Bostonian finishes 2nd in 50ft mulltihull class
Fifty-four year old Rich Wilson born in Boston, Massachusetts, was happy to see The Transat finish line having experienced 40 knot winds across the deck on his final night at sea. Wilson sailing 50ft multihull, Great American II, crossed the line at 13:19:40 GMT completing the 2800 mile solo course in 15 days, 19 minutes and 40 seconds – 23 hours and 4 minutes after class winner Frenchman Eric Bruneel who crossed the line yesterday afternoon, 15 June 2004.
Both skippers have sailed faster than the existing race record holder, Herve Cleris, who set a record pace of 16 days, 12 hours and 17 minutes in the 1992 race.
Rich Wilson is well-known for his adventures – in 2003 he and a crew sailed from Hong to New York via Sunda Strait in 72 days and 21 hours; in 2001 Wilson completed a record from New York to Melbourne via Cape of Good Hope in 68 days and 10 hours. The record attempts nearly cost him and his crew, Steve Pettengill, their lives when in the 1990 San Francisco-Boston record they capsized off Cape Horn.
Wilson is also no stranger to The Transat – in 1988 he won the Class 5 Mulithull division, although this time round Wilson said “it was harder than he ever thought”. Wilson always looked comfortable in second and only slipped to third temporarily but the winner of this class, Eric Bruneel, set such a blinding pace from the start, it proved impossible for Wilson to stay in the chase.