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French Flair in the RORC Transatlantic Race

by Louay Habib 7 Jan 02:40 PST 9 January 2021
Olivier Magre's Palanad 3 © Antoine Dujoncquoy / E. Leclerc Ville La Grande

The seventh edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race in association with the International Maxi Association is set to start on January 9th from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote.

The fascination of racing across the Atlantic Ocean is shared by a variety of offshore sailors, from professional teams racing the latest designs, to passionate amateurs fulfilling their dreams.

The 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race will feature two virtually identical Class40s from the drawing board of the highly acclaimed designer Sam Manuard. Both Redman and Palanad 3 were launched in 2020 and are very capable of taking line honours for the race. With a scow bow, massive sail plan and the latest in high tech systems, both are capable of completing the 2,735-mile race in just 10 days.

Luke Berry will be racing on board Olivier Magre's Palanad 3. The top-class crew has been assembled by Corentin Douguet, who has podiumed in the Figaro three times. Douguet last raced with Berry in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, winning in a 19-strong fleet on Berry's Lamotte - Module Création.

"The beauty of this class is that a Class40 is designed to be able to do 'round the rock' races, participating in RORC races as well as the big aim of racing across the Atlantic," commented Luke Berry. "I have been invited to race on Palanad as part of Olivier's (Magre) preparation for the 2022 Route du Rhum. We will be testing this new boat and sail plans, but don't get me wrong, we will be trying to beat the other Class40 Redman! We will also be seeing how far we can push this boat and it is a rare opportunity to race downwind for so long. This new design is very fast downwind; the big bow makes the boat just go faster and faster in more breeze. Previous generations actually slow down because they submarine in big breeze. For the RORC Transatlantic Race, we will be seeing boat speeds of close to 30 knots and the average speed will be very high indeed."

Antoine Carpentier's Class40 Redman is set for a match race with Palanad 3 across the Atlantic. Redman has an identical hull to Palanad 3 and was also launched in 2020. Carpentier has been racing Class40s for 14 years, winning the 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre and the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, racing on Maxime Sorel's V and B. To take part in the RORC Transatlantic Race, Redman had a lively 1,250-mile delivery to Lanzarote. Sailed by just Carpentier and Arnaud Aubry, the duo took just 5 days and 10 hours to reach Calero Marinas Puerto Calero Marina from La Trinité-sur-Mer.

"We left La Trinité on New Year's Eve with strong wind in the Golfe de Gascogne - 48 knots, so it was quite a tough delivery. Our best 24-hour run was more than 300 miles and top boat speed was 27 knots in a squall," commented Antoine Carpentier. "The conditions were calmer from Lisbon and we had some good fun downwind. The strong winds returned near Madeira and the final sail to Lanzarote was upwind. With this new generation of Class40, the bow is very large; we were bumping on the waves. Fortunately, the race across the Atlantic should be mostly downwind which is what the boat is designed for. 2020 was very frustrating for every sailor with so many races cancelled, so we take great pleasure in racing again. This race will be very interesting for us. We should be the same speed as Palanad, so it's going to be a good fight I think," concludes Carpentier.

Sebastien Saulnier and Christophe Affolter will be racing Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi in IRC Two-Handed. The Corinthian team from St Malo, Brittany, sailed the boat from France to Lanzarote to take part in the RORC Transatlantic Race.

“The dream started about three years ago,” explained Saulnier. “It was wonderful to sail across the Atlantic with friends and family, but I wanted to do it in a race. Two years ago, I met Christophe who has done a lot of RORC racing. We felt good together from the first moment and this is the first race that we can do and it was not easy to get to Lanzarote. Due to government restrictions, we could only sail from L’Orient on the 12th December and we saw 48 knots of wind in the Golfe de Gascogne. We did make it past La Coruna, but the weather was so bad we had to turn back. We waited six days for the storm to pass and then it was a better sail to Lanzarote.”

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