April 29, 2016

Several top ocean racers are ready for the Transat, the world's oldest solo trans-Atlantic race from Plymouth, England, to New York.

Loick Peyron, who will sail Pen Duick II, a previous winning boat, and Sebastien Josse in the Edmond de Rothschild, are among the top skippers in the fleet of 24 boats, consisting of four classes.

''I wanted to experience crossing the Atlantic the way that I did the first time, with a sextant, paper charts and a self-steering system -the old way,'' Peyron said. ''When you have an ambition like that, it's nice to have a good reason.''

The fleet is scheduled to leave Plymouth breakwater on Monday. The race will end in Brooklyn, where The Transat first finished 56 years ago.

Competitors will face towering waves, fog, ferocious winds and the danger of ice drifting down from the Arctic. The fleet will spend between eight and 18 days at sea, depending on the boat. Racing upwind for the majority of the race, the Transat will be a hard slog for the skippers.

''The Transat is the mother of all trans-Atlantic races,'' race director Gilles Chiorri said. ''It launched the trend for solo sailing. The Transat is the most challenging trans-Atlantic to win. The race will be characterized by the low pressures and stormy conditions associated with heavy swell, sometimes within the vicinity of icebergs.''

Organizers anticipate one of the fastest crossings ever.

The Transat was established in 1960 by Sir Francis Chichester and Blondie Hasler. Hasler's vision for the race is still as relevant today as it was then - The Transat is about ''one man, one boat, one ocean.''

It is sponsored by the French company bakerly.

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