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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 (skippered by Galway's Cathal Mahon) has just over 1000 miles to finish the race.

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.

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 and with Ireland's James Carroll on board 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!!”

Published in RORC Transatlantic

A flotilla of spectator boats and a huge crowd in Marina Lanzarote witnessed the start of the 2023 RORC Transatlantic Race on Sunday, 9th January. In glorious conditions, the fleet got away to a clean downwind start, a mile from Marina Lanzarote. The RORC fleet were in full view of spectators along the seafront of Arrecife, Lanzarote’s capital. As the boats rounded the turning mark outside Puerto Calero, well-wishes shouted encouragement from a pack of ribs and an armada of cruising boats.

After passing under the volcanic mountains of the Los Ajaches National Park, the fleet raced through the narrow Strait of Bocaina, which divides Lanzarote from Fuerteventura. The RORC fleet must leave Tenerife to port, before heading into the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. The next mark of the course is 3,000 miles away across the Atlantic at Glover Island.

Frank Slootman’s MOD70 Snowflake (USA), skippered by Gavin Brady Photo: James MitchellFrank Slootman’s MOD70 Snowflake (USA), skippered by Gavin Brady Photo: James Mitchell

Vincent Willemart’s TS42 Banzai (BEL) Photo: James TomlinsonVincent Willemart’s TS42 Banzai (BEL) Photo: James Tomlinson

Multihull Class

Three powerful 70ft trimarans approached the line on port, but undoubtedly the smallest multihull in the race won the start. Vincent Willemart’s TS42 Banzai (BEL) approached the line on starboard, and with right of way, the trimarans respectfully gave way. Frank Slootman’s MOD70 Snowflake (USA), skippered by Gavin Brady, and MOD70 Zoulou (FRA), with Erik Maris at the helm, soon powered up. However, Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 (ITA) was not the quickest in light airs, with its four foils more a hindrance in low wind speed. At 17:15 UTC Snowflake was achieving 18 knots of boat speed, a mile ahead of Zoulou, with Maserati four miles astern.

The largest boat in the fleet - Swan 115 Jasi Photo: James TomlinsonThe largest boat in the fleet - Swan 115 Jasi Photo: James Tomlinson

 Volvo 70 Green Dragon, skippered by Cathal Mahon Photo: James TomlinsonVolvo 70 Green Dragon, skippered by Cathal Mahon Photo: James Tomlinson

IRC Super Zero

Volvo 70 Green Dragon, skippered by Cathal Mahon of Galway Bay got a cracking start near the pin end, but Volvo 70 I Love Poland, skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski was soon up-to-speed. Swan 115 Jasi (SWE) was a magnificent sight and was the first in class to pass the mark at Puerto Calero. At 17:15 UTC Jasi was through the Strait of Bocaina, three miles ahead of I Love Poland (POL). IMOCA 60 Canada Ocean Racing (CAN), co-skippered by Scott Shawyer & Alan Roberts was third.

 Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), sailed by Stefan Jentzsch Photo: James MitchellBotin 56 Black Pearl (GER), sailed by Stefan Jentzsch Photo: James Mitchell

Henri de Bokay’s Elliott 52 Rafale Photo: James MitchellHenri de Bokay’s Elliott 52 Rafale Photo: James Mitchell

IRC Zero

Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), sailed by Stefan Jentzsch, pulled off a stunning start at the pin end and immediately unfurled an enormous gennaker to take the lead on the water. By contrast, Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD Teasing Machine (FRA) chose the inshore end of the line. As the class leaders approached the turning mark at Puerto Calero, Black Pearl was clear away. Henri de Bokay’s Elliott 52 Rafale and Arto Linnervuo’s Infiniti 52 Tulikettu were in the chasing pack with Teasing Machine. A difference in tactics through the Strait of Bocaina saw Black Pearl go to the Fuerteventura coast along with Tulikettu and Teasing Machine. However, Rafale has split gybes heading north of the rhumb line, it will be interesting to see if their different approach pays off.

Pata Negra at sunset Photo: Chris JacksonPata Negra at sunset Photo: Chris Jackson 

Laurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza (FRA), skippered by Philippe Falle Photo: James MitchellLaurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza (FRA), skippered by Philippe Falle Photo: James Mitchell

IRC One

At 17:15 UTC, Laurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza (FRA), skippered by Philippe Falle leads on the water from Andrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR). Lionel Regnier’s Briand 58 L’Esprit D'Equipe was third.

Chris Jackson on board Pata Negra blogged as the sun set on the first day: “Great to start the race and be on our way. All settling in well on Pata Negra. The breeze is a little lighter than we hoped for, but there’s plenty of days to come for that to change. All happy aboard!”

IRC Two-Handed competitors in this year’s race are Kate Cope & Claire Dresser racing Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist (GBR), and Peter & Duncan Bacon racing Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear (GBR). Both teams have made a great start, with Sea Bear just ahead on the water, but Purple Mist leading after IRC time correction.

Peter & Duncan Bacon racing Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear (GBR) Photo: James Tomlinson Peter & Duncan Bacon racing Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear (GBR) Photo: James Tomlinson  

RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton watched the start from the water and spotted a fantastic moment when two historic round the world racing yachts were close-racing as they approached the Puerto Calero mark: “We have some great stories in this race,” commented Jeremy Wilton. “Penduick VI skippered by Marie Tabarly has been beautifully restored, which her father Eric would have been so proud of, and L’Esprit D'Equipe, winner of the ’85 Whitbread is a part of sailing history. The RORC want to attract the high performance boats like the MOD70s, Volvo 70s and the Supermaxi Swan 115 Jasi, but we also want the Corinthians as well. We want diversity and that is really evident in this fleet, with classic yachts and passionate two-handed teams like Kate and Claire on Purple Mist and Peter and Duncan on Sea Bear.”

