Rambler 88 the favourite

  • Will McCarthy (Photograph by Colin Thompson)

Line Honours in the Bermuda to Hamburg Race is Rambler 88’s to lose.

George David’s Maxi is the overwhelming favourite to lead the 17-boat fleet across the finish line of the 3,500 nautical mile race, which is the final leg of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta and the first offshore series crossing the Atlantic Ocean in both directions.

“This is our third Transatlantic we have done on this boat and we will treat it like any other race,” Will McCarthy, who is the main sheet trimmer on David’s 88-foot Juan K-design yacht, told The Royal Gazette. “We will take it very seriously and want to get there as quick as we can.

“George David has put together a fantastic boat and we are all very lucky to be able to sail in it. We have all done so much sailing on this boat and George campaigns this boat really well. He loves his ocean racing and spending a bit of time out there.”

The Atlantic Anniversary Regatta is organised by Bluewater Ocean Racing on behalf of the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein and the Royal Ocean Racing Club and is part of the grand celebrations for the 150th anniversary for the Hamburg-based NRV.

McCarthy is a three-times America’s Cup winner with Swiss syndicate Alinghi and Oracle Team USA and is one of 16 sailors among Rambler 88’s crew boasting America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race pedigree.

“We are very lucky to have the calibre of sailors we have on-board,” the Australian added. “We are littered with America’s Cup and Volvo veterans. We’ve all got lot of experience and have a great time together.”

Rambler 88 has been moored at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club since claiming line honours in last month’s 635NM Newport Bermuda Race in an elapsed time of 50hr 31min 51sec.

“We had a great race,” McCarthy said. “We were lucky enough to sneak through a little wet weather system there and kept going when the majority of the fleet stopped.”

Rambler 88 held the Newport Bermuda Race record of 39:39:18 for four years before the 100-foot super-maxi, Comanche, helmed by skipper Ken Read, came along and broke it in 2016.

Over 150 sailors from 14 different nationalities are competing in the Bermuda to Hamburg Race under the IRC and ORC Rating systems and under Class 40 Rules.

The Transatlantic race starts tomorrow, with the first warning signal scheduled for 11.55am.