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
Two record-breaking trimarans went head-to-head; Giovanni Soldini's Maserati Multi70 (ITA) and Peter Cunningham's MOD70 PowerPlay (CAY). The high-speed match race was only decided in the last few miles. After an intense battle across the Atlantic to Grenada, Maserati took the gun and Multihull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 6 days, 18 hours, 54 minutes and 34 seconds.
Peter Cunningham's MOD70 PowerPlay, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, and with RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen among the crew, was less than 46 minutes behind Maserati and after MOCRA time correction took the class win.
“We are happy as it was a very, very nice race,” commented Maserati Multi 70’s Giovanni Soldini dockside in Grenada. “It was very tight and just fantastic to be with PowerPlay in the ocean for so many days, and so close together. It was really exciting for us. We learnt a lot about our boat and also from PowerPlay. In the beginning they were racing much deeper than us. We studied their strategy and it was really interesting.”
Monohull Line Honours & Race Record – My Song (ITA)
Italian Supermaxi My Song finished the 2018 RORC Transatlantic Race on Tuesday 04 December 2018 taking Monohull Line Honours. The Baltic 130 owned by Pier Luigi Loro Piana, a member of the International Maxi Association (IMA), also set a new Monohull Race Record after completing the race in an elapsed time of 10 days 5 hrs 47 mins 11 secs, shaving 1hr 19mins 48 secs off the previous monohull race record set in the 2015 race by Jean-Paul Riviere's French Finot-Conq 100, Nomad IV.
RORC Race Officer Steve Cole presented Pier Luigi Loro Piana with the magnificent International Maxi Association Transatlantic Trophy for Monohull Line Honours and congratulated the team for setting a new race record.
"I feel very happy to come to Grenada, but it is too close to Lanzarote! We were enjoying crossing the Atlantic so much and racing My Song at 20 knots was amazing. I am very happy," commented Pier Luigi Loro Piana. "A little bit of rain at the end was fine, but we hope Grenada will show us some more sunshine." Pier Luigi had a message for his fellow members of the IMA: "They have to continue cruising and racing if they want to enjoy sailing."
Class40 Win - Eärendil (FRA)
Catherine Pourre's Class40 Eärendil finished the race on Saturday 08 December taking Class40 Line Honours. This was Eärendil's second RORC Transatlantic Race after coming second in the 2016 race, so this was a sweet victory for the French skipper.
"The conditions this year were much easier than in 2016 because the wind was much more stable and we had very few squalls," commented Pourre. "We had some good wind to test the modifications to Eärendil. Whilst we had problems with the new rudder system and also electronic issues, the boat is faster, which was our main goal. Racing with Gery (Atkins) and Pietro (Luciana) was superb; they are both easy-going characters, but they know how to push a boat hard. We saw 20-25 knots of wind for long periods, so we were really flying.”
Henrik Bergesen's Norwegian Class40 Hydra, skippered by Tristan Kinloch, finished the RORC Transatlantic Race on Sunday, 09 December in an elapsed time of 15 days 10 hrs 2 mins 23 secs. Hydra was runner-up in the Class40 Division and was very much in contention until a rudder problem forced the team to make a pit stop in the Cape Verde Islands.
Stephane Bry's Sirius completed the podium for the Class40 Division, finishing in an elapsed time of 16 days 08 hrs 33 mins and 26 secs. French Canadian Stephane Bry is no stranger to Grenada and he was delighted to return having finished the race: “Arriving in Grenada just before sunset was really cool and I have great memories of my stay here last time. My family will be joining me here for Christmas.”
Smallest Boat, Second Overall under IRC – Black Sheep (GBR)
Trevor Middleton's British Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep, skippered by Jake Carter, may have been the smallest yacht in the race, but after IRC time correction Black Sheep was runner-up to Kuka3. Black Sheep finished the race on the 11 December in just under 17 days. For much of the race, Black Sheep had a terrific battle with the Finnish Xp-44 Xtra Staerk, as revealed in their blog: “As I write this, Xtra Straerk is within visual range, overhauling us to windward. Their symmetric kite affording them deeper running angles to boot. With this in mind we know that this is no time to take our eyes off the ball, our foot off the accelerator, or our hands off the kite sheets.”
In the last 24 hours of the race, Black Sheep made a crucial move to sail north of Barbados to get a fast reaching angle into Grenada. As the wind went right, Black Sheep moved ahead of Xtra Staerk. “We had a good run and we are pleased with the boat,” commented Trevor Middleton. “To get second under IRC is fantastic; we are pleased with that. We had a few dramas on board, especially putting a 10ft rip in the A2 spinnaker earlier in the race. It took the lads many hours to stitch it back together and there was a bit of tension when we re-hoisted it, but the repair held which was great.”
Less than two hours behind Black Sheep after 17 days of racing was Arto Linnervuo's Finnish Xp-44 Xtra Staerk. The all-Finnish team is on a mission to promote offshore sailing in Finland.
“Our team is very passionate and determined to do what we want to achieve together,” commented Arto Linnervuo. “We are very tight; we focus on our own roles but we work together and help each other when it is needed. The technique of sailing is always the same, but the seas are different. The Atlantic Ocean is very different from the Baltic Sea.”
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.
"It was a fantastic crossing, actually very smooth with only one squally night and just a small amount of rain - very pleasant. I would definitely recommend this race and hope to be a back." said Corinne Wirth
"A pure spicy welcome to Grenada," commented Grenadian Minister Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen at the Prize Giving in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. "Thank you to Eddie Warden Owen and his RORC team and the Camper & Nicholson team for giving all the assistance they can. On behalf of the Government and people of Grenada, it is an honour to welcome you with our warmth, our friendly smiles, and we encourage you all to spread the word around about your experience. Thank you for coming and God Bless."
“Welcome to Grenada!” are the first words uttered to every crew after the RORC Transatlantic Race. Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina provided centre stage for the arrivals on their superyacht dock, and Marina Manager Charlotte Bonin kept the beer on ice until the boats arrive. Nikoyan Roberts, Manager of Nautical Development for the Grenada Tourism Authority also greeted every boat with a gift basket of Grenadian goods, including their world famous chocolates and highly prized rum.
Virtual Regatta Winner:
Over 60,767 players took part in the virtual race, with the French boat Ranger_J5_BSP taking a brilliant victory, winning by just 2 seconds on the finish line, over M63-EZ!
The 2019 RORC Transatlantic Race starts on Saturday 23rd November 2019.
Photographs from the race can be found here: http://gallery.rorc.org/v/2018/rorc-transatlantic-race/
Updates, photos and video on: https://www.facebook.com/RoyalOceanRacingClub/
Videos: YouTube RORC Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaDY-bl-fbDmzNK2gyFmATU6Qx6Kds9yx