RORC Transatlantic Race: A Chess Game

The RORC Transatlantic Race is entering its fifth day with the potential for a real twist of fate at the front of the RORC fleet. Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 PowerPlay (CAY) still leads the multihulls, but as the first boat in an area with light winds, the ‘hunters’ overtake their prey. Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (US) and Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) join PowerPlay. The 100 ft Maxi Comanche (CAY), skippered by Mitch Booth, is over 160 miles ahead with one hand on the IMA Trophy. However, the Volvo 70 L4 Trifork (DEN), led by Joern Larsen, falters in Comanche. L4 Trifork runs on better pressure from the northwest. Fleet news includes breaking news from Gunboat 68 Tosca (USA), co-skippered by Ken Howery & Alex Thomson.

Driving at better pressure from the northwest, the Volvo 70 L4 Trifork (DEN) is at the helm of the 100ft Maxi Comanche on day five of the RORC Transatlantic Race © Soren Wiegand/Aksel Magdhal/L4 Trifork

Comanche’s navigator Will Oxley (2100 UTC 11 JAN):

“1,680 nm to go. It has been a very messy Atlantic weather pattern and it looks like it will continue into the finish. So far good. We are happy with our more southerly approach compared to L4 Trifork. Currently they are sailing very fast in the vicinity of the low. However, it seems quite difficult to break free from the north; one of the reasons we declined this option. We’ll be watching with interest to see how it plays out. The low seems to be confusing the fleet. We are sailing at 10-15 knots north with the low trade winds still disruptive. We think we can dot the i’s in the finish, but we’ll have to be careful not to get very light skies on the 13th. ETA still January 16.”

Reporting ‘a very messy Atlantic weather pattern’ aboard the Maxi Comanche – Onboard Images
© Shannon Falcone @racingSF


Paul Larsen aboard MOD70 PowerPlay (01:00 UTC 12 JAN):

“Protect the exits. That’s the strategy on PowerPlay right now regarding our fighters and the narrow band of pressure we’re in. So far so good today; we saw some pretty glamorous sailing with a clear blue sky and a warm, clear moonlit night. All the while, we’re luring PowerPlay as deep into the wind as every wave, puff, and shift will bring us. We don’t mind if it gets a little light as that suits our more conservative foil setup. The wind band that takes us over this last leg of the trail is narrow. We try to keep between Argo and the far west of this breeze. Life on board is very pleasant and even leads to stupid talk like: I wonder if you could cruise on one of these? Offshore sailors have such a short memory!”

A private duel takes place in the MOCRA class between GDD (FRA) led by Halvard Mabire, two-handed racing with Miranda Merron and Club Five Oceans (FRA) © James Mitchell/RORC

Two ORC50s compete in the RORC Transatlantic Race: Club Five Oceans (FRA), led by Quentin le Nabour, and GDD (FRA) led by Halvard Mabire, in Two-Handed with Miranda Merron. The pair have their own private duel within the MOCRA class. Club Five Oceans leads by more than 50 miles. GDD racing is catching up after a major problem at the start, as Miranda Merron reports from aboard GDD:

Miranda Merron aboard ORC50 GDD (23:00 UTC 11 JAN):

“We have made a conservative start as we are new to the boat. We hadn’t had the fractional spinnaker in the air for more than two hours when the spinnaker’s noose broke and the whole thing was eventually dragged into the sea. Aside from the halyard, which is clearly still in the mast and will need to be retrieved when the untidy sea conditions abate, the spinnaker has survived, but we have to make a new sock noose. Soaked up on the first day of the wet spinnaker and the sheer effort of getting it back on board! But beautiful starry night on GDD tonight!”

Ken Howery has reported on his Instagram feed that the boat and crew of Gunboat 68 Tosca arrived safely in the Azores. The boat had been sunk, meaning they “couldn’t use the basic electrical systems necessary for crew safety,” Howery concluded. “We hope to be back on the road to Grenada in the next few days.”

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