Dockside interviews with Jason Carroll's Argo & Erik Maris' Zoulou in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina Grenada.
Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) crossed the finish line outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada on Saturday 13th January 2024 to take Multihull Line Honours in the 10th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race in 6 Days, 10 Hours, 34 Mins and 30 Secs.
Jason Carroll has been racing MOD70 Argo for about six years with much the same team, and has won prestigious races such as the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Transpac, but this is the first time that his MOD70 Argo has taken Multihull Line Honours for the RORC Transatlantic Race. Argo last competed in the RORC Transatlantic Race in 2022, and this year Argo was over 10 hours quicker.
“Two years ago we chose a northern route; it was very windy for the first half and pretty light for the second half. This year we went south, but we still did about the same amount of miles as in 2022. The difference was we had pretty consistent wind this year and that made the difference,” commented Jason Carroll.
“Sailing a MOD70 is very difficult to replicate in any other setting; it is a really exhilarating experience to travel that fast across the water, so getting to do that for 3,000 miles across the Atlantic is a thrill the whole time. When you get up on the foils, we call it sixth gear, you are humming along and the challenge is how long can you stay in that sixth gear.
“It is very important to have a close rapport among the crew; we have a lot of dependency on each other for our own personal safety. To finish the race everyone has to perform at 100%. Racing a MOD70 is very close quarters for six days and you have got to work together and see through the tough times. During off-watch time we have a lot of fun together, catching up and cracking jokes. The close friendship we share is very important,” concluded Carroll.
Argo crew: Jason Carroll, Chad Corning, Pete Cumming, Charlie Ogletree, Alister Richardson, Brian Thompson. © Arthur Daniel/RORC
Argo Project Manager Chad Corning is an Argonaut ‘born and bred’ and commented dockside in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina: “We are delighted to have won the RORC Transatlantic Race. It was tough mentally and physically at times; we had some sickness on board and the last two days were really hard in conditions we had not seen before, so we had to learn how to mode the boat and keep things safe on board.”
Chad explains why Argo has been developed with T-Foil rudders and C-Foil daggerboards. “When we flipped the boat over in Antigua, the first motivation for the foils was safety, not necessarily speed. Argo now sails a lot flatter with more stability, which means we have better control over the boat through sea state. This means we can sail Argo harder and faster with safety.”
Erik Maris' MOD70 Zoulou © Soren Weigand
Erik Maris’ MOD70 Zoulou (FRA) was second to Argo finishing the RORC Transatlantic Race.
“Racing across the Atlantic in Zoulou is incredible and unique, especially now we have foils on the boat; it is a dream race for me,” commented Erik Maris. “The team on board Zoulou is all important; we know and trust each other and in the middle of the Atlantic you have to have that understanding. We have raced against Argo in other classes, like the GC32. We are good friends but we want to beat them. It is not easy, but what did JFK say? ‘We race against them because it is hard’ - and the same applies here.”
Zoulou Navigator Ned Collier Wakefield ‘came with the boat’ having raced the MOD70 for the two previous owners; Peter Cunningham as PowerPlay, and Tony Lawson as Concise 10.
“Zoulou had a significant upgrade just before the RORC Transatlantic Race, including new foils and T-rudders fitted, but we had zero training before the race in this new configuration,” commented Ned. “The race was our playground to get to know these new foils, so it has been a steep learning curve. We definitely know more now; the boat’s quicker and skates around more, but it is much wetter on deck, especially for the driver with spray off the windward float. We still have a lot to learn and we hope to continue that progression for the RORC Caribbean 600. We are defending our win from last year, which was just 11 seconds, so bring it on!”
Zoulou crew: Erik Maris, Ned Collier Wakefield, Bruno Jeanjean, Bruno Mourniac, Thierry Fouchier, Thomas Le Breton.
Alexia Barrier’s MOD70 Limosa - The Famous Project (FRA) is expected to finish third in the RORC Transatlantic Race on Monday 15th of January.