“It’s fantastic to see the fleet start the race,” commented RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole. “In the build-up, we have had really good communication with the competitors who have given us all the information required in good time. This has allowed us to concentrate on other aspects of the race such as safety inspections. There have been a few tiny things that needed some attention, but all of the boats are well-prepared to cross the Atlantic. We now move to the next phase; monitoring the race 24 hours a day. We wish all of the boats fair winds and we look forward to seeing the competitors in Grenada.

Track the fleet below

Published in RORC Transatlantic
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On the thirteenth day of the RORC Transatlantic Race David Collins’ Botin 52 Tala (GBR) and Max Klink’s Botin 52 Caro (CH) crossed the finish line outside Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina to complete the RORC Transatlantic Race. The closest battle in the eight-year history of the race came to a dramatic conclusion. The Austrian Ocean Race Project’s VO65 Sisi (AUT) has also finished the race, with news dockside from skipper Gerwin Jansen. OCR 50 Club Five Oceans (FRA) skippered by Quentin le Nabour also finished the race in the early hours of the 20th of January.

Billed as the closest battle within the record fleet for the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race, IRC Zero did not disappoint. The dismasting of Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), which has safely made landfall in the Canaries, resulted in two hi-tech fifty-footers battling for class and the overall win.

Tala has won IRC Zero, completing the course in an elapsed time of 11 days 10 hrs 13 mins 9 secs. Tala is also ranked second overall, just over an hour behind the mighty Comanche after IRC time correction. Caro was just an hour behind Tala on the water - a virtual photo-finish after over 3,000nm of racing. Caro is a new Botin design taking part in only its second race and the first transatlantic. Caro is second in IRC Zero and third overall. Despite being disappointed not to win, the Caro team raised a cheer having completed the race. Caro and Tala are relishing the next battle, which will be in February at the RORC Caribbean 600. (NB: Video to follow)

Max Klink’s Botin 52 Caro (CH) team: Mark Bartlett GB, Justin Ferris NZ, Ryan Godfrey AU, Maximilian Klink CH, William Mackenzie AU, Andrew McCorquodale CA, Ian Moore GB, Michael Mueller DE, Jonathan Swain USMax Klink’s Botin 52 Caro (CH) team: Mark Bartlett GB, Justin Ferris NZ, Ryan Godfrey AU, Maximilian Klink CH, William Mackenzie AU, Andrew McCorquodale CA, Ian Moore GB, Michael Mueller DE, Jonathan Swain US

Tala is the first modified TP52 to even attempt the RORC Transatlantic Race, let alone win class, and is believed to be the first of its kind to complete a west-to-east race Transatlantic race. Tala has been a familiar competitor for the RORC for several years. However, the boat was specifically modified for the race.

Tala’s skipper and owner David Collins spoke dockside: “It all started when Pete Redmond (Tala crew) jokingly said let’s do the RORC Transatlantic Race and I said ‘why not?’ We have always dreamed of sending-it downwind for days, so I decided to do this race and then the RORC Caribbean 600.”

Once the decision to race was made, Tala was modified in her home port of Hamble UK, specifically for additional waterproofing. Work included making a bespoke main hatch enclosure and additional bilge pumps below decks. Tala was then sailed over 1,500nm to Lanzarote for the start.

“We did get to send it for a few days at the start and we enjoyed it,” continued David Collins. “A low-pressure system affected the race and our fleet had different views about what to do. Black Pearl went south and Caro to the north. Tala’s navigator, Campbell Field didn’t like the extra distance around the top, but we wanted the slingshot from the system, so he took the decision to just skirt the low, punching through the pressure band on the way in.”

Tala crossed the finish line of the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race after a close battle for IRC ZeroTala Tala crossed the finish line in Grenada after the closest battle in the eight-year history of the race came to a dramatic conclusion, with Max Klink's Botin 52 Caro (CH) just one hour behind on the water © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Tala’s course was the most direct, but it meant the team and the boat would experience big conditions with 35 knots and confused seas and an erratic wind direction.

“Tala is a good boat, but she suffered. We were very confident that she would be able to cope with the conditions, but unfortunately the electronics on board were taken out by the water ingress. We lost just about all the electrical systems, including the YB Tracker, our ability to download weather data and the position of other boats. We were becalmed for a while, but we then reached out on a good shift and came powering out of the low into the trade winds.”

With the electronics compromised, Tala was effectively racing by compass and the weather they could eye-ball. The team had no information on their big rival Caro, as David Collins explains.

“We were utterly unaware of the position of any other boat. We were getting no weather reports either,” continued David. “We didn’t know` where Caro was until we got in cell phone range off Grenada. “When we found out Caro was behind us, we were astonished. My bet was they were 20 miles ahead, especially as we had a shocking final 24hrs. We made two back downs and Robbie (Southwell) as a swimmer, trying to clear weed from our rudder. I was really down, but then elated to find out that we had got the win.

