Clarion call for RORC Transatlantic Race

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German Botin 56 Black Pearl has unfinished business in the RORC Transatlantic Race and has entered the 2023 edition starting on Sunday 8th January © James Mitchell/RORC

German Botin 56 Black Pearl has unfinished business in the RORC Transatlantic Race and has entered the 2023 edition starting on Sunday 8th January © James Mitchell/RORC

The ninth edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, supported by Calero Marinas and the International Maxi Association is scheduled to start from Marina Lanzarote, Canary Islands on Sunday 8th of January 2023.

Racing across the Atlantic is a phenomenal experience and a huge variety of boats and sailors have already registered for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's 2,995nm offshore race. Held annually in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club de France, entry is open to boats racing under IRC, Class40, Classic Yachts, Superyacht and MOCRA rating systems. Early entries and expressions of interest for the 2023 RORC Transatlantic Race include teams from at least seven different countries, including; Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and the United States.

The largest yacht currently entered in the 2023 edition is the magnificent French Wally 107 Spirit Of Malouen X, sailed by Stephane Neve. The overall winner under IRC will win the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy and past winners include four Maxi Yachts: RP78 Lupa of London, Finot 100 Nomad IV, Marten 72 Aragon and the VPLP/Verdier 100 Comanche. The first monohull to cross the line in Grenada is also awarded the magnificent IMA Transatlantic Trophy.

The largest boat in the race to date is the French Maxi - Wally 107 Spirit of Malouen X © Rolex/Carlo BorlenghiThe largest boat in the race to date is the French Maxi - Wally 107 Spirit of Malouen X © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Competing in their fourth RORC Transat - Giovanni Soldini and team on 2022 Line Honours winner Multi70 Maserati © James Mitchell/RORCCompeting in their fourth RORC Transat - Giovanni Soldini and team on 2022 Line Honours winner Multi70 Maserati © James Mitchell/RORC

Giovanni Soldini’s ballistic Italian Multi70 Maserati plans to defend their Line Honours victory last year. This will be Maserati’s fourth race, but the outright race record has so far eluded the team. (2015 - Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo3 in 5 Days, 22 hrs,46 mins,03 secs). Maserati is one of five 70ft trimarans competing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race this October. Soldini’s Maserati is keen to have close competition for the RORC Transatlantic Race. The first multihull to take Line Honours will receive the RORC Transatlantic Race Multihull Trophy. The best corrected time under the MOCRA Rule will be the Multihull Class winner.

German Botin 56 Black Pearl, with Stefan Jentzsch at the helm has unfinished business in the race having retired last year. Black Pearl is back and the highly experienced crew includes Marc Lagesse as navigator and Paul Standbridge as watch leader. New to the race is Laurent Courbin’s French First 53 Yagiza, skippered by the highly experienced Philippe Falle. Andrew Schell’s Frers Swan 59 Icebear will also be making its RORC Transatlantic Race debut.

An ocean racing legend will also be racing this year; the 58ft Philippe Briand-designed L'Esprit d'Équipe, winner of the 1985 Whitbread Round the World Race. L'Esprit d'Équipe will be skippered by Lionel Régnier who has completed 13 transatlantic races, including winning the OSTAR. Fifty-footers have lifted the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy on two occasions; Franco Niggeler's Swiss Cookson 50 Kuka 3 (2018) and Eric de Turckheim's NMYD 54 Teasing Machine (2017), also entered for the 2023 edition.

Andy Schell & Mia Karlsson's Swan 59 Ice Bear will make her debut in the RORC Transatlantic race next January © 59º North Andy Schell & Mia Karlsson's Swan 59 Ice Bear will make her debut in the RORC Transatlantic race next January © 59º North

low lesprit dequipe photo paul todd vor The classic ocean racing legend L’Esprit d’Equipe © Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race http://www.volvooceanrace.com lesprit dequipe photo paul todd vor The classic ocean racing legend L’Esprit d’Equipe © Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race http://www.volvooceanrace.com

Eric de Turckheim's NMYD 54 Teasing Machine © Rolex/Carlo BorlenghiEric de Turckheim's NMYD 54 Teasing Machine © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Passionate Corinthian teams for the 2023 edition include teams racing in IRC Two-Handed. Katherine Cope’s British Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist will be racing with Claire Dresser in the race’s first all-woman double-handed team. Father and son team of Peter & Duncan Bacon have entered their Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear and Sebastien Saulnier returns with his French Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi which was the first Two-Handed entry to finish in 2021. For the 2023 edition, Saulnier will be racing with business partner Stefan Jaillet. The smallest boat to win the RORC Transatlantic Race overall under IRC was Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, racing two-handed with Jeremy Waitt in 2019.

