16th January, Update: Day Nine 1600 UTC: Three teams are in the shoot-out for Monohull Line Honours and the IMA Transatlantic Trophy. The exquisite 19th century sterling silver trophy will be presented in Grenada by the International Maxi Association Secretary General, Andrew McIrvine. The winner is expected tomorrow Tuesday 17th January 2023.
Contenders are: Volvo 70 I Love Poland (POL), skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski, IMOCA Canada Ocean Racing (CAN), raced Two-Handed by Scott Shawyer and Alan Roberts, and the Swan 115 Jasi (SWE), skippered by Toby Clark.
I love Poland is firmly in pole position for Monohull Line Honours and predicted to complete the race around midday (UTC) on Tuesday 17th January. At their current speed, I Love Poland is over a day faster than their elapsed time in last year’s race. In 2022, I Love Poland was second over the line to the 100ft Supermaxi Comanche. I Love Poland currently has a 144nm lead, but the all-Polish team is taking nothing from granted, as Navigator Konrad Lipski commented by satellite from on board on day seven.
“Today we were recording average speeds of 18-20 knots. However, the forecast is showing a decline in wind speed, but we're doing our best. The crew is staying motivated to reach the finish line as quickly as possible. There is a lot of sargassum weeds around and we hope that the wind will hold. We are also keeping our fingers crossed not to break our spinnaker as we have torn two so far. We'll do our best.”
IMOCA Canada Ocean Racing (CAN) has kept the same speed as I Love Poland over the last 24 hours. This is an impressive performance as Canada Ocean Racing is competing Two-Handed with Scott Shawyer and Alan Roberts.
Swan 115 Jasi (SWE), skippered by Toby Clark is positioned close to the rhumb line and has been making significant gains on their final approach to Grenada. Jasi is 156 miles behind I Love Poland and unlikely to take Monohull Line Honours, but a battle with Canada Ocean Racing is playing out in the final stretch to the finish outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. Jasi is taking a direct route to Grenada with a better wind angle than I Love Poland and Canada Ocean Racing.
“On day five we gybed away from the high pressure system, as was our strategy before the start,” commented Jasi’s navigator Tom Robinson via satellite from on board. “We’re watching closely to see how this plays out with the rest of the fleet that are dead downwind of Grenada. So far, we’ve been able to point straight at Grenada down the rhumb line at best speed. Conditions are good, 16 knots of wind and smooth seas. Every day is getting warmer."
Marina Manager Zara Tremlett and the Port Louis Marina team are preparing to welcome all of the teams with cold beers upon arrival.
Lead image: I Love Poland © James Mitchell/RORC