Clean start for RORC Transatlantic Race
Published on January 8th, 2023
Lanzarote, Canary Islands (January 9, 2023) – The start of the 2023 RORC Transatlantic Race had ideal conditions to allow the fleet to get away for a clean downwind start. After passing under the volcanic mountains of the Los Ajaches National Park, the fleet raced through the narrow Strait of Bocaina which divides Lanzarote from Fuerteventura.
The fleet must leave Tenerife to port, before heading into the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. The next mark of the course is 3,000 miles away across the Atlantic at Glover Island, just a few miles from the finish outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada.
Three powerful 70ft trimarans approached the line on port, but undoubtedly the smallest multihull in the race won the start. Vincent Willemart’s TS42 Banzai (BEL) approached the line on starboard, and with right of way, the trimarans respectfully gave way.
Frank Slootman’s MOD70 Snowflake (USA), skippered by Gavin Brady, and MOD70 Zoulou (FRA), with Erik Maris at the helm, soon powered up. However, Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 (ITA) was not the quickest in light airs, with its four foils more a hindrance in low wind speed. At 17:15 UTC Snowflake was achieving 18 knots of boat speed, a mile ahead of Zoulou, with Maserati four miles astern.
IRC Super Zero
Volvo 70 Green Dragon, skippered by Cathal Mahon got a cracking start near the pin end, but Volvo 70 I Love Poland, skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski was soon up-to-speed. Swan 115 Jasi (SWE) was a magnificent sight and was the first in class to pass the mark at Puerto Calero. At 17:15 UTC Jasi was through the Strait of Bocaina, three miles ahead of I Love Poland (POL). IMOCA 60 Canada Ocean Racing (CAN), co-skippered by Scott Shawyer & Alan Roberts was third.
Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), sailed by Stefan Jentzsch, pulled off a stunning start at the pin end and immediately unfurled an enormous gennaker to take the lead on the water. By contrast, Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD Teasing Machine (FRA) chose the inshore end of the line.
As the class leaders approached the turning mark at Puerto Calero, Black Pearl was clear away. Henri de Bokay’s Elliott 52 Rafale and Arto Linnervuo’s Infiniti 52 Tulikettu were in the chasing pack with Teasing Machine. A difference in tactics through the Strait of Bocaina saw Black Pearl go to the Fuerteventura coast along with Tulikettu and Teasing Machine. However, Rafale has split gybes heading north of the rhumb line, it will be interesting to see if their different approach pays off.
At 17:15 UTC, Laurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza (FRA), skippered by Philippe Falle leads on the water from Andrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR). Lionel Regnier’s Briand 58 L’Esprit D’Equipe was third.
Chris Jackson on board Pata Negra blogged as the sun set on the first day: “Great to start the race and be on our way. All settling in well on Pata Negra. The breeze is a little lighter than we hoped for, but there’s plenty of days to come for that to change. All happy aboard!”
IRC Two-Handed competitors in this year’s race are Kate Cope & Claire Dresser racing Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist (GBR), and Peter & Duncan Bacon racing Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear (GBR). Both teams have made a great start, with Sea Bear just ahead on the water, but Purple Mist leading after IRC time correction.