Em 1880 o farol de Santa Marta, constituído por uma lanterna e um aparelho catóptrico vermelho, funcionava apenas como luz de direcção.
Dois anos mais tarde, a 3ª subcomissão da Comissão de Faróis e Balizas – encarregada da iluminação dos portos e balizagem e constituída por Arbués Moreira, António Maria dos Reis e Feire de Andrade – teceram algumas considerações sobre este farol.
Em 1908 substituiu-se o aparelho lenticular até então existente por um catadióptrico de 5ª ordem que ainda hoje ali se encontra montado. De luz fixa vermelha, o seu alcance luminoso era de 8 milhas.
Em 1936 procedeu-se a um aumento de 8 metros da altura da torre, a fim de conseguir que ela se distinguisse bem das novas construções que se vinham fazendo nas proximidades e que dificultavam grandemente a navegação que saía a barra Norte, principalmente durante a tarde. Custou esta obra 37.000$00.
O farol foi electrificado em 1953, tendo simultaneamente sido ali instalado um sistema automático de reserva de fonte luminosa funcionando por incandescência de acetileno, para permitir que o farol se mantivesse aceso em caso de falha de energia de rede :
«Em 1.VII.953 passará a funcionar em regime experimental, com as características seguintes :
Número : 59 na Lista de faróis. Nome : Santa Marta Posição : No forte de Santa Marta. Lat. 38º 41’ 20’’ N ; Long. 09º 25’ 11’’ W
Cor e carácter da luz : Vermelha. Ocultações.
Período e Fases : Ocultação 1,5 s , Luz 4,5 , Período 6,0 s
Alcance : 15 milhas
Observações : Na falta de corrente eléctrica, passará imediatamente a funcionar a incandescência a gás com alcance luminoso de 10 milhas (…)«
Having established a new transatlantic race record between New York and the Lizard, UK, yesterday morning, the afternoon saw Robert Miller's Mari-Cha IV making an unexpected 20 knots up the English Channel towards the Needles and the finish line of the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge race.
The wind, forecast to drop off, held, and shortly before dusk, in a seascape so misty and overcast that it merged grey sky with grey sea, the high-tech schooner charged past the Needles Fairway buoy to the west of the Isle of Wight to take line honours, as well, in the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge. Mari-Cha IV crossed the finish line at 19:18:37 UTC, setting a course time between Ambrose Light (in the U.S.) and the Needles of 10 days, 1 hour, 8 minutes and 37 seconds.
This compares with Atlantic's time of 13 days, 10 hours and 15 minutes in the 1905 race for the Kaiser's Cup. Up the Channel, in hot pursuit of Mari-Cha IV, was Maximus, the new sloop of New Zealanders Charles Brown and Bill Buckley, who had passed the four-mile long gate off the Lizard at 19:18:37 UTC yesterday (1 June), making it to the Needles finish line at 00:35:08 UTC this morning (2 June), 5 hours 16 minutes and 31 seconds behind Mari-Cha IV. While this was disappointing for the crew, the consolation prize was a handicap win in the Grand-Prix division. In fact, Maximus's crew say that they weren't racing for handicap honours.
"We wanted to beat Mari-Cha IV on the water," maintains Mike Quilter, Maximus's ex-America's Cup and Whitbread round-the-world race navigator.
"I suppose that's human nature. You like to think you try hard, but in an arm wrestle, she (Mari-Cha IV) has too much muscle.
" On paper, the race seemed highly unfair between the 140-foot (43m) schooner Mari-Cha IV and the 100-foot (30.5m) sloop-rigged Maximus, but in the end, despite both boats suffering broken headboards or headboard cars at the top of their mainsails, rarely were they more than 40 miles apart.
Quilter attributed this to the conditions. "I think the conditions in the race suited us more than it suited her. It was light to begin with; then it was tricky upwind. So we were able to hang onto her." It was finally in the Channel that Mari-Cha IV was able to fully stretch her longer legs and leap ahead.
Even Maximus' designer Greg Elliott agrees: "Given another sort of race in different conditions, Mari-Cha may have stomped all over us." Mike Quilter was on board Mari-Cha IV when she set the passage record for the crossing of the North Atlantic two years ago and is one of the few people qualified to make a fair comparison between the two giants of the yacht racing world. "Mari-Cha IV feels like an aircraft carrier, and Maximus is like a big Open 60 (a lightweight performance racing yacht)," he says.
