RORC Transatlantic Race underway

The 6th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race got underway on time, with the fleet starting from outside Marina Lanzarote at 1100 UTC on Saturday 23 November, sailing into a stiff breeze gusting up to 25 knots.

After the start, the yachts passed a turning mark at Puerto Calero Marina, before leaving Fuerteventura and Tenerife to port, and then heading out into the Atlantic Ocean.

The first 125 nautical miles of the course are both strategic and tactical, with land effects providing both snakes and ladders. The fleet is expected to experience gusty conditions for the first 24 hours, with rain squalls varying both the wind speed and direction.

“It is 15-20 knots from north/north-west; a little more than forecast, with squally conditions giving even more breeze,” RORC Race Officer, Steve Cole, commented.

“The reaching start was without incident and it was great to see the fleet make good headway at the beginning of this long race. Childhood 1 was just 10 seconds shy of the line at the gun, and Pata Negra and Dark Shadow also got away well.”

The fast reaching start was ideal for Childhood 1, skippered by Bouwe Bekking. The Swedish Volvo 65 was the first yacht to the mark off Puerto Calero Marina, and once clear of the wind shadow of the surrounding hills, the A3 was hoisted. It blasted through La Bocayna, the strait between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura and is expected to round Tenerife later tonight.

French Wally 100, Dark Shadow, skippered by Yerin Hobson, was just three miles astern. Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46, Pata Negra, got off to a good start. Skippered by Andy Lis, who has a young crew, Pata Negra was seven miles behind Dark Shadow, the largest yacht in the fleet.

Swiss 47.7 Kali, skippered by Benedikt Clauberg, is competing in the RORC Transatlantic Race for the second year in succession. “We have new sails and an experienced crew this year, with six team members having obtained their Yachtmaster Offshore qualification,” Clauberg said.

“Our dual aims are to be safe and fast, and with that in mind, we have three modes on board: race, safe and survival. I hope we don't have to go into survival mode, but we are prepared for it all the same, including a full man overboard test on the eve of the race.”

Richard Palmer's British JPK 10.10, Jangada, is also taking part in their second RORC Transatlantic Race. Palmer is once again racing two-handed, this time with Jeremy Waitt, who contacted the RORC Race Team shortly after the start:

“A nice breeze gave us a tight reach and we just made the turning mark of Puerto Calero without having to tack. A good squall came in on the turning mark, so we got pretty wet. It cleared quickly, though. As we came around the southerly tip, we got hit hard by another larger squall reaching 25 knots of wind speed.

“It was a good spanking – a nice and early reminder who is boss out here! We reefed and ended up under main only for 15 minutes. We are now in blue water sailing mode, 80 degrees off the breeze in 18 knots. It looks like a few more squalls are on the way and we have 120 miles to go to Tenerife, or as we say, twice across the English Channel.”

José Juan Calero, CEO of Calero Marinas, accompanied by RORC Commodore Steven Anderson, and RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen, watched as the fleet set off. RORC Racing Manager, Chris Stone and RORC Race Officer, Steve Cole, officiated on the Committee Boat.

Follow the race via the tracker: http://rorctransatlantic.rorc.org/tracking/2019-fleet-tracking.html

For more information please go to: www.rorctransatlantic.rorc.org

Louay Habib

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