Russian reaches America first

Three boats have completed the Jester Atlantic Challenge, after reaching Newport, USA.

Igor Zaretskiy (pictured) on his Peterson 25, The Grand, became the first Russian to win a solo, transatlantic crossing, when he arrived in Rhode Island at 6.35am BST on Saturday.

Just two and a half hours later the event’s only multihull – Rory McDougall‘s 21-foot Wharram Tiki, Cooking Fat – also finished the challenge, which left Plymouth on May 23.

Roger Fitzgerald on Ella Trout III, a Dehler 29, became the third finisher on Sunday evening.

The Jester Challenge is a solo, Atlantic non-race for boats under 30-feet, that has seen 12 of the 24 starters retire, including Andy Lane‘s 21-foot Archambault Coco, Amadeus, which was dismasted and sank.

Fitzgerald almost joined the list in the closing stages when he ran aground on his approach to Newport.

Newport Yacht Club’s Norm Bailey said: ‘It was quite foggy as he made his way into the entrance of Narragansett Bay and the finish.

‘His plotter went blank during a chart search internal to the plotter. Roger was frantically looking for a paper chart long enough for Ella Trout to drift toward, and strike the reef.’