“It was really nip and tuck with Caro and I am very sentimental about this race. Sometimes you get a great boat like Tala and you just want to do it justice. Tala is a cracking boat, a joy to sail but now it’s time to go back to my wife and two kids! We have a lot of work to get ready for the RORC Caribbean 600, but I am sure the lads will do it. The RORC have done a brilliant job organising this race, it has been a great experience. A massive think you to the Tala crew, they are a solid bunch of lads and we will enjoy a couple of days in Grenada.”

"Tala is a cracking boat, a joy to sail, but now it’s time to go back to my wife and two kids!" said David Collins after finishing the race in Grenada © Arthur Daniel/RORC"Tala is a cracking boat, a joy to sail, but now it’s time to go back to my wife and two kids!" said David Collins after finishing the race in Grenada © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Published in RORC Transatlantic
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After an intense Atlantic battle, Giovanni Soldini's Multi70 (ITA) Maserati has crossed the finish line first in the 8th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, finishing at: 05:51:41 UTC in Grenada on Saturday 15 January to take Multihull Line Honours.

Next to cross the finish line off Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada was Peter Cunningham's MOD70 PowerPlay at: 06 46 42 UTC.

Skipper Giovanni Soldini and crew (Vittorio Bissaro, Oliver Herrera Perez, Thomas Joffrin, Francesco Pedol and Matteo Soldini,) with Media man, Alberto Origone on Multi70 Maserati before the startSkipper Giovanni Soldini and crew (Vittorio Bissaro, Oliver Herrera Perez, Thomas Joffrin, Francesco Pedol and Matteo Soldini,) with Media man, Alberto Origone on Multi70 Maserati before the start

Published in RORC Transatlantic

Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 PowerPlay (CAY) is over halfway and just two hours outside multihull race record pace. The 100ft Maxi Comanche (CAY), skippered by Mitch Booth, and with Cork's Justin Slattery onboard, is 1,900 miles from Grenada and well inside monohull race record pace. The majority of the RORC fleet are north of the rhumb line. To the south, an area of light winds stretches about 1,000 miles across the direct route. Four days into the RORC Transatlantic Race and the sight of land is now just a distant memory for the 29 teams racing to Grenada. The crews have settled into life at sea, rolling in the deep, their boat speed the metric for success.

Comanche’s navigator Will Oxley (0900 UTC 10 JAN) reported: “All going well on Comanche. Our goals are a safe boat and crew, line honours and a new race record. We felt we could achieve these goals without heading far north and crossing the front in big seas and strong winds. So, we have been threading the needle between a col (transition zone) and an easterly wave (atmospheric trough), trying to find enough pressure to make our way west. We had a slow 12 hours, but we hope we are through the worst of it now. We expect to cross the front around 0300 UTC on the day four. At this time, we will have a good idea whether our plan has been successful.” (At 0900 UTC on day four Comanche was doing 24 knots of boat speed!)

PowerPlay continues to lead the race on the water, over 50 miles ahead of Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) and Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) © James Mitchell/RORCPowerPlay continues to lead the race on the water, over 50 miles ahead of Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) and Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) © James Mitchell/RORC

MOCRA

PowerPlay continues to lead the race on the water, over 50 miles ahead of Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) and Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA). Paul Larsen, on board PowerPlay, shared his thoughts after the team crossed the northerly front and pointed their bows towards Grenada: “Squinting into the lashing rain whilst wrestling in a reef. We’re in the thick of crossing the front now. It’s hard to find the right gear between squalls. Our hunters (Argo and Maserati) are 65 miles back and will also have to tread this path. We are happy with where we are...but equally aware of how quickly these boats can demolish a lead.”

Two ORC50s are competing in the RORC Transatlantic Race: Five Oceans (FRA) skippered by Quentin le Nabour and GDD (FRA) skippered by Halvard Mabire, racing two-handed with Miranda Merron. Both teams have crossed an area of light winds and are bracing themselves for strong northwesterlys to come. Five Oceans leads by 55 miles, having taken a more northerly route than GDD. Miranda Merron contacted the RORC Media team (1000 UTC JAN 11): “Well done RORC for organising a race in phase with the lunar cycle! Each night we are treated to an hour more of ever-brighter moonlight. However, the weather department must be on holiday. According to the brochure, this race is supposed to be a downwind sleighride in the tradewinds, but there is a nasty little low, marked ‘gale’ on NOAA's synoptic map, which is spoiling the party and heading this way.”

GDD (FRA) skippered by Halvard Mabire, racing two-handed with Miranda Merron - "Well done RORC for organising a race in phase with the lunar cycle" Sent to the media team by © Miranda MerronGDD (FRA) skippered by Halvard Mabire, racing two-handed with Miranda Merron - "Well done RORC for organising a race in phase with the lunar cycle" Sent to the media team by © Miranda Merron

IRC SUPER ZERO

Comanche (CAY) is currently leading IRC Super Zero with Volvo 70 L4 Trifork (DEN), helmed by Joern Larsen, in second place. L4 Trifork’s navigator Aksel Magdahl contacted the RORC media team (0900 UTC JAN 11).

“Finally, we are through this front and the boat speed is back in the 20s again, with a gusty 30 knots sometimes,” commented Aksel. “We are finally heading more for Grenada, which is quite a relief. Looking ahead, it looks like the low pressure scenario will repeat itself, with us having to negotiate a wedge of light airs before we can get into the next cold front and low pressure system. All is good on board, everyone quite soaked and difficult to stay in the bunks at times. The food has been great, currently enjoying some jamon iberico in the nav station while the guys are getting smashed on deck!”

