11 January 2024 0900 UTC: The RORC Transatlantic Race enters the fifth day with the multihull fleet well offshore and into solid pressure; their bows pointing towards Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada. The monohull fleet have been negotiating lighter winds between the West African coast and the Cape Verde Islands. By now the international crews will have settled into their routines for life on board at sea. Time has folded around the watch system, food is fuel and the speed dial is all important. Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) leads the multihull fleet. Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock is the leading monohull. Richard Fromentin’s JPK 1180 Cocody (FRA) is the overall leader for the race after IRC time correction.
The race leaders 09 January at 0600 UTC: Multihull Line Honours & MOCRA – Argo (USA), Monohull Line Honours & IRC SZ – Leopard 3 (MON). IRC Overall & IRC One – Cocody (FRA), IRC Zero – Warrior Won (USA), Class40 Concise 8 (FRA) and IRC Two Handed Tigris (GBR).
Follow the fleet and view rankings here: https://rorctransatlantic.rorc.org/tracking
DAY FIVE UPDATE – POSITION AT 0900 UTC 11 January 2024
Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) is the first boat in the race to reach the 1,000 nm geo-fence, a new feature in the RORC SailRaceHQ Data System found under ‘Sector Time Analysis. Argo crossed the digital line in an elapsed time of 2 Days 16 Hrs 09 Mins 58 Secs. Erik Maris’ MOD70 Zoulou (FRA) crossed the line 4 Hrs 32 Mins 58 Secs behind Argo. Alexia Barrier’s MOD 70 Limosa – The Famous Project was 14 Hrs 24 Mins 11 Secs behind Zoulou. Adrian Keller’s Nigel Irens 84 Allegra has 50nm miles to go to cross the 1,000nm geo-fence. After MOCRA time correction Allegra is about nine hours behind the MOCRA Class leader Argo.
Before the start the three MOD70s in the race had a ‘Skippers’ Agreement’ not to go north of a position on the course. Argo’s Chad corning checked in via satellite as they passed that point. Argo has a good lead but there is plenty more strategy and tactics in the miles to come.
“Our virtual waypoint is almost abeam to starboard and we’re heading towards the barn (slang for finish!) rapidly at the moment, averaging around 30 knots. Winds should get lighter as the day goes on and we will pass through the weakened remains of the cold front tomorrow midday. That means some transitions and reaching before running to the finish in fairly strong trade winds. Estimated time of arrival is as early as Saturday morning, but more likely midday. The team is doing great.”
Richard Fromentin’s JPK 1180 Cocody leads the race overall under IRC. Cocody is the only boat north of the rhumb line, an amazing 800 miles from the most southerly monohull Leopard 3. With two JPK 1180s in the race; Cocody and Ed Bell’s Dawn Treader, a direct comparison can be drawn between the strategy of the two boats. Rolex Fastnet Race winning navigator Tom Cheney on JPK 1180 Sunrise analyses Cocody and Dawn Treader on Day 5 of the RORC Transatlantic Race:
“Cocody took what seemed like a big risk at the very beginning of the race by being the only boat to take a northerly route, putting themselves in the path of a deep, fast moving low pressure system,” commented Cheney. “Now four days into the race, the centre of the low is about 700 miles north of them. For the last 12 hours Cocody has been sailing upwind in over 20 knots and the wave height has built to around 5.5m. They will likely see 30 knots this afternoon. By this evening the wind should start to moderate, but that sea state will stick around well into tomorrow. Unfortunately for them the low seems to have slowed now and they won’t see the wind veer much past until the weekend. They should be reaching by late Sunday.
“In contrast Dawn Treader, who are nearly 600 miles to the south east have been making their way south in light shifty conditions, often below 10 knots. Light to medium downwind VMG conditions are not a strength of the 1180, so this must be a frustrating time for the Dawn Treader guys, although I imagine the crew on Cocody are envious of the more comfortable conditions that their competitors are experiencing.
“A ridge of high pressure separates the routes ahead of the two 1180s. Once Dawn Treader has passed the Cape Verde islands and gets into the trade winds both boats will have to be careful to stay out of the band of light breeze as they start to converge. Right now, routing from latest positions shows Cocody finishing as much as 24 hours ahead of Dawn Treader (with a shot at the IRC overall win). There is still some uncertainty in how this plays out next week though. If Cocody gets caught in lighter breeze to the north, while Dawn Treader is in the full trades, then it could become a close race!” concludes Cheney.
Chris Sheehan’s PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) is ranked second overall under IRC and leading IRC Zero. The Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON) skippered by Chris Sherlock is third overall and leads the fleet for Monohull Line Honours. Leopard has passed the Cape Verde Islands and is in their own personal race to escape the high pressure and into fresh breeze. This could be a fundamental point in the race; if Leopard stretch their lead, the overall win becomes more of a possibility. The smaller slower boats that have yet to reach the Cape Verde Islands could fall even further behind. Conor Corson, Boat Captain for Lombard 46 Pata Negra reports anything between 5-15 knots of wind with wind shifting from the north to north east, in essence, light and unstable conditions.
Leopard’s Chris Sherlock contacted the RORC Media team by satellite on Day Three of the RORC Transatlantic Race: “All going well here on Leopard 3. Into the daily routine quite quickly onboard, all very comfortable. The first couple of nights have been full-on with plenty of shipping and long line fishing to avoid. We are sticking to the plan of running away from the low pressure whilst trying to stay in enough wind to keep the boat rumbling. The Cape Verde Islands are 330nm away (on Day 5 Leopard had passed the islands) and it’s looking like we will get to them before heading west. Hopefully the bottom of the ridge and our timing will all work out to save too many extra miles. It looks like the rest of the fleet have a similar plan.”
Louay Habib / RORC
The RORC Transatlantic Race is part of the RORC Season’s Points Championship, the world’s largest offshore racing series. For more information about the RORC Transatlantic Race: www.rorctransatlantic.rorc.org/
Start Day: Sunday 7th January 2024 – Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands
Social Media: Official race hashtags: #RORCTransatlanticRace #RORCracing
Official Race Notice Board: HERE
List of Entries: HERE
Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with the International Maxi Association and Yacht Club de France. Supported by Calero Marinas – Marina Lanzarote and Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina – Grenada