Spinnakers at the Ready: Day Two - Morning Report

on . Posted in 2014 Race Updates

Derek Hatfield's Volvo 60, Spirit of Adventure. Photo: Puerto Calero/James Mitchell

The inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA), started on Sunday 30th November 1000 UTC from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, Canary Islands bound for Grenada, West Indies, 2,995 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

After a competitive start the fleet have been battling through the first night to negotiate the fastest passage through the Canary Islands and into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The entire fleet chose the northerly route through the channel between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura and once again north of Tenerife. The northerly route puts the fleet nearer the fresh breeze coming from the north rather than south where an area of little wind has developed. The rhumb line goes straight through Tenerife but the highest point, Mount Teide, has an elevation of 3,718 m (12,198ft), which would give a significant wind shadow to any yachts that ventured south.

Rainbow Heralds RORC Transatlantic Race

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Rainbow Heralds RORC Transatlantic Race Start. Photo: RORC/James Mitchell

After two delays to the start due to horrendous weather conditions, the RORC Transatlantic Race in association with the International Maxi Association started from Puerto Calero Marina at 1000 UTC, Sunday 30th November.

It was third time lucky as the RORC fleet departed Puerto Calero Marina, Lanzarote bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada West Indies, 3000 miles away across the Atlantic Ocean. Rain squalls had been disturbing the air in the early hours of the morning, but virtually nothing would have prevented the eager fleet to set off on the inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race. Sunshine and a gentle northerly breeze prevailed for the start - the only abnormal weather feature was a perfect double rainbow, pointing the way to the turning mark off Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife - the only mark of the course before the fleet would make landfall in Grenada.

Newsflash: Second postponement announced

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Newsflash: Second postponement announced

Squalls, registering up to 60 knots(!), have been sweeping through Puerto Calero Marina. Credit: RORC/Louay Habib1300 UTC Saturday 29th November - The start of the RORC Transatlantic Race has been further delayed due to adverse weather conditions. A further amendment to the Sailing Instructions was posted by the Race Committee delaying the scheduled start to 1000 UTC Sunday 30th November.

The Race Committee made the decision to postpone the start because the forecasted weather conditions for a decrease in wind as the day progressed has not materialised. In fact the wind has increased during the day to a steady 35+ knots with gusts in excess of 40 knots (and higher!) and the committee were concerned at the ability to lay a start line in the deep water off Puerto Calero Marina as well as the competitors’ ability to manoeuvre safely in the confines of the marina.

Newsflash: Start delayed and course changed

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RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott, conducts the Skippers Briefing. Credit: RORC/James MitchellFriday 28th November - As predicted, a low pressure system arrived in Lanzarote in the early hours of this morning, bringing strong westerly winds of over 30 knots gusting up to 45 knots. The sea state in the region has been building all day. The forecast for tomorrow morning is much the same, however may abate by the afternoon.

The Skippers' Briefing for the RORC Transatlantic Race took place in the Cetacean Museum, Puerto Calero Marina and the fully focused audience was eager to hear the decision by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in relation to tomorrow's scheduled start of the RORC Transatlantic Race.

RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott has been discussing the weather situation with competitors and the RORC Race Committee over the last few days and after careful consultation and analysis of the weather situation, tomorrow's start will be delayed and the course will be altered.

The RORC Transatlantic Race is now scheduled to start Saturday 29th November 1500 UTC and the new course will be to leave Fuerteventura to Starboard and head straight out to the Atlantic, rather than race around The Canary Islands.