6th RORC Transatlantic Race sets off from Lanzarote, Canary Islands, bound for Grenada in stiff breeze © Joaquin Vera/Calero Marinas/RORC
The 6th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race got underway on time with the fleet starting from outside Marina Lanzarote at 1100 UTC on Saturday 23 November, 2019. After months of preparation, the international fleet have started one of the most iconic offshore races with a stiff breeze gusting up to 25 knots.
After the start, the fleet passed a turning mark at Puerto Calero Marina before leaving Fuerteventura and Tenerife to port and then heading out into the Atlantic Ocean. The first 125nm of the course are both strategic and tactical, with land effects providing both snakes and ladders. The fleet are expected to experience gusty conditions for the first 24 hours, with rain squalls varying both the wind speed and direction.
"15-20 knots from north-northwest was a little more than forecast with squally conditions giving even more breeze," commented RORC Race Officer Steve Cole. "The reaching start was without incident and it was great to see the fleet make good headway at the beginning of this long race. Childhood 1 was just 10 seconds shy of the line at the gun, and Pata Negra and Dark Shadow also got away well."
French Wally 100 Dark Shadow - an impressive sight at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race © Joaquin Vera/Calero Marinas/RORC
The fast reaching start was ideal for Childhood 1, skippered by Bouwe Bekking. The Swedish VO65 was the first yacht to the mark off Puerto Calero Marina and once clear of the wind shadow of the surrounding hills, they hoisted their A3, blasting through La Bocayna, the strait between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Childhood 1 is expected to round Tenerife later tonight. French Wally 100 Dark Shadow, skippered by Yerin Hobson, was just three miles astern. Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46 Pata Negra got off to a good start. Skippered by Andy Lis with a young crew, the team were seven miles behind Dark Shadow, the largest yacht in the fleet.
Swiss 47.7 Kali, skippered by Benedikt Clauberg is competing in the RORC Transatlantic Race for the second year in succession. "We have new sails and an experienced crew this year, with six teams members having obtained their Yachtmaster Offshore qualification. Our dual aims are to be safe and fast, and with that in mind we have three modes on board: race, safe and survival - I hope we don't have to go into survival mode but we are prepared for it all the same, including a full man overboard test on the eve of the race," explained Clauberg.
Andy Lis and his young crew on Giles Redpath's Pata Negra © Joaquin Vera/Calero Marinas/RORC
Second RORC Transat for Swiss 47.7 Kali, skippered by Benedikt Clauberg © Joaquin Vera/Calero Marinas/RORC
Richard Palmer's British JPK 10.10 Jangada is also taking part in their second RORC Transatlantic Race. Richard is once again racing two handed, this time with Jeremy Waitt, who contacted the RORC Race Team shortly after the start:
"A nice breeze gave us a tight reach and we just made the turning mark of Puerto Calero without having to tack. A good squall came in on the turning mark so we got pretty wet. It cleared quick, however, as we came around the southerly tip, we got hit hard by another larger squall reaching 25 knots of wind speed. It was a good spanking - a nice and early reminder who is boss out here! We reefed and ended up on main only for 15 minutes. We are now in blue water sailing mode, 80º off the breeze in 18 knots. It looks like a few more squalls are on the way and we have 120 miles to go to Tenerife, or as we say, twice across the English Channel!"
Richard Palmer and Jeremy Waitt racing Two Handed on JPK 10.10 Jangada at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race © Joaquin Vera/Calero Marinas/RORC
José Juan Calero, CEO of Calero Marinas, accompanied by RORC Commodore Steven Anderson and RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen watched as the fleet set off. RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone, with RORC Race Officer Steve Cole officiated on the Committee Boat.
Ocean Race legend Bouwe Bekking, skippering VO65 Childhood I, discusses the greater cause they are sailing for
Crews taking part in the 6th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, in association with the International Maxi Association, received a warm welcome to Lanzarote at a reception hosted by the Real Club Náutico de Arrecife.
Founded in 1872, the prestigious yacht club is located at the heart of Lanzarote's capital city. José Juan Calero, CEO of Calero Marinas, which is the family business hosting the fleet once again at Marina Lanzarote, was pleased to welcome back crew who have taken part in the race before, and those visiting the island and marina for the first time:- “Firstly, thank you all on behalf of the Club and Calero Marinas for welcoming on board the sailing school children from the Real Club Náutico de Arrecife. As our future ocean sailors, it was a fantastic experience for them to visit the boats, have a look on board and talk to you about the race.”
