Tuesday blog from Leopard GBR1R

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

2016 rtr leopard drone


As EC and GFS were fighting for the right course like two scottish children for the last chocolate bar, the lovely food of the even more lovely chef stuffed some sense into the 19 men on board and they decided to follow THE NAVIGATORS experienced advice regarding navigation. Leopard headed on a lonely path to the north as all the other sailed to the south of las Palmas. Speaking in the tongue familiar to the owner Mike Slade this investment into a longer route seems to be paying dividends as Leopard is facing a decent forecast enabling an almost straight downwind course to Grenada from 24h on. Our media man Kolja proved himself capable of dealing with high pressure and to be more than worthy with his high risk strategy of a sunrise drone flight.

2016 rtr leopard crew onboard

Campagne de France FRA147 Tuesday Morning

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Campagne de France is ghosting along in wind speed of 1 to 5 knots, occasionally gusting 7 kts, wind direction shifting around by 60 degrees. Dark moonless night and not a soul in sight. It's quite peaceful, dry and not cold. Path (Baltic 112) occasionally appears on AIS some 17 miles north of us. I'm not sure what life is like on board for them, but I'm fairly certain they didn't dine on freeze-dried food straight out of the packaging, and there are probably several people on watch.

After the rather busy start to the race with multiple sail changes and manoeuvres to get through and away from the Canaries and various evil clouds, we are now catching up on food and sleep. At this speed, it's going to be a long race!

Miranda - Campagne de France

Day 3 Update from Challenger GBR301

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Its been an interesting start to the RORC Transat this year- marks to round- (or nearly miss in our case), exclusion zones to circumvent,volcanic mountains on the horizon at dawn and squalls everywhere that really packed a punch. It's been a lot for the new crew of Challenger to process on top of having to get to grips with their steed for this race- but they are having fun and throwing themselves at the task with huge energy.

Our departure from the Canaries is the start of an exciting adventure for our guest crew, for many this is their first Transat and so it has been long anticipated and will be long remembered- however our departure comes with a little sadness after enjoying the fantastic hospitality we received in Lanzarote from J.J Callero and the staff at Marina Lanzarote in Arrecife.

Our first few days at sea have been an extension of the training we began in Lanzarote- getting to know the boat, getting used to the watch system, preparing food, watch keeping, helming and trimming.  Already we have shared much knowledge on sailing these bigger boats- we have been on headsails going upwind, on the Code Zero cutting across dead zones and are now on reaching sails working in very light winds to keep with our 'pace boat' on this outward leg- 'Maverick' (DSS Infiniti 46) currently 50 miles ahead of us.  

Although Maverick is out of our class literally and philosophically- being a very new design incorporating DSS and a canting keel AND being crewed as she is by professionals AND weighing less than half of Challenger it makes good sport for us to try to pit ourselves against them - false hope? Well maybe but it really wouldn't be the same if the greyhound was faster than the bunny right? We can only hope that once this new crew has bedded a little the weather gives us what we really need 20-25 knts anywhere other than on the nose and then Challenger could start to stretch her legs a little- then maybe we could give the bunny a scare.

Chris Stanmore-Major

Crew Member on GBR4945R Maverick

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Good morning sports fans!

Team Maverick are well underway in this years RORC Transatlantic race. To be totally honest, it wasn't the start we were looking for with almost 24hrs upwind. Some of the bigger yachts are definitely better suited to punching through short, steep seas than our 5.5 tonne flyer.

At lunchtime today, we finally hoisted the first kite of the race and have been sitting comfortably between 12-17 kts (in similar wind speed) making good use of our DSS foil.

It's hard to complain; blasting into the sunset, impressive volcanic-backdrop of La Gomera to port and a delicious bag of Expeditions finest freeze-dried Spaghetti Bolognaise......

(big gap in typing...... as Sean gets called on-deck)

Sorry about that. As I was writing this I must have jinxed us as the wind shadow reached out from La Palma to grab us. We are all good after some quick crew work we are back in the gradient wind and making good boat speeds.

