Arthur Bugs Baer and William Hubbard III's 80ft ketch Tempest reached the Solent yesterday afternoon to take the handicap win in the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge's Performance Cruising class 2
After anchoring in foul tide just 4.8 miles from the finish line, Arthur Bugs Baer and William Hubbard III’s 80ft (24.4m) ketch Tempest reached the Solent yesterday afternoon to take the handicap win in the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge’s Performance Cruising class 2.
“We could see it right there, but we couldn’t do anything,” commented Baer, adding that it could have been a lot worse. With the clock ticking, the anchor was only down for 27 minutes. Tempest had to finish by 02:14:18 UTC today to beat the Swan 80 (24.4m) Seleni on handicap, but in the end crossed the line off the Needles Fairway Buoy at 13:27:00 yesterday to win by a comfortable margin.
Baer put their success down to taking a huge sail inventory with them. “We had more sails than probably any other boat in the race,” he said. “Tempest has its own inventory, and we bought eight more sails from a maxi that was being decommissioned. The sails were a little worn, but they lasted the race. If we performed better than some other boats, it is because we always had the right sail up.”
They were also routed to ensure the wind angle remained favourable for Tempest’s ketch rig. “The first time we gybed was when we finally gybed for the Lizard, and the first time we tacked was only about 12 miles from the finish line. So we always had the wind from the right position for a ketch. We were just lucky,” said Baer. Being the farthest south for a majority of the race, they saw no upwind conditions nor did they see gale-force winds.
Aside from blowing up several of the older sails and having to replace the spinnaker halyard four times, the Tempest team also suffered a glancing blow with a whale.
Will they be back in five year’s time? This is a statistical question, says Baer. “In five years time I’ll be 77, but since I am a member of both the New York Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron, I have a certain amount of pride at stake, so I’ll try to be back.”
The latest arrivals have been Cortwright Wetherill Jr, with Sariyah at 10:12:03 UTC this morning and Clarke Murphy with Stay Calm at 22:49:50 UTC (unofficial) last night. Four boats remain at sea – Anemos, the last yacht in Performance Cruising class 1, and the three classics Sumurun, Mariella and Nordwind, for whom arrival in time for the race prize giving at Osborne House on Sunday (12 June) and the Rolex Race Around the Isle of Wight on Monday (13 June) lies in the lap of the Wind Gods.