"Maximus did pretty well. We made it across and put on a good show, and the boat is obviously really fast. To me it surfs a lot quicker. For the transatlantic record on Mari Cha IV, she kept up a higher average speed, but on this boat we had fresh reaching conditions for 12 hours after the Gulf Stream, and we were regularly hitting 30 knots on the GPS every five or ten minutes.
Whereas, Mari-Cha IV keeps up a high average speed, but she doesn't have bursts like this little boat." The next boat due in to Cowes is the 151-foot (46.3m) Windrose, the first in Performance Cruising class 1.
She passed through the Lizard gate at 1135 UTC and is expected to cross the finish line Friday mid-morning. However, at present, it is the two Dubois 170-footers Drumbeat and Tiara that are leading on handicap. In the smaller Performance Cruising class 2, it is still Bugs Baer and William Hubbard III's 1970s-vintage maxi Tempest that is leading on handicap. On the 131-foot (39.9m) Sariyah, racing in Performance Cruising class 2, the crew report that charterers Cortwright Wetherill Jr., Jeff Gram and Sam Shipley are relieved to be passing the half-way stage of the race but enjoying the excitement of constant heavy-air reaching. In the Classic division, A. Robert Towbin's Sumurun is still leading on the water with 1,575 miles to go at noon today.
On board Carlo Falcone's Mariella, also in the Classics, Sophie Luther reported last night they were experiencing the calm before the storm. "It is pretty unbelievable that a system 600 miles across, with winds of 50 knots in it, is brewing." The change, even if not its extreme nature, will be welcome.
Mariella spent 12 hours on Tuesday becalmed. Luther continued: "The ballot on board closed today for the estimated time of arrival at the Lizard waypoint and to the Needles itself, and the results were published in Carlo's big black book. Merelita was the most hopeful, getting us in on the 9th June, which she says we will have to do not only so she gets free drinks when we get to Cowes but because we won't have any more food after this point.
Robin was the most pessimistic/realistic with late night 12th June." From on board the schooner Atlantic on the equivalent day of the Kaiser's Cup in 1905, Frederick Hoyt wrote: "We had a fine night and with a strong breeze and moderate sea we averaged over 14 knots an hour.
On coming on deck this morning a bright sun and long southwesterly swell and a strong breeze made a charming day. They put both staysails on her but with the wind increasing, they were up only for an hour, but we are going along in great shape and at noon today were only 213 miles from the Lizard, the finish of our race."
The Rolex Transatlantic Challenge is sponsored by Rolex and also by Moran Towing Corp., Sandy Hook Pilots, P&O Ports North America, and MedLink. The race is hosted by the New York Yacht Club with the support of the Royal Yacht Squadron. It is supported by the City of New York and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Showboats International is the event's official marine publication; program sponsors include Rolex, North Fork Bank and Holland Jachtbouw. Jobson Sailing, Inc. is making a documentary of the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge to be aired on the Outdoor Life Network on Wednesday, September 28 at 1:00 am ET and again on September 28 at 10:00 pm ET and on Channel 13 (PBS) in New York at a date and time to be announced.
Listen to satellite telephone interviews from the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge: www.regattanews.com
This morning, in thick English Channel fog, Robert Miller's (Hong Kong/New York, N.Y.) 140-foot (43m) Mari-Cha IV passed through the four-mile-long gate off the Lizard on the Rolex Transatlantic Race to break the 100-year-old record set by Charlie Barr on board Wilson Marshall's 185-foot (56.4m) Atlantic.
Miller's giant state-of-the-art racing schooner completed the 2,925-nautical mile passage, east across the North Atlantic between New York and the Lizard, in a time of 9 days, 15 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds-a full 2 days, 12 hours, 6 minutes and 56 seconds faster than Atlantic's record-breaking voyage 100 years ago.
“It is a great feat,” commented Mari-Cha IV's owner Robert Miller. “For a record to stand 100 years, and we've had the honour to make an attempt and be successful at it--I am over the moon, overjoyed. It is fantastic.
This was a very tough trip. We had six days of weather on the nose. We crossed the Gulf Stream, saw some very rough seas there and again headwinds and steep short seas on the nose, and the boat and the crew took a lot of beating.” At one point, pushing the boat beyond its limits ultimately resulted in the mainsail headboard and the headboard cars on both mainsail and mizzen breaking, and the chance of breaking the race record was in jeopardy.