Anyway I have been up now for three watches so am going to sign off.

PS Can someone tell me how much Ireland beat Australia by?

Sean McCarter out...

Skipper on Maverick GBR4945R

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Good Morning Team Maverick Fans!

Day 3 08:40 UTC

Firstly let me apologies that this is the first time we are checking in. As you will gather from this blog the race has been reasonably challenging thus far.

Next we would like to send our love to Nikki Curwen who had to step off the boat at the last minute for medical reasons. She put in a huge amount of work shoreside to make this journey possible and we are all thinking of her.

Our start was good. We hit the line soon after the gun with our GS (Genoa Staysail) and JT (Jib top) we did think it strange that everyone else had elected for a J1. Things were to become a little clearer. Most of the fleet were pushing inshore... It soon became apparent why, there was a mark inshore off Puerto Del Carmen. Whoops somehow we missed this in our planning... Thus having sailed lower than the rest of the fleet we had given them all a lot of time on the course and we made the long tack inshore to round the mark.

Mistakes happen its how you deal with them that counts. As a team we focused on working our way back through the fleet. Luckily the mistake was realised early enough so that the consequences were not too bad. We rounded the mark just after Pata Negra and soon were working our way back toward the head of the fleet.

As we left the lea of Lanzarote we changed to a J2 and full main combination for what would be a 200nm beat upwind. This was NOT in the brochure. This is the toughest point of sail for a crew just putting to sea and there were one or two who were suffering the effects of the green monster but pushing through.

Anyone who knows the yacht also knows that this is our least effective point of sail in terms of rating. We have a strong rating but a small waterline so upwind into a short sharp chop does not suit us at all. However as I write this our navigator Eric is happy with our position in the fleet and is confident we will see more of “our” conditions.

Another unexpected feature has been the squalls. I think it is fair to say that this race is not occurring in a “traditional” Atlantic weather pattern. Usually you get at least a few after leaving before you need to worry about squalls. We we have been getting them from day 1!

Usually I am used to having a RADAR. This is a very useful tool for plotting the movement of squalls and it gives you an idea of their size and potential intensity. Unfortunately as is the case of many yachts this size we do not have it so we rely on the Mark 1 eyeball. This is made all the more tricky at night as there will not be a good moon for this race.

Anyway we have been hit by numerous squalls. We have seen 36 kts of wind in the strongest what we call “givers” and 0 kts what we call “takers”. We have sat wallowing after one but went foiling at 17 kts during another., you really never can tell! One thing is for sure though, squalls mean crew work and as a result we have used nearly every sail in our wardrobe already! The crew have been working really hard and I am certain I can count on that continuing.

Anyway I am due on watch. The crew are well and moral is good. We are currently in great conditions making good progress under our M0. We expect the wind to ease over the course of the morning as we push westwards.

“A climb to the top of a mountain no matter how large starts with the decision to take the first step”

Olly out...

Crew member on FRA147 Campagne De France

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

A translation is available further down:

Bonjour de Campagne de France

Enfin quelques minutes pour icrire.

Le moins que l'on puisse dire est que le dipart et les premihres 48 heurs

de cette RORC Transatlantic furent assez intenses.

Dij`, commencer une transat "thioriquement" de portant par 24 heures de

prhs soutenu ` tirer des bords, ce n'est pas banal.

Il faut dire que partir de Lanzarote et laisser Gran Canaria et Tenerife `

babord (sur notre gauche), quand le vent est Ouest- Nord Ouest, c'est dij`

ne pas choisir la solution de faciliti dhs le dipart. C'est un peu la

diffirence entre la course et la croisihre : pourquoi faire simple quand

on peut faire compliqui, et il n'y a pas ` se forcer l'imagination pour

trouver quelque chose pour rendre la vie du Marin encore un peu plus

inconfortable, histoire de se mettre dans l'ambiance dhs le dipart.