The 2019 RORC Transatlantic Race will start from Marina Lanzarote on Saturday 23 November, bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada. Race crews are busy getting themselves and their boats ready for the 3,000nm race across the Atlantic Ocean. RORC Race Officer Steve Cole has been carrying out safety inspections of all of the competing yachts for the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations Category 1 Race.
Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra will be skippered by Andy Lis and a crew of six, all under 30 years of age. Andy is just 27 years old and is the self-styled 'old man of the crew' racing in the 2019 RORC Transatlantic Race. Andy has sailed yachts across the Atlantic numerous times but this will be his debut as a transatlantic race skipper.
With Dutch racing legend Bouwe Bekking as skipper, VO65 Childhood I will compete in the RORC Transatlantic Race for the benefit of the World Childhood Foundation and the 2021 Ocean race as their objective © Childhood I
The sixth edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race is set to feature a huge variety of yachts racing across the Atlantic Ocean with the Royal Ocean Racing Club. One-design VO65s and Maxi yachts have expressed their goal to take line honours and a tilt at the race record. Teams racing optimised performance cruisers will be aiming for class and the overall win under the IRC Rating Rule. Two-Handed teams will add a fascinating dimension to this bucket-list race.
The Wally 100 Dark Shadow is the largest yacht on the entry list and although the 100ft Frers-designed carbon-fibre Maxi has close to 5,000 sq. ft. of sail area, she faces fierce competition for line honours. Dark Shadow's Race Skipper will be Australian Yerin Hobson and the international crew have sailed for the owner in over 30 races, including two previous Transatlantic Races. The team's first objective is to beat their own transatlantic race record of 11 days, 21 hours, 33 minutes.
Several Maxi yachts have expressed their interest to race as well as a number of One-design VO65s, including the Austrian Ocean Racing Project, a young team skippered by Konstantin Kobale. The VO65 Childhood 1 will be skippered by Dutch legend Bouwe Bekking who has sailed in eight round the world races in a career stretching back to 1985. In the last four editions of the Volvo Ocean Race, teams with Bekking as skipper have been on the podium three times. The race record of 10 days 5 hrs 47 mins 11 secs (2018 Pier Luigi Loro Piana's Supermaxi My Song) is under threat from these ocean greyhounds.
The 5th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA), started from Calero Marinas - Marina Lanzarote on Saturday 24 November 2018. Prior to the start of the 3,000 nautical mile race, a full programme of social activities included a welcome reception hosted by the Real Club Náutico de Arrecife, and a gala farewell dinner at the 18th century Arrecife fortress, Castillo de San José. After an initial period of light winds, the fleet enjoyed perfect trade wind conditions for the race.
Overall Winner – Kuka3 (SUI)
Franco Niggeler's Swiss Cookson 50 Kuka3, skippered by Roberto Chuny Bermúdez de Castro, won the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy after overcoming technical issues and a fire on board to post the best IRC corrected time. Franco was presented with the antique silver trophy by Grenadian Minister for Tourism & Civil Aviation, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen, M.P. at a ceremony held at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada.
"This was my first Atlantic crossing and it could not have been better than this," commented Franco Niggeler. "Grenada is a beautiful island with beautiful people and we can't be happier. It is a wonderful race, well organised by RORC, and not forgetting Calero Marinas - Marina Lanzarote. A big thank you to my team.”
Multihull Match Race
Benedikt Clauberg’s First 47.7 Kali, owned by the Swiss Ocean Racing Club and skippered by Corinne Wirth, completed the 5th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, finishing on Thursday 13th December in an elapsed time of 19 days 2 hrs 18 mins and 4 secs.
The six crew, led by Benedikt Clauberg and Corinne Wirth, with Martin Weber, Hans Peter Berger, Jessica Richardson and Kyriakos Spiliopoulos were happy to finally hear the words “Welcome to Grenada!” as they crossed the finish line and headed for the dock at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina.
Marina Manager Charlotte Bonin had the beer on ice and Nikoyan Roberts from the Grenada Tourism Authority greeted the team with a gift basket of Grenadian goods, including their world famous chocolates and highly prized rum.
The RORC Transatlantic Race will start from Lazarote on 9th january 2021
Lanzarote is the easternmost of the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa and part of the province of Las Palmas. The volcanic island has a stunning variety of landscapes including sandy beaches, rocky coastline, mountain ranges and even a desert.