Tempest, designed by Sparkman & Stephens and rebuilt in 2000/01, has joined the fleet registered for this June's DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge, a 3,600 nautical mile offshore race from Newport, R.I. to Cuxhaven, Germany and on to Hamburg.
It has been chartered by a syndicate of three partners: Arthur Bugs Baer of Madison, Conn.; Dr. F. Karl Van Devender of Nashville, Tenn.; and Dr. William A. Dunn of Stuart, Fla. Tempest will fly the burgee of the New York Yacht Club of which Baer and Van Devender are members.
Tempest, originally built by Palmer Johnson in 1974, was one of the great maxi boats during the 1970s. In 2000, its new Swedish owner had a Dutch shipyard strip the boat down to its bare aluminum hull and then build a completely new, luxurious racing-cruising interior. Reborn with a new keel and rudder, new carbon fiber masts, new engine and electronics, Tempest will be crossing the Atlantic for the first time since its rebuilding.
The afterguard aboard Tempest will include Baer as skipper and watch captain, Brian Thompson of the U.K. as navigator, and Eric Camiel of Danbury, Conn. as the second watch captain.
Baer began sailing as a junior officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and soon found his calling for sailboat racing on the long-distance ocean courses. Over his 35-year sailing career, Baer has competed in many legendary offshore races including Newport to Bermuda, Marion to Bermuda races, Syndey to Hobart and the Fastnet.
In 1980 Baer co-managed the Clipper Syndicate, which entered the yacht Clipper in the defender's competition for the America's Cup. Clipper eliminated Ted Turner's Courageous and then Dennis Conner eliminated Clipper and went on to win the Cup. In 1997 Baer served as navigator aboard Sapphire, a Holland 86, in the Transatlantic Challenge race from New York City to Land's End (England), under legendary skipper Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
Thompson is known as the skipper of Tracy Edwards' Maiden 2 when it set the "longest distance run in 24 hours" world sailing record in June 2002, covering 694.78 nautical miles at 28.95 knots. Recently, Thompson navigated Steve Fossett's PlayStation in setting the Cadiz to San Salvador record.
"If navigation is the principal skill that will be needed to win this race, we definitely have one of the world's best navigators aboard," said Baer. "We have been friends for 18 years."
About Eric Camiel, Baer said, "Eric is one of the finest helmsmen and skippers in Long Island Sound." As the owner of the Chance 39 Revelation, Camiel won his division in 14 of his last 16 starts in the major Long Island Sound races: Block Island Race, Edlu Trophy Race, and The Vineyard.
The remainder of the 15-person crew will come from all over the world including Sweden, Great Britain, New Zealand and the U.S.