In his first solo open ocean race, Kip Stone and Artforms crossed the finish line yesterday at 2:20 p.m. local time to win the 50-foot monohull division of the Transat. He was greeted by a rousing crowd of friends, family, as well as employees from Artforms, his small business located in Westbrook Maine. Kip’s time of 15 days, 5 hours, and 20 minutes surpassed the record set in the 1996 edition of this race by over thirteen hours.
For more than half the race, Kip and fellow New Englander Joe Harris exchanged leads and actually crossed paths on day 11 before losing site of each other in thick fog and light air. The two diverged then, with Kip taking the northerly route through the Grand Banks to gain a winning distance as the wind and weather cooperated.
The Transat, founded in 1960 as the OSTAR, takes skippers on a course against the prevailing winds and currents of the North Atlantic. It is known for its treacherous conditions, and this year’s race was no exception, as the fleet endured two storms and frigid conditions.
“When I saw the Boston skyline, I realized how close I was to finishing, and all of the hard work that had gone into getting here was just about to be rewarded,” Kip said after his first place finish. “The list of people who helped me to get this far is a long one. At the top is Owen Clarke Design and its project managers – these guys are so committed and knowledgeable, I learned more about the boat every day I spent with them.”
Kip co-founded his screen printing company Artforms fifteen years ago with the goal of one day competing in the single-handed class. In September in Sydney, Australia, Kip launched his Owen Clarke Open 50 named after his company and built by McConaghy Boats, later sailing her to England, solo from the Falkland Islands to the Azores, to compete in the Transat. Kip is seeking to expand sponsorship beyond his company for future offshore solo events such as the STAR 2005, the Transat Jaques Fabre, and the Five Oceans / Around Alone
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