Calero Marinas – Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife, Canary Islands to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada
The Royal Ocean Racing Club starts the racing season for 2024 with the 10th anniversary edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, starting from Lanzarote on the 7th January 2024. The race is supported by Calero Marinas, the International Maxi Association, and the Yacht Club de France. The RORC fleet will set off from Marina Lanzarote to race 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada, West Indies.
The RORC Race Team have set up in Marina Lanzarote before the start, carrying out safety inspections and assisting all the teams with their preparations for the race.
“The RORC Transatlantic Race is a World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations Category One Race,” commented RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole. “All of the competing boats and crew will need to comply with the requirements of the race and the RORC Race Team will carry out pre-race inspections. Safety at sea always comes first in any RORC Race; we know the calibre of this fleet and we are not expecting any big issues. However, the checklists and the dialogue with the teams is a great way to pinpoint any matters that need to be addressed, and also gives the RORC valuable feedback about Special Regulations for the future.”
The official entry list boasts 22 teams flying the flags of eight different nations, crewed by sailors from 20 different countries. France has the most admissions with eight boats and 43 French nationals racing in the RORC fleet. Entries are also in from Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Monaco, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States of America.
Four Multihulls will be in contention for race honours with three MOD70s as favourites for Multihull Line Honours. Erik Maris’ Zoulou (FRA), Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA), and Alexia Barrier’s Limosa (FRA) will fight for the accolade of being the first to finish the race. The trio of MOD70s will have one eye on the Multihull Race Record of 05 days 05 hrs 46 mins 26 secs, set last year by Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 (ITA). Adrian Keller’s Nigel Irens-designed 84ft catamaran Allegra (SUI) is the largest multihull in the race and favourite for the MOCRA Class after time correction. Allegra has won the MOCRA Class for the last two editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race, and twice for the RORC Caribbean 600.
Six Maxi yachts will be vying for the overall win under IRC and the IMA Transatlantic Trophy for the first Maxi to finish the race. The Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock is the favourite to take Monohull Line Honours. Given the right conditions, Leopard 3 can threaten the Monohull Race Record set by Comanche in 2022 of 07 Days 22 hrs 01 min 04. Returning to the race is Jean-Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First III (FRA) which is the holder of the Yacht Club de France Trophy. The Bill Trip designed Swan 78 Valkyrie (FRA), sailed by Hubert Wargny will be competing for the second time, having completed the race in 2015 in an elapsed time of 12 days 07 hours 54 mins 03 secs.
Three round the world racing yachts will be competing this year, Johannes Schwarz has entered two former Volvo 70s. The Reichel Pugh 70 Green Dragon (NED) will be skippered by Benedikt Clauberg, and Johannes Schwarz will skipper his 70ft Farr design Ocean Breeze (NED). The trio of round the world racing yachts is completed by the VO65 Sisi (AUT) skippered by Oliver Kobale. All three boats have pro-am crews with a melting pot of sailors from all over the world.
From France and the USA, four yachts between 50 and 60ft (15.24m-18.29m) will be competing. The largest of this group is Bernard Giroux’s Cannes-based Solaris 55 TEAM 42 (FRA), co-skippered by Dan Segalowicz. The highest IRC rating of the group is Chris Sheehan’s PAC52 Warrior Won (USA), which was third overall in the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race and won the 2022 RORC Caribbean 600. Collin Mulry will skipper Mikhail Malamud’s ClubSwan 50 Pimu (USA). Jean-Francois Guillon’s Solaris 50 Sea-Nergy (FRA) is from the Société Nautique de Marseille.
Two Class40s of similar performance will be racing to Grenada in a duel for the Class40 title. The Ker designed Concise 8 (FRA) is now under the ownership of Charles de Coquet, with Briton Guy Waites as co-skipper. Marc Lepesqueux’s Sensation Extreme (FRA) is designed by Sabrosa Rain and he has competed in two previous editions in an earlier design, including the very first race in 2014. Both Class40s intend to compete in the 2023 RORC Caribbean 600.
Six teams under 50ft (15.24m) will be racing, and while they have little or no chance of taking Line Honours, the overall winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race is decided by IRC time correction. All of the smaller entries have an equal chance of lifting the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy and two boats under 50ft have won overall in the past. The largest of this group is Hanno Ziehm’s Marten 49 Moana (GER), the smallest is Gavin Howe’s Sun Fast 3600 Tigris (GBR), which will be raced double-handed with Maggie Adamson.
Andrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) won IRC One in 2023 and was second overall in 2019. New to the race is the J/122 Moana (NED) sailed by Michelle Witsenburg and Frans van Cappelle. The J/122 Moana was second in class in the 2023 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Two JPK 1180s will be in action; Ed Bell’s Dawn Treader (GBR) was the winner of IRC One for the 2023 RORC Season’s Points Championship, and the highly experienced Richard Fromentin will race his JPK 1180 Cocody (FRA).
A full programme of social events in Lanzarote starts on the 3rd of January with the Welcome Cocktail Party at Karma Rooftop, Marina Lanzarote. The 4th of January is the date for the ever popular Wine & Cheese Party held in Marina Lanzarote. A regular feature of the RORC Transatlantic Race is the Lanzarote Sailing School visit, where young local sailors can get on board the competing boats, experience the set-up of boats big and small, and meet the sailors. On the 5th of January, The RORC Transatlantic Race Gala Dinner will be held at the El Aljibe Del Obispo, a unique restaurant inside the Stratvus Winery located next to the Timanfaya National Park.
“The social events are an important part of the RORC Transatlantic Race experience; a great opportunity for all the sailors to meet each other before the race start and for the community in Lanzarote to benefit from the race,” commented RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton. “The Gala Dinner is generously provided by Calero Marinas and spectacular doesn’t do it justice; it’s the big get-together before the race, the food and the surroundings are always outstanding and every team is invited to have their team photograph before racing across the Atlantic. The Royal Ocean Racing Club wish all competitors a safe and fast RORC Transatlantic Race.”
The RORC Transatlantic Race is part of the RORC Season’s Points Championship, the world’s largest offshore racing series. For more information: www.rorctransatlantic.rorc.org
Programme of Events: HERE
Louay Habib – RORC