Beautiful 140ft Herreshoff schooner Mariette of 1915 competing as part of 100th birthday celebrations

The Transatlantic Race 2015 got underway on Sunday 28th June as the first 13 of the 38 competitiors headed out of Narragansett Bay’s East Passage, Rhode Island to cool but favourable conditions.

Tensions were high amongst the crews as the bay experienced an intense low-pressure system during the lead-up to the race, with talks of delaying the start. Thankfully the storm passed through leaving behind big swells for the smaller yachts but a favorable boost from the outgoing current and the run-off from Saturday night’s heavy rain.

The Transatlantic Race 2015 charts a 2,800-nautical-mile course from Newport, Rhode Island to Lizard Point off the Cornish coast.  The race is organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.

Dorade at the start of the Transatlantic Race 2015

The Sparkman & Stephens deisgned 52-foot yawl Dorade first competed in the race in 1931 having just been built. She completed the trip in just over 17 days, took line honours and was overall champion on corrected time. She is now 85 years old and Californian owners Pam Levy and Matt Brooks are looking forward to competing in the 2015 race.

Pre-start activities took place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, whilst the awards will be presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight.

Take a look at the entries this year and you will see a real mix of yachts, from 2015 designs to classics dating from 1915.

There are 38 entries sailing this year, with 18 American teams, six British, two German and one yacht from Belgium and another from Malta.  With a transantlatic race appealing to many sailors, the event has drawn entries ranging from classic yachts to modern technical marvels, crewed by sailors with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience.

50ft Solution built in 1963 with their colourful spinnaker

One of the entrants this year is 50ft Solution. She suffered a tear at the head of her spinnaker less than an hour into the race and the crew scrambled to pull the sail onto the deck. Other competitors also struggled to find their downind rhythm in the large ocean swells.

The race organiser’s decided on a staggered start with the hope to have all the boats arrive at the finish in close proximity. Each yacht has been assigned to one of three start dates from Narragansett Bay (June 28, July 1 and July 5).
Thirteen yachts got underway in Start 1 on Sunday 28th June, crossing the starting line at the entrance to Narragansett Bay’s East Passage just after 2 p.m.

Among the skippers in the first start will be Bob Forman (Bayshore, N.Y.) aboard the Southwest 42 Jacqueline IV. With Jacqueline IV, Forman has twice won his class in the Newport to Bermuda Race, finished second in the Halifax Race and won the Annapolis to Newport Race, all with what he calls his secret weapon: his daughter Kara Forman.

Among the skippers in the first start will be Bob Forman aboard the Southwest 42 Jacqueline IV. One of his crewmembers is his daughter Kara Forman, a seasoned sailor. In the 2011 Transatlantic Race, Jacqueline IV took third in her class, finishing in 19 days, 21 hours and 15 minutes.


Twenty-one boats will get underway on the afternoon of Wednesday 1st July, and the four fastest yachts in the race will make up the final start on Sunday 5th July. Super-maxi’s Comanche and Rambler, as well as multihulls Phaedo3 and Paradox are in hot competition,  with crews hoping to beat the current record of 6 days, 22 hours, 8 minutes and 2 second, set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011.

The 13 smaller yachts already underway expect to complete the journey in 15-20 days and so require a strong head start over the faster comptetitors. Twin-masted classic Mariette caused quite a stir on Start 1, when she took to the water alongside yachts like the 25-year-old Scarlet Oyster, who at 48ft, is nearly 100ft shorter than the legendary Nathanael Green Herreshoff designed schooner.

Mariette was entered into this year’s race as a celebration of her 100th birthday, having last competed in 1997.

The fleet will sail in a southeasterly direction to clear beneath the Right Whale Critical Habitat area east of Nantucket. Then it will head due east for approximately 900 miles—to avoid an unusually large and widespread collection of icebergs on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland—before turning north to take the Great Circle Route, which cuts precious distance off any northern transatlantic trip. See how they are progessing on the live tracker.

For more information on the race visit the Transatlantic Race website, or take a read of some fascinating facts on the history of the race.

For a list of entrants and their respective race starts, visit

To follow the boats, visit the Yellowbrick Tracking here