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RORC Transatlantic Race: Cracking the beers in Grenada

by Louay Habib / RORC 12 Dec 2018 02:30 PST 12 December 2018
Second overall after IRC time correction for the smallest boat in the competition: Trevor Middleton's Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep. Jacob Carter, Matthew Morton, Paul Hardy, Joe Simmons, Trevor Middleton - 2018 RORC Transatlantic Race © RORC / Arthur Daniel

Sirius, Black Sheep and Xtra Staerk have joined the role of honour for the fifth edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, arriving in Grenada to a warm welcome and iced cold beers.

Stephane Bry's Sirius completed the podium for the Class40 Division, finishing in an elapsed time of 16 days 08 hrs 33 mins and 26 secs. French Canadian Stephane Bry is no stranger to Grenada and he was delighted to return having finished the race: "Arriving in Grenada just before sunset was really cool and I have great memories of my stay here last time. My family will be joining me here for Christmas."

"Out in the Atlantic it is another world; home is far away. On board you eat freeze dried food and you make economies with water and energy. This crossing was really simple, but it was still fantastic and amazing. The Sirius crew are really cool, I have raced against them and also with them. We had the Finnish on one watch and the French on the other. We had a competition for the best boat speed and it was really close, but the French team got 20.9 knots of speed!" continued Stephane.

Second overall for smallest boat

Trevor Middleton's British Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep, skippered by Jake Carter finished the race on the 11th December in an elapsed time of 16 days 23 hrs 18 mins and 07 secs. After IRC time correction the smallest yacht in the competition was second overall. For much of the race, Black Sheep was having a terrific battle with the Finnish Xp-44 Xtra Staerk, as Black Sheep revealed in their blog: "As I write this, Xtra Straerk is within visual range, overhauling us to windward. Their symmetric kite affording them deeper running angles to boot. With this in mind we know that this is no time to take our eyes off the ball, our foot off the accelerator, or our hands off the kite sheets."

In the last 24 hours, Black Sheep made a crucial move to sail north of Barbados to get a fast reaching angle into Grenada. As the wind went right, Black Sheep moved ahead of Xtra Staerk. "We had a good run and we are pleased with the boat," commented Trevor Middleton. "To get second under IRC is fantastic, we are pleased with that. We had a few dramas on board, especially putting a 10ft rip in the A2 spinnaker earlier in the race. It took the lads many hours to stitch it back together and there was a bit of tension when we re-hoisted it, but the repair held which was great."

Arto Linnervuo's Finnish Xp-44 Xtra Staerk finished the race on the 11th December in an elapsed time of 17 days 01 hrs 40 mins and 24 secs. The all-Finnish team is on a mission to promote offshore sailing in Finland.

"Our team is very passionate and determined to do what we want to achieve together," commented Arto Linnervuo. "We are very tight; we focus on our own roles but we work together and help each other when it is needed. The technique of sailing is always the same, but the seas are different. The Atlantic Ocean is very different from the Baltic Sea. The Atlantic has bigger waves and local conditions change all the time. You have to be able to react quickly and helming the boat is very different. You have to focus to keep the wind angle right because the angle to the waves is moving all the time."

Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina provide centre stage for the arrivals on their superyacht dock, and Marina Manager Charlotte Bonin keeps the beer on ice until the boats arrive. Nikoyan Roberts from the Grenada Tourism Authority also greets every boat with a gift basket of Grenadian goods, including their world famous chocolates and highly prized rum.

After 17 days of racing in the fifth edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, all but one yacht has finished the race. Benedikt Clauberg's Swiss First 47.7 Kali, skippered by Corinne Wirth has less than 300 miles to go and is expected to finish the race on Thursday 13 December. All is well on board Kali and completing the race will result in a 100% success for the RORC fleet; testament to the thorough preparation and determination of all of the teams racing across the Atlantic.

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