Gauntlet Captures First to Sign Up and Pay Line Honors!
Gauntlet, a 2005 Nelson Marek 52, is the first yacht to sign up for and pay their entry fee for the 2021 Trans Superior! Here is some background on Gauntlet written by Mike Bradley (minor editing by DWJ)
Gauntlet's story actually began in 1977. The Italian National Sailing Team asked Scott Kaufman to design and Bennetti Yachts to build an aluminum 44 ft IOR boat and "Vanina" was born. In 1978 she won the Med Cup and finished 3rd in the infamous 1979 Fastnet race. In 1980 she was sold to an American group in Miami then on to another group in New Orleans in late 1981 where the name was changed to Gauntlet. While attending Tulane University, future owner Bill Woodworth (Woody) sailed on her as a regular crew. Fast forward to 1994 Gauntlet was essentially abandoned, sinking in a slip in Lake Pontchartrain. Woody, Guy Hiestand and 2 other former owners purchased her, transported her up to Michigan and in 94-95 completely refitted her. From 1995 to 2019 Gauntlet has participated in every Chicago to Mac and Bayview to Mac except 1 when she broke her mast. Winning her class 3 times, placing 4 times and a second overall in the Chicago to Mac. Gauntlet has won the LMPHRF boat of the year 7 times from 1999-2010. Unfortunately in 2018 Gauntlet's age caught up with her and two four foot cracks developed in the hull through the keel bolt holes and she was deemed impractical to repair. Sadly she was scrapped in 2020.
From 2018 to the winter of 2019 the search for a "new" Gauntlet progressed. Woody and Guy had specific criteria and a nationwide search was conducted. Promo (formerly Ptarmigan) a 2005 Nelson Marek 52 (2008 refitted to Asymmetrical Kites) was found in Milwaukee. Cutting edge for it's time, this Carbon Fiber Yacht was built by New England boatworks to race the east coast, particularly Newport to Bermuda. Woody and Guy received her May 2019 and rechristened her Gauntlet. The Gauntlet Crew has continued the tradition of an aggressive racing schedule, racing in both Mac's, Queens, Clipper, Wednesday beer can races and most local regattas.
For many years Jerry Mayfield was Gauntlet’s sailmaker and Jerry spoke with great admiration of the Trans Superior race. It has been on the Gauntlet crew bucket list and the time seems right for Gauntlet to do her first Trans Superior.