Bref, on a fait comme privu, c'est ` dire que l'on est aller chercher le

nord de Tenerife ` peaux de phoque. Par contre, pour la descente et la

glisse facile, ce n'itait pas pour tout de suite. En effet, le systhme

mitio est dij` en lui-mjme "complexe", mais si en plus on met en travers

du chemin des isles montagnueses trhs hautes, il ne faut pas s'itonner

ensuite que les nuages ne savent plus oy aller. Quand je dis des isles

trhs hautes, ce n'est pas pour faire un effet d'exagiration. Le pic du

Teide culmine quand mjme ` 3718 mhtres sur l'isle de Tenerife! Ce n'est

pas rien pour une isle qui ne fait mjme pas la taille de la moitii du


Donc, quand les nuages et les grains trouvent ga sur leur passage, ils ne

savent pas trop quoi faire. Demi tour, histoire de buter contre ceux qui

arrrivent et ajouter un peu de confusion, ou bien le plus souvent, dipitis

par un tel obstacle sur leur chemin, le suicide est la solution finale

retenue, mais alors en essayant de faire le plus de digats possibles

alentour et de rajouter de la confusion ` la confusion. Les cumulus et

autres nuages, avec tous des noms latins pour faire savant, se

transforment en monstropluviusventus et dessous il fait assez vilain.

Pour nous, pauvres marins jouets des flots coincis la-dessous, ga veut

dire un vent variable en direction et oscillant entre 4 ` 28 noeuds en

quelques secondes, ou mjme des fois pas de vent du tout. Donc, pour

arriver ` s'extirper de ces isles dans de telles conditions, autant dire

que c'est du labeur, de la patience... et un brin de philosophie quand on

est coinci sous un nuage pour essayer de ne pas penser que nous sommes les

seuls ` galirer sous un critin de nuage pendant que les autres sont sur la

route directe ` fond la caisse.

Bref, ` ce jeu d'idiots, Campagne de France s'en est pas trop mal sorti

par rapport ` la concurrence, ` part qu'on s'est mis un peu dans le rouge

avec pas de dodo. Mais maintenant le rythme s'organise un peu et nous

taillons notre route, pas trhs droite mais quand mjme plus ou moins vers

l'Ouest, ce qui est un bon dibut quand on veut aller de l'autre ctti de


A bienttt

Campagne de France - 27040N / 20006W - tempirature extirieure 250

(histoire de vous dire qu'on pense bien ` vous...)

Hello from Campagne de France

Finally, a few minutes to write.

The least that can be said is that the Start and first 48 hours of this RORC Transatlantic race were quite intense.

Already, starting a ‘transat’ "theoretically" downwind with a 24-hour-long sustained close haul, tacking, is not trivial.

It must be said that starting from Lanzarote and leaving Gran Canaria and Tenerife to port (on our left), when the wind is West-North West is already not choosing the easy solution from the start. It’s the difference between racing and cruising: why make it simple when you can make it complicated! and you do not have to stretch your imagination to find something to make the life of the sailor even more uncomfortable, nothing like putting you in the right ambiance from the start!

In short, we did as planned, that is we headed-off for the North of Tenerife in our foul weather gear. On the other hand, for the descent and the easy glide it was not for the immediate! Indeed, the weather system is itself "complex", but if in addition one puts very high mountainous islands across the course, it’s not surprising that the clouds don’t know where to go. When I say ‘very high islands’, it’s not an exaggeration. The Teide peak on the island of Tenerife! is 3,718 metres high, not insignificant on an island that is not even half the size of Cotentin.

So when clouds and the gradient winds find the mountains in their path, they don’t quite know what to do: Half turn and butt-up against those coming the other way and add a little confusion or, in the majority of cases, against such an obstacle, suicide is the final solution retained. On the other hand, they can accelerate, doing as much damage as is possible, adding to the confusion. The cumulus clouds and other clouds, with all Latin names for the scientists, create enormous downdrafts and under them it’s rather nasty.

