Variety forming for Transatlantic Race
Published on November 1st, 2022
As a means to deliver boats to the Caribbean for winter competition and cruising, the ninth edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race has 21 teams from nine nations expressing their intention to race the 3,000-mile course from the Canary Islands to Grenada on January 8, 2023.
The largest boat currently confirmed is the 115-foot Swan Jasi skippered by Toby Clarke which will line up against the 107-foot Wally Spirit of Malouen X skippered by Stephane Neve. Spirit of Malouen won the Maxi 1 Class at this year’s Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, significantly beating Jasi, and will now test their chops on an offshore course.
Joining these modern monsters will be two renowned classic maxis. The famous 73-foot ketch Pen Duick VI was built for Eric Tabarly’s 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race and for the RORC Transatlantic Race, Marie Tabarly will skipper the boat. Joining her will be L’Esprit D’Equipe, winner of the 1985–86 Whitbread Round the World Race, skippered by Atlantic racing legend Lionel Regnier.
Giovanni Soldini’s Multi 70 Maserati (ITA) is all set to defend their Multihull Line Honours win last year. Maserati was one of five 70-foot trimarans competing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race this October and several are expected to enter the RORC Transatlantic Race.
The latest is MOD70 Snowflake (CAY) with American Frank Slootman at the helm. For the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Gavin Brady, Tom Cheney and Ryan Breymaier were on board Snowflake.
Formerly Phaedo 3, Snowflake now has a taller rig, longer bowsprit, and lifting T-Foils, similar to Maserati. Yann Marilley’s 18-metre VPLP designed catamaran No Limit (FRA) is a confirmed entry. While not as quick as Maserati and Snowflake, No Limit has the ability to win the class under MOCRA time correction.
Four highly diverse performance 50-footers – Teasing Machine, Black Pearl, Tulikettu and Rafale – are considered as favorites to be overall winner and recipient of the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy decided by IRC time correction.
The overall winner in 2017, Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD54 Teasing Machine (FRA) was in fine form in October, winning the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race overall. Teasing Machine is now many kilograms lighter than 2017 and is the most developed of the three out-and-out offshore race boats set for the race in January 2023.
The Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER) is back with Stefan Jentzsch at the helm; this will be Black Pearl’s third start in the RORC Transatlantic Race having suffered gear failure and retirement in the last two editions. Black Pearl has the longest water-line length of the three combatants and has water-ballast to increase righting moment.
The most radical of the three 50-footers is Arto Linnervuo’s Infiniti 52 Tulikettu (FIN) which has a narrower hull and side foils. With an all-up weight of less than 7000kg, Tulikettu is by far the lightest of the three rivals and has the shortest water-line length.
Built in the USA, Tulikettu was deemed lost in the North Atlantic in April 2022 after colliding with an unidentified floating object, but was found months later and has been returned to racing form.
Skippered by Henri de Bokay the Elliott 52 Rafale (GER) has a canting keel setting it apart from the three other fast 50-footers. Previously as Outsider, the boat competed in the 2017 RORC Transatlantic Race finishing third overall.
The fleet also includes a bevvy of cruiser-racers, the fastest of which is the Swan 601 Lorina 1895, skippered by Ireland’s Ken Docherty. Making her race debut is Laurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza (FRA), which has recently been modified to include new rudders.
Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR), skippered by Jules White is back after finishing second overall in 2022. Scarlet Oyster will continue their friendly rivalry with another team of charter guests racing Global Yacht Racing’s First 47.7 EH01 (GBR). Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) returns for its fourth RORC Transatlantic Race. Pata Negra’s best result so far was second overall in 2019.
The largest Two-Handed entry to date is the IMOCA 60 Canada Ocean Racing (CAN) raced by Canadian Scott Shawyer and Briton Alan Roberts. Kate Cope will be racing Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist (GBR) Two-Handed with Claire Dresser. Purple Mist is the smallest boat in the race and the first Two-Handed women team to take on the RORC Transatlantic Race.
Sebastien Saulnier returns for his second race with Sun Fast 3300 Moshi Moshi (FRA) which was third overall in 2021. Peter and Duncan Bacon will be racing Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear (GBR) in their debut RORC Transatlantic Race. However, Peter Bacon competed in the 2019 Transatlantic Race (west to east) with Xp44 Lucy Georgina, winning IRC Racing 2 and notably beating Pata Negra and Teasing Machine after IRC time correction.
Class40s have featured in the RORC Transatlantic Race since 2015; the first Class40 entry for the 2022 edition is Sabre II which will be raced Two-Handed by Czech sailors Miroslav Jakubcik & Marek Culen who also competed in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race.