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PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) owned & skippered by Chris Sheehan has been awarded the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy, presented by former RORC Commodore and Admiral Andrew McIrvine at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada. While 11 boats are still racing, none of the competitors at sea can beat Warrior Won’s corrected time under IRC to win the race overall. Warrior Won completed the race in an elapsed time of 11 Days 5 Hrs 18 Mins and 28 Secs.

Warrior Won has been on a five-year programme of racing, including winning the 2022 RORC Caribbean 600 and competing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Rolex Sydney Hobart and Rolex Fastnet Race. For Warrior Won’s owner Chris Sheehan, winning the RORC Transatlantic Race was the ultimate ambition.

Warrior Won Crew: Christopher Sheehan, Chris Welch, Collin Leon, David Gilmour, Dylan Vogel, Isamu Sakai, Matt Humphries, Richard Clarke, Sam Hallowell, Stu Bannatyne, and Tristan Louwrens.

“We raced more than 4,000 miles to complete this race. I am so thrilled to have raced the Atlantic. It has been a fantastic race in amongst a really great crew. At no point throughout the 12 days was there any tension or problems, and the boat performed phenomenally - just total jubilation!” commented Chris Sheehan. “This race has been on the schedule for five years and my crew asked me what the goal was. Normally I say let’s win our class, but having looked at the given forecast, I was audacious and told them, I want to win overall, and we delivered, which is phenomenal!”

PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) is owned and skippered by Chris Sheehan Photo: Arthur DanielPAC52 Warrior Won (USA) is owned and skippered by Chris Sheehan Photo: Arthur Daniel

Chris Sheehan's PAC52 (USA) Warrior Won arrives victorious in Grenada Photo: Arthur Daniel/RORCChris Sheehan's PAC52 (USA) Warrior Won arrives victorious in Grenada Photo: Arthur Daniel/RORC

Warrior Won Strategist and Watch Captain was Stu Bannatyne, the only sailor to have won four round the world races in a Whitbread Maxi, Volvo 60, Volvo 70 and VO65.

“The biggest strategic decision before the start was whether to go north and take on the low-pressure system, or go south and take on the somewhat weaker tradewinds," commented Bannatyne. "The initial routing for the first three days showed that the northern route could be faster, but it came with problems, including managing the boat in a big sea state and also the potential inaccuracy of the forecast later in the race to get south. Working with our navigator (Matt Humphries) and working with our polars, we concluded it was a touch-and-go decision. We ultimately decided that we could push the boat a lot harder on the southern route. Warrior Won loves to go downwind so we made the call to go south.

Stu Bannatyne - Warrior Won Strategist and Watch Captain Photo: Arthur DanielStu Bannatyne - Warrior Won Strategist and Watch Captain Photo: Arthur Daniel

“Confidence in the routing was improved during the race as the weather grib files downloaded proved to be very accurate. We have done a lot of racing miles with Warrior Won so our polars were spot on. We were confident that we were going to deliver what the routing was predicting on the racecourse. So, then it was balancing risk versus reward, short term versus long term strategy, and going with what we could see relative to the forecast. We were often sailing what I called the edge of the ‘Grand Canyon’; the big area of light winds to the north. It was high risk to go right to the edge, so we stepped a little bit further south and that worked well. Essentially, after that the boat did the work for us with a great team of drivers and trimmers that know the boat very well. These boats are not really designed for comfort, it was hot and wet on deck and below, so we were all pretty drained by the finish," concluded Bannatyne.

Warrior Won Crew: Christopher Sheehan, Christopher Welch, Collin Leon, David Gilmour, Dylan Vogel, Isamu Sakai, Matthew Humphries, Richard Clarke, Sam Hallowell, Stu Bannatyne, Tristan Louwrens Photo: Arthur DanielWarrior Won Crew: Christopher Sheehan, Christopher Welch, Collin Leon, David Gilmour, Dylan Vogel, Isamu Sakai, Matthew Humphries, Richard Clarke, Sam Hallowell, Stu Bannatyne, Tristan Louwrens Photo: Arthur Daniel

Warrior Won Tactician - Richard Clarke Photo: Arthur DanielWarrior Won Tactician - Richard Clarke Photo: Arthur Daniel

Warrior Won Tactician was Richard Clarke who has competed in five Olympic Games for Canada and won the Volvo Ocean Race with Illbruck in 2002.

“As a tactician you are often in a battle with other boats around you, but for a lot of this race we were on our own. So, for me as tactician, it was a more traditional role; taking the information from the navigator and trying to stay two moves in advance of mother nature,” said Clarke. “You think the RORC Transatlantic Race is going to be a downwind tradewinds surf, but this race was much more of a challenge. Just when you thought the unusual conditions were behind you, another challenge would crop up.

