Pro-am racing in the RORC Transatlantic Race |Experience is the Victory

After two weeks of close competition in the RORC Transatlantic Race, three former round the world racing yachts, crewed by Pro-Am teams, enjoyed a thrilling finish to the 3000 mile race across the Atlantic Ocean. All three boats were racing in IRC Super Zero, which was won by the Farr 100 Leopard 3.

First to finish of the Pro-Am trio in an elapsed time of 12 Days 6 Hrs 0 Mins and 38 Secs was Johannes Schwarz’s Farr 70 Ocean Breeze (AUT). Second over the line was the Farr 65 Sisi (AUT) skippered by Oliver Kobale in an elapsed time of 12 Days 16 Hrs 45 Mins and 14 Secs. RP70 Green Dragon (SUI), skippered by  Benedikt Clauberg, was less than an hour behind Sisi in an elapsed time of 12 Days 17 Hrs 24 Mins and 36 Secs.

VO65 Sisi © James Mitchell/RORC

After IRC time correction the winner of the three Pro-Am teams was determined by a very slim margin after a two-week battle across the Atlantic Ocean. Farr 65 Sisi corrected out to score the best time by just one hour 24 minutes and six seconds from Farr 70 Ocean Breeze. RP70 Green Dragon was third.

Sisi Skipper Oliver Kobale © Arthur Daniel/RORC

“Our goal on Sisi is always to go fast,” commented Oliver Kobale, who at 24 years old is the youngest skipper in the 2024 RORC Transatlantic Race. “For this race, our approach was a little bit more laid back because we had an amateur crew on board and safety and control is a premier goal. This was a similar situation for the two Volvo 70s, so essentially we could all compete with the same overall goals. We nearly got ahead of Ocean Breeze on the water but not quite! As the skipper of Sisi probably the hardest thing was keeping the balance between performance and safety. The early part of the race was not too breezy which was good to get the crew settled in to the rhythm and the last two days the wind got up, Sisi is a later design so there is a lot more development that the older models and easier to handle in strong wind. Before  the start we had very little time sailing together but during the race, they really formed a team and got the boat going well. Also after ten days, people get tired and they kept going, even increasing their performance, in my opinion that was an excellent outcome.”

Ocean Breeze  © Arthur Daniel RORC

First to finish of the trio of Pro-Am Teams and second after IRC time correction was Johannes Schwarz’s Ocean Breeze, which competed in the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race as Telefonica Blue. Johannes also owns Green Dragon and his boats are a familiar entry in races all over the world.

Ocean Breeze Skipper Johannes Schwartz © Arthur Daniel RORC

“For this race the Ocean Breeze crew is mainly from France, a family of brothers and cousins and a group of friends. Some of them own their own boats, some are dinghy and multihull sailors but this is the first time they have been together as a team,” commented Johannes Schwarz. “The spirit on Ocean Breeze is to be part of a legend of Atlantic racing and on Ocean Breeze to be part of the story of the Round the World Race, the battle goes on! The teams are best friends on land but on water they are competitors! It is also possible to race on Ocean Breeze as a single person. I was so impressed by Joe Slipper (19 year old gap year student from UK), he is an amazing sailor, you will hear about him in the future. I have seen his talent and I invited him to join the crew for this race.”

Green Dragon © James Mitchell/RORC

RP70 Green Dragon (SUI) is skippered by Benedikt Clauberg, this was his fourth RORC Transatlantic Race having competed previously in First 47.7 Kali. The majority of the Green Dragon crew of 15 are from Switzerland.

Andrew McIrvine presents Benedikt Clauberb with GTA Grenadian Basket © Arthur Daniel/RORC

“The main goal for Green Dragon, racing with the pro-am team has to be safety but the crew are not on board to cruise or be entertained, they want to be active and involved. So, we train on the go and everyday people improve, and every day we go faster. This time it was a little different because of the low pressure coming down so Cape Verde but after, we changed into performance mode and then the big surf started and that is that this race is all about downwind sailing in the Atlantic. We had a great battle especially with Sisi towards the finish. As we were approaching Barbados, Sisi was going really high and fast, but we were pointing lower, a little slower but towards Grenada. In the end, the distance was only a few miles, after 300 miles of racing it came down to minutes. That was madness but very exciting. On Green Dragon, the most important thing is the crew spirit on board, the team has to bond, everyone has to back up each other. Morale has to be high, and the pros on board need to give the amateurs experience, and that is the biggest victory.”

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