Mark Your Calendars: KRYS Ocean Race

Since the start of the 20th century, very few recurrent crewed races have sailed this legendary eastbound course across the North Atlantic. Thanks to the willingness of a handful of men and partners, the KRYS OCEAN RACE, a crewed race aboard MOD70s, will set off on July 7, 2012 to open proceedings for the one-design trimaran circuit.

The custom of Atlantic races and records goes back a long way. The result of a somewhat crazy gamble taken in 1866 by two owners during dinner at New York’s Union Club, the initial confrontation was played out between three American schooners, Vesta, Fleetwing and Henrietta. The reference time established by the crew of Henrietta back then was 13 days 21 hours and 55 minutes. However, it was necessary to wait until 1905 for the organization of the first official race, the Kaiser Cup, an initiative by Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany. On May 18, 1905, the starting cannon echoed across the bay, releasing a disparate fleet of 11 English and American yachts into the Atlantic.

Very soon, two craft were marking each other’s every move: ATLANTIC helmed by the Scottish-born, naturalized American and triple winner of the America’s Cup, Charlie Barr, and HAMBURG, a schooner with a shorter waterline length, which was perfectly prepared and a vessel fitted out by the Kaiser himself. 12 days and 4 hours were enough for Charlie Barr and his crew to cross the finish line off Lizard Point. It took 75 years for the reference time to fall into the hands of a certain Eric Tabarly and his three crew. On July 31, 1980, Paul Ricard recorded the light of Lizard Point at 0°, which indicated a period of 10 days and 5 hours that had elapsed since setting out from Ambrose Light offshore of New York. Since that time, a number of crews and solo sailors, both during races and record attempts, have continued to try to improve on this performance along what has now become a celebrated course.

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