Maurice Benzaquen’s Pogo 1250, Aloha, shortly after the start off Lanzarote. © RORC / James Mitchell
Sunday 6th December 1800 UTC
The majority of yachts competing in the second edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race are predicted to finish the 3,000 mile race over the next few days. Nomad IV has just over 600 miles to go and is expected on Tuesday 8 December. By Friday December 11, most of the yachts will have completed the race and be enjoying the warm hospitality of the people of Grenada, safely moored in Camper & Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina.
After racking up over 400 miles in 24 hours, the challenge of racing across the Atlantic was made very clear to the crew of Jean-Paul Riviere's French Finot Conq 100, Nomad IV, when their enormous spinnaker came billowing down and into the rushing waves around them. Jean-Paul Riviere sent this report in by satellite connection:
“For those of you who closely follow our tracking, you were probably wondering why we suddenly stopped for a nap in the middle of the ocean. Well here’s the explanation: The spinnaker head loop broke, dropping the sail straight into the water. Thanks to the very quick response of the crew, we managed to get the sail on board quite quickly. The spinnaker sock however decided to play the dirty trick of getting itself wrapped in the rudders. After a few minutes and being unable to steer the boat, we decided to drop the main and drift whilst our diver, Jean Philippe slipped into the water to evaluate the damage. In our misfortune we remained lucky. Having a good vision on the rudders, he was able to instruct the crew as to what ropes to cut and to pull, and in less than 15 minutes the torn sock was freed and hoisted back on board followed by our swimmer!
The crew of Jean-Paul Riviere's French Finot Conq 100 Nomad IV, set about receovering the spinnaker sock from around the rudders.Crew member Jean Phillipe Pieuchot is in the water © Robin Christol
“As darkness was due in less than an hour, I decided to not let our monkey go up the mast to retrieve the halyard, despite the young crew member being quite keen to go. It was much safer to do it in the morning. We therefore decided to sail through the night under full main and J1, whilst part of the crew repaired the spinnaker and sock. On Saturday morning as the first rays of light came from the east, we were able to recover our halyard and we were able to fly the gennaker. A few hours work later, having fully checked the sail and done quite a repair on the sock, we are happy to say we’re flying the spinnaker again. Look out for us soon and prepare the rum, the race is still on,” exclaims Riviere.
Nomad IV still hold a comfortable lead on the water. However after Nomad IV’s spinnaker incident, recent progress indicates that their lead after IRC time correction puts them in second place behind Maurice Benzaquen’s Pogo 1250, Aloha by less than 20 minutes. Southern Wind 94, Windfall, skippered by Tim Goodbody is 380 miles behind Nomad IV and estimated to be 5 hours behind after IRC time correction. Will Apold’s Custom Nautor Swan 78, Valkyrie, is just over 100 miles behind Windfall and 20 hours after IRC time correction behind Aloha. Though Nomad IV must be the hot favourite to lift the International Maxi Association (IMA) Trophy for Monohull Line Honours, with the wind strengthening for the chasers including Aloha, and strategic positioning for the final gybes into Grenada being set up, the RORC Transatlantic Trophy is still very much up for grabs.
Gonzalo Botin's Spanish Class40, Tales II continues their relentless charge across the Atlantic and is expected to complete the course in 12½ days. Tales II has just over 1,000 miles to go and giving Windfall a real run for their money to cross the finish line. Gerald Bibot and Michel Kleinjans Belgian catamaran, ZED 6 continues to charge southwest in strong pressure on a broad reach and is expected to finish the race at about the same time as Tales II and Windfall, on Thursday 10 December.
Chris Frost & Elin Haf Davies, racing British J/120, Nunatak Two-Handed is 1,800 miles from the finish. Nunatak is expected to cross the finish line on the day of the Prize Giving Ceremony. Chris Frost sent in this message by satellite phone:
1,800 miles from the finish: Chris Frost at the helm of the J/120, Nunatak, Two-Handed with Elin Haf Davies. Findacure (https://www.justgiving.com/E-H-DAVIES1) is Elin's chosen charity for the RORC Transatlantic Race.
“AWESOME!!! Where did that week go? A 1,000 miles down. We had saved our first packet of Haribos for that milestone which tasted great, although Elin insisted on eating all the yellow and ginger men! It's been a great seven days with the only issues being with weather comms on the first couple of days and some chaffing of sails (put right by a quick trip up the rig). Other than that, Nunatak is holding up well. Elin and I might not be the fastest Two-Handed co-skippers but we do it with a smile. The speed in which Elin has learnt the skills of Two-Handed sailing is incredible. However her decision to experiment with Spanish tinned meat has been less impressive and I never would have believed that freeze dried food would seem so appealing. A packet of Jelly Bellies awaits at the 1,500 mile mark..Chris (& Elin who’s asleep – again!).”