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Sizzling competition in the RORC Transatlantic Race

by Louay Habib / RORC 15 Jan 06:54 PST

At 0800 UTC on the eighth day of the RORC Transatlantic Race, 17 boats are still racing in the Atlantic, with the first finishers in the monohull fleet expected on the 17th and 18th of January.

The battle for the overall win under IRC and the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy is beginning to sizzle. There is a clear leader on the water, vying for the IMA Transatlantic Trophy; Volvo 70 I Love Poland (POL), skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski.

IRC Super Zero

I Love Poland leads the big boat class on the water and corrected time, but the all-Polish team have sailed 400 miles from the rhumb line with their bow pointing at Guyana in South America. IMOCA Canada Ocean Racing (CAN) raced Two-Handed by Scott Shawyer and Alan Roberts is 144 miles behind I Love Poland. The Swan 115 Jasi (SWE), skippered by Toby Clark is to the north of the rhumb line to Grenada. Johannes Schwarz's Volvo 70 Green Dragon has just over 1000 miles to go to finish the race.

Alan Roberts on IMOCA Canada Ocean Racing contacted the RORC Media team on Saturday 14th January giving an insight into the strategic differences in approach for IRC Super Zero. "We are going pretty quick and we have been playing the shifts downwind. This is because the routing work that we have done shows a pretty even race track. So, with not much difference between going north or south, our plan is to keep playing the shifts."

IRC Zero

The top three teams for the overall win after IRC are all in IRC Zero. Eric de Turckheim's NMYD Teasing Machine (FRA) is 845nm from the finish and leading after corrected time. Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), sailed by Stefan Jentzsch leads on the water, 806nm from the finish. Black Pearl is way south and Teasing Machine are covering from astern. As IRC is a fixed time correction rule, Teasing Machine know that if they can keep up with Black Pearl overall victory is a strong possibility. However, 47 miles away on Teasing Machine's starboard quarter is Henri de Bokay's Elliott 52 Rafale (GER). Rafale is very much in the hunt for Class and Overall Honours with 892 miles to the finish.

Black Pearl's navigator, Marc Lagesse contacted the RORC Media Team as they approached the halfway mark. "Black Pearl has raced 1,540 miles in 100 hours - 15.4 knots average; that tells you it's been a fast trip with the speedo frequently in the 20 knot+ range. We are expecting things to cool down in the coming days, but not by much. We are having a few technical gremlins; while not effecting our performance, they are certainly annoying. Life onboard otherwise is good. We are suitable impressed by the performance of the other boats in our class. Despite best efforts, we can't get away from them - Nice work guys!!"


Andrew & Sam Hall's Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) is leading the class on the water and is over halfway, 1,478nm from Grenada. Laurent Courbin's First 53 Yagiza (FRA), skippered by Philippe Falle has remained north of the rhumb line and has also passed halfway, 1,504nm from the finish. Two totally different teams are vying for third place on the water. Lionel Regnier's Brian 58 L'Esprit D'Equipe (FRA) and Peter & Duncan Bacon's Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear (GBR) are almost the same difference from the finish. Under IRC, Sea Bear is having a terrific battle with Pata Negra. After racing halfway across the Atlantic, Sea Bear leads Pata Negra by just one hour after IRC time correction.

Global Yacht Racing's First 47.7 EH01, skippered by Neil Maher is 1,724 miles from the finish. On board are two of Global Yacht Racing's trainee skippers and a crew of charter guests. Prue Nash sent in a flavour of life on board EH01: "Number of rounds of 20 questions - usually 5 or 6 per night watch. Things to guess have included elephant poo, gravity and a ski pole. Number of sunset photos taken - too many to count. Highest surf speed record - 11.8 knots by Sam. Number of waves sworn at in the night - 1,000,000."

Kate Cope & Claire Dresser racing Two-Handed in Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist (GBR) send in a daily blog about life on board. Kate and Claire are the first women's Two-Handed team in the history of the race. Purple Mist has suffered a fair amount of sail damage, especially during squalls which is affecting their progress. The latest damage was to their main sail.

"Do not despair, I have a sail repair kit the size of a small bungalow and so we shrank the main to the third reef to protect what we could of it and got our thinking caps on. Interestingly, we are still doing 6kts on three reefs, so not a total disaster. We are now back on two reefs in the main with a lot of halyard tension and so far it's holding well. We have just had a +30kt squall go though and all still looks good."

For full coverage of the RORC Transatlantic Race, including race updates and stories from the teams, follow the Royal Ocean Racing Club on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For regular updates including satellite tracking go to

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