Five of the world's most exotic yachts departed Newport yesterday at 2:10 p.m. (EDT) in the final group of entries in the DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge.
Zephyrus V, owned by Robert MCNEIL of San Francisco, Calif.; Windrose, owned by Chris GONGRIEP of the Netherlands; UCA, owned by Klaus MURMANN of Germany; Team888, the re-named Kingfisher, chartered by Mark DENTON and Jonny MALBON of Great Britain; and HSH Nordbank, the re-named and chartered Morning Glory. The five speedsters started the race in 10-12 knot winds under cloudy skies on Newport Harbour and within minutes Zephyrus V quickly charged ahead, leaving the large spectator fleet behind in its wake. The first group of 57 yachts started on June 14 in this 3,600 nautical mile race across the Atlantic Ocean to Cuxhaven, Germany.
The New York Yacht Club race committee started the race ashore at Fort Adams State Park, with a starting line across Newport Harbour.
Before departing Newport, Ian MOORE (GBR), a veteran of illbruck and the navigator onboard the 86-foot Zephryrus V was looking forward to the race and predicted a quick trip. "Ten days if we get the right weather pattern,"
Onboard the 80-foot HSH Nordbank is Adam OSTENFELD, who competed in five America's Cup campaigns with Dennis CONNER. HSH Nordbank is the former Morning Glory, owned by Hasso PLATTNER, that broke records in the Cape-to-Rio and the Sydney-Hobart races. "We have put together a great crew, some professionals, all with good experience,"
The brand new 85-foot UCA has 19 crew, including Tim KRÖGER, veteran of the French America's Cup team Le Défi, and four-time around-the-globe navigator Juan VILA from Spain.
The Open 60 Team888 has six crew onboard. Denton said that it will be a bit cramped as the boat was originally designed for one sailor, the petite powerhouse Ellen MACARTHUR. "The interior, everything really, is fit for a five-foot-three person, so even the nav station is a tight squeeze to get into,"
he said. "We can't wait to race against some formidable opposition, on one of the fastest monohulls in the world."
After the finish, the fleet will continue on to Hamburg in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt, a long-standing sailing club based there.
Hourly updates of the fleet are available on the event website at the address below.