One Great Challenge, One Great Start for Transatlantic Race 2019
Sailing's greatest Corinthian challenge has confirmed the start date for its next edition; and this time, every competitor will depart Newport, R.I., on the same day. The entire Transatlantic Race 2019 fleet will cross the starting line on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, bound for the southern coast of England.
A virtual gate off Lizard Point will enable teams to challenge the course record for this historic passage, but the official finish will take place off the Royal Yacht Squadron's waterfront castle in Cowes, England.
The Transatlantic Race 2019, which is organized jointly by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club, is a direct descendant of the first great transatlantic ocean race (above), which started from New York Harbor on December 11, 1866. In the years since, this course has been plied with less frequency than other, shorter offshore race tracks; the 2019 edition will be just the 31st transatlantic race organized by the New York Yacht Club. Because of that, and the fact that a race from the United States to Europe (or the return) is virtually guaranteed at least one significant storm, simply finishing a transatlantic race remains one of sailing's most coveted accomplishments.
"Faster boats and evolving communications technology have aggressively shrunk the number of places where a team of sailors can truly feel they are alone against the elements," said NYYC Commodore Philip A. Lotz. "The North Atlantic remains one of the great wild places on this earth. In 2011, the four organizing clubs made a commitment to running the Transatlantic Race on a quadrennial schedule. The rise in interest from 2011 to 2015 is an indication that the thirst for true adventure still runs strong within our sport. We're excited to carry on this historic tradition, which dates back to the first quarter century of the New York Yacht Club."
For the 2011 and 2015 races, the starts were staggered in the hope that the diverse fleet of boats—from 100-foot supermaxis and multihulls to 40-foot family cruising yachts—would finish relatively close together. In 2019, all the competitors will start on the same day, navigating out the East Passage of Narragansett Bay before pointing their bows east.
Another significant change is that the official finish line of the race will be off Cowes, rather than Lizard Point on England's southwestern tip. The latter is a remote place and far from ideal when it comes to providing crews with the appropriate welcome after a long journey.
"Our decision to go with one start really comes down to what's best for the competitor experience," said event co-chair Patricia Young. "One big pre-start social event will enable each competitor to feel like they are part of a special fraternity, whether they're sailing on a vintage 40-footer or the latest canting-keel super maxi. And by combining three starts into one, we hope to capitalize on the allure of this tremendous adventure, push ocean racing further into the public consciousness and generate as much interest as possible for the remainder of the race."
A Notice of Race for the Transatlantic Race 2019 will be released later in 2017. More information, including full archives of race documents, results, blogs, photos and videos from the 2011 and 2015 races can be found at TransatlanticRace.org.
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Photo credits: © Daniel Forster/NYYC (2), Courtesy of New York Yacht Club Collection, Transatlantic Race Archives
More about the Transatlantic Race 2019
The Transatlantic Race 2019 charts a 2,960-nautical-mile course from Newport, R.I., to Cowes, England. The race is organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club. Pre-start activities will take place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, while awards will be presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight. A single start on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, will feature a fleet of 50-plus boats ranging from 40 feet to upwards of 100 feet and include everything from the newest modern racers to enduring classics.