Katherine Cope’s British Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist - first all-woman double-handed team © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com Katherine Cope’s British Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist - first all-woman double-handed team © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear - father and son team of Peter & Duncan Bacon  © Rick Tomlinson Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear - father and son team of Peter & Duncan Bacon © Rick Tomlinson

The RORC Transatlantic Race is part of the RORC Caribbean Series where IRC rated boat with the best combined score in both the 2023 Transatlantic Race and 2023 RORC Caribbean 600 claims the series trophy. The Swan 601 Lorina 1895, skippered by Ken Docherty, has entered for both races. Andy Middleton’s First 47.7 EH01 is a welcome edition to the RORC Transatlantic Race and his Global Yacht Racing team will also be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Yet to enter, but expected to do so, are Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster; second overall in the last edition, plus Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra, which has competed in three previous races, including second overall in 2019.

Racing across the Atlantic is on the bucket-list of any serious offshore sailor and every sailor that completes the 2995-mile race is also eligible to join the Royal Ocean Racing Club. For on-line entry and more details about the RORC Transatlantic Race: http://rorctransatlantic.rorc.org/

Andy Middleton's EH01 will compete in both the RORC Transatlantic Race and the RORC Caribbean 600 © Tim Wright/Photoaction.comAndy Middleton's EH01 will compete in both the RORC Transatlantic Race and the RORC Caribbean 600 © Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

2023 RORC Transatlantic Race - Entries now open + Notice of Race available

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Almost snatching the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy for the overall win - Ross Applebey's team on his Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Entries are open and the Notice of Race available for the 2023 RORC Transatlantic Race © Lanzarote Photo Sport

Entries are now open and the Notice of Race available for the 2023 RORC Transatlantic Race starting on Sunday 8th January, 2023. The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 2,995nm offshore race is held annually in association with the Yacht Club de France and the International Maxi Association.

Final boat finishes - Faïaoahé concludes the 8th edition

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Remy Gerin’s Faiaoahe (FRA) is the final finisher of the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race © RORC/James Mitchell

Remy Gerin’s Faïaoahé (FRA) is the final finisher of the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race © RORC/James Mitchell

31 JAN 2022

The arrival of Rémy Gerin’s beautiful ‘spirit of tradition’ racer-cruiser Faïaoahé has bought the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race to a close. Racing under the burgee of race supporters, the Yacht Club de France, the French Two-Handed entry of Parisian Rémy and his co-skipper Bernard Jeanne-Beylot saw the duo complete the race in an elapsed time of 22 days 19 hrs 01 mins 48 secs. Faïaoahé suspended racing on the third day of the race to fix a problem with their autopilot, but got back in action shortly after. This was the first time Rémy had raced his 2006-built aluminium classic across the Atlantic doublehanded, however the 65ft (19.8m) cutter-rigged sloop was built to sail round the world and he had previously navigated thousands of miles with family and friends in the Pacific and also round Cape Horn. Congratulations to team Faïaoahé!

RORC Transatlantic Race – 2022 Blockbuster

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Start of the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race from Calero Marinas, Lanzarote to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada © Lanzarote Photo Sport

Start of the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race from Calero Marinas, Lanzarote to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada © Lanzarote Photo Sport

The 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race was organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club de France.

The 8th edition of the 3,000nm race attracted a record entry of 30 boats racing under the IRC and MOCRA Racing Rules. The 100ft Maxi Comanche set a new Monohull Race Record and was the overall winner. The top three boats after IRC time correction were Comanche, Scarlet Oyster and Tala who all won their respective classes outside of IRC overall. In the MOCRA Class, three 70ft trimarans had a thrilling finish. After seven days of high-speed boat-on-boat racing, Multi70 Maserati took the line with a magical move, right at the last.

