RORC Transatlantic: That’s a wrap

Published on January 30th, 2024

From the start on January 7, the 2024 RORC Transatlantic Race has completed the 3000 nm journey from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands to St George’s Grenada.

For this 10th edition, the overall winner under IRC was PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) owned and skippered by Chris Sheehan, posting an elapsed time of 11 Days 5 Hrs 18 Mins and 28 Secs as the first American boat to claim the title

Warrior Won Crew: Christopher Sheehan, Chris Welch, Collin Leon, David Gilmour, Dylan Vogel, Isamu Sakai, Matt Humphries, Richard Clarke, Sam Hallowell, Stu Bannatyne, and Tristan Louwrens.

“We raced more than 4,000 miles to complete this race,” said Sheehan. “I am so thrilled to have raced the Atlantic. It has been a fantastic race in amongst a really great crew. At no point throughout the 12 days was there any tension or problems, and the boat performed phenomenally – just total jubilation!”

Taking Multihull Line Honours for the first time in the RORC Transatlantic Race, Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) crossed the finish line January 13 in 6 Days, 10 Hours, 34 Mins and 30 Secs. Argo last competed in the RORC Transatlantic Race in 2022, and this year was over 10 hours quicker.

“Argo still did about the same number of miles as in 2022,” noted Carroll. “The difference was we had pretty consistent wind this year and that made the difference. It is a really exhilarating experience to travel that fast across the water, so getting to do that across the Atlantic is a thrill the whole time. When you get up on the foils, we call it sixth gear, you are humming along and the challenge is how long can you stay in that sixth gear.”

Argo crew: Jason Carroll, Chad Corning, Pete Cumming, Charlie Ogletree, Alister Richardson, and Brian Thompson.

Claiming IRC Super Zero and Monohull Line Honours was the Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock in an elapsed time of 10 Days 17 Hrs 23 Mins 51 Secs.

“Leopard suffered a major setback just two days into the race. It wasn’t a significant hit, but what was believed to be a whale which badly damaged our port rudder, delaminating one metre up,” explained Sherlock.

“We made a calculated decision on board to keep pushing on and to see if the rudder held, with options to pull into the Cape Verde Islands, or continue. The rudder held across the Atlantic and we have taken Line Honours, so we have achieved our goal.”

Farr 100 Leopard’s crew included both owners and a racing crew of Michael Pammenter, Paul Standbridge, Luke Molloy, Chris Sherlock, Gian Ahluwalia, Giles de Jager, Guilermo Altadil, Charlie Wyatt, Tom McWilliam, Mark Bartlett, Gerry Mitchell, Jonas Nordlund, Samuel Wright, Mitch Booth, and Will Best.

One of the notable duels in the RORC Transatlantic Race was between two JPK 1180s; Richard Fromentin’s Cocody (FRA) and Dawn Treader (GBR) skippered by Ed Bell. Cocody was the only boat in the fleet to brave the northern route knowing that they would encounter brutal conditions from two depressions. Meanwhile, Dawn Treader took a southerly route, with the lead after IRC time correction going back and forth throughout the race.

First to finish was Cocody in an elapsed time of 15 Days 21 Hrs 24 Mins 26 Secs. After IRC time correction, Cocody was second overall and the winner of IRC One. Dawn Treader was second in IRC One and third overall. The next battle between the two JPK 1180s will be the RORC Caribbean 600.

“We only decided to go north 10 minutes before the start,” admitted Fromentin. “We spoke with weather experts and they all agreed that north would be very hard, but potentially much quicker. We had six metre waves; it was not a comfortable sail but we powered through the big waves with our small jib and one reef in the main; we changed the watch every two hours. It was very tough, especially at night when driving the boat was very difficult.”

Winner of IRC Two-Handed and third in IRC One was Sun Fast 3600 Tigris, co-skippered by owner Gavin Howe and Maggie Adamson. Tigris finished the RORC Transatlantic Race in an elapsed time of 18 Days 06 Hrs 24 Mins 19 Secs.

Tigris raced well over 2,000 miles with the pair hand-steering the boat due to a faulty autopilot. “As soon as we got into waves off the African Coast it started oscillating and there was no way we could figure out how to fix it,” explained Howe. “For a double handed team, hand-steering across the Atlantic is a big undertaking.

“I think we achieved it because we have sailed many thousands of miles together in this boat and we just got on with it. The consequence was we had little time to do anything other than drive, eat and sleep. The upside was hand-steering let us work the waves better, which was good.”

For the first time in the 10-year history of the race, the RORC Transatlantic Race course was amended due to feedback from various meteorological experts.

Due to two unusually deep depressions, and the possibility of winds exceeding 40 knots and a potential wave height of eight metres, the decision was made to provide the option for the fleet to head immediately south after the first mark.

“The fleet was monitored throughout the race by the RORC Team and every boat that finished was greeted with a warm welcome and cold beer,” noted Race Director Steve Cole. “Several boats experienced issues, including rudder damage which unfortunately resulted in the retirement of Andrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra. However, all boats made it across the Atlantic with no reports of serious injuries and that is the primary goal of any RORC Race.

The 11th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race will start from Lanzarote, Islands in early January 2025. The centenary year of the Royal Ocean Racing Club will also feature the West to East Transatlantic Race 2025, organized by the New York Yacht Club and Royal Ocean Racing Club. The West to East Transatlantic Race 2025 will start on the 18th of June 2025 from Newport, Rhode Island to Cowes, UK.

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The 10th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race started January 7 from the Spanish island of Lanzarote of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, with 22 teams competing on the 3,000 nm course to Grenada. France had the most entrants with eight boats with other teams representing Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Monaco, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States of America.

The Multihull elapsed record is 5 days 5 hours 46 mins 26 secs set in 2023 by Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70.

The 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: RORC

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