“Dividing the race into four quarters. First of all, the downwind section along the African coast, dodging the commercial and fishing traffic, but it was really pleasant racing south. Through the Cape Verde Islands it was really shifty, but we got through a light air ridge. Entering the third part of the race we had good downwind pressure, but along came the sargassum weed everywhere, it was like salad! Then there was the nasty side-swell from the big system up to the north which made driving at night very challenging. The last few hundred miles we had a lot of squalls, up to 30 knots of wind and rain. It was a race that just kept on giving, but what a rewarding race and so great to win!”

PAC52 Warrior Won is the first American boat to win the RORC Transatlantic Race and the second smallest boat to do so. Congratulations to Chris Sheehan and his team on Warrior Won.

Live Results HERE

Published in RORC Transatlantic
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The RORC Transatlantic Race entered the eleventh day, with the Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON) skippered by Chris Sherlock, leading the monohull fleet 200 miles from Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada.

PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) is estimated to be winning overall under IRC, with Leopard second and Richard Fromentin's JPK 1180 Cocody (FRA) third. Normal service has resumed for all of the 18 boats still racing in the RORC Transatlantic Race, with solid tradewinds producing double-digit boat speed for the entire fleet.

The race leaders 17 January at 1400 UTC: Monohull Line Honours & IRC SZ - Leopard 3 (MON). IRC Overall & IRC Zero - Warrior Won (USA), IRC One - Cocody (FRA), Class40 Sensation Extreme (FRA), and IRC Two Handed Tigris (GBR).

Multihull
Adrian Keller's Nigel Irens 84 Allegra (SUI) has 550nm miles to go to cross the finish line. While the overall win after MOCRA time correction for Allegra is out of reach, the team can still make the podium if they can make up about 8.5 hours time correction on MOD70 Limosa (FRA).

IRC Overall
Chris Sheehan's PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) has lit the blue touch paper. Warrior Won has found its sweet spot, barrelling downwind in a ball of spray averaging 17 knots of boat speed and surfing up to 25 knots. Warrior Won is 400 miles from Grenada with a healthy overall lead after IRC time correction.

Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock is revelling in the tradewinds, but in terms of winning overall after IRC time correction, Leopard doesn't have the runway left with 200 miles to go.

Published in RORC Transatlantic
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London's Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) has big plans to promote youth sailing in 2024.

Over the years, through the generosity of RORC members, the Griffin Fund has assisted in providing race boats and experienced sailors to improve young sailors’ understanding of offshore racing. An exciting evolution has started with quite a bang for 2024.

Nearly three hundred sailors, 18-30 years of age, contacted the RORC with 200 attending a Griffin Zoom Webinar held on January 11th by the Griffin Project Team.

The panellists were Chair Jim Driver, Charles Darbyshire from FourthCape, and RORC Commodore Deb Fish.

The plan going forward is to select 40 young sailors to join one of two 3-day selection weekends in The Solent on the new Sun Fast 30 One Designs. 20 of those sailors will be chosen to form 4 crews that will train and compete as the RORC Griffin Teams of 2024. Each team will race two RORC races, and either the Cowes – St Malo or the Drheam Cup.

Sun Fast 30 One DesignSun Fast 30 One Design

Griffin24 Coach Dee Caffari - Dockside after completing RORC Transatlantic Race as co-Skipper of MOD70 Limosa

“We have had a fantastic response to our webinar and we are receiving applications from sailors from far and wide and not just UK,” commented Griffin Chair Jim Driver. “Having spent years amongst the ‘Oppie fleet’ as a ‘dad’ , I know there is a huge amount of talent that hasn’t yet stepped onto an offshore boat. We’d love to have dinghy and sportsboat sailors apply, and with a strong performance-sailing background you’d have a good chance of being invited to selection.”

The closing date for entries in this stage of Griffin24 Selection is January 31st at midnight.

Coaches supplying their own time free of charge for the training weekends in March are expected to include Shirley Robertson, Dee Caffari, Steve Hayles, Ian Walker and top sailors from North Sails.

Apply to join a Griffin24 Training and Selection Weekend here

Published in RORC
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The battle for Multihull Line Honours in the RORC Transatlantic Race is expected to be decided on Saturday, 13th January. MOD70 Argo holds the advantage, but Zoulou is closing in on the race leader.

