Experiencing the roughest weather conditions of any yacht in the Transatlantic Race 2011, Sasha, skippered by Albrecht and Erika Peters (Munich, Germany), crossed the finish line at The Lizard at 20:10 UTC on 17 July. At sea for over 22 days, the husband and wife team sailed their 1970 Sparkman & Stephens-designed wooden yacht with another couple, Christine Beech and Ron Melton of Picton, New Zealand. With Sasha’s finish, all 26 of the yachts which left Newport, R.I. over the course of three staggered starts have now successfully completed the Transatlantic Race 2011.
As Sasha approached the finish, a storm took hold in the Western Approaches generating very high waves with overhanging crests; large patches of foam turning the sea white with rage; and large amounts of airborne spray that dramatically reduced visibility.
“The spray coming over the bow was more like that from a Volvo Ocean Race yacht than an S&S 42 and the severe weather conditions came upon us, somewhat unexpectedly,” reported Albrecht. “We had over 55 knots of wind and 40’ breaking waves. At times we were hit at 90 degrees by these waves and it was a case of survival. With all three reefs in the main and just a storm jib up, we were still unable to slow the boat down and we were often achieving speeds of over 14 knots. We had also broken the goose-neck fitting between the boom and the mast and we were taking in water, possibly through the keel bolts. But the boat is fine and so is the crew. We are now heading to Cowes and hopefully to Lallows Yard were the boat was built over 40 years ago.”
Despite Sasha’s wild finish the team were unable to eclipse the corrected time of Jacqueline IV, which means that the McCurdy and Rhodes 42’ skippered by Robert Forman (Bay Shore, N.Y.) retains third place in IRC Class Four.
During the second race of day 3 at the Extreme Sailing Series in Qingdao, China, The Wave, Muscat skippered by Torvar Mirsky suffered a dramatic capsize and luckily the crew was uninjured. In almost unprecedented conditions in Qingdao, the wind was gusty from 3 to 30 knots.