100ft Maxi Comanche (CAY) is currently leading IRC Super Zero - © Shannon Falcone @racingSF100ft Maxi Comanche (CAY) is currently leading IRC Super Zero - © Shannon Falcone @racingSF

IRC ZERO

The intense battle continues between three 50-footers in IRC Zero with David Collins’ Botin 52 Tala (GBR) estimated to be leading after IRC time correction. Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), helmed by Stefan Jentsch, is leading on the water but ranked second in class after time correction. Max Klink’s Botin 52 Caro (CH) is ranked third after time correction. The three leaders are currently passing through a transition zone of lighter winds. Black Pearl has chosen a WSW course to get to the better pressure, while Tala and Caro are heading NW. The result of the difference in opinion will be revealed at the 1200 UTC sched.

About 90 miles behind the class leaders, Jean Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First 3 (FRA) from the Yacht Club de France, is battling with Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen (FRA). François-Xavier Li contacted the RORC Media team and commented: “Tonnerre encountered a little less wind during the night, which allowed Lady First, our friends from Marseilles, to make an 11 mile gain to catch us up. The Marseillais sail together!”

An intense battle continues between Max Klink’s Botin 52 Caro (CH), David Collins’ Botin 52 Tala (GBR) and Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), helmed by Stefan Jentsch © James Mitchell/RORCAn intense battle continues between Max Klink’s Botin 52 Caro (CH), David Collins’ Botin 52 Tala (GBR) and Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), helmed by Stefan Jentsch © James Mitchell/RORC

IRC ONE

Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada (GBR), racing two-handed with Jeremy Waitt, is estimated to lead the class after IRC time correction. Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) is ranked second by less than an hour. Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) is leading on the water and ranked third after IRC correction, by just 16 minutes from Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon (FRA), which is representing the Yacht Club de France. It will be an interesting 24 hours for the leaders in the class as they negotiate an area of light wind right across the racecourse. Pata Negra leads a pack of boats to the south, including Christopher Daniel’s J/122 Juno (GBR), Martin Westcott’s Swan 57 Equinoccio (CHI), and Carlo Vroon’s Hinckley 52 Diana (NED). If the southerly boats can find a way through the light winds, they will make huge gains on the boats to the north.

Remy Gerin’s 65ft Spirit of Tradition sloop Faïaoahé (FRA) representing the Yacht Club de France is back in the race. The two-handed team of Remy and Bernard Jeanne-Beylot suspended racing on day three to fix a problem with their auto-pilot, all within the race rules, and now Faïaoahé is back in action on the course.

Published in RORC
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Cork's Justin Slattery is expected to cross the RORC Transatlantic Race finish time next Monday morning in Grenada and if the current pace from day two can be maintained then the the 100ft Maxi will win IRC Super Zero overall and break records to boot.

Comanche (CAY) skippered by Mitch Booth gybed southwest shortly after dawn on day two and has stayed on the same gybe all day. On a broad reach, Comanche has been unstoppable, achieving over 20 knots of boat speed hour after hour. If Comanche continues at this pace, the race record will be smashed by over three days. Volvo 70 L4 Trifork (DEN) is the most northerly boat of the RORC fleet and aptly the majority of the crew come from Scandinavia.

Max Klink's Botin 52 Caro (CH) is still leading IRC Zero, but only just. Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), helmed by Stefan Jentsch, and David Collins' Botin 52 Tala (GBR) have all gybed west and are continuing their close battle. In reality, all three boats are vying for the class and overall lead, after IRC time correction.

In IRC One, leaving Tenerife to port initially worked out well for Richard Palmer's JPK 10.10 Jangada (GBR), Jacques Pelletier's Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon (FRA) and Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR). However, Andrew Hall's Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR), which went south of Tenerife, is now through the lee of the island and starting to increase in speed due to the good pressure.

Conor Corson of the National Yacht Club and Southampton based Callum Healy whose family hail from County Kildare are both sailing on Phosphorous II and lying sixth in the IRC One division.

Race Tracker

Published in RORC Transatlantic

RORC Transatlantic Race navigators are studying the latest weather models and the data is predicting a fast, potentially record-breaking race for the 8th edition from Lanzarote to Grenada.

The record RORC fleet is in Puerto Calero and Marina Lanzarote and crews are making final preparations for the 3,000-mile race. Race navigators are studying the latest weather models and the data is predicting a fast, potentially record-breaking race to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada. Four days before the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race, three top navigators express their predictions.

RORC Transatlantic Race navigators are studying the latest weather models and the data is predicting a fast, potentially record-breaking race for the 8th edition from Lanzarote to Grenada © YB TrackingRORC Transatlantic Race navigators are studying the latest weather models and the data is predicting a fast, potentially record-breaking race for the 8th edition from Lanzarote to Grenada Photo YB Tracking

Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club de France. The eighth edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race will start from Lanzarote on Saturday 8th of January 2022.

The favourite for the IMA Trophy is the 100ft Maxi Comanche, skippered by Mitch Booth. Comanche is very capable of breaking the Monohull Race Record, set by Pier Luigi Loro Piana's Supermaxi My Song in 2018 of 10 days 05 hrs 47 mins 11 secs. Comanche’s Australian navigator Will Oxley has racked up 300,000 ocean miles, including three editions of The Ocean Race.