Ranking 12 January at 1500 UTC: Multihull Line Honours & MOCRA - Argo (USA), Monohull Line Honours & IRC SZ - Leopard 3 (MON). IRC Overall & IRC One – Cocody (FRA), IRC Zero – Warrior Won (USA), Class40 Sensation Extreme (FRA) and IRC Two Handed Tigris (GBR).

Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) leads the race and is 683nm from Port Louis Marina in Grenada. Erik Maris’ MOD70 Zoulou (FRA) is second. Both MOD70s have been recording close to 30 knots of boat speed, making the difference between them paper thin. In the last three speed updates Zoulou has been four knots quicker. Multihull Line Honours are likely to be decided before sunset in Grenada on Saturday, 13th January.

Alexia Barrier’s MOD 70 Limosa – The Famous Project (FRA) is over 500 miles behind the leaders. Both Argo and Zoulou have a fully foiling configuration which is much faster than the original foiling package on Limosa. Adrian Keller’s Nigel Irens 84 Allegra (SUI) is about 2,000 miles from Grenada and has a lot of time to make up for the challenge for the corrected time win in the MOCRA Class.

Leading the Monohulls on the water is the Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock and a favourite for the IMA Transatlantic Trophy. Leopard crossed the 1,000-mile mile geo-fence just after dawn on Day 6. An area of light wind north of Leopard is still affecting her boat speed. Chris Sheehan’s PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) is just 40 miles astern. However, the wind is due to increase for Leopard before Warrior Won, so expect Leopard to stretch that lead in the next 24 hours.

Published in RORC Transatlantic
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The Royal Ocean Racing Club, after consulting with various meteorological experts, has amended the course for the 2024 RORC Transatlantic Race. The requirement to leave the Canary Islands to port has been removed. Race Director Steve Cole commented: “Now we are only 48 hrs away from the start of the race, it has become apparent that the established course will send the very diverse fleet into two unusually deep depressions with the possibilities of winds exceeding 40 knots and a potential wave height of eight metres. This decision allows boats to still take that route if they wish but opens an option for boats to head immediately South after the first mark if they choose to do so.”

Lisa McDonald from PredictWind foretells a calm before the storm for the race start at 1200 UTC 07 January: “Looking ahead to Sunday’s sunny start from Lanzarote; most of the models are in agreement that the wind will generally be out of the NNE quadrant and anywhere from 6 - 10 knots in the morning, with acceleration to 12 -14 knots in the afternoon and going into the early evening. There will be a significant wind-shadow effect to the south of the island with very light and variable wind at times.

“The faster boats may be able to get away before the weather GRIBs show that wind will decrease considerably on Monday, and large areas of light and variable winds will start to appear to the west due to the unstable air mass and series of low pressure systems to the north. The fleet can look forward to navigating a large and variable area of light winds going into the start of the week before the next weather front system arrives.”

Crews are making final preparations for the race at Marina Lanzarote Photo: Robert HajdukCrews are making final preparations for the race at Marina Lanzarote Photo: Robert Hajduk

Weather Dock Talk

The Farr 100 canting keel maxi Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock is the hot favourite for monohull line honours and has the potential to set a new race record for the RORC Transatlantic Race. Leopard 3’s navigator, Will Best commented that sea state for a northerly route will be the deciding factor for Leopard 3’s trajectory across the 3,000 mile course. Predictions of a wave height in excess of 8 metres on the northerly route will massively affect the speed of Leopard 3, but it is not just the wave height, but the wave direction that will decide Leopard’s strategy for the race. The low pressure systems from the north are expected to introduce a cross current that may create a messy sea state for the 2024 race. The Monohull Race Record for the RORC Transatlantic Race is 7 days 22 hrs 01 mins 04 secs, achieved by Comanche in 2022. Mitch Booth was the skipper for the record run and Mitch is part of highly experienced crew on Leopard 3 for the 2024 race.

Farr 100 canting keel Leopard 3 Photo: Kurt ArrigoFarr 100 canting keel Leopard 3 Photo: Kurt Arrigo

Three MOD70s in the race are favourites for Multihull Line Honours. Skipper of MOD70 Limosa (FRA), Alexia Barrier, believes that that the disruption to the tradewinds will increase their chances of success for the race. Limosa is in original MOD70 configuration, but their immediate competition, Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA) and Erik Maris’ Zoulou (FRA) both have lifting foils midships and on their rudders. Argo and Zoulou are potentially much faster reaching in normal tradewinds.

“It's a very complex weather system; we have a lot of things still to be decided,” commented Limosa’s Alexia Barrier. “There will be a lot of transition for us, but as we are not the ‘king of the class’, I think we have more chance to be at the front because there will be many big choices to be made. The northerly route is looking very dangerous for the MOD70s with waves predicted over 8 meters. The three MOD 70 skippers are having a discussion and we hope to have an agreement before the race start, that we will all go south of a GPS waypoint.”