“If the ship or the crew were in danger then we would have had to retire, but we did a very good damage control assessment and the question of retirement was never an option,” continued Miller. “We have a very versatile crew, and we can be really self-contained here, so any type of problem we have been able to overcome this time. We were very fortunate and it all worked out well for us, I'm very happy to say.” In October, 2003, Mari-Cha IV set a monohull passage record between New York and the Lizard of 6 days, 17 hours, 52 minutes and 39 seconds, but for that voyage, in stark contrast to the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge, she had the major advantage of being able to set sail when her crew chose, in optimum weather conditions. In 2005, their voyage was very different.
“Pretty much for the first 1,500 miles we were battling away against everything…the elements, Maximus…and we've still got a big battle on our hands now,” recounted racing helmsman Mike Sanderson (referring to the race finish at the Needles still ahead). “From a record standpoint it is very exciting, especially it being such an old record. It is not every day you break a 100-year-old record. It is incredible that a record like that stood for so long and it was the outright record for so long, too.
So obviously it was an incredible achievement back then, and they've made us fight for it this time as well.” On the approach to the Lizard, Mari-Cha IV passed between Land's End and the Scilly Isles, while 40 miles astern, Charles Brown and Bill Buckley's New Zealand entry Maximus passed outside of the Scillies. Off the Lizard, they became engulfed in thick fog that reduced visibility to just 330 feet (100m).
“We can see the bow of the boat, so it's not true English fog, and we are VMG running down the Channel in 14 knots of wind doing 15.5 knots,” continued Sanderson. Despite their lead, there is still a small possibility of Maximus hunting them down. “We are very concerned about the breeze shutting down, and if that happens they'll bring it up from behind, so we have realised we have a race on our hands still,” said Sanderson.
Fortunately, at present, the tides are relatively weak, removing a potential tactical advantage for the Kiwi maxi. Maximus passed the Lizard at 13:18:55UTC, 3 hours 13 minutes and 32 seconds after Mari-Cha IV. “We are just tootling along doing about 15-6 knots VMG downwind,” commented her veteran navigator Mike Quilter.
We don't have no longer have any wind gear, so I can't tell you how much wind there is.” Like Mari-Cha IV, she was gybing downwind, trying to make the most of the available tide. In Performance Cruising class 1, Chris Gongriepe's schooner Windrose continues to lead the 178-foot (54.3m) Tiara, while Tiara's sistership Drumbeat is ahead on handicap. In the smaller Performance Cruising class 2, John “Hap” Fauth continues to lead on the water in his 116-foot (35.4m) Whisper, while Bugs Baer and William Hubbard III's Tempest is still first on handicap.
As Mari-Cha IV and Maximus reached the Lizard, A. Robert Towbin's Sumurun, the on-the-water and handicap leader in the Classic division, still had 1,653 miles left to go to the Lizard. “We are the back of the pack, and it is pretty discouraging when you hear that the first boat has finished and you still have halfway to go,” admitted Armin Fischer, skipper of Sumurun. “We are about 170 miles ahead of the other two boats, but that can change very rapidly if you hit a weather system in the wrong way.”
At present, Sumurun is waiting for the arrival of the next depression. “We are heading northeast now into the next low, and we will see what happens then. The cards can be dealt differently then. It depends upon how we position ourselves in it.”
To date, their progress has been relatively slow, as unlike the faster boats, Sumurun has been unable to position herself within weather systems to make the best use of the conditions, says Fischer. “We had a lot of horrible light airs and big swells. We had a few good runs. Our best run so far was 256 miles, but that was only one day.”
The boat is generally in good shape except that, like Maximus, they have had electronics issues and have no wind instruments. “It is like learning to sail all over out here without having the instruments, with the woolly ties on the shrouds, etc” said Fischer.
Owner A. Robert Towbin turned 70 on 26 May, but his birthday had to be delayed by 24 hours due to the bad weather. 100 years ago on day 11 of the race for the Kaiser's Cup, Frederick Hoyt on board Atlantic wrote: “Last night was beautiful and clear, but it blew a whole gale throughout, and on coming on deck at 07.30 this morning the ship was running with the wind on the quarter, before the heaviest sea we have yet had.
