Riding the trade winds to Grenada
Published on January 6th, 2023
With the 9th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race to start January 8 from the Spanish island of Lanzarote of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the latest weather data is being assessed for the fastest approach along the 3,000 nm course to Grenada.
The largest boat in the 2023 race is the Swan 115 Supermaxi Jasi, with navigator Tom Robinson finding a very stereotypical trade winds route, but the start is not without hurdles. “The first 36 hours could be a bit tricky; especially Tenerife which rises to 3,700 metres,” notes Robinson. “We want to get south without getting caught in the wind shadow before we can start getting west.
“High pressure may see us going north to hook into better wind from the east northeast, before we start heading back down to the rhumb line. I’m quite pessimistic when people asking me how long it will take for Jasi to finish in Grenada; maybe between nine and ten and a half days. However, it really depends on how the second-half of the race unfolds.”
Three high performance trimarans will be in a high-speed battle for Multihull Line Honours. While all three were originally MOD70 one-designs, they have all been optimized. Maserati Multi70 has a full foiling package, Snowflake has an additional two-metres of rig, and Zoulou is equipped with C-Foils at mid-ships for additional lift.
Ned Collier Wakefield is one of the most experienced MOD70 drivers in the race and will be part of the formidable crew on Zoulou which is ramping up for a thrilling 3,000 mile shoot-out. “It is looking like a pretty fast race, with no northerly route open which is great,” he shared. “The trade winds look set, so it should be point and shoot VMG all the way at record pace.
“This year’s forecast is better than the record in 2015, and all three trimarans are configured to sail quicker than the record holder. (Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 Phaedo3, 5 days 22 hrs 46 mins 03 secs). This year we could see a finish in 5 days 20 hours beating the record, but with good competition for Zoulou from Maserati and Snowflake, we have got a boat race!”