Fastest 70-footer* in Transatlantic Race

Published on January 18th, 2022

(January 18, 2022; Day 11) – The modified Volvo 70 L4 Trifork (DEN) finished the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race yesterday at sunset in an elapsed time of 9 days 10 hrs 27 mins and 58 secs. L4 Trifork is the second monohull to finish the race and the first of three 70-foot monohulls. L4 Trifork’s IRC corrected time is not enough to beat the 100ft Comanche (CAY) for the overall lead.

“It has been a long ride and we have had all kinds of weather along the way, especially when we went north into cold weather and up to 38 knots of wind,” commented L4 Trifork’s Joern Larsen. “It is a relief to get here and the race has been an absolute pleasure. In total with this trip we have raced 4,000 miles in under 10 days and next we will do the RORC Caribbean 600.”

L4 Trifork was originally Ericsson 4, the Juan K design that won the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race. Many consider Ericsson 4 as the best Volvo 70 ever built. The original intention was for L4 Trifork to be a fast cruiser, but working with boat captain Jens Dolmer, L4 Trifork has been modified into a turbo-charged offshore racer with a longer bow sprit and side foils.

“We had a good game plan, but Comanche is an amazing boat,” noted L4 Trifork tactician Bouwe Bekking. “Maybe if we didn’t have the rating hit for the side foils we would have been there on (IRC) corrected time. But the owner doesn’t give a damn about the rating, the goal is to be the fastest 70-footer and we have achieved that, as we hope to also in the RORC Caribbean 600.

“It is always fun to race these boats and all credit to the experienced crew, and Jens Dolmer who has done a fantastic job preparing L4 Trifork. We didn’t have a single breakage. This boat is an animal and if we don’t keep in control, it can be dangerous.”

L4 Trifork’s navigator is Aksel Magdahl. The Norwegian was part of the two-boat Ericsson campaign in 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race, as were many of the Trifork crew.

“This was not a typical transatlantic race,” said Magdahl. “For a fast boat usually you would head a little north to find a front and get the speed. For this race, we literally made a 90 degree turn north; after two days racing, we were almost the same distance to the finish. It was aggressive, but for us there was no real alternative to the south. We sailed north of the low and it followed us as forecast.

“After the first low, it got really interesting. Before the start we knew about the second low coming and had a plan, but after we set off, we saw a third low coming and we thought what are we going to do with that? We decided to stay north to get to the downwind side of it, but the path of this third low looked quite unpredictable.

“My real worry was that if we went south we would come into headwinds and if we sailed north we would then have few options to reach down. A southerly route opened on the modelling and we took it and we had a reasonable chance of catching Comanche (on IRC corrected time).

“As a crew, we had a quick chat as we approached the finish about what time we had ‘left behind’. If we had changed the plan or known the boat a little bit better, maybe we would have been two hours quicker. All credit to Comanche, they have a great boat, excellent navigator and a team that sail the boat well.”

* Editor’s note: We’ve been getting beat up by this headline which was purposely short but not sufficiently respectful to the 70-foot multihulls in the race. If you missed their finish, click here.

Race detailsEntry listTracker

The 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race started January 8 for 256 sailors from 27 different countries. The record fleet of 30 boats set off from Lanzarote for the 3000nm course to Grenada.

Multihull elapsed record is 5 days, 22 hrs, 46 mins, 03 secs set in 2015 by Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo 3, skippered by Brian Thompson.

Monohull elapsed record is 7 days, 22 hrs, 01 mins, 04 secs set in 2022 by the 100ft VPLP Design/Verdier Comanche, skippered by Mitch Booth.

Source: Louay Habib

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