Transatlantic teams surf toward Antigua
Published on January 13th, 2021
(January 13, 2021; Day 5) – For the seven remaining teams in the 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race, they are all fully offshore in the Atlantic Ocean, and life on board has found a rhythm to the corkscrew motion of surfing downwind for days on end.
Oren Nataf’s Multi50 Trimaran Rayon Vert, skippered by Alex Pella, is leading the fleet and they will be celebrating having crossed the halfway mark in the 2,735-mile race from Lanzarote to the Caribbean. Rayon Vert’s skipper Pella is very much at home in the Atlantic as the Spaniard has won both the Route du Rhum and the Transat Jacques Vabre.
Olivier Magre’s Class40 Palanad 3 is the leading monohull, 18 miles ahead of Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon. The leading boats in the RORC Transatlantic Race are hundreds of miles south of the rhumb line. High pressure has pushed the ENE trade winds further south and the front runners have raced the additional miles to hook into the bigger breeze to maximize their velocity made good (VMG).
Third in the monohulls is Antoine Carpentier’s Class40 Redman; currently 114 miles behind Palanad 3 when they contacted the RORC Race Team: “Everything is going well. We have solved a problem with our starboard rudder and everything is working normally. We spent most of the nights gybing and changing sails. Now the weather is better- it’s a good time to get back in the kitchen.”
Palanad 3’s Olivier Magre commented via satellite link: “All is well on board and much calmer than the first 48 hours. We did have an issue with the spinnaker when it fell completely into the water, but there is not too much damage and Luke (Berry) has been up the rig to untangle the halyards. The atmosphere on board is very good. We have to be careful of the squalls because the trade winds are quite active.”
The performance cruisers racing in IRC are positioned further north. For these boats the strategy for maximizing VMG has produced a different tactic. Racing further south does not improve their speed enough to warrant the extra miles. Benedikt Clauberg’s First 47.7 Kali and Sebastien Saulnier’s Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi maybe over 100 miles apart on the water, but they are both approximately 2,000 miles from the finish.
Sebastian from Moshimoshi reports that life is good on board and that racing across the Atlantic has magical moments, such as visits from tropical birds who are also making their migration!
As previously reported, the IRC56 Black Pearl retired on January 10. Black Pearl’s bowsprit had broken just west of the Canary Islands. The crew sailed back to Lanzarote unassisted, arriving on January 12.
The 2,735-mile race started January 9 and extends across the Atlantic Ocean from Lanzarote to Antigua, with the finish moved from its standard location of Grenada due to travel restrictions. It remains the intention of the RORC to finish the 2022 edition in Grenada, as it has done since the first race in 2014.
Source: Louay Habib