Alexia Barrier, skipper of The Famous Project's MOD70 Limosa Photo: James MitchellAlexia Barrier, skipper of The Famous Project's MOD70 Limosa Photo: James Mitchell

Christopher Sheehan’s PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) has a stellar crew, including Canadian tactician Richard Clarke. Warrior Won must be considered as one of the favourites for the overall win under IRC. However, the complex weather is bound to create a race with numerous strategic conditions.

“The weather is looking brutal; a stormy North Atlantic,” commented Richard Clarke. “The greatest challenge is to keep the foot on the gas in a race of this length; to continue to focus and to battle the elements. Looking at the forecast, it is a massive accomplishment to race across an ocean and the Warrior Won team is prepared to pull it off, that is the number one task.”

Warrior Won tactician Richard Clarke Photo: Robert HajdukWarrior Won tactician Richard Clarke Photo: Robert Hajduk

Hanno Ziehm’s Marten 49 Moana (GER) will be taking part in its debut RORC Transatlantic Race. Hull #3 of the Carbon Nomex design built in New Zealand, Moana will have a German crew skippered by Lorenz Pinck. “We are really focused on preparing Moana in the days before the start, making sure the boat and the crew are ready for the race. We are monitoring weather updates which will be used to decide our route, especially if we will go north or south.” commented Hanno Ziehm. “This will be our first ocean race and after, Moana will race in the Nelson’s Cup Series and the RORC Caribbean 600, but our adventure starts with the RORC Transatlantic Race.”

Hanno Ziehm’s Marten 49 Moana (GER) Photo:  James MitchellHanno Ziehm’s Marten 49 Moana (GER) Photo:  James Mitchell

Gavin Howes’ Sun Fast 3600 Tigris (GBR), racing Two-Handed with Maggie Adamson is exceptionally well-maintained and has successfully finished the last two editions of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Gavin sees the weather forecast as quite challenging, but the doublehanded team are determined to finish the race: “Tigris is the smallest and lowest IRC rated boat in fleet and it's very important that we don't sail too many extra miles seeking different weather scenarios,” commented Gavin Howe. “Obviously the weather is moving all the time and we're reviewing every update. At the moment we're looking at initially a route close to the rhumb line and then managing the low pressure systems as they come through. We don't want to be going upwind in 35 knots, because to succeed in the race we need to cross that finish line. Our route will be a compromise between the fastest theoretical route, while avoiding the worst of the weather. Also with a little bit of personal comfort in mind, as well speed.”

Gavin Howe and Maggie Adamson on Sun Fast 3600 Tigris Photo: Robert HajdukGavin Howe and Maggie Adamson on Sun Fast 3600 Tigris Photo: Robert Hajduk

Published in RORC Transatlantic
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Entries are now open for the fifth edition of the Drheam Cup, which will take place from 11-21 July 2024 between Cherbourg-en Cotentin and La Trinité-sur-Mer in north-western France.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, 11 classes — including for the first time the new Sun Fast 30 one design — will take part in the event, the second race in the IRC Two-Handed European Championship, with all results also counting towards the RORC Championship.

In addition, the race will be part of the 2024 European Trophy, along with the Spi Ouest-France, Armen Race and CIC Normandy Channel Race.

Mayor of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, Benoit Arrivé, said he is delighted to welcome the start again in 2024.

“From Cotentin to South Brittany, La Drheam-Cup/Grand Prix de France de Course au Large is one of the most beautiful regattas that you could imagine, between two sea-going regions, two great French marinas: Cherbourg-en Cotentin and La Trinité-sur-Mer.

“One hundred boats were at the start in the last edition in 2022 and we are expecting the same number or more in 2024. The spirit of the event is what best attracts skippers: a race between big names in international sailing and dozens of amateur crews in a festive and popular atmosphere.

“It is of course a great time of gathering on the quayside of a town that will come alive with preparations until the start, between the outer harbour and the coast of La Hague. We all have great memories of the 2022 edition and we are eagerly looking forwards to 2024 and the start of the summer season.”

For more details see the Drheam Cup website HERE.

Published in Sailing Events
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The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) starts the racing season for 2024 with the 10th anniversary edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, starting from Lanzarote on the 7th January 2024. 

The RORC Race Team have set up in Marina Lanzarote before the start, carrying out safety inspections and assisting all the teams with their preparations for the race.

