The 2019 RORC Transatlantic Race is now into the second day with the entire fleet anticipated to leave the Canary Islands and head into the remote Atlantic Ocean on Sunday 24 November. As expected, Swedish VO65 Childhood 1, skippered by Bouwe Bekking, is firmly in front having raced 251nm in the first 24 hours.
The fleet is currently experiencing downwind conditions, however the nor'easterly gradient wind is far from stable as frequent rain squalls, combined with land effects, have dramatically changed both the wind speed and direction.
Childhood 1 gybed south of the rhumb line shortly after sunrise this morning, indicating that the team may well be turning south after negotiating the wind shadow of El Hierro – the last sight of land that they are likely to see for many days.
After noon on day two of the race, the Wally 100 Dark Shadow also gybed south having raced 240nm in the first 24 hours. Dark Shadow's David Martriano commented via satellite phone. “All is well on board and we are currently sailing in about 15 knots of breeze from the northeast. The conditions are beautiful and we are enjoying some fantastic fresh food prepared by Annina (Zaini). Last night the breeze was up and down, which kept us busy with quite a few sail changes. This morning we got into a light patch of wind north of Tenerife, but we are now in good breeze and looking forward to some great sailing ahead.”
Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra, skippered by Andy Lis has made a strong start to the race, covering 193nm in the first 24 hours. The conditions are highly suitable for their Code Zero which has been the main weapon of choice for the young team.
The World Sailing Category 1 offshore race requires all boats to have satellite communications. However, today will be the last connection to the outside world via the land-based cellular network. Competitors will be downloading as much weather data as possible and also contacting friends and family before racing out into the vast Atlantic Ocean.
“We will not have many more updates coming as we leave the land,” commented Jeremy Waitt, racing Two Handed on Richard Palmer's JPK 10.10 Jangada. “We experienced some very light winds as we passed Tenerife, our last sight of land and internet! The systems are mostly running well, bar a few gremlins with our autohelm. But we are feeling positive as we head into the yonder and endless horizon. Routing has also settled a little so we have a plan on direction. We reached with jib top and staysail which made for a fast and easy sail overnight. We hoisted our spinnaker this morning and in theory for the rest of the race!”