Will Oxley - Comanche: “It is still too far out, but at the moment there's a suggestion that the southern route is not so good in terms of the trade winds. A couple of low-pressure systems are disrupting the Atlantic, so possibly a more northern route will be quicker. Around start time we should get away in good pressure, but there's a big low building up off Nova Scotia and it’s moving very fast. So, when we get closer to the race start, factors like sea state will influence our decisions. Potentially Comanche will rotate up into the front, which will be windy and unpleasant. Comanche is a big strong boat and after negotiating the front we can reach away and tackle the next high pressure. Alternatively, if Comanche went to the southern route, there is potential for very light winds. Comanche is a big flat-bottomed boat; it is difficult to get to our polar speed in light conditions, especially upwind.”

Will Oxley, navigator on the 100ft Maxi ComancheWill Oxley, navigator on the 100ft Maxi Comanche Photo: Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica/Volvo AB

British navigator Miles Seddon will be racing for Peter Cunningham’s team on MOD70 PowerPlay. Hot competition for Multihull Line Honours will be Jason Carroll’s Argo, Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati and Antoine Rabaste’s Ultim'Emotion 2. Seddon is no stranger to the race having been navigator on MOD70 Phaedo3, setting the Multihull Race Record in 2015 of 5 days 22 hrs 46 mins 03 secs.

Miles Seddon - PowerPlay: “If this were a holiday brochure there would be no question, head south until the butter melts. At the moment the middle road doesn’t appear to be an option due to light winds. Given a free rein, the routing software favours the northerly option for best pressure for the longest period of time, but when you start to dig into the wave direction and sea state, it is less appealing. Further along the northerly route the models develop a strong cold front pushing down from the north, with 30-40kn winds forecasted and temperatures in the low to mid-teens behind the front. It certainly has some warning bells attached to it at the moment.”

British navigator Miles Seddon will be racing for Peter Cunningham’s team on MOD70 PowerPlay British navigator Miles Seddon will be racing for Peter Cunningham’s team on MOD70 PowerPlay Photo: Joaquim Vera

Miles Seddon was navigator on the MOD70 Phaedo3 which set the Multihull Race Record in 2015 of 5 days 22 hrs 46 mins 03 secsMiles Seddon was navigator on the MOD70 Phaedo3 which set the Multihull Race Record in 2015 of 5 days 22 hrs 46 mins 03 secs

America’s Cup and 52 Super Series navigator Marc Lagesse is racing on German Botin 56 Black Pearl with Stefan Jentzsch at the helm. The crew are highly experienced with over 40 Atlantic races between them. Black Pearl is one of a trio of Botin designs that are expected to have a rare and exceptional battle across the Atlantic. Maximilian Klink’s Swiss Botin 52 Caro, David Collins’ British Botin 52 Tala, and Black Pearl is a contest to savour.

Marc Lagesse – Black Pearl: “The short answer right now is north, but two days ago it was south. Yesterday it was 50/50 and now it’s north. The situation is very fluid and changing daily. North will be punchy, uncomfortable and cold. So, I am not too keen on that decision (he jokes). We are in a dog fight with Caro; she is very similar to Black Pearl in design, also with water-ballast and sailed by a crack crew. Tala will be very well sailed too. On the water we are bigger and should have an advantage, however they rate very well. The same goes for Tala in terms of size and rating. To a large degree we will not let other boats influence us, but once we get out there and the race develops, the scenario may change that strategy. The calibre of the competition means that if they do something different, we will need to understand why.”

America’s Cup and 52 Super Series navigator Marc Lagesse is racing on German Botin 56 Black Pearl with Stefan Jentzsch at the helmAmerica’s Cup and 52 Super Series navigator Marc Lagesse is racing on German Botin 56 Black Pearl with Stefan Jentzsch at the helm

Black Pearl at the start of the 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race © James Mitchell/RORCBlack Pearl at the start of the 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race © James Mitchell/RORC

Published in RORC Transatlantic
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With less than a month to the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race, well over half of the record international fleet has arrived in Calero Marinas Puerto Calero in Lanzarote for the start of the 3,000 nautical mile race to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada. Over 200 sailors from at least 22 different nations will be competing. The eclectic mix includes professional sailors from the Olympics, America’s Cup, Vendée Globe, and The Ocean Race, however, the vast majority are passionate corinthians.

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Double Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott will be part of Peter Cunningham’s crew racing his MOD70 PowerPlay. This will be Scott’s first-ever transatlantic, but he has a wealth of multihull experience as tactician for INEOS TEAM UK’s America's Cup campaign.

“The only offshore I have done previously was the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race on the same boat when it was Concise, so this is a bit new for me,” admitted Scott. “I am used to the speed that we will achieve, but clearly this will be very different; we are racing across the Atlantic and there are going to be some big waves. Hopefully, we will get good trade winds and it will be 3,000-miles downwind, which will be nice!”

Going offshore and looking forward to his first Atlantic race - Giles Scott will be on board Peter Cunningham's MOD70 PowerPlay in the RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote to Grenada in January 2022 © Cameron Gregory/ INOES TEAM UKGoing offshore and looking forward to his first Atlantic race - Giles Scott will be on board Peter Cunningham's MOD70 PowerPlay in the RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote to Grenada in January 2022 © Cameron Gregory/ INOES TEAM UK

The major difference for Scott will be racing offshore for a number of days and nights, something that he has not experienced in the Finn or the AC75. “I am fully into the unknowns here; it is a first step up into this world. I am looking forward to it, but I am nowhere near being an expert. I will be following the lead of the guys around me. I really don’t know what to expect in the middle of the Atlantic and this is almost a different sport. I hope I can perform to a high standard for the team. This is out of my comfort zone and that is why I want to do it. It will be an experience with a great set of guys and I am sure I will learn a lot,” concluded Scott.

