A praiseworthy 10th edition | RORC Transatlantic Race

Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, in association with the International Maxi Association and Yacht Club de France, the 10th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race started in superb conditions outside Calero Marinas Marina Lanzarote on Sunday 7th January, 2024.
Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, in association with the International Maxi Association and Yacht Club de France, the 10th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race started in superb conditions outside Calero Marinas Marina Lanzarote on Sunday 7th January, 2024.

Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, in association with the International Maxi Association and Yacht Club de France, the 10th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race started in superb conditions outside Calero Marinas Marina Lanzarote on Sunday 7th January, 2024. The 3,000 mile race to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina Grenada is the longest race in the RORC Season’s Points Championship; the world’s largest offshore racing series.

PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) owned & skippered by Chris Sheehan ©ƒ Arthur Daniel/RORC

Audacious Warrior Won | Overall Winner

The overall winner under IRC was PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) owned & skippered by Chris Sheehan. The RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy was presented at Port Louis Marina by former RORC Commodore and Admiral, Andrew McIrvine. Warrior Won completed the race in an elapsed time of 11 Days 5 Hrs 18 Mins and 28 Secs and is the first American boat to win the prestigious trophy.

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.

PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) owned & skippered by Chris Sheehan ©ƒ Arthur Daniel/RORC

“We raced more than 4,000 miles to complete this race. 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!” commented Chris Sheehan. “This race has been on the schedule for five years and my crew asked me what the goal was. Normally I say let’s win our class, but having looked at the given forecast, I was audacious and told them, I want to win overall, and we delivered, which is phenomenal!”

Jason Carroll's MOD70 Argo (USA) © Robert Hajduk/RORC

Argo in 6th Gear | Multihull Line Honours

Taking Multihull Line Honours for the first time in the RORC Transatlantic Race, Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) crossed the finish line outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada on Saturday 13th January 2024 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 amount of miles as in 2022. The difference was we had pretty consistent wind this year and that made the difference,” commented Jason Carroll. “it is a really exhilarating experience to travel that fast across the water, so getting to do that for 3,000 miles 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.”

MOD70 Argo © Arthur Daniel/RORC

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

Erik Maris’ MOD70 Zoulou (FRA) was second to Argo. “Racing across the Atlantic in Zoulou is incredible and unique, especially now we have foils on the boat; it is a dream race for me,” commented Maris. “We want to beat Argo but it is not easy, but what did JFK say? ‘We race against them because it is hard’ - and the same applies here.”

Third after MOCRA time correction was Adrian Keller’s Nigel Irens 84 Allegra (SUI). Alexia Barrier’s MOD70 Limosa - The Famous Project (FRA), racing with a majority female crew, including co-skipper Dee Caffari, finished the race in just under eight days. Alexia becomes the first MOD70 woman skipper to finish the race. 

Leopard 3 © Robert Hajduk/RORC

Leopard licks her wounds | Lifting the IMA Transatlantic Trophy

Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock took Monohull Line Honours, winning the IMA Transatlantic Trophy 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 Chris 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.”

Leopard 3 with the IMA Transatlantic Trophy © Arthur Daniel/RORC

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, Will Best.

Farr 70 Ocean Breeze © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Pro-am racing in IRC Super Zero | Experience is the Victory

After two weeks of close competition in the RORC Transatlantic Race, three former round the world racing yachts, crewed by Pro-Am teams, enjoyed a thrilling finish to the 3,000 mile race across the Atlantic Ocean. All three boats were racing in IRC Super Zero, which was won by the Farr 100 Leopard 3.

First to finish of the Pro-Am trio in an elapsed time of 12 Days 6 Hrs 0 Mins and 38 Secs was Johannes Schwarz’s Farr 70 Ocean Breeze (AUT). Second over the line was the Farr 65 Sisi (AUT) skippered by Oliver Kobale in an elapsed time of 12 Days 16 Hrs 45 Mins and 14 Secs. RP70 Green Dragon (SUI), skippered by Benedikt Clauberg was less than an hour behind Sisi in an elapsed time of 12 Days 17 Hrs 24 Mins and 36 Secs.

Team Cocody © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Cocody Braves North | Victory in IRC One 

One of the fascinating 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 to Camper & Nicholson’s Port Louis Marina Grenada. The lead after IRC time correction swung in the balance many times during the 3,000 mile RORC Transatlantic Race.

JPK 1180 Cocody © James Mitchell/RORC

First to finish were Fromentin’s battling Bretons on 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. Owner of Cocody, Richard Fromentin also scored the best IRC corrected time for an owner from Yacht Club de France, winning the special trophy from the famous club which supports the RORC Transatlantic Race. 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,” commented Cocody’s Richard 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.”

Sun Fast 3600 Tigris © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Tigris gets the job done | Victory in IRC Two-Handed

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.

 Gavin Howe believes the biggest challenge in the race for Tigris was that the autopilot was not working. “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. For a double handed team, hand-steering across the Atlantic is a big undertaking, so sorry that we didn’t take a few more videos, but we were clinging on to the tiler! 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. As we approached Grenada it was lovely to see land and the island looked very impressive; high, wooded and lush green. it was very special, as well as our arrival into Port Louis and to receive such hospitality.

“Maggie (Adamson) is tough. She will tackle any issue that happens on the boat. In the middle of the night, when the spinnaker is in the water, Maggie is not phased and we work methodically through it to get the job done,” continued Howe.

2024 RORC Transat Start © Robert Hajduk/RORC

RORC Safety | First and Non-Negotiable 

Safety always comes first with any RORC race, with all boats inspected before the start for the required safety equipment. The RORC’s attention to safety at sea is exemplified by the organising club’s decision 48 hours before the start. After consulting with various meteorological experts, the RORC Transatlantic Race course was amended for the first time in the 10-year history of the race.

Race Director Steve Cole commented at the time: “It has become apparent that the established course will send the very diverse fleet into two unusually deep depressions, with the possibility of winds exceeding 40 knots and a potential wave height of eight metres. This decision allows boats to still take that route if they wish, but opens an option for boats to head immediately south after the first mark if they choose to do so.”

After all boats were accounted for in the RORC Transatlantic Race, Cole added: “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. 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.

“We would like to thank all competitors for taking part in the longest race in the RORC calendar; many of whom we will see in Antigua next month for the RORC Caribbean 600. Thanks also go to all our sponsors in Arrecife, Lanzarote - Calero Marinas, and at the finish in Grenada - Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, who once again offered superb support and hospitality for the duration of the race,” concluded Cole.

The 11th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race will start from Lanzarote, Canary Islands in early January 2025. The centenary year of the Royal Ocean Racing Club will also feature the West to East Transatlantic Race 2025, organised 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, USA to Cowes, UK.

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