Prior to the start on January 8, teams were based at two Calero Marinas - Puerto Calero and Marina Lanzarote. After finishing the race, Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina welcomed the teams to Grenada with cold beers. The Grenada Tourism Authority presented gift baskets of Grenadian produce to the teams. The start date for the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race was moved to January and one of the reasons was that the north easterly trade winds are typically more established. However, this was not the case this year, due to several low-pressure systems disrupting the ‘norm’.

The RORC Transatlantic Race Welcome Reception was held 48 hours before the start. Royal Ocean Racing Club’s CEO, Jeremy Wilton greeted all competitors to the race. “This is a big race for the Royal Ocean Racing Club; we have a record entry with past winners and sailors from 27 nations, and these events do not happen without our partners here in Lanzarote and in Grenada. Both the International Maxi Association and the Yacht Club de France have played a significant role in helping to secure a record entry for this year’s race.”

The 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race started on time in glorious conditions outside Marina Lanzarote. José Juan Calero, Managing Director of Calero Marinas commented: “It is fantastic to see the race start in perfect conditions. I speak for all of the team at Calero Marinas and all of the supporters of this race to say we are so proud of how this race has developed. It is an amazing experience for all of the sailors. This is the eighth year we have hosted the start and I thank the RORC for putting their trust in Lanzarote to deliver.”

Fantastic finish for Dutch Diana

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Dutch RORC member Carlo Vroon’s Hinckley Sou'wester 52 Diana finished the RORC Transatlantic Race on 27 January at 04:04:14 UTC

Dutch RORC member Carlo Vroon’s Hinckley Sou'wester 52 Diana finished the RORC Transatlantic Race on 27 January at 04:04:14 UTC © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Long-standing Dutch RORC member Carlo Vroon’s Hinckley Sou'wester 52 Diana finished the RORC Transatlantic Race on 27 January at 04:04:14 UTC. Having purchased the beautiful cruising boat just before the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race, he was determined to get to the start in time to skipper his own boat, for the first time, all the way across the Atlantic. The years of racing the highly competitive and successful series of Tonnerre yachts, with his father, the great Dutch sailor, Piet Vroon, certainly paid off, as he explains on arrival in Grenada:

“The race was absolutely fantastic. It was a big learning curve for the younger ones in our crew but we still tried to keep the boat going. It’s not a race boat so we are learning to work with her and were seeing how she was set up. It’s fantastic to do it in such a way. I did one transatlantic race with Ross Applebey on Scarlet Oyster about seven years ago, but this is my first as skipper. The boat is very comfortable. It’s a wonderful solid yacht and for this purpose it was fantastic. It’s not really for racing and obviously we didn’t have time to prepare it. We blew up the one and only kite on the first night and of course we only needed it the last three or four days, but  we had a very light one that worked well though. It was very good fun.

We will now take a month to get up to Florida and do some cruising. We will go to Carriacou at the weekend and will enjoy Grenada. We loved the RORC race. I would do it again given the opportunity. Of course, you have to create your opportunities first. I am not sure how long we are going to keep this boat. It was an ‘on the spur of the moment thing’ and it’s ideal for cruising. It’s beautiful and very comfortable, but for the longer term, I’m not sure that’s what we want. We will see. It’s fun and as it was my first time as skipper, I am pleased with myself having had years of upbringing in seamanship, I think it’s paid off! I had an excellent crew though and I wouldn’t have done it without them.”

Winners are grinners in Grenada

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2022 rtr finish jangada waitt palmer ad

Richard Palmer and Jeremy Waitt raced across the 3,000nm race two-handed, surpassing their previous record and winning class. "It was full on, really intense, but great fun," exclaimed Palmer, owner of the JPK 1010 Jangada (GBR) © Arthur Daniel/RORC

DAY 18 - 25 JAN

The final class and trophy winners were decided on the 18th day of the RORC Transatlantic Race. Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada (GBR) has won IRC Two-Handed, racing with Jeremy Waitt. Martin Westcott’s S&S Swan 57 Equinoccio (CHI) has won the RORC Transatlantic Race IRC Classic Division. Christopher Daniel’s J/122e Juno (GBR) has safely finished the race, and four teams are still racing towards Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada.

