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What's happening at Plymouth this season?

Solo Transatlantic race gets underway in Plymouth

Mutlihull Race Start - C Lloyd Images C Vincent Curutchet

03 May 2016

The 25 boats in The Transat bakerly 2016 fleet have begun their 3,050-nautical mile solo passage across the north Atlantic from Plymouth to New York

Spectators both on shore and on the water turned out to watch as the mainly French fleet gathered under grey skies on Plymouth Sound to answer the starter’s gun fired from the decks of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Kent.

The forecast for this year’s race – the first time this classic has been staged since 2008 – is for a reasonably quiet start but for 45-knot headwinds and big seas for the leading yachts by Wednesday, as they head into the Western Approaches.

The fleet is divided into four classes:

  1. Three giant trimarans in the Ultime class
  2. Five Multi50 trimarans
  3. Six IMOCA 60s
  4. Ten Class40

Alongside the fleet is a one-off entry by the French racing legend Loick Peyron who is sailing Eric Tabarly’s 44ft wooden ketch Pen Duick II in the same trim as she was when Tabarly raced her to victory in The Transat (then called the OSTAR) in 1964.

The fleet are expected to take between 8 and 15 days (although Pen Duick II is expected to take around 27 days) to make the crossing arriving at One15 Brooklyn Marina in New York

Prior to the race, the fleet have been berthed in Plymouth enjoying a few days quiet preperation before a weekend of interviews, fireworks, press conferances and weather briefings. Plymouth Yacht Haven provided berthing to the Ultime and Multi50 fleets who welcomed visitors on-board for a unique insight into these stunning, state-of-the-art multihulls.

Commenting ahead of the race, Herve Favre, Event Director said, “This race is one of the classics in solo sailing and after it was not staged four years ago we at OC Sport decided it was time to re-launch it. I am delighted to see this hugely competitive fleet of sailors on state-of the art racing machinery now taking on The Transat bakerly 2016 and we wish them all the best for the undoubted challenge that lie ahead.”

Good luck and safe sailing to all the boats taking part! You can track the race here