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2025 RORC Transatlantic Race - West-to-east version will be run alongside RORC's 100th anniversary

by Stuart Streuli 16 Nov 2023 08:51 GMT 18 June 2025
Xp44 Lucy Georgina © Paul Todd / Outside Images

One of offshore racing's great adventures will return in 2025. The New York Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club, in partnership with the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Storm Trysail Club, are proud to announce Transatlantic Race 2025, which will start from Newport, R.I., on June 18, 2025, and finish off Cowes, England.

The west-to-east Transatlantic Race was most recently run in 2011, 2015 and 2019. This slightly extended break has allowed the race to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the RORC as well as the next edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race and the return of the Admiral's Cup.

"For the past few years, we have been fielding regular calls regarding the next iteration of this race," says Commodore Paul M. Zabetakis, M.D., of the New York Yacht Club. "Crossing the Atlantic is a bucket-list achievement for many offshore sailors. The time and effort required to prepare for and compete in the race, the unpredictability of the North Atlantic Ocean, the tactical challenge presented by the Gulf Stream and the historic connection to the origins of offshore racing distinguish this competition from all other distance races."

It was over drinks at the Union Club in New York City one night in October 1866 that the first Transatlantic Race came to be. Three proud yachtsmen—Pierre Lorillard, George Osgood, and James Gordon Bennett—each thought their yacht to be the fastest and decided the best way to settle the discussion would be a race from Sandy Hook, N.J., to the Needles, off the Western tip of the Isle of Wight. To make it interesting, they each put up $30,000 to go to the winner and then started on December 11, 1866. Bennett's Henrietta won, six sailors were tragically lost in a storm and a new standard for offshore adventure was set.

The schedule of races has been sporadic in the years since, and the course has changed frequently. But the allure of racing from the United States to England hasn't diminished.

RORC member Peter Bacon skippered the Xp44 Lucy Georgina (top photo) to a win inIRC 2 in 2019. He also completed the 2023 RORC Transatlantic Race Two-Handed with his son Duncan as owner of Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear.

"The highlight of our 2019 Transatlantic Race was crossing the finish line at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes within 8 minutes of our closest competitor, Pata Negra, after 3,000 plus miles of racing," says Bacon (at left). "The 16 days leading up to the finish saw many fast sailing highs and almost as many cold, wet and uncomfortable lows. I am planning to be back for the 2025 race."

While the 2025 edition of the race will officially finish off the Isle of Wight, in the Solent, a timing gate will be established at the Lizard to preserve the Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point record, which is monitored by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. That record, currently 6d:22h:08m:02s, was set by George David's Rambler 100 in the 2011 race.

Finishers of the 2025 edition will be dropped right into the middle of an historic year for sailing on the Solent as the RORC celebrates a significant milestone.

"The Royal Ocean Racing Club is proud to continue to be part of the Organising Committee for the Transatlantic Race 2025, which continues our long relationships with the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Storm Trysail Club," says RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton. "2025 is a special year for the new RORC, which will be celebrating our centenary. Transatlantic Race boat owners, crew, family and friends will receive a warm welcome at our newly refurbished Cowes Clubhouse, which is undergoing major works to be completed in early 2024. The 2025 RORC Season will be nothing short of spectacular; a full season of racing including the special centenary celebration of the first Rolex Fastnet Race and the return of The Admiral's Cup."

The NOR for the Transatlantic Race 2025 is online and registration is currently open. An early registration discount is available for all boats that enter by September 1, 2024.

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