A fleet of 20 yachts averaging 111ft loa will cross the Atlantic to The Lizard in May recreating the Great Ocean Race

With its entry list now final, the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge 2005, hosted by the New York Yacht Club with the cooperation of the Royal Yacht Squadron, is holding true to its promise of being one of the greatest sailing races of the 21st Century.

On 21 May, 20 entrants ranging in size from 70-230ft loa and averaging 111ft will set out on a course from New York to The Lizard in England, recreating the Great Ocean Race of 1905. In that historic race, the schooner Atlantic, skippered by Charlie Barr, a three-time defender of the America’s Cup, set a record that has not been broken by a monohull in a race for 100 years.

A. Robert Towbin, chairman of the race and a competitor commented: “Atlantic’s crossing, in 12 days, four hours, one minute and 19 seconds, survives as the oldest race record in sailing. Some monohull yachts have crossed the Atlantic Ocean faster, but their crews picked their own weather. If a yacht without powered winches were to break Atlantic’s racing record that yacht will become the new official record holder for this race and will be recognized by the World Sailing Speed Record Council of the International Sailing Federation.” While breaking the record is certainly a goal for many of the participants, some are competing simply for the unparalleled experience of racing across 3,000 miles of open ocean in the company of some of the world’s most sophisticated grand prix yachts as well as beautiful classic and performance-cruising yachts.

Pre-race social events are scheduled to take place at the New York Yacht Club in New York City and aboard the aircraft carrier and museum USS Intrepid in New York Harbour, where entrants will be berthed. When the fleet arrives in England, it will be welcomed by the RYS and entertained at Cowes during England’s 200th anniversary celebration of the Battle of Trafalgar. A highlight of the post-race festivities will be a race around the Isle of Wight on the same course where in 1851 the yacht America won what became the America’s Cup.


Stad Amsterdam, 230ft (70.1m) three-masted clipper ship, chartered by members of the Storm Trysail Club, designed by Gerard Dijkstra & Partners, launched in 2000 as the first clipper ship built in 130 years

Tiara, 178ft (54.3m) sloop, skippered by Jonathan Leitersdorf, designed by Ed Dubois

Windrose of Amsterdam, 151ft (46m) schooner, skippered by Chris Gongriep, designed by Gerard Dijkstra & Partners, holds the WSSRC Performance Certificate for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic by a two-masted schooner

Whirlaway, 140ft (42.7m) sloop, owned by Randall Pittman, designed by Ed Dubois

Mari-Cha IV(photo above), 141ft (43m) canting keel two-masted schooner, skippered by Robert Miller, designed by Clay Oliver, Greg Elliot, Philippe Briand, Mike Sanderson and Jef d’Etiveaud, holds the WSSRC-ratified passage record for the fastest transatlantic crossing by a monohull yacht

Sariyah, 131ft (39.9m) ketch, chartered by Cortright Wetherill Jr. with Tim Laughridge as skipper, designed by Sparkman & Stephens, finished second in the 1997 Atlantic Challenge Cup (this race’s predecessor)

Whisper, 116ft (35.4m) sloop, skippered by Hap Fauth, designed by Ted Fontaine

Sojana, 115ft (35m) ketch, skippered by Peter Harrison, designed by Bruce Farr

Anemos, 112ft (34.1m) Swan sloop, skippered by Stephan A. Frank, designed by German Frers

Maximus, 100ft (30.5m) carbon fiber super-maxi, skippered by Charles St. Clair Brown and Bill Buckley, designed by Clay Oliver and Greg Elliot, launched February 2005, features a retractable canting keel and a rotating wing mast

Leopard, 98ft (29.9m) sloop, skippered by Mike Slade, designed by Reichel Pugh

Sumurun, 94ft (28.7m) ketch, skippered by A. Robert Towbin, Fife design built in 1914

won its class in the 1997 Atlantic Challenge Cup

Nordwind, 88ft (26.8m) composite ketch, skippered by Dr. Hans Albrecht, A. Gruber design built in 1938, set the course record in the Fastnet Race (88 hours and 23 minutes) that stood for two decades

Carrera, 81ft (24.7m) sloop, skippered by Joe Dockery, designed by Reichel Pugh, most recently set a course record in the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, first yacht to finish the 2004 Newport to Bermuda Race

Mariella, 80ft (24.4m) ketch, skippered by Carlo Falcone, Alfred Milne design built by Fife in 1939

Seleni, 80ft (24.4m) Swan sloop, skippered by Eaton Sail, a collaborative design of Nautor’s Swan and German Frers

Ocean Phoenix, 77ft (23.6m) sloop, skippered by Jose Aguinaga, designed by Rob Humphries

Palawan, 75ft (22.9m) sloop, skippered by Joe Hoopes, designed by Ted Hood, won its class and line honors in the Newport to Bermuda Race in 2002

Telefonica MoviStar, 70ft (21.3m) sloop, skippered by Bouwe Bekking – the Spanish entry in the 2005 Volvo Ocean Race

Stay Calm, 70ft (21.3m) Swan sloop, skippered by Clarke Murphy, designed by German Frers.