“The RORC Transatlantic Race is a World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations Category One Race,” commented RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole. “All of the competing boats and crew will need to comply with the requirements of the race and the RORC Race Team will carry out pre-race inspections. Safety at sea always comes first in any RORC Race; we know the calibre of this fleet and we are not expecting any big issues. However, the checklists and the dialogue with the teams is a great way to pinpoint any matters that need to be addressed, and also gives the RORC valuable feedback about Special Regulations for the future.”

The official entry list boasts 22 teams flying the flags of eight different nations, crewed by sailors from 20 different countries. France has the most admissions with eight boats and 43 French nationals racing in the RORC fleet. Entries are also in from Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Monaco, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States of America.

2024 Entries & Expressions of Interest are here

The Famous Project's Limosa, helmed by Alexia Barrier, will be one of the three MOD70s lining up at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race Photo: Marie CortialThe Famous Project's Limosa, helmed by Alexia Barrier, will be one of the three MOD70s lining up at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race Photo: Marie Cortial

Four Multihulls will be in contention for race honours with three MOD70s as favourites for Multihull Line Honours. Erik Maris’ Zoulou (FRA), Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA), and Alexia Barrier’s Limosa (FRA) will fight for the accolade of being the first to finish the race. The trio of MOD70s will have one eye on the Multihull Race Record of 05 days 05 hrs 46 mins 26 secs, set last year by Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 (ITA). Adrian Keller's Nigel Irens-designed 84ft catamaran Allegra (SUI) is the largest multihull in the race and favourite for the MOCRA Class after time correction. Allegra has won the MOCRA Class for the last two editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race, and twice for the RORC Caribbean 600.

Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) Photo: Carlo BorlenghiJason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

Erik Maris’ MOD70 Zoulou (FRA) Photo: James TomlinsonErik Maris’ MOD70 Zoulou (FRA) Photo: James Tomlinson

Adrian Keller's Nigel Irens-designed 84ft catamaran Allegra (SUI) is the largest multihull in the race Photo: Arthur DanielAdrian Keller's Nigel Irens-designed 84ft catamaran Allegra (SUI) is the largest multihull in the race Photo: Arthur Daniel

Six Maxi yachts will be vying for the overall win under IRC and the IMA Transatlantic Trophy for the first Maxi to finish the race. The Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock is the favourite to take Monohull Line Honours. Given the right conditions, Leopard 3 can threaten the Monohull Race Record set by Comanche in 2022 of 07 Days 22 hrs 01 min 04. Returning to the race is Jean-Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First III (FRA) which is the holder of the Yacht Club de France Trophy. The Bill Trip designed Swan 78 Valkyrie (FRA), sailed by Hubert Wargny will be competing for the second time, having completed the race in 2015 in an elapsed time of 12 days 07 hours 54 mins 03 secs.

Jean-Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First III (FRA) Photo: Arthur DanielJean-Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First III (FRA) Photo: Arthur Daniel

Swan 78 Valkyrie (FRA), sailed by Hubert Wargny Photo: Arthur DanielSwan 78 Valkyrie (FRA), sailed by Hubert Wargny Photo: Arthur Daniel

Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris SherlockFarr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock

Three round the world racing yachts will be competing this year, Johannes Schwarz has entered two former Volvo 70s. The Reichel Pugh 70 Green Dragon (NED) will be skippered by Benedikt Clauberg, and Johannes Schwarz will skipper his 70ft Farr design Ocean Breeze (NED). The trio of round the world racing yachts is completed by the VO65 Sisi (AUT) skippered by Oliver Kobale. All three boats have pro-am crews with a melting pot of sailors from all over the world.

From France and the USA, four yachts between 50 and 60ft (15.24m-18.29m) will be competing. The largest of this group is Bernard Giroux’s Cannes-based Solaris 55 TEAM 42 (FRA), co-skippered by Dan Segalowicz. The highest IRC rating of the group is Chris Sheehan’s PAC52 Warrior Won (USA), which was third overall in the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race and won the 2022 RORC Caribbean 600. Collin Mulry will skipper Mikhail Malamud’s ClubSwan 50 Pimu (USA). Jean-Francois Guillon’s Solaris 50 Sea-Nergy (FRA) is from the Société Nautique de Marseille.

Two Class40s of similar performance will be racing to Grenada in a duel for the Class40 title. The Ker designed Concise 8 (FRA) is now under the ownership of Charles de Coquet, with Briton Guy Waites as co-skipper. Marc Lepesqueux’s Sensation Extreme (FRA) is designed by Sabrosa Rain and he has competed in two previous editions in an earlier design, including the very first race in 2014. Both Class40s intend to compete in the 2023 RORC Caribbean 600.

