Stomach-churning opening night of trans-At race

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Instead of launching straight into a downhill sleigh ride, the 13 first starters in the Transatlantic Race 2015 have endured a tricky first night at sea over the weekend.

The course west to east across the North Atlantic between Newport, USA, to the Lizard, in southwest England, is renowned for conditions that allow fast sailing, but a significant left-over swell, combined with an absence of wind to the south of the island of Martha’s Vineyard, instead left the fleet wallowing and rolling precariously.

On board the British Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster, skipper Ross Applebey said that they had been all but becalmed. Most of the wind speed indicated at the masthead had come from the rig whipping around.

“Thanks to the left over lumpy sea, we had a couple of cases of sea sickness, but the guys seem to be recovering,” Applebey recounted. “We were sailing downwind with a spinnaker into a swell which was not particularly comfortable. The swell was about [10 feet] – you couldn’t see over the top of the waves.”