With echoes of the Prada Cup in New Zealand earlier this year between INEOS, American Magic and Luna Rossa, the RORC Transatlantic Race features PowerPlay with a majority British crew, Argo from the United States, and Maserati from Italy.

“I am not sure about that analogy!” smiled Scott. “This race should be a real tussle; all three boats are set up differently. I am sure I can bring some experience to the team from the ‘Cup but I am not going to revolutionise anything. It doesn’t really matter what type of sailing you do, there is always parallel learning and this is a new area for me and why I am so keen to do it. My INEOS commitments don’t ramp up for a few months and since I stopped Olympic sailing, getting into offshore racing has been of real interest.”

One of several yachts racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France will be Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon which is competing in the race for the first time © Paul Wyeth

The 2022 edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race has been organised in association with the Yacht Club de France and nine of the competing teams will be flying the French tricolour. French teams have lifted the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy on three occasions: Jean-Paul Riviere’s Nomad IV (2015) Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine (2017) and Olivier Magre’s Palanad 3 (2021).

Two stand out teams racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France will be Jacques Pelletier’s L'Ange De Milon and Remy Gerin’s Faiaoahe. Jacques Pelletier has lost count of the number of Fastnet Races he has competed in, including winning class in 2019, but this will be his first RORC Transatlantic Race with his Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon. Having suffered mast problems in the heavy weather at the start of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, it is wonderful to see L’Ange De Milon has been repaired and is ready and waiting in Lanzarote. Designed by Jacques Valer of JPK fame, and with a highly experienced French crew, L'Ange De Milon will be a force to reckon with.

One to watch in the RORC Transatlantic Race - Tonnerre de Glen, Dominique Tian's Ker 46 One to watch in the RORC Transatlantic Race - Tonnerre de Glen, Dominique Tian's Ker 46 © Antoine Beysens

Dominique Tian loves ocean racing and his Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen is also one of the hot prospects from France. This will be the first RORC Transatlantic Race for the boat which has been meticulously prepared for the race. The team is full of experience, including navigator Oliver Kraus, who came second in the Multi 50 Class in both the TJV and the Québec St Malo:

“I am enthusiastic about my first Transat in this boat,” commented Dominique Tian. “It is one of the goals for 2022; the other being the RORC Caribbean 600. To finish with the crew and boat in good shape is always the most important thing. If we can also perform well, then we will achieve the best outcome possible.”

Taking on the RORC Transatlantic Race Two-Handed in his spirt of tradition classic - Remy Gerin's Faiaoahe, racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France © ROLEXTaking on the RORC Transatlantic Race Two-Handed in his spirt of tradition classic - Remy Gerin's Faiaoahe, racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France © ROLEX

Remy Gerin’s Faiaoahe is a spirit of tradition classic, built-in 2006 to sail around the world. The 65ft (19.8m) cutter-rigged sloop will be raced in the IRC Two-Handed class by skippers Remy Gerin and Bernard Jeanne-Beylot. Faiaoahe will dwarf another IRC Two-Handed competitor; Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada (overall winner in 2019), which is almost half the same length.

“Faiaoahe has been raced and cruised numerous times in the Pacific and Atlantic, including twice around Cape Horn, but this will be the first time we have raced her Two-Handed across the Atlantic,” explained Gerin. “Our first goal is to complete the race and then we are looking forward to welcoming our friends and family who will join us in the Caribbean.”

On the Volvo 70 HYPR - Gap year student fulfills his dream of racing across the Atlantic on the ocean racer On the Volvo 70 HYPR - Gap year student fulfills his dream of racing across the Atlantic on the ocean racer © Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

For centuries, racing across the Atlantic Ocean has always been the centre of fascination for ocean racers, the opportunities to take part in an all-out race across the world's second-largest ocean is rare, especially for corinthian sailors. Of the 27 confirmed entries for the 8th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, the youngest crew member on file is just 18 years old. Swedish sailor Filip Henriksson will be competing on the Volvo 70 HYPR skippered by Jens Lindner, which is one of 11 Maxis eligible for the IMA Trophy. Filip learnt to sail big boats with his family in the Gothenburg archipelago:

“My dream is to race across the Atlantic,” commented Filip. “2022 is my gap year and I saw HYPR when I searched the internet and I thought if I am going to do it, I may as well do it big. I am so excited to have got a position on board. I will be turning 19 during the race and my parents will be flying to Grenada to celebrate with me and have a holiday to explore the island.”

Published in RORC Transatlantic
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After several days of calm weather that tested everybody’s nerves, the fleet has finally caught the trade winds. The four leading boats are currently leaving the Cabo Verde Islands in their wake while Jim Schofield (Ireland) in his Molly Claire, who took a more conservative start and missed the first weather system, is crossing the latitude of Nouadhibou in Mauritania.

Globe 580 Transat Race Director Lutz Kohne is relieved to see his sailors finally getting some wind! “After a week of patchy winds, we are happy to see that our old friend, the Azores High, settled in again this weekend, giving the guys steady trades and boat speeds above 5 knots. Being becalmed in the middle of the ocean is one of the significant mental challenges of solo sailing, and I am impressed how well the Globe 5.80 Transat skippers have sat it out and enjoyed the beautiful nature around them!"

