The Odyssey Begins – RORC Transatlantic Race

Sunday 7 January, Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife: The 10th edition of RORC Transatlantic Race started in superb conditions outside Marina Lanzarote. Flat water, 10 knots of breeze and 20 degrees of air temperature provided spectacular sailing conditions for the start of the 3,000 mile oceanic race. However, the diverse fleet is well aware that two vicious low pressure systems to the north will bring feisty conditions, should any of the international fleet choose the ‘high road’ across the Atlantic to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada.

Both the Multihull and Monohull starts got away clear with Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) crossing the start line just ahead of Alexia Barrier’s MOD70 Limosa (FRA). Half an hour into the race, Argo and Limosa were overlapped in the zone around the turning mark at Puerto Calero. Argo held off Limosa to retain the lead, but not for long; the breeze faded and Limosa briefly took pole position. As the wind accelerated, Erik Maris’ MOD70 Zoulou found an extra gear to pass Limosa at 17 knots of boat speed and challenge Argo for the lead.

In the Monohull start Christopher Sheehan’s PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) started to windward and judged the line to perfection, closely followed by Mikhail Malamud’s ClubSwan 50 Pimu (USA). Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock chose to stay inshore after the start, with their massive masthead spinnaker in full view of the spectators along the seafront of Arrecife, Lanzarote’s capital. The inshore route worked like a dream; Leopard rounded the turning mark outside Puerto Calero just 400 metres behind the leading multihulls that had started 10 minutes earlier. Warrior Won was the second monohull to round, dousing their spinnaker short-course style. Warrior Won headed close inshore down the east coast of Fuerteventura and picked up a really good breeze line to fly south at over 12 knots of boat speed.

José Juan Calero, Managing Director of Calero Marinas joined race fans in the spectator boat fleet: “For the tenth edition we are really happy to have a fleet of this calibre; an amazing group of boats with fantastic sailors from all over the world,” commented JJ Calero. “The crews have enjoyed a special programme in Lanzarote and everyone has said that they have enjoyed the island and that they want to come back. The people of Lanzarote love this race and want to be involved with the build-up to the start; the spectator boat was over-subscribed. Lanzarote can be very windy, but today I am super happy to see enough wind for a good start and the sun shining! We hope the next 10 years will be as successful and we are proud to have a great relationship with the RORC for the race.”

Following the amendment to the course 48 hours before the start, all of the RORC fleet, bar one boat has elected to head south after the Puerto Calero mark. The only boat to head west into the Canary Island archipelago is Richard Fromentin’s JPK 1180 Cocody (FRA).

“It’s fantastic to see a downwind start; the fleet seem to be heeding the advice about the weather and are heading south,” commented RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole. “In the build-up we have had really good communication with the competitors who have given us all the information required in good time. This has allowed us to concentrate on other aspects of the race such as safety inspections. There have been a few tiny things that needed some attention, but all of the boats are well-prepared to cross the Atlantic. We wish all of the teams fair winds and we look forward to seeing the competitors in Grenada.”

At the start and the turning mark at Puerto Calero, a significant spectator fleet shouted encouragement from cruising boats and from the packed spectator boat which had been provided free of charge by Calero Marinas. The smallest boat in the race and the lowest rating under IRC is Gavin Howe’s Sun Fast 3600 Tigris, racing Two-Handed with Maggie Adamson. Three cheers rang out from the spectator fleet as they left Lanzarote and towards the wide expanses of the Atlantic Ocean.

Louay Habib

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/

Race Trackerhttps://rorctransatlantic.rorc.org/tracking

Start Day: Sunday 7th January 2024 – Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Social Media: Official race hashtags: #RORCTransatlanticRace #RORCracing

www.facebook.com/royaloceanracingclub

www.instagram.com/rorcracing

Official Race Notice Board: HERE

List of EntriesHERE

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