The second wave of sailing vessels, including the 289 foot long Maltese Falcon, started the 2011 TransAtlantic Race from Newport, RI to the Lizard, UK today July 1, 2011. Smaller boats started on June 26 and the third and final wave starts July 3. The Oakcliff All American Offshore (OAAOT) team on board the STP 65 footer Vanquish starts in this third wave along with such speed machines as the 100 ft long Rambler, ICAP Leopard and the fearsome new Volvo Ocean 70, Mar Mostro.
The team on Vanquish was put together by three non-profit sailing foundations to give young American sailors the chance to compete in long distance ocean racing. One of the foundations, Kings Point Maritime, donated the use of Vanquish. Oakcliff, headed by America's Cup veteran, Dawn Riley, stepped up to add major funding to get the boat ready for this season. Colin Orsini from Anacortes is on board as grinder, trimmer- one of 18 chosen from over 250 applicants, all under the age of 30. When Germany entered a youth team, and realizing that offshore sailing is dominated by teams from New Zealand, the UK and Australia, the foundations realized that something had to be done to give young American sailors more opportunity to compete in long distance ocean events.
The OAAO Team has already completed the Block Island and Annapolis-Newport, RI races in preparation for this TransAlantic. Go to their website, http://www.oakcliffsailing.org/offshore/ and their Facebook site, http://www.facebook.com/pages/All-American-Offshore-Team/141371945922677 to find some great video as they went offshore to get deep water experience. A 38 knot blow found them and gave them all they had asked for. Colin is writing blog updates for the team which are carried on http://www.sailingworld.com under their Blog tab. All the boats in the 2011 TransAtlantic Race will have GPS tracking, so you can follow along to see how the team is doing crossing The Pond. Once across with some days to recoup, the team will compete, starting August 14th, in the famous Fastnet Race from Cowes,UK around the Fastnet Rock on the southern tip of Ireland. Enjoy and cheer for the home team while eating that July 4th hotdog!!