With less than 2000 NM to go, the sailors have completed one-third of the voyage. Picture taken on the first leg start day in Lagos. Credit: G580TWith less than 2000 NM to go, the sailors have completed one-third of the voyage. Picture taken on the first leg start day in Lagos. Credit: G580T

Fleet finally catching trade winds after 12 days of patchy winds along the African coast. Sailors now sailing west in tropical weather and steady winds, leaving Cabo Verde and Jim Schofield (Ireland) with his Molly Claire behind.Fleet finally catching trade winds after 12 days of patchy winds along the African coast. Sailors now sailing west in tropical weather and steady winds, leaving Cabo Verde and Jim Schofield (Ireland) with his Molly Claire behind.

The southern group of Etienne Messikommer (Switzerland) in his Numbatou and Michal Krysta (Czech Republic) in his Menawan have just passed Mindelo in Cabo Verde, which Michal chose to round south. Shadowed by the island for most of Sunday with less wind, he let Etienne increase the gap between them through better speed, but as always between those two, this is far from over!

Meanwhile, 100 nm north of them, Peter Kenyon (UK) whose Origami and Don McIntyre (Australia) whose Trekka are still battling it out on a parallel route on the same longitude. Don is thrilled to finally cross the 20° north latitude, enabling a more direct route towards Antigua.

With less than 2000 nm to go, the sailors have completed one-third of the voyage, and the most challenging part of it, with elusive winds and heavy traffic. They are all shirtless, in good spirits, with the boats in perfect condition for the last part of this inaugural 580 voyage from Lagos to Antigua.

You could feel their spirits were high through their tweets on Nov 26 ( DAY 9):

N°01 DON MCINTYRE (AUSTRALIA): great night give me wind i go fast give me blue i go happy give me warm i go naked give me trekka i go to antigua happy naked sailor
N°07 MICHAL KRYSTA (CZECH): Perfect wind condition today. Menawan is flying to south-west as fast as she can. Klárce hubana, zítrasivoláme ?.
N°88 ETIENNE MESSIKOMMER (SWITZERLAND): YO. flying fish all around and the tipical tropial heat fill with moister. yes in the tropics we are. best option naked live.
N°47 PETER KENYON (UK): Found my second flying fish of the journey in the corner of the cockpit this morning. Been watching some live ones do some huge leaps across the wake this pm.
Nº57 JIM SCHOFIELD (IRELAND) : Still moving! Spirits good.

Globe 580 founder and Transat competitor Don McIntyre is especially pleased with the boat, and he always compared this small boat journey with his 2010 Bounty Boat Expedition which with very little food and no toilet paper. And this time he has plenty.Globe 580 founder and Transat competitor Don McIntyre is especially pleased with the boat, and he always compared this small boat journey with his 2010 Bounty Boat Expedition which with very little food and no toilet paper. And this time he has plenty.

Globe 580 founder and Transat competitor Don McIntyre is especially pleased with the boat, and his sailing time is giving him even more ideas for the class. “We are learning as we go but now have significant mileage in the fleet in wind conditions ranging from 0 to 50 knots with no damage.” Don said over the weekend, “The design is excellent, the boat is strong and can carry weight. This gives me several ideas about the future of the class for the less experienced or the more social sailors. Expect big news in Boot Dusseldorf!”

Severin Hummer will bring his race-ready 5.80 #98 on display on the McIntyre Adventure stand in Boot Dusseldorf. The 25-year-old from Switzerland decided not to participate in the 3000 nm leg after successfully completing the 600 nm qualifier, and will trailer his Shrimp back to continental Europe before taking her to Dusseldorf for the boat show from January 22 to 30. Picture Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ G580TSeverin Hummer will bring his race-ready 5.80 #98 on display on the McIntyre Adventure stand in Boot Dusseldorf. The 25-year-old from Switzerland decided not to participate in the 3000 nm leg after successfully completing the 600 nm qualifier, and will trailer his Shrimp back to continental Europe before taking her to Dusseldorf for the boat show from January 22 to 30. Picture Credit: Aïda Valceanu/ G580T

The McIntyre Adventure team will be participating in Boot Dusseldorf from January 22 to 30 and invites builders to come and see for themselves a race-ready, rigged Globe 580 boat exhibited on the stand. They will meet fellow builders and Transat 580 competitors and learn about the latest developments of this fast-growing fleet with more than 150 plans been sold and more than 50 currently being built.

If you are looking for a winter project and want to build your ocean capable racing yacht, visit www.classglobe580.com, and the builders’ blog page

Published in Offshore

The Royal Ocean Racing Club, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club de France, expect a record entry for the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race. From the mighty Comanche to the miniscule Jangada, 29 teams from all over the world make up an extraordinary entry list. A world class fleet of multihulls and monohulls are scheduled to start the RORC Transatlantic Race on the 8th of January 2022 from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote.

The 3,000 nautical-mile race across the Atlantic to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada, has two major prizes for the monohulls. The overall winner, after IRC time correction, will win the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. The IMA Transatlantic Trophy will be awarded for Monohull Line Honours. The star-studded entry list of racing yachts includes teams from Austria, Cayman Islands, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States of America.

Current entry list is here

The firm favourite for Monohull Line Honours is the 100 ft (33 m) canting keel maxi Comanche (CAY), skippered by Mitch Booth. Comanche holds the Monohull West-East Transatlantic sailing record (Ambrose Light - Lizard Point. 5d 14h 21m 25s) and has taken Monohull Line Honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race, the RORC Caribbean 600, the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the Transpac and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Skipper Mitch Booth confirms that Comanche will be aiming to set a new race record for the RORC Transatlantic Race, which was set in 2018 by Pier Luigi Loro Piana's Supermaxi My Song (10d 05h 47m 11s).

