Transatlantic racers given a Viking sendoff

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NOV. 28 — It’s not every sailor who gets to start a race with Wagner playing in the background.

Seven boats competing in the first Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup left Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands at 1:05 p.m. Monday, according to a press release from the International Maxi Association.

Much to the amusement of the crowd, one Canadian competitor manning Valkyrie, a Swan 78, appropriately began blasting Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” as more than 100 sailors got under way.

The boats, which range from 70 to 115 feet, are en route to SimpsonBay on the Caribbean Island of St. Maarten — a distance of 2,600 nautical miles. They must reach their destination by 3 p.m. Dec. 14, according to the report.

Winds for the start were light at about 10 knots, increasing to 30 knots as the boats entered the channel between Tenerife and the island of Gran Canaria. The fleet was last seen rounding the southern tip of Tenerife, with Nariida, a Norwegian 105-foot ketch, taking the lead.

The race was organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, with the Real Club Nautico de Tenerife and the St. Maarten Yacht Club, and is promoted by the IMA. 

— Elizabeth Ellis