Pata Negra has retired bringing the RORC Transatlantic Race 2016 to an end.
Nemisis, a Swan 45, sailed by James Heald and Ben Harris has crossed the finish line at Quarantine Point, Grenada
Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder's Aragon declared winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race 2016
Challenger crossed the finish line at Quarantine Point at 15h 12m and 37s GMT on 13th December 2016
The spectacular volcanic island of Lanzarote makes an impressive backdrop for the RORC Transatlantic Race and Marina Lanzarote will once again host the start of the Atlantic-bound fleet © RORC/James Mitchell
Start Leg 1 - RORC Transatlantic Race
Marina Lanzarote, Canary Islands to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada
Setting off on an epic Atlantic race on Saturday 25 November from Marina Lanzarote, the 4th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race is the lengthiest race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's offshore calendar. This year the westbound race, hosted by Calero Marinas forms the first leg of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta (AAR) held in celebration of Hamburg-based Norddeutscher Regatta Verein's (NRV) 150th anniversary in 2018 and the 50th year for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS).
The joint jubilee celebration, in partnership with YCCS, originally had a scheduled finish in their British Virgin Islands base, but this has now proved impossible due to the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in the region.
"It is extremely sad news that the recent natural disasters have decimated the Virgin Islands making it unviable to take the race to YCCS on Virgin Gorda, BVIs," explains RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen. "The RORC Committee in consultation with the YCCS and NRV have therefore decided to finish the race in Grenada and we look forward to returning to Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina who have warmly welcomed competitors and our race team for the past three events."
For those competing in the RORC Caribbean 600 - celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018 - the first leg of the AAR acts as a challenging annual feeder race, as well as a great way to race across the Atlantic in company to take part in the Caribbean winter circuit. The Caribbean Sailing Association accentuates the importance of sailors continuing with plans to bring boats to race in the Caribbean regattas this season as it is the best way to help rebuild tourism and the lives of those affected.
The Notice of Race for the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race is now available to download here. This year's race is organised in association with the Yacht Club Costa Smerelda and celebrates their 50th anniversary. The race starts 25th November 2017 in Lanzarote and finishes at the YCCS yacht club in Virgin Gorda. The race also makes up one half of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta, with the second race organised by the RORC and NRV starting in Bermuda on 7th July 2018 and finishing in Hamburg.
The crew of Aragon, winners of the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race. Photo James Mitchell
Aragon Races to Victory
The third edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, in association with the International Maxi Association, proved to be a tough challenge for the competitors taking part in a true ocean race. Highly unsettled weather produced confused seas and at times upwind conditions. The disruption of the normal trade winds produced a real challenge for a highly diverse fleet of yachts, racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club from Marina Lanzarote to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada.
Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder's Marten 72, Aragon was the overall winner of the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race and the winner of IRC Zero. Skipper of the Dutch Maxi, Nicolas Lecarpentier collected the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy at a presentation held in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina.
Aragon had some tough moments during the 14 days racing in the RORC Transatlantic Race as co-owner, Andries Verder explained: “The weather was very challenging and that was the stressful part of the race; we were trying to save every second; this was a transatlantic race and we always had that in our minds. We blew out a few spinnakers, but we managed to keep up our speed and performance and we finished the race with everybody safe and sound. The boat performed very well as expected. A large part of that is excellent planning; without that, small issues can easily damage your chances of winning. We have a good spirit in the team and that friendship, combined with the preparation of a great boat, is a winning combination.”
James Heald and Ben Harris resplendent in dinner jackets having successfully completed the RORC Transatlantic Race 2016. Photo: RORC/Louay Habib
James Heald's Swan 45, Nemesis crossed the finish line of the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race on 15 December at 03 hrs 42 mins 47 secs on Thursday 15 December, winning IRC Two Handed. Despite a brilliant full moon, rain squalls greeted the arrival of Nemesis onto the windward coast line of Grenada. In the dead of night and through driving rain, the Two Handed team, rounded the southern tip of the island and crossed the finish line with their mainsail ripped to shreds, and after over 18 days at sea, the challenge was won.
James Heald and Ben Harris are both from Lymington, UK and battled against adverse weather, extreme fatigue and suffered significant sail damage to their yacht. The British duo were undaunted and arrived in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina dressed to impress in dinner jackets. Two pizzas and a crate of beer arrived from the Victory Bar Restaurant and the dynamic duo told their story dockside as they got stuck into the feast.
Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder's Marten 72, Aragon has been declared the overall winner of the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race and also the winner of IRC Zero. Skipper of the Dutch Maxi, Nicolas Lecarpentier collected the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy at a presentation held in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina and back in Holland, Aragon's owners held a private party where the rest of the crew, family and friends watched the presentation via internet connection.
Aragon had some tough moments during the 14 days racing in the RORC Transatlantic Race as co-owner, Andries Verder explained: “The weather was very challenging and that was the stressful part of the race; we were trying to save every second; this was a transatlantic race and we always had that in our minds. We blew out a few spinnakers, but we managed to keep up our speed and performance and we finished the race with everybody safe and sound. The boat performed very well and as expected. A large part of that is excellent planning; without that, small issues can easily damage your chances of winning. Everything held up perfectly and that is due to very good preparation. We also have a good spirit in the team and that friendship, combined with the preparation of a great boat, is a winning combination. It was wonderful to arrive in Port Louis and receive such a fantastic welcome.”
What an achievement. "We've crossed the Atlantic!" Cheers on the dock as the crew of the Nova Scotia-Based sail training vessel, Challenger complete the RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote to Grenada in 18 days © RORC/Arthur Daniel
Chris Stanmore-Major's Whitbread 60 Challenger crossed the finish line outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina today (13 December) at 15 hours 12 minutes and 37 seconds GMT. Two yachts are still to finish the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race; James Heald and Ben Harris, racing Swan 45, Nemesis have 290 miles to go and Giles Redpath's Lombard 46, Pata Negra has 322 miles to cover to finish the race.
Arriving in time for the RORC Transatlantic Race prizegiving, Challenger is one of the sail racing school yachts owned by Spartan Ocean Racing, based in Nova Scotia, Canada. Skipper Chris Stanmore-Major summed up the aims and aspirations of the company in his last blog at sea, before crossing the finish line in Grenada after 18 days at sea.
“After 3,300Nm we finally have Grenada in sight and the crew are elated. Whilst this has been a race and we have not won, the scale of the challenge we have completed is not lost on us, and as a sail training vessel, we are exceptionally proud of what we have accomplished. People with wildly differing skill levels have come together from all over the world and in just two weeks learned how to operate a boat that 20 years ago was at the cutting edge of performance.
Catherine Pourre, Benoit Hochart and Anna-Maria Renken are highly experienced ocean racers, but the RORC Transatlantic Race first time they had come together as a team © RORC/Arthur Daniel
12 December 1600 GMT - Day 17 Report
Catherine Pourre's Class40, Eärendil crossed the finish line of the RORC Transatlantic Race outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina on 12 December at 13 hours 25 minutes and 02 seconds. Eärendil was nearly a day behind the Class40 winner, Campagne de France. However, Eärendil enjoyed a fast finish into Grenada as the trade winds fully filled in. The three crew on board were skipper, Catherine Pourre, Benoit Hochart and on helm through the finish line was Anna-Maria Renken. All three are highly experienced ocean racers, but this was the first time they had come together as a team.
"Eärendil is a new design from Sam Manuard and is a Mach40 Evolution 3 launched in September 2015. It is a very powerful boat with a lot of volume in the bow, designed for reaching; the chine lifts the bow and it just flies over the waves. The design is also good in medium conditions with a wind angle of 65-115, but it is not so good upwind, especially in light winds. So when we experienced these conditions we were not strong. Also we were did not have a watermaker and we were carrying 180 kilos of water. Even when the wind did come, we had a difficult sea state with waves coming across the boat. So we could not use our spinnaker all of the time. We were using the A5 a lot and to change from that to the spinnaker required 20 minutes, including a time bareheaded, as they both use the same halyard and control lines. We had a good battle with Seconde Chance; they did well going south early on and then we saw them going north around to Barbados to try to catch us up. We decided to go south of Barbados mainly to cover them, which worked very well. Our next race will be the RORC Caribbean 600 and we will probably have five crew for that," comments Catherine Pourre.
Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron's Campagne de France has taken line honours for the first Class40 Division and is the first Two Handed team to complete the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race © RORC/Arthur Daniel
Day 16 - 11 December 1600 GMT - Report
Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron's Class40, Campagne de France finished the RORC Transatlantic Race, outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, on 11 December 2016 at 14 Hours 37 Minutes and 53 Seconds. Campagne de France has taken Line Honours for the first Class40 Division and is the first Two Handed team to complete the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race.