The wind has been building to the southward gradually since midnight and with no abatement. The squaresail yard was braced pretty well forward, and when she would luff on the crest of a sea it would bury her so at 11 it was taken in and the jib set. A great improvement in her behaviour at once followed, the excessive rolling stopped and she went along drier and apparently faster than before.”
Listen to Robert Miller on MARI-CHA IV via satellite telephone after breaking the transatlantic racing record: www.regattanews.com
Owner Robert Miller (Hong Kong/New York, N.Y.) and his crew on board the 140-foot (43m) schooner Mari-Cha IV are at present on course to pass Lizard Point tomorrow morning to better Charlie Barr and the schooner Atlantic's 100-year-old race record by more than two and a half days. "This is my seventh transatlantic crossing, and I can safely say that it has been by far the toughest one for me," Robert Miller confided.
"Not only has the weather been in our face for the first six days, making life extremely difficult, but since then we have always been sailing close to the limit, which means that there is the risk of hurting the boat and the crew. "At times, I've felt that perhaps the ghost of 1905--Charlie Barr--is looking down on us and enjoying every bit of hardship we are encountering. But there is not time to dwell on that, as we have a race to win. The competition has also been tough, but I must say enjoyable--Maximus and ourselves have spent the whole race running close together and have been, at times, only 15-20 miles apart." Despite Mari-Cha IV being 40 feet (12.1m) longer than the newly launched Maximus, the two boats have remained together as if attached by elastic, with the giant schooner regaining the lead on Sunday for the first time since sustaining damage to her rig. At 12:48 UTC, Mari-Cha IV had Maximus still 30 miles astern with 390 miles to go to the Lizard.
According to navigator Jef d' Etiveaud, she was making 20 knots, broad reaching/running in 20 knots of southwesterly wind. "We are pushing the boat. We know that on this point of sail we and Maximus are very even," he said, adding that despite last week's rig problems, they have once again been pushing the boat to 100%. "Everyone is concentrating very hard, but as long as we can keep them a few miles behind, we are happy." While Mari-Cha IV and her crew may tomorrow be able to bask in the glory of having set the fastest race time to the Lizard, handicap victory in the Grand Prix class seems equally assured for Maximus, as the larger schooner must give the smaller sloop 79 minutes time per 24 hours. Given their present speed and separation, tomorrow morning might see the two boats finishing between 90 minutes and two hours apart on the water.
A majority of the fleet, from the front runners back, are now enjoying favourable 20-30 knot southwesterly winds, making for a much faster run than they have experienced to date. In the match race of the Dubois-designed 170 footers in Performance Cruising class 1, the sloop Tiara and its charterers from the Societe Nautique de Geneve remain ahead of the ketch Drumbeat. But leading, it is Chris Gongriepe's smaller Dutch spirit of tradition schooner Windrose on a course farther south than that taken by the Grand Prix maxis. Some 450 miles astern of the 170 footers, Tempest, the 80-foot (24.4m) Sparkman & Stephens maxi chartered to Bugs Baer and William Hubbard III, is currently leading Performance Cruising class 2. Her crew is enjoying the ride, reports Bugs Baer:
"Racing in 30 knots is strenuous. We had a chute blow out, but it is already under repair and it should be back up soon. We've had some minor equipment problems. There are no injuries other than some aches and pain and strains. Everyone will arrive healthy I think. But it is tough going--hard steering, a lot of strains in the equipment. We have to replace the chafing gear on halyards and guys." This morning, Tempest was experiencing 27-knot winds and 8-foot seas from the southwest, big enough to get some exciting surfs. Otherwise the Atlantic is a lonely place. "We haven't seen any other boats for seven days," said Baer. We had a conversation with a 30-foot boat that was racing from Barbados to the Azores. They saw a mast and called us, but we never saw theirs."
For the Classics, A. Robert Towbin's Sumurun holds a 140-mile lead on the water over Dr. Hans Albrecht's Nordwind. From on board Atlantic on day 10 of the race for the Kaiser's Cup, Frederick Hoyt wrote: "Worse and more of it. On going on deck for the morning sight, it was blowing a whole gale from the southwest and a heavy sea was on the quarter. There were four oil bags strung at intervals along the weather side, but they did not seem to have much effect. The ship was under nothing but the squaresail and fore trysail in a heavy following sea with both quartermasters lashed to the wheel, and once in a while the whole quarter deck flooded with the top of a wave which would slop over the rail."
Listen to satellite telephone interviews from the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge: www.regattanews.com