Aragon Takes the Lead

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2016 RTR Aragon start JamesMitchell

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.

Leopard tracks its prey

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2016 rtr leopard dockside banner arthur daniel

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.

Trade Winds and Flying Fish

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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.

Grenadian Welcome for Maserati

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2016 rtr Maserati crossing the finish ArthurDanielIn 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 Victorious in Grenada

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2016 rtr phaedo crew banner shot Arthur DanielPhaedo3 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.

Phaedo3 Prepares to Land

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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.

2016 rtr Leopard 01dec drone close

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

Ready for a warm welcome in Grenada

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RORC RTR Trophies

The Silverware awaiting the top teams at Port Louis Marina, Grenada. Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70, Phaedo3 was the first boat to arrive and set the multihull race record of 5 days 22 hours 46 minutes 03 seconds

“Competitors in the RORC Transatlantic Race fleet can expect a ‘hero’s welcome’ on arrival in Grenada”, says Glynn Thomas, General Manager of Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina whose team is looking forward to welcoming the fleet for the third consecutive year:

“The RORC Transatlantic is a very special race that appeals to die-hard sailors not afraid of a challenge. It’s great to have them in the marina and listen to their many stories over a glass of rum or two after their epic journey. I’m looking forward to welcoming new competitors, as well as familiar faces returning.’”

Calero Marinas - Hosting the RORC Transatlantic Start

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Calero Marinas - Lanzarote once again hosted the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race for 2016. Their hospitality, along with neighbouring Real Club Náutico Arrecife, was greatly welcomed by the competitors and crew.

The future of sailing was also inspired by the competitors, with the junior members of Real Club Náutico Arrecife receiving a guided tour of some of the boats.

Joy and Pain

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2016 RTR phaedo leaving lanzarote JamesMitchellPhaedo3 at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race © RORC/James Mitchell

Day Six 0900 GMT 1st December Report

Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70 Phaedo3 has less than 1,000 miles to go to Camper & Nicholson's Port Louis Marina, Grenada. In the IRC fleet, Mike Slade's Maxi, Leopard 3 is ahead on the water and estimated to be leading the race after IRC time correction for the RORC Transatlantic Trophy. Behind the frontrunners, much of the fleet have encountered light winds and the future looks pretty grim with headwinds forecast.

MOD70 Phaedo3 has hardly put a foot wrong since leaving Marina Lanzarote last Saturday (26 November). With perfect timing, Phaedo3 has blasted south connecting with another weather system to provide yet more high speed adrenalin downwind sailing. Listen to Brian Thompson’s daily take on the race HERE. https://soundcloud.com/user-403153421

Phaedo3 in the Driving Seat

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2016 rtr Leopard3 from the air Kiolja FraseAhead of the IRC pack,but still time to try out the drone: Captured at sunrise mid-Atlantic on Mike Slade's Maxi, Leopard 3 © Leopard3/by on board videographer Kolja Frase

RORC Transatlantic Race Day 5- 30 November 0900 (GMT) Report

On Day 5 of the RORC Transatlantic Race, Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3 is approaching the halfway point in the race, well ahead of their Italian rivals, MOD70 Maserati, skippered by Giovanni Soldini. Mike Slade's Maxi ,Leopard 3 has turned south, hoping to cross a pressure ridge to keep up their quest for the RORC Transatlantic Race Record. Arco Van Nieuwland & Andries Verder's Dutch Maxi Aragon continues to lead the IRC fleet racing for the overall win.

In the MOD70 duel, Phaedo3, skippered by Brian Thompson has consolidated their advantage over Giovanni Soldini's Maserati. Over the last 24 hours, Phaedo3 climbed north, maintaining a boat speed consistently well over 20 knots on port gybe before executing a move onto starboard in between Maserati and the finish. Initially, Maserati closed the gap as Phaedo3 negotiated the pressure ridge in front of them, but once they punched through, the team extended their advantage, pulling away at twice the boat speed of Maserati. This morning Phaedo3 has a 220 mile lead and has sailed a massive 280 additional miles to achieve it.

Settling into the Rhythm of the Ocean

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2016 rtr nemesis at start jamesMitchellTwo boats are racing Two Handed in the RORC Transatlantic Race, Campagne de France and James Heald and Ben Harris on British Swan 45, Nemesis - photo RORC/James Mitchell

RORC Transatlantic Race – 1000(GMT) Report Day 4

Mike Slade’s Maxi, Leopard 3 continues to match the pace of Giovanni Soldini’s MOD70, Maserati while they continue heading upwind working their way into the faster conditions in the pressure system ahead. Aragon, Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verde's Dutch Marten 72 maintains the lead under IRC and is revelling in the early conditions in the race; staying in front of the significantly bigger Baltic 112, Path and Swan 82, Stay Calm, while Infiniti 46, Maverick at half the size continues to make great progress towards the front of the fleet.

In IRC One the Two Handed Swan 45, Nemesis, of James Heald and Ben Harris are in a fabulous position; the conditions early in the race suiting the pair perfectly and they are still snapping at the heels of Nova Scotia-based Challenger, the fully crewed Volvo 60 of Spartan Ocean Racing. James and Ben will be settling into the watch system which sees them rotating 2 hours on and 2 hours off through the night, but James explained before the start of the race that most of the day both he and Ben tend to be up tweaking the boat keeping it going as fast as possible as well as keeping up with the maintenance and checks: “We sailed the boat from the Solent to Lanzarote non-stop in preparation for the race; a great way to get to know the boat and each other. The watch system worked and we complemented each other very well,” explained James. “I like to steer on my watch, where Ben will use the autohelm more and be free to trim, but it is all hands on deck for any manoeuvres or sail changes.”