First of trans-Atlantic fleet departs

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The sunshine burnt off the morning fog almost on cue as the first start of the Transatlantic Race 2011 got under way with six of the smallest yachts in the fleet departing Newport, R.I., for their journey across the Atlantic.

Skippered by Rives Potts, Jr., local favorite Carina, a 48-foot sloop, got away to a great start, hugging the coast to escape a knot of foul current. On board are four fathers and five sons, as well as the youngest crewmember in the race, Dirk Johnson, Jr.

At just 16, Johnson has been sailing since he was very young and has always wanted to sail across an ocean. “I don’t like trimming so much as I find it hard to concentrate. But I love my position as float. I like to get involved everywhere on the boat. I have been sailing short offshore races for a while and I really wanted to do this race,” he explained. “I guess I will miss home comforts the most, especially my Mum’s lamb chops. But all of my family are sailors and this is in my blood.”

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