Trade Winds and Flying Fish

on . Posted in 2016 Race Updates

2016 rtr leopard at start mike slade helm jamesMitchell240 miles from the finish in Grenada: Mike Slade at the helm of Leopard3 © RORC/James Mitchell

6 December - Day 11 Report

The trade winds are back to normal, accelerating the speed of the yachts racing in the RORC Transatlantic Race. Mike Slade's Leopard is set to take Monohull Line Honours tomorrow (Wednesday 7 Dec). Campagne de France hold a big lead in the Class40 Division and several yachts survive the attack of the flying fish.

At 1200 UTC Mike Slade's British Maxi, Leopard3 was 240 miles from Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada and expected to take Monohull Line Honours at around sunrise on Wednesday. Leopard is nearly 600 miles ahead of their nearest rival, Arco Van Nieuwland & Andries Verder's Dutch Maxi Marten 72, Aragon. Leopard is all but assured of the IMA Trophy for Line Honours and is estimated to be leading the fleet after IRC time correction. However with the trade winds re-establishing for the fleet further out to sea, Aragon still has the potential to post the best corrected time under IRC to win the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. Infiniti 46, Maverick still has 1,000 miles to go, but the radically designed flyer is showing her potential, surfing down Atlantic swell at high speed.

2016 rtr maverick start hanah cotterellInfiniti 46, Maverick at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race © Hannah Cotterell

"Maverick's skipper, Oliver Cotterell sent in this blog: "We had our first wildlife encounter in a few days, with playful dolphins playing on the bow. I always love to watch their displays as they surf on the aquatic ridge pushed forward by the yacht. This evening in a ‘classic Piers’ moment he was hit in the face by a flying fish! This is our first fish strike, but having seen a few fly over the yacht in the night, I am quite sure it will not be our last. It is another incredibly dark night. The nav. lights light up the kite and there is nothing else to see. No moon, no stars, no lights on the horizon, just an ethereal darkness that hides - that wave."

Swan 82, Stay Calm is just over 1,000 miles from the finish in Grenada and the British Maxi's closest rival is Anatoli Karatchinski's magnificent 112ft Baltic, Path.

2016 rtr jamesheald benharris press conference jamesMitchellJames Heald and Ben Harris, racing the Swan 45, Nemesis Two Handed © RORC/James Mitchell

James Heald's British Swan 45, Nemesis, racing in IRC Two Handed with Ben Harris, contacted the media team describing the trials and tribulations of racing across the Atlantic with just two on board:

"Out of the light and into the strong! Kite up and ready to hopefully hit these southerly trade winds! Beautifully sunny day with zero stress! Rocking some brilliant suntans. Many thanks to our brilliant family members on shore, showing there support and updating us on everything we need to know! Hopefully a night with good winds and a large amount of miles put behind us! Couple of flying fish the size of small dogs landing on board. I take my hat of to them to be able to hit a 45 foot yacht in this vast expanse of ocean. Right back to sailing.... we have a rum party to get to, which we don't plan on missing. Eventful night...at 0400 our A1 kite exploded in a 22 knot squall, consequently becoming a permanent member of Davey Jones’ locker, along with a Harken winch handle and a Frogman torch! However we have the A3 up now and are trucking downwind! Hot as a desert out here!"

2016 rtr campagnedefrance earendil at start jamesMitchellClose Class40 battle: Class40s: Catherine Pourre's Eärendil and Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron's Campagne de France © RORC/James Mitchell

Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron's Class40, Campagne de France has a impressive 200 mile lead in the Class40 Division. However, a close battle is raging behind them between Catherine Pourre's Eärendil and Laurent Pellecuer's, Second Chance. Miranda Merron has a message for her nieces in her blog:

"After a night of unstable breeze, a few baby squall-type creatures before dawn, we now have passable trade winds. At the request of my nieces, Alice and Eleanor, we have been keeping a look out for Father Christmas, should he do a fly-by in this part of the world. I think it's more likely to be at night as otherwise the reindeer risk sunburn and heatstroke. There are possibly some children on boats crossing the Atlantic who have been good this year and written a polite letter," Miranda, Campagne de France.