“ Kitada realises his dream of crossing the Atlantic, completing the notorious 3,050 mile race from Plymouth to New York at 07:33 BST”
Hiroshi Kitada – The Transat bakerly’s first Japanese competitor - has today realised his dream of crossing the Atlantic, completing the notorious 3,050 mile race from Plymouth to New York at 07:33 BST aboard his Class40 Kiho.
His ambitions for The Transat were modest and personal, in keeping with the race’s mantra – “one man, one boat, one ocean.” Before setting sail from Plymouth on May 2nd, Kitada said he hoped to become the first Japanese sailor to make it to The Transat bakerly finish line – and today he did what many more experienced sailors failed to do, when he crossed the finish line off Sandy Hook after 22 days, 18 hours, 03 minutes and 45 seconds at sea.
On completing the race, Kitada commented: “I am very happy, I can’t find the words to express how I truly feel. I did not understand why everyone was asking me why I chose to take part in this race to begin with. I realised how difficult it was after I started.”
Reflecting on the challenge, he continued: “I am very proud of what I have been through. It was very hard, but I am glad that I did it. If I had to summarise the last three weeks of racing, the practice of martial arts comes to mind. It takes stamina and you have to learn to fight everything you come up against.”
As well as being The Transat bakerly’s first Japanese competitor, Kitada is the first Japanese sailor to compete in the Class40. He is the final competitor in this year’s edition of the four-yearly classic to make it to New York, having sailed a distance of 3,933 miles at an average speed of 5.58 knots.
Paying tribute to his fellow competitors, Kitada said: “I want to thank everyone, be it the organisation, the team or my competitors - they allowed me to be part of this race’s family. I still need time to realise what I have done, I’m not even aware of it yet. The day is beautiful, there is sun, skyscrapers and I’m in New York.”
19 solo skippers completed The Transat bakerly 2016 including seven class 40s, five Multi50s, four IMOCA 60s and three Ultimes. 25 competitors set sail from Plymouth just over three weeks ago, and in the end, the punishing pace took its toll across the fleet, with six skippers forced to retire before making it to the Big Apple.