The 2019 Transatlantic race over this testing 3,000 nautical mile long course promises to be another classic with competitors heading out from New York aiming to be the first vessel across the line in Cowes. The Transatlantic races have a special place in the annals of yacht racing, as there is a certain intangible romance in the concept of a race that pits the competitors against that old grey widow maker, the North Atlantic. This unforgiving stretch of water has been the scene of so many desperate struggles and epic battles that any race across here is always tinged with glory and the ghosts of yachting legends like, Tabarly seem to haunt the uncompromising waves of this bleak stretch of water.
This time around the course will feature two finish lines; one off the Lizard for those who wish to have a crack at the overall transatlantic monohull record of six days and 22 hours set by Rambler 100 in the 2011 edition of this race. There will also be a second finish line off the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. To ensure as close a finish as possible, the start will be staggered with the smaller vessels leaving from New York first.
The Transatlantic race has a rich history and the first race taking this course was held as far back as 1866, when three wealthy American businessmen wagered a sum of $90,000 on the winner of the race. The eventual victor was the Henrietta, skippered by Samuel Samuels, who had already established himself as a racing legend on this route as captain of the Emigrant clipper Dreadnought. This is the kind of proud tradition that the Trsnsatlantic race carries with it and this tradition is underlined by the participation in the 2015 race of the Dorade, Olin Stevens’ revolutionary yacht which first participated in this race in the 1920s.
The arrival of the fleet in Cowes is designed to coincide with the preparations for the 2019 Fastnet Race and also a regatta to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Royal Yacht Squadron, so you can rest assured that the whole port will be alive and buzzing with excitement when the fleet arrive in. This is one of the ultimate races for yachtsmen and a true test of a sailor’s mettle.