Competitors in the RORC Transatlantic Race, jointly organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the International Maxi Association, are making their way to the start from Marina Lanzarote with many of the international fleet sailing thousands of miles to take part in the second edition of the race. However, just 10 days before the start, Tony Lawson's MOD 70, Concise 10 was still in its home port of Hamble, UK, over 1,500 miles from the start line. For the RORC Transatlantic Race, Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield will be taking on Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3 in a high speed duel across the Atlantic.
“Trying to get south at this time of year when you have depression after depression rolling across the Atlantic always makes things interesting, so it is going to be a fairly fruity delivery for Concise 10,” commented Collier Wakefield. “We have had quite a lot of work to do on the boat to get ready for the RORC Transatlantic Race and with our base in Hamble and all the team living close by, there was no reason to leave earlier. We originally planned to leave on Monday 16th November but the change in that decision was driven by the weather. Our primary goal for the delivery is to arrive in one piece and with several weather depressions coming through, we are holding out for a weather window on Friday 20th November.”
A screen grab from Concise 10 predicting the weather for their proposed start of their delivery from the UK to the RORC Transatlantic Race in Lanzarote on Friday 20 November
Legendary French solo sailor Francis Joyon, concurs with Concise 10. Joyon's Maxi-trimaran, IDEC SPORT is on amber alert in the Bay of Biscay for an assault on the Jules Verne Trophy. The French team may leave on Saturday at roughly the same time as Concise 10 pass their proposed start.
Collier Wakefield describes the weather scenario: “This departure takes into account more favourable conditions with a shift in the breeze to the north west, we should have about 15-20 knots, a good angle to get out of the English Channel and past Ushant. The breeze is due to build later on to 35 knots and we really want to stay just in front of that all the way down, which will mean sailing the boat to about 80% of its capability until we reach Cape Finisterre. Once we make the Portuguese coast, the weather should settle down considerably with the depressions passing north over the top of us so we should have a fast downwind ride to Lanzarote.
“At the moment, we are looking at three and a half days for the delivery, which over 2,000 miles will be very quick. We are looking at boat speeds often over 30 knots and in the early part of the delivery, the northwesterly wind chill factor will be about -5ºC, so it will be woolly hats, thermals, boots, full dry-suits, helmets and goggles.”
The RORC Transatlantic Race is organised under ISAF Offshore Special Regulations, RORC Prescriptions, Category 1 plus Satellite Phone. Competing yachts are inspected before the start to ensure that they have complied with the regulations. Concise 10 will also be following these regulations for the delivery to Lanzarote.
“Safety on board is always hugely important and is always at the forefront of our minds,” commented Collier Wakefield. “We have been going through all of our MOB and capsize procedures and we have everything in place with Falmouth Coastguard. On deck, all of the crew will be wearing lifejackets at all times and a bum-bag containing an AIS Beacon, knife and torch – nobody is allowed on deck without them. We are very vigilant towards all aspects of safety. Concise 10 is carrying, to the letter, all of the safety equipment required for the RORC Transatlantic Race and we are sailing with the full race crew.
“Once we get to Marina Lanzarote we will take a day off and then we will be sailing everyday to practice in the conditions for the RORC Transatlantic Race. We are really looking forward to it and it is exciting to line up against Phaedo again. We are under no illusions that they have had a lot more time on their boat than we have, and effectively it will be a one-design match race across the Atlantic. I don't want to ramp it up, but we have met each other twice and we have come out one-all so far. Phaedo have been pushing their boat hard, breaking lots of records and it is going to be very interesting to see how we come out against them. More than anything, it will be really enjoyable racing in two boats with such enormous capability in trade winds with Atlantic swell across an ocean.”
Marina Lanzarote is finalising preparations for the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race with a full social calendar for all competitors and invited guests. The Welcome Reception at the Real Club Náutico de Arrecife is on Monday 24th November with the Westerhall Rum Party, held in Marina Lanzarote the following day. There will be social activities every evening in the week before the start, including the Gala Dinner on Thursday 27th November.
– Louay Habib