Reichel Pugh 70 Green Dragon (NED) will be skippered by Benedikt Clauberg Photo: James MitchellReichel Pugh 70 Green Dragon (NED) will be skippered by Benedikt Clauberg Photo: James Mitchell

Chris Sheehan’s PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) Photo: Robert HajdukChris Sheehan’s PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) Photo: Robert Hajduk

Johannes Schwarz will skipper his 70ft Farr design Ocean Breeze (NED) Photo: Robert HajdukJohannes Schwarz will skipper his 70ft Farr design Ocean Breeze (NED) Photo: Robert Hajduk

Third RORC Transat for Marc Lepesqueux - this year with his Class40 Sensation Extreme (FRA) Photo: Orlando RomainThird RORC Transat for Marc Lepesqueux - this year with his Class40 Sensation Extreme (FRA) Photo: Orlando Romain

Six teams under 50ft (15.24m) will be racing, and while they have little or no chance of taking Line Honours, the overall winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race is decided by IRC time correction. All of the smaller entries have an equal chance of lifting the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy and two boats under 50ft have won overall in the past. The largest of this group is Hanno Ziehm’s Marten 49 Moana (GER), the smallest is Gavin Howe’s Sun Fast 3600 Tigris (GBR), which will be raced double-handed with Maggie Adamson.

Andrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) won IRC One in 2023 and was second overall in 2019. New to the race is the J/122 Moana (NED) sailed by Michelle Witsenburg and Frans van Cappelle. The J/122 Moana was second in class in the 2023 Rolex Middle Sea Race. Two JPK 1180s will be in action; Ed Bell’s Dawn Treader (GBR) was the winner of IRC One for the 2023 RORC Season’s Points Championship, and the highly experienced Richard Fromentin will race his JPK 1180 Cocody (FRA).

Gavin Howe will be racing Two-Handed with Maggie Adamson in his Sun Fast 3600 Tigris (GBR) Photo: Paul WyethGavin Howe will be racing Two-Handed with Maggie Adamson in his Sun Fast 3600 Tigris (GBR) Photo: Paul Wyeth

Andrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) Photo: Arthur DanielAndrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) Photo: Arthur Daniel

Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader (GBR) Photo: Kurt ArrigoEd Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader (GBR) Photo: Kurt Arrigo

A full programme of social events in Lanzarote starts on the 3rd of January with the Welcome Cocktail Party at Karma Rooftop, Marina Lanzarote. The 4th of January is the date for the ever popular Wine & Cheese Party held in Marina Lanzarote. A regular feature of the RORC Transatlantic Race is the Lanzarote Sailing School visit, where young local sailors can get on board the competing boats, experience the set-up of boats big and small, and meet the sailors. On the 5th of January, The RORC Transatlantic Race Gala Dinner will be held at the El Aljibe Del Obispo, a unique restaurant inside the Stratvus Winery located next to the Timanfaya National Park.

“The social events are an important part of the RORC Transatlantic Race experience; a great opportunity for all the sailors to meet each other before the race start and for the community in Lanzarote to benefit from the race,” commented RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton. “The Gala Dinner is generously provided by Calero Marinas and spectacular doesn’t do it justice; it’s the big get-together before the race, the food and the surroundings are always outstanding and every team is invited to have their team photograph before racing across the Atlantic. The Royal Ocean Racing Club wish all competitors a safe and fast RORC Transatlantic Race.”

The RORC Transatlantic Race is part of the RORC Season’s Points Championship, the world’s largest offshore racing series. For more information: www.rorctransatlantic.rorc.org

Published in RORC Transatlantic

Dun Laoghaire Harbour will move centre-stage in the Royal Ocean Racing Club calendar in 2024 when the club's European IRC Championships will be held for the first time in Dún Laoghaire by the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

It will be part of RORC's Season's Points Championship, which is the world's largest offshore racing series. Last year, 9223 sailors raced in an astounding variety of 729 offshore certified boats.

RORC Season's Points Championship is the world's largest Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORCRORC Season's Points Championship is the world's largest Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC

Over the past ten editions of the RORC Season’s Points Championship, the overall winning boat has always been under 47ft (14.33m) and, more often than not, crewed by a Corinthian team. The overall winner is decided by the IRC Rating Rule, jointly administered by the RORC and the UNCL Pôle Course du YCF. The overall trophies in nearly all the world's blue riband offshore races are awarded using the IRC rating system.

The 2024 RORC Season’s Points Championship is already underway; the first points-scoring race was the Rolex Middle Sea Race held in October. Class winners for the RORC Season are decided by the best five race results over the season which ends in September 2024. The overall win for the Jazz Trophy goes to the boat with the most points from all of the scoring races.