Halvard and Miranda were met dockside by Glynn Thomas and the staff of Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, who presented the team with a basket of Grenadian goods on behalf of Grenada Tourism. RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen and RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott greeted the team and congratulated them on a fine achievement in a tough race.
British Swan 82, Stay Calm, skippered by Kyte Lloyd, finished the RORC Transatlantic Race © RORC/Arthur Daniel
11 December 0000 GMT Day 16 Report - RORC Transatlantic Race
British Swan 82, Stay Calm, skippered by Kyte Lloyd, finished the RORC Transatlantic Race at 19 Hours 02 Minutes and 17 Seconds on 10 December 2016. Stay Calm was the third Maxi to finish the race. The majority British crew included two Volvo Ocean Race winners; Jules Salter and Neal MacDonald. "The fleet was very competitive and the weather was just as difficult to master" commented Kyte Lloyd. "All is well on board and the spirit in the crew never diminished. A big thank you to the RORC for excellent organisation and thanks to Marina Lanzarote and Port Louis, who showed us such amazing hospitality. Unfortunately due to our late arrival, we could not spend time in Grenada. However, we will certainly be back very soon."
Skipper, Olly Cotterell and Team Maverick, Inifiniti 46 having crossed the finish line in Grenada celebrate dockside at Port Louis Marina in the early hours of Saturday Morning © RORC/Arthur Daniel
Infiniti 46, Maverick, skippered by Oliver Cotterell crossed the finish line outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada at 06h 52m 09s on 10th December 2016. The British yacht, with radical side foils is provisionally the winner of IRC Canting Keel and currently placed second overall under IRC for the RORC Transatlantic Race.
Spurred on by superb trade wind conditions, Maverick's pace quickened towards the end of the race hitting boat speeds in excess of 25 knots, eclipsing Mike Slade's 100ft Maxi, Leopard's corrected time by just 35 minutes. However, Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder's Marten 72, Aragon is still leading the race for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy.
Maverick has an international crew from Great Britain, Ireland, France, Belgium and Canada. Skipper Oliver Cotterell born in Bermuda, Sean McCarter from Ireland and navigator Eric Holden from Canada, were all rival skippers in the 12th edition of the Clipper Round the World Race. Eric Holden's team was the winner of the 2013-14 Clipper Race.
Team Aragon completed the RORC Transatlantic Race. A Jubilant crew as they cross the line in Grenada this morning and head to Port Louis Marina for a warm welcome. © RORC/Arthur Daniel
Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder's Marten 72 Aragon crossed the finish line of the RORC Transatlantic Race, outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina at 11h 17m 03s on 9th December 2016. After IRC time correction, the Dutch Maxi is leading the race for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. However, several yachts still racing have the potential to better Aragon's corrected time.
The crew of Aragon are a blend of family, friends and professional sailors and the youngest sailor in the RORC Transatlantic Race, Anna Van Nieuwland was at the helm of Aragon as the team crossed the line.
“Taking Aragon through the finish line was one of the coolest things I have done in my life,” smiled Anna Van Nieuwland. “Over the last two weeks I have learnt a lot of sailing techniques, especially trimming and how to catch a wave when driving, and I have learnt a lot about the crew, which is all men! This has been an amazing opportunity and anyone who has the chance should go for it.”
Aragon at the start of the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race, set to take the lead in IRC Overall © James Mitchell
After nearly two weeks at sea, the teams racing in the RORC Transatlantic Race, have fully settled into the rhythm of ocean racing. The unsettled weather over the past 13 days has exponentially increased the challenge of a true race across the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. However, normal service has finally resumed. 17 knots of north easterly trade winds are hurrying the fleet to the safe confines of Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada. A warm welcome awaits at one of the best marinas in the Caribbean region and the increase in wind speed has increased the chances of lifting the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy, especially for the Dutch Maxi Aragon.
Arco Van Nieuwland & Andries Verder's Marten 72 Aragon is 214 miles from Grenada (as at 8th December 1600 GMT) and expected to be the next arrival. The Dutch Maxi is currently estimated to be leading the fleet after IRC time correction, and is due to finish the RORC Transatlantic Race tomorrow (Friday) morning. Infiniti 46, Maverick, skippered by Oliver Cotterell is 407 miles from the finish and expected to finish on Saturday morning. Swan 82 Stay Calm, has 556 miles to go, and is just ahead of Anatoli Karatchinski's 112ft Baltic Path.
