Transatlantic Race Deadline Extended, New England Entries Pour In

There’s no doubt that the race to watch this summer is the Transatlantic Race 2011, which will see three staggered starts in Newport from June 26 to July 3. Capped at a maximum of fifty entries, the 2,975-mile race to the Lizard in England is hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club and sponsored by Newport Shipyard. Organizers had set a deadline of February 28 for entries, but after a surge of interest following the RORC Caribbean 600 in late February extended that deadline until March 31. Some thirty-three boats have already entered the race, including those expected to be at the head of the fleet: ICAP Leopard, the Farr 80 Beau Geste, and Puma Ocean Racing’s not-yet-launched new Volvo Open 70, mar mostro. Interestingly, another noteworthy entry is Rambler 100, (ex-Speedboat), which set a new record in the Caribbean 600 while skippered by Ken Read and the very same crew that will now face off against it on mar mostro. Puma’s new Open 70 may also see a head-to-head challenge in the form of Gerald O’Rourke Chieftain, the Volvo Open 70 that won the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race as ABN Amro. (O’Rourke’s entry is still provisional as of this posting.)

But the modern boats won’t be the only ones turning heads in this prestigious race. Sumurun, Robert Towbin’s 94’ Fife that is well known in the classics circuit, will make the trip across the pond, as will Nordwind, an 86’ yawl. And who will be able to overlook the appearance of Maltese Falcon, the 289’ three-masted megayacht built for American venture capitalist Tom Perkins and now under new ownership, during the race starting sequence on Narragansett Bay?

Crossing the Atlantic is enough of a challenge for most sailors, but this summer’s race is shaping up to be a competition for the history books.

To see a complete list of entries in the Transatlantic Race 2011, click here.

To see a video of the Volvo Open 70 Chieftain underway, click here.