Jangada finished the race in an elapsed time of 16 days 5 hrs 43 mins 12 secs, winning IRC Two-Handed and placing third for IRC One. Jangada’s IRC corrected time is a new race record for Two-Handed teams, bettering their 2019 triumph, and also establishing the IRCRecords™ corrected time for the course of 16 days 13 hrs 58 mins 34 secs.

“That was an absolutely mental race, racing from start to finish with no let up at all,” commented Richard Palmer. “It was like 16 coastal races back-to-back, downwind racing day after day in sloppy seas. It was full on, really intense, but great fun. If the race had stopped after 1,000 miles we would have won it overall. However, we could not break through a pressure ridge and watched the bigger boats in front of us get into a lead that we would never catch up.”

High Five for Comanche

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High Five - Comanche blasted across the Atlantic from Lanzarote to Grenada in the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race to set not only a new race record, but to claim overall victory, line honours, class win and the Yacht Club de France Trophy © James Mitchell/RORC

High Five - Comanche blasted across the Atlantic from Lanzarote to Grenada in the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race to set not only a new race record, but to claim overall victory, line honours, class win and the Yacht Club de France Trophy © James Mitchell/RORC

The 30.48m (100ft) VPLP Design/Verdier Maxi Comanche (CAY), skippered by Mitch Booth has achieved the quintuple for the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race. While three boats are still racing under IRC, none of them can beat Comanche’s corrected time for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. Comanche is also the winner of the IMA Trophy for Monohull Line Honours, IRC Super Zero and Yacht Club de France Trophy. Comanche has also set a new Monohull Race Record for the RORC Transatlantic Race of 7 days 22 hours 1 minute 4 seconds. Comanche has also set a new Monohull Race Record for the RORC Transatlantic Race of 7 days 22 hours 1 minute 4 seconds and with it established the Fully Crewed IRCRecords™ corrected time record of 16 days 0 hours 12 minutes 57seconds.

The 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race was a complex challenge with several low-pressure systems disrupting the trade winds. However, three teams, all from different IRC classes produced a thrilling battle for overall victory. Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) was second overall by just over an hour. David Collins’ Botin 52 Tala (GBR) was third, less than two minutes behind Scarlet Oyster after IRC time correction. Comanche’s skipper Mitch Booth was delighted to receive confirmation of their overall win for the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race:

“For any offshore race the aim for Comanche is to take Monohull Line Honours and break race records, which we achieved when we crossed the finish line,” commented Mitch Booth. “Comanche is not optimised for IRC, we just go for speed. So, to win this race overall just ticks every box, which for the owners is just fantastic. They are busy guys with big businesses, but they have followed us every step of the way. Winning the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy shows just how strong and hard the crew have pushed the boat; we never let up. All credit to Scarlet Oyster and Tala who must have pushed just as hard.”

Thrilling finish for Scarlet Oyster

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Incredibly close competition as Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster finishes the RORC Transatlantic Race in an elapsed time of 15 days 7 hrs 30 mins 44 secs - and after IRC time correction is second to Comanche by just over an hour © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Incredibly close competition as Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster finishes the RORC Transatlantic Race in an elapsed time of 15 days 7 hrs 30 mins 44 secs - and after IRC time correction is second to Comanche by just over an hour © Arthur Daniel/RORC

DAY 17 - 24 JAN (0900 UTC)

The RORC Transatlantic Race has featured close racing right through the record fleet. On the 16th day of the 3,000-mile race, Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) came in sight of Grenada - peeling to a reaching kite in a dash for the line and in with a chance of snatching overall victory from the 100ft Maxi Comanche. Scarlet Oyster was just short of winning the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy but virtually assured of winning IRC One.

By 0900 UTC on January 24, 21 teams had finished the race, including Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorus II (GBR), Jack Pelletier’s Milon 41 L’Ange de Milon (FRA), Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) and Scarlet Oyster (GBR).

Scarlet Oyster finished the RORC Transatlantic Race in an elapsed time of 15 days 7 hrs 30 mins 44 secs and after IRC time correction is second to Comanche by just over an hour. Scarlet Oyster is a minuscule 115 seconds ahead of David Collins’ Botin 52 Tala. “It is quite incredible that after over 3,000 miles of racing, three totally different boats from three different classes have an IRC time correction within one hour of each other!” exclaimed Scarlet Oyster’s Ross Applebey.