Dockside at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis, Grenada: Mike Slade's Maxi, Leopard 3 secures Monohull Line Honours and the International Maxi Association (IMA) Trophy in the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race © RORC/Arthur Daniel
7 December Day 12 Report
Mike Slade's British Maxi Leopard 3 crossed the finish line outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada at 07h 22m 37s on 7th December 2016 GMT, taking Monohull Line Honours and winning the International Maxi Association (IMA) trophy for the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race. The RORC Transatlantic Trophy will be awarded to the yacht posting the best corrected time under IRC. Leopard 3 has set the bar and must now wait to see if their corrected time can be beaten.
“This is only my fourth transatlantic race since I started ocean racing 27 years ago. In the past I just didn’t have many opportunities,” explains Mike Slade. “Racing across the Atlantic is very special; you are at sea for many days and by the time you have finished you have really gelled together with the crew. In the middle of the Atlantic you are miles away from anybody and you can let the whole damn world get on with itself. We are having fun, racing hard as a team and that is a very nice feeling as it takes you out of your normal self.
240 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.
In her first ocean race, Giovanni Soldini's MOD70, Maserati completes the RORC Transatlantic Race in 7 days, 8 hours, 44 minutes and 23 seconds © RORC/Arthur Daniel
4 December 2016 - 0900 GMT Report
The Italian MOD70, Maserati has finished the RORC Transatlantic Race; Phaedo3 has been declared the winner of the Multihull Trophy and Mike Slade's Maxi, Leopard is on the hunt for the monohull record.
Giovanni Soldini's Maserati crossed the finish line on Saturday afternoon, completing the RORC Transatlantic Race and their first ocean race in the MOD70 in 7 days, 8 hours, 44 minutes and 23 seconds, taking second place in the Multihull division. She is now safely moored in the beautiful confines of Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada after being welcomed by the RORC Race team, Marina Manager Glynn Thomas, his staff and Grenada Tourism on the dock. Phaedo3 skipper, Brian Thompson was also on hand to take Maserati's lines as they arrived and a prize giving ceremony in the Victory Restaurant, Port Louis followed shortly after. Taking the Multihull line honours, Team Phaedo were awarded the Multihull Trophy as winners of the Multihull Class by Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the IMA and Admiral of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
Phaedo3 does it again! A fantastic spice island welcome in Grenada for the team as they complete the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race © RORC/Arthur Daniel
03 December 2016- Day Eight 0900 GMT Report
Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70 Phaedo3 has taken Multihull Line Honours in the RORC Transatlantic Race for the second year running. The American MOD70 completed the course in 6 days 13 hours 39 minutes and 55 seconds. Although the team was outside their race record set last year (5 days 22 hours 46 minutes 03 seconds), Phadeo3 is well ahead of their 2016 rivals, Giovanni Soldini's Italian MOD70 Maserati, which is expected to finish the race later today.
Phaedo3 skipper, Brian Thompson, spoke on arrival in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina.
"Friday evening and we’ve just arrived into Grenada at the finish of the RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote. We’ve sprayed ourselves with champagne, given Pablo (Pete Cumming) a birthday cake and now we are going to settle down for some late dinner in St George’s. It’s great to be here; the tree frogs are singing out, the reggae music is blasting out and we are very happy to be here. We had a great last day in the race with 15-17 knot tradewinds; quite gentle, clear skies and then as we approached Grenada, a beautiful crescent moon and Venus setting in the west in front of us. We arrived three or four hours after sunset and it was a very, very good arrival. There were lots of people to welcome us on the dock.
Day Seven 0900 GMT 2nd December Report
Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70 Phaedo3 is flying towards Grenada's Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina and expected to touch down in about 24 hours. Mike Slade's Maxi 100 Leopard 3 is racing against the clock in an assault on the race record. The IRC Fleet and Class40 Division are getting a savage taste of ocean racing.
Mike Slade's, Leopard 3 charging along at 16 to 20 knots in the RORC Transatlantic Race. Kolja Frase captured this fantastic transatlantic image with a drone as the Maxi closes in on the spice island of Grenada © Leopard3/Kolja Frase
More Articles ...
- Ready for a warm welcome in Grenada
- Calero Marinas - Hosting the RORC Transatlantic Start
- Joy and Pain
- Phaedo3 in the Driving Seat
- Settling into the Rhythm of the Ocean
- Day 3 and 670 Miles of Separation
- MOD70 Disagreement - Day Two
- Ideal Conditions for the Start of the RORC Transatlantic Race
- Follow the Race
- Crew enjoy RORC Transatlantic Race gala dinner in Puerto Calero