A chance to watch an epic fleet depart

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Both boaters and landlubbers interested in witnessing some of the finest sail racing yachts depart en masse should get to the Newport, R.I., waterfront in the coming weeks for the start of the Transatlantic Race 2011.

A warning signal at 1:50 p.m. will set in motion each of the three starts which will be held off Castle Hill in Newport, R.I. First up, an eclectic fleet will start Sunday. An impressive fleet of luxury boats, including the 289 foot Maltese Falcon, will depart Wednesday. Lastly, the pure racing machines, including the Farr 80 Beau Geste, the Volvo 70 PUMA mar mostro and the maxi Rambler 100, will start July 3 and likely to be the first to finish the 2,975 nautical mile (Newport, R.I. to the Lizard, U.K.) race.

During the race, each yacht will be equipped with Yellowbrick Trackers, self-contained units that transmit the position of each boat at regular intervals using GPS and Iridium (a global satellite phone network). Position reports will be available by using the Race Player Application at www.transatlanticrace.org, where regular race reports will appear along with Facebook and Twitter updates.