Video action: Tonnerre de Glen and Lady First 3 finish

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Credit: RORC / Louay Habib / Arthur Daniel / Tonnerre de Glen

Lady First 3 (FRA) finished under an hour ahead of Tonnerre de Glen (FRA) on 22nd January. Jean-Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 was the first team to finish the RORC Transatlantic Race from Yacht Club de France. Lady First 3 completed the race in an elapsed time of 13 days 2 hours 23 mins 32 secs. Jean-Pierre is a well-respected member of the sailing community in Marseille and spoke dockside in Port Louis shortly after the finish.
 
Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen (FRA) finished the race in an elapsed time of 13 days 3 hours 18 mins 34 secs. After time correction Tonnerre de Glen is third in IRC Zero. As the all-French crew celebrated with cold beers, Dominique Tian spoke dockside at Port Louis. Like Lady First 3, Tonnerre de Glen is from Marseille.
 

Black Pearl safely back in Puerto Calero Lanzarote

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Black Pearl touch dry land back in Calero Marinas - Marina Lanzarote after breaking their mast mid-race © Pilar Hernández

Black Pearl touches dry land back in Calero Marinas - Marina Lanzarote after breaking their mast mid-race © Pilar Hernández

On 12 January 15:32 UTC January, four days into the RORC Transatlantic Race, the Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER) with eight crew on board, contacted the RORC Race Team to retire from the race due to a broken mast – all of the crew were well. The nearest land was the Canary Islands, 800nm east of their position. About three meters of the rig was left and the highly experienced team got to work, making a jury rig and turned their bow east to motor/sail to safety.

Black Pearl’s biggest issue was fuel to run the engine for propulsion and also to produce electricity for navigation and the water maker. According to the race rules, Black Pearl had enough water on board to make landfall.

Black Pearl contacted MRCC Ponta Delgada to request assistance and the RORC Race Team was also informed. The request for assistance resulted in three nearby vessels being alerted with the m/v Happy Sky agreeing to divert towards Black Pearl. Delgada sent an email to Black Pearl to receive the position, speed and bearing, which was relayed to m/v Happy Sky.

Less than 24 hours after Delgada received the initial contact from Black Pearl, 28 x 25 litres of fuel were successfully transferred to Black Pearl by m/v Happy Sky. After Black Pearl left the area under observation by Delgada, the boat was monitored by SRR Santa Maria, with reports given every three hours.

Scarlet Oyster dares to dream

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Jean-Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First 3 (FRA) is the first team from the Yacht Club de France to finish the RORC Transatlantic Race. Lady First 3 completed the race in an elapsed time of 13 days 2 hours 23 mins 32 secs © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Jean-Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First 3 (FRA) is the first team from the Yacht Club de France to finish the RORC Transatlantic Race. Lady First 3 completed the race in an elapsed time of 13 days 2 hours 23 mins 32 secs © Arthur Daniel/RORC

DAY 15 - 22 JAN (0900 UTC)

Two weeks into the RORC Transatlantic Race, three more French teams have crossed the finish line outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. Lady First 3 (FRA) finished under one hour ahead of Tonnerre de Glen (FRA) and in the early hours of the 22 January, the Volvo 60 Challenge Ocean (FRA), skippered by Valdo Dhoyer crossed the finish line, just over one hour ahead of Richard Tolkien’s Open 60 Rosalba (GBR). These close finishes, after many days and nights of racing, is indicative of the competition right through the RORC Transatlantic Race fleet. What is more, the overall winner has still not been decided. Several teams that are still racing in the Atlantic are capable of winning the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) is 250 miles from the finish. Currently ranked first overall after IRC time correction, Scarlet Oyster is expected to finish the race on Sunday the 23 January.

“All OK out here, only 250nm to go! We can nearly smell the rum,” commented Scarlet Oyster’s Ross Applebey. “The Comanche to beat now…We are not gaining, but importantly, not losing on our target. Finally, the wind came in three days ago, but with the cloud and instability that comes with it. We had a particularly squally night and finally found the upper wind limit of our old AP kite. With a loud bang we blew the head off it in a 30kn+ squall. Grenada is now 250 miles to the finish line and we have until 17:25 UTC tomorrow (Sunday 23 January) to get there. If the wind holds, we have a good chance, but the forecast suggests lighter winds could slow us. I am hoping that the wonderful people at RORC can supply us with some well-earned drinks!