Jean-Paul Riviere's French Finot Conq 100 Nomad IV gives chase at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race 2015 off Lanzarote © RORC/James Mitchell
Eight days into the RORC Transatlantic Race and Jean-Paul Riviere's French Finot Conq 100, Nomad IV has about a thousand miles to go to reach the finish just off Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada. The powerful 100ft Maxi is over 300 miles ahead of its nearest rival, Southern Wind 94 Windfall, skippered by Tim Goodbody, and Nomad IV is in a very strong position to take Monohull Line Honours, with an estimated finish on Wednesday 9 December. Nomad IV is also the provisional leader after IRC time correction with an estimated 17 hour lead after time correction from Wil Apold's Canadian Swan 78, Valkyrie.
Gonzalo Botin's Spanish Class40 Tales II is showing amazing speed and is expected to complete the 3000 mile race in 14 days, a very fast time for a 40 foot yacht. The pace of Tales II has the team from Santander in front of the Maxi Valkyrie on the water, which is almost twice her length and only 30 miles behind the 94-foot Windfall. The Belgian 42ft catamaran Zed 6, racing two handed with Gerald Bibot and Michel Kleinjans, is racing south and into warmer weather from their earlier northerly route. Zed 6 is 200 miles closer to Grenada than Tales II, which will give the Belgian duo a great feeling as they are both veteran Class40 sailors.
Gonzalo Botin's Spanish Class 40 Tales II under Code O at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race 2015 © RORC/James Mitchell
Elin Haf Davies & Chris Frost racing J/120 Nunatak two handed have now broken through the 2000 mile barrier and will be half way to the finish later today or tomorrow morning. For now Chris Frost is having to put up with some of Elin's delightful but peculiar habits, Welsh ocean-rower and international rugby player Elin sent a blog to the RORC Media team:
“Chris has had enough. He says can’t take it anymore. The combination of my smelly deck shoes and bad cooking has got to him! Last night I cooked Smash and a tin of Spanish chorizo and beans. He said the combination caused a chemical reaction which gave him a concrete block the size of an elephant in his abdomen. He says he’s cooking from now on #result!
"The wind has become more steady, in strength and direction. We’ve put in a couple of peels and a few gybes to use the wind shifts to keep in the best wind channel (we hope!). The auto-helm is now also able to handle the conditions much better with our A4 in the sky.
"Where we had been enjoying the moon for the previous nights, last night was completely pitch black. You couldn’t see anything other than the wind instruments. Bombing forwards at 9-10kts into such complete darkness is quiet disconcerting. At least when I was rowing I was only travelling at 2-3kts ... backwards!”Elin Haf Davies and Chris Frost on board J120 Nunatak at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race 2015 off Lanzarote © RORC/James Mitchell
Whilst the MOD 70s streaked across the Atlantic in six days, the RORC Transatlantic Race is very much alive and kicking with relentless fast trade wind sailing predicted for the fleet over the next few days. Racing across the Atlantic is like riding a rollercoaster; the long deep wave picks up the stern as the boat rises on the wave, the helm is corrected as the stern is pushed in the direction of the wave and as the wave reaches its zenith, the bow goes down, surfing to the trough of the swell, where the helm must be corrected to pick up the next wave. It is a cork screw motion and by now the rhythm of the sea will be etched into the everyday life of those on board, so much so that they will hardly notice it.