For us, poor amateur sailors, at the mercy of the wind, stuck underneath, it means a variable wind direction, oscillating between 4 to 28 knots in a few seconds or even, sometimes, no wind at all. So to drag oneself out of these islands under such conditions, one might as well say that it is hard work, needing patience ... and a bit of philosophy when one is stuck underneath to try not to think that we are the only ones to have a hard time under an idiot cloud, whilst the others have found the direct route away from there.

In brief, in this game of idiots, Campaign of France has not done too badly in respect of the competition, except that we put ourselves in the red a little, and had no sleep. But now we have a rhythm and are on track, not very straight but still more or less towards the West, which is a good start when we want to go to the other side of the Atlantic.

See you soon

Campagne de France - 27 ° 40N / 20 ° 06W - outside temperature 25 ° (just to tell you that we’re thinking well of you ...)

With many thanks to Mike Edwards- Labelle for the translation

Campagne de France - Sunday 27th November 2016 19:27 GMT

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

2016 RTR Campagne de France sunday sunset

Last email from phone if I can get it to connect. We escaped relatively unscathed from the last squallmonster which then parked itself against the mountains of Tenerife, swallowing everything behind.
Now sailing between La Palma and Gomera, and hope the wind shadow of the former doesn't eat Campagne de France.


Campagne de France - Sunday 27th November 2016 06:52 GMT

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Almost dawn, a long night of slamming upwind (Class40 hell). At least we don't have to sit on the rail hiking out... Wind going from 10 to 20+ knots, occasional short squalls. Two tacks to avoid the forbidden traffic separation schemes (there are a few ships around but not in the TSS) and Tenerife. Complicated weather and no trade winds in sight. So we shall read the tea leaves. A little hard to keep tea in the mug with all this bouncing around! Campagne de France somewhere north of Tenerife

Bon Chance - FRA26 Sensation & FRA140 Sensation - Seconde Chance

on . Posted in 2016 Blogs

Cap West, charter company (racing and cruising boats) and offshore sailing practise on Class40, is entering two Class40 FRA26 - SENSATION CLASS 40 and FRA140 - SENSATION CLASS 40 - SECONDE CHANCE on the third edition of the RORC Transatlantic race.
FRA 26 was on the first edition two yaers ago with Class 40 and figaro solo sailor, Marc LEPESQUEUX as skipper and customers crew and crossed the line in Grenada before a Volvo 60.
On saturday, Marc won't be there but would like to be! Kai WEEKS, from sweden, will be skipper of FRA26 - SENSATION CLASS 40 will with an amator crew : Thierry, Arnaud, loic, Philippe & Samir.
The second Class 40', FRA140 - SENSATION CLASS 40 - SECONDE CHANCE, Marc's new one who lost its' keal the first night of the 2014 Route du RHUM solo handed race, will be managed by Laurent PELLECUER (15 entries on the solo handed Figaro race...). He was Marc's co-skipper on the Normandy Channel race (1000 milles from Normandy round Fastnet race and Tuskar rock) in last september and the finished 5th over 27 Class 40'. His crew, chartered the boat. Patrick, Didier, Philippe, Pierre and Frederic were very exited to cross atlantic with trade winds. But no trade winds for the beginnig of this RORC transatlantic race.
After the race, the Jumbo 40, FRA26, helmed by Kai, will sail back to Europe from St Maarten (start January 07) back to Normandy with a stop in Azores. A fast and tough sailing that Kai and the Jumbo 40 did also with customers, last winter.
The new and powerful Sabrosa 40 FRA140 - SENSATION CLASS 40 will be in Antigua for the Caribbean RORC 600 expecting well instaled trade winds. Marc will be skipper and will cross back to Normandy just after the RORC 600 (start February 26th) from Antigua.
After winning the Cowes Cherbourg race in Class 40, Marc would like to sail well in 2017 RORC races. Fastnet Race, Myth of Malham, Cowes Dinard, Cowes Cherbourg, Morgan Race are part of SENSATION CLASS 40' porgramme .. That are fast and furious sailing experiences for customer's.