Team Concise was set up four years ago by owner Tony Lawson (Haslemere, UK) specifically to encourage and develop young British offshore sailors and will be entered in the TR 2011’s challenge for the Youth Trophy. His team of six (the maximum for the Class 40) will be skippered by Ned Collier-Wakefield (Oxford, UK).
"We sail six-up when allowed simply to give the largest number of young sailors a chance to do these big races," said Lawson, explaining that the Class 40, built to a box rule and considered the world’s fastest growing offshore class, is designed for short-handed sailing, but several of the events on the class’s calendar are fully crewed. "So far, Concise teams have won the Class 40 World Championships, broken the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race record for a 40-foot boat, and twice set a new Class 40 course record at the RORC Caribbean 600."
Sailing double-handed in the Class 40 division will be Michael Hennessey (Mystic, Conn.) on Dragon.
"Just me and one other guy (co-skipper Rob Windsor) – less people to get along with," joked Hennessey, adding seriously, "We’ll be on deck at the same time for sail changes, but otherwise it’s typically two hours on, two hours off."
Hennessey was encouraged that in April of this year a Class 40, skippered by Eric Defert, sailed from Ambrose Light (off Sandy Hook, NJ) to Lizard Point (a distance of 2880 miles) in 11 days and 11 hours. ―
"That sort of sets the benchmark at the bottom end of the range; however, Eric was able to pick his weather system," said Hennessey. "I would be thrilled with anything less than 12 days. I’m realistically expecting 13 to 14 days, and upper end who knows? It’s up to the weather gods." As for plotting Dragon’s course relative to the rest of the fleet scheduled for the June 29 start (that includes Maltese Falcon), Hennessey said, "We’ll be most conscious of where Concise 2 is, as she is our pace horse, if you will. For the rest of the fleet, I think it really depends on how the IRC (handicap rating) spread looks."
There are 26 entries sailing in the TR 2011, with the U.S. fielding 10 teams, Germany six, the UK four, and South Africa, St. Barth’s, Italy, Monaco, China and Lithuania one each. The yachts will be tracked with Yellowbrick Trackers, self contained units that transmit the position of each boat at regular intervals using GPS and Iridium (a global satellite phone network). Synchronized position reports will be available to the public by using the Race Player Application at the www.transatlantic.org website, where regular race reports will appear and Facebook and Twitter accounts are linked. As well, throughout their journeys, many of the boats will be posting blogs and sending back photos and videos to the race website, so race fans can be further assured of an up-close and personal experience with the teams and the racing action.
Sponsors of the TR 2011 are Rolex, Thomson Reuters, Newport Shipyard, Perini Navi, and Peters & May.
For transcripts of interviews conducted by Gary Jobson at the Panel Discussion and Press Conference hosted by Thomson Reuters, click here or go to http://transatlanticrace.com/news/panel-discussion.html. (Chris Gartner of Maltese Falcon and Michael Hennessey of Dragon are included).
For more information, visit http://www.transatlanticrace.org/. Follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticRace2011 and Twitter @TransatRace2011 http://twitter.com/TransatRace2011 TR 2011
The Long and Short of It
The first Transatlantic start is this Sunday, June 26, in Newport, RI.