“We are looking forward to it; this is what Comanche was made for and the RORC Caribbean 600 is on the programme as well,” commented Mitch Booth. “The RORC Transatlantic is a perfect race for Comanche - a perfect length with a reaching course. It is an iconic race and setting a new race record is one of the challenges we are aiming for. Setting a race record doesn’t allow you to choose the right weather window and the current race record is fast – but it’s beatable. We have a couple of the My Song crew in our team and we are looking forward to having a crack at it; that’s the name of the game!”

Given the high number of performance yachts entered for the 2022 edition, a fierce battle is expected for overall victory after IRC time correction for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy.

HYPR embarks on her rounding of the volcanic island of Stromboli in the recent Rolex Middle Sea RaceHYPR embarks on her rounding of the volcanic island of Stromboli in the recent Middle Sea Race © ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo

A significant number of out-and-out ocean racers will race across the Atlantic, including Jens Lindner at the helm of the turbo charged Volvo 70 HYPR and Bouwe Bekking with Volvo 70 L4 Trifork . Gerwin Jansen will skipper the VO65 Sisi (AUT), raced by the Austrian Ocean Race Project. Richard Tolkien’s Open 60 Rosalba (GBR) and Jean-Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First III (FRA) will also be on the start line in Lanzarote.

For Stefan Jentzsch and his team racing Black Pearl, (GER) the RORC Transatlantic Race is unfinished business. The brand-new IRC 56 retired with a broken bowsprit in 2021. New to the race, and fresh from a third in class for the Middle Sea Race, will be Maximilian Klink’s new Botin 52 Caro (GER). The RORC Transatlantic Race will also mark the debut for Arto Linnervuo’s Infiniti 52 Tulikettu (FIN).

David Collins' Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR), winner of IRC Zero in the Fastnet Race, left the UK in early November to sail all the way to Lanzarote. “The RORC Transatlantic Race is a big undertaking for Tala,” commented Pete Redmond. “The boat is specifically set up for offshore and we have been working on improving the water ingress especially for this race. We have no doubt that we will have a bit on. It should be a lot of fun, but ask me that again in Grenada after about 11 days!”

The RORC Transatlantic Race - a big undertaking for Tala which has been set up for long offshore racing in the 3,000nm transatlantic race to Grenada The RORC Transatlantic Race - a big undertaking for Tala which has been set up for long offshore racing in the 3,000nm transatlantic race to Grenada © ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi

A number of highly competitive yachts under 50ft (15.24m) will be in action for the RORC Transatlantic Race. The Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) was second overall in the 2019 race. Now under the ownership of Andrew Hall, Pata Negra will be taking part in its second RORC Transatlantic Race.

Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) has been a proven winner racing with the RORC on both sides of the Atlantic. However, this will be Scarlet Oyster’s RORC Transatlantic Race debut. “I am a proud RORC member and having won class in the ARC 10 times and overall five times, it feels right to take on a bigger challenge,” commented Ross Applebey. “Looking at the strength of the entrants this will be a hard race to win but we will score well for the RORC Season’s Points Championship.”

Newcomers for the RORC Transatlantic Race include Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorous II (GBR) which has been in fine form this year. Christopher Daniel’s J/122 Juno (GBR) will be racing with a crew of family and friends. French teams will be racing with highly experienced crews including Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen (FRA) from Marseille and Jacques Pelletier Milon 41, L'Ange de Milon (FRA), class winner for the 2019 Fastnet Race, as well as several classic yachts; Baptiste Garnier's Eugenia V, Remy Gerin's Faiaoahe and Alain Moatti's beautiful fife ketch Sumurun.

Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster - 'Taking on a bigger challenge' in the highly competitive RORC Transatlantic Race Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster - 'Taking on a bigger challenge' in the highly competitive RORC Transatlantic Race © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Alain Moatti's beautiful fife ketch SumurunSeveral classic yachts will be competing in the RORC Transatlantic race, including Alain Moatti's beautiful fife ketch Sumurun © Sumurun

The smallest yacht in the current entry list, both in terms of water-line length and crew, is Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada, which will be racing in IRC Two-Handed with Jeremy Waitt as co-skipper. This will be the third RORC Transatlantic Race for Jangada, including an overall victory under IRC in 2019. Jangada was in fine form for last month’s Middle Sea Race, winning IRC Two-Handed in feisty conditions.

“This will be the second race for the season and the ambition is to win the RORC Season’s Points Championship overall, which has never been done by a Two-Handed team,” commented Richard Palmer. “For our RORC Transatlantic Race win in 2019, the weather gods were in our favour, but the championship series was thwarted by the pandemic. This year, even getting to the start line is logistically challenging. However, once the starting gun fires the nerves and anxiety fall away, you are just in race mode.”

The first Two-Handed winners of the spectacular RORC Transatlantic Trophy in the 2019 race - Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada will return for the 2022 edition with Jeremy Waitt as co-skipper © Arthur Daniel/RORCThe first Two-Handed winners of the spectacular RORC Transatlantic Trophy in the 2019 race - Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada will return for the 2022 edition with Jeremy Waitt as co-skipper © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Published in RORC Transatlantic
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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