The Season's Points Championship features high-performance multihulls racing under the MOCRA RuleThe Season's Points Championship features high-performance multihulls racing under the MOCRA Rule

IRC time correction gives an equal chance of winning to a huge variety of boats with professional teams racing against pro-am, as well as passionate Corinthian crews. The Championship features high-performance multihulls racing under the MOCRA Rule and the pocket-rocket Class40s, which have been a feature of the Championship for over a decade. Each contest is highly competitive with trophies and races dating back over 100 years. Winning any race in the RORC Season’s Points Championship is worthy of praise and celebration.

The RORC Caribbean 600 race is an early fixture in the 2024 Season's Points ChampionshiThe RORC Caribbean 600 race is an early fixture in the 2024 Season's Points Championship

The next two scoring races are the RORC Transatlantic Race and the RORC Caribbean 600. After that, all the RORC Season's Points Championship races are held in Northern Europe with the vast majority starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes.

The RORC 2024 Racing Calendar is here

During 2024, the Royal Ocean Racing Club is organising or assisting with four inshore racing events. The RORC Easter Challenge, The GBR IRC National Championships, The Vice Admiral’s Cup and the IRC European Championships. All of the inshore regattas will feature multiple races per day on technical windward leeward racecourses or longer inshore races.

The RORC Easter Challenge runs from 29th – 31st March in Cowes, IOW Photo: Paul WyethThe RORC Easter Challenge runs from 29th – 31st March in Cowes, IOW Photo: Paul Wyeth

For over 20 years, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has held a training regatta over the Easter Weekend. World Sailing Rules on outside assistance are relaxed, so for no additional cost to the teams, hand-picked coaches can provide pin-point assistance to get crews of any level up to speed. Three days of racing are organised in The Solent from Easter Friday to Easter Sunday.

The GBR IRC Nationals will be held from the 25th – 27th May in Poole, Dorset Photo: Paul WyethThe GBR IRC Nationals will be held from the 25th – 27th May in Poole, Dorset Photo: Paul Wyeth

The GBR IRC National Championships was first held in 1999 and for the first time the championships will be held as part of International Paint Poole Regatta. Multiple races will be held in Poole Bay and adjacent waters. In over two decades of competition the overall win has been achieved by a huge variety of boats. Individual IRC Class National Champions will also be decided.

The RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup will run from 6th – 8th September and 14th -15th September at Cowes, IOW Photo: Paul WyethThe RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup will run from 6th – 8th September and 14th -15th September at Cowes, IOW Photo: Paul Wyeth

This year the racing is split over two weekends and is being organised by RORC and the Royal Thames Yacht Club. With an accent on one-design racing the first weekend will be for the Cape31 and J/70 classes, whilst the second weekend will host the Performance 40, J/111, J/109, HP30 and Quarter ton classes. The Vice Admiral’s Cup has always featured a full social programme. The RORC Cowes Clubhouse will be regatta central for fun filled evening entertainment, especially the Prize Givings.

The IRC European Championships will run from the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire from the 10th to15th September Photo: DLR/Simon BerrowThe IRC European Championships will run from the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire from the 10th to15th September Photo: DLRCoCo/Simon Berrow

As Afloat previously reported, the 2024 European Championships will be held for the first time in Dún Laoghaire by the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Three days of action with multiple races per day will be held in Dún Laoghaire and adjacent waters. A strong Irish presence is expected as well as teams from England, Scotland and Wales, plus likely participation from teams from all over Northern Europe. No doubt the atmosphere at the RIYC will be as charged as the racing in Dublin Bay.

The RORC Race Team of Steve Cole and Janet Grosvenor Photo: RORCThe RORC Race Team of Steve Cole and Janet Grosvenor Photo: RORC

RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole and the RORC Race Team are excited about the 2024 Season. “Despite 2024 not being a ‘Fastnet Year’, the RORC Race Team are preparing and planning for a very busy season with 16 offshore races and four inshore regattas, including the IRC National and European Championships,” commented Steve Cole. “The RORC Cowes Clubhouse is undergoing a major redevelopment this winter and unfortunately will not be ready for the Easter Challenge. However, thanks to the support of the Royal Yacht Squadron, the post-race debriefings will take place in the RYS pavilion. Once the RORC Clubhouse and its purpose-designed building is ready, it will also become home to the RORC Race Office, as well as a superb venue for Club Members and their guests to enjoy social events. The RORC has always co-operated with other yacht clubs and we will be giving full support to the championship regattas in Poole and Dublin.”

