At 13:14 local time yesterday, New York Yacht Club Commodore Lawrence S. HUNTINGTON'S yacht Snow Lion crossed the finish line in Cuxhaven, to become the second-to-finish boat in the DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge.
After experiencing wild conditions that had the 50-foot Nelson/Marek sloop surfing at a speed of 20 knots, Huntington described the last twelve hours of the 3,601 nautical mile race as the tensest part of the journey.
"We had a seesaw battle with Tempest,"
he said via satellite telephone from onboard Snow Lion moments after crossing the finish line. "There are many, many places in the North Sea where you can fall into a no wind hole. We basically chased them around the course and swapped the lead for second place several times. As we rounded Fair Isle, they were a couple of hours ahead and we thought we had a hard time catching them."
The historic maxi Tempest - chartered by Bugs Baer, Karl Van DEVENDER and William A. DUNN and flying the burgee of the New York Yacht Club - chose a more westerly approach to the finish, while Snow Lion closed to the finish and second overall. "We just managed to squeak by them,"
Over the course of the race, the fleet has seen very different weather patterns causing some of the boats to retire.
"The weather systems were ever-changing and came through very fast,"
said Huntington. "High 30s is probably the top wind speed we saw, connected to some very large seas. The rough stuff was in the Gulf Stream before Point Alpha. There was another rough passage up by Scotland, most of the headwinds were very strong and beat up badly."
Now that the race is over for the crew of Snow Lion, Huntington offered his thoughts on the race. "I am so pleased with the boat,"
he said. "It held up wonderfully. We didn't break anything, there were no ripped sails, yet we raced it very hard. When you come home with a crew entirely safe, that is the first consideration. We had a fine adventure, but everybody was safe."
At the time of this report, six yachts are projected to finish at approximately the same time: Discoverer, Hansa, Vita Bella, Zukunft IV, World Of Tui Hamburg, and Tempest.