during the 2011 edition, America’s Cup veteran Ken Read helmed the 100-foot Comanche to a new 24-hour monohull record, covering 618 nautical miles. The average speed was nearly 26 knots.
Although the field is not set for 2019 — the final deadline is Feb. 28 — the 14 diverse boats that registered by September range from 44 feet to 78 feet, including Prospector. The Mills 68, which had the fastest elapsed time in the 2,070-nautical-mile Pacific Cup from San Fran to Hawaii in July, is co-owned by Columbia Lane’s David Siwicki. Tery Glackin, a Schooner Avenue resident, will crew for Siwicki during the Atlantic crossing.
Prospector was purchased to compete in transatlantic races. During the 2011 edition, it finished in the middle of the pack after being challenged by a 36-hour stretch in 50-knot winds “with huge breaking seas.”
“We learned a lot about the boat, our crew and what not to do next time,” said Siwicki’s ownership partner, Paul McDowell. “We all look back on that now with mixed degrees of fondness and relief to have survived it.”
That boat, however, was a Farr 60. The Shelter Island consortium upgraded to the Mills 68 in 2016, which will be at the starting line in June. Along with the 14 registered boats, another six yachts have expressed interests, including Sumurun, a 98-foot French-flagged Fife design, and Wizard, a Volvo Open 70 that won the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race as Groupama 4.