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Members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) have elected Dr Deborah Fish, OBE, as the new Commodore of the London and Cowes-based Club with effect from 1st January 2024.

She will take up the prestigious role from James Neville. Richard Palmer will take up the role of Vice Commodore from Eric de Turckheim, and Andrew Tseng and Joe Lacey will become Rear Commodores.

Under James and Eric’s leadership, RORC has further strengthened its position as a global leader in offshore racing, successfully introducing the RORC Nelson’s Cup series in Antigua and the new 635nm Roschier Baltic Sea Race. They have also set the foundations for the return of the Admiral’s Cup in 2025, as well as initiating the exciting redevelopment of its Cowes Clubhouse. Both have enjoyed tremendous racing success during their tenure. Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine was awarded 2023 RORC Yacht of the Year after overall wins in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and RORC Transatlantic Race. James Neville’s INO XXX enjoyed many victories and was second overall in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race; the best result for a Commodore in office since John Illingworth’s Myth of Malham won the Fastnet Race in 1949.

Deb is the first woman to be elected Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, which will celebrate its centenary in 2025. She has been very active in her role as a Rear Commodore, chairing the Membership Committee and championing youth sailing through her leadership of RORC’s Griffin initiative. Deb also has a strong offshore racing background having raced with the RORC since 1999 and completed the Rolex Fastnet Yacht Race 11 times. Deb and Rob Craigie sailed Bellino, Rob’s Sun Fast 3600, double handed to overall victory in the 2023 RORC Season’s Points Championship. This was the first time Bellino has won the RORC Championship overall after coming third in 2022 and second in 2019.

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Wicklow Sailing Club's Kyran O'Grady flew the flag for the 2024 Round Ireland Race at last weekend's 2023 Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Annual Dinner and Prize Giving at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, London.

O'Grady was able to brief some key campaigns planning to compete in what is the second-longest race in the RORC calendar.

As Afloat reported previously, Wicklow Sailing Club aims for 70 boats for Ireland's premier offshore sailing event on 22nd June and attracting top UK boats is part of an important mix for Wicklow's international fleet.

Celebrating an impressive season of RORC racing, more than 250 guests enjoyed a cocktail reception and gourmet dinner at the five-star hotel in Mayfair.

The 2023 RORC Season's Points Championship featured 15 offshore races held in nine different countries. The exciting programme included the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the RORC Transatlantic Race, the RORC Caribbean 600, and the cornerstone of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the Rolex Fastnet Race, celebrating its 50th edition.

2023 IRC Overall RORC Season's Points Championship winner:
Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600 Bellino (GBR)

RORC Yacht of the Year
Eric de Turckheim's NMD 54 Teasing Machine (FRA)

IRC Super Zero - I Love Poland (POL)
IRC Zero - Teasing Machine (FRA)
IRC One – Dawn Treader (GBR)
IRC Two - Scarlet Oyster (GBR)
IRC Two-Handed and IRC Three - Cora (GBR)
IRC Four – With Alacrity (GBR)
MOCRA Multihull – MOD70 Zoulou (FRA)
Class40 - The 3 Bros (FRA)

Special Awards

The Dennis P Miller Memorial Trophy for Best Overseas Yacht to Tom Kneen's Sunrise III, the Haylock Cup for Best British Service Yacht to Fujitsu British Soldier, the Arambalza Swan Cup for Best Swan to Louis Balcaen's Balthasar, the Freddie Morgan Trophy for Best Classic Yacht to Andrew Tseng's Quailo 3, the Highwayman Cup to Gavin Howe's Tigris, the Best Sailing School Yacht to Susan Glenny's Olympia's Tigress, the Peter Harrison Youth Trophy to Galahad of Cowes.

The Crew of Ju Kyu, skippered by Dr Peter Rowe, was awarded the Seamanship Trophy for an Outstanding Act of Seamanship. Shortly after the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race start, Ju Kyu stood by a sinking yacht Vari, and assisted the emergency services and the RORC Race Committee. Once the Vari crew was safe, Ju Kyu rejoined the race and finished the Rolex Fastnet Race. Ju Kyu was given a rousing standing ovation at the Prize Giving.

The 2024 RORC Season's Points Championship has already started with the Rolex Middle Sea Race in October 2023. The 2024 Championship has notable international races including the RORC Transatlantic Race, the RORC Caribbean 600, the SSE Renewables Round Ireland, and the second edition of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race. The majority of the series is held in Northern Europe with the Myth of Malham and the Cowes Dinard St Malo being ever popular. 

Full List of Special Awards and Winners

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