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RORC Countdown to the Transatlantic Race

29th December 2022
The Magnificent Swan 115 Jasi is one of the favourites for the IMA Transatlantic Trophy for Monohull Line Honours
The Magnificent Swan 115 Jasi is one of the favourites for the IMA Transatlantic Trophy for Monohull Line Honours Credit: Studio Borlenghi

The New Year heralds a big season for the Royal Ocean Racing Club, including the 14th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race. The longest race in the 2023 RORC Season’s Points Championship starts from Marina Lanzarote on January 8th.

The RORC Transatlantic Race is once again supported by Calero Marinas, the International Maxi Association and the Yacht Club de France. The destination is Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada, 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, who provide 48hrs of free berthing when competitors arrive.

Twenty-one entries racing under the IRC and MOCRA Rating Rules are confirmed for the RORC Transatlantic Race. Three 70ft trimarans: Maserati, Snowflake and Zoulou will be gunning for the outright race record and Multihull Line Honours. Three fully-crewed Maxi yachts can be counted as favourites for the IMA Transatlantic Trophy for Monohull Line Honours; Swan 115 Jasi and two Volvo 70s, I Love Poland and Green Dragon. At the other end of the spectrum, three teams will be racing with the added challenge of competing in IRC Two-Handed.

American Ken Read - one of the most respected names in the sport will be racing on Jasi. The offshore veteran and President of North Sails has helmed two America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, US Sailor of the Year (twice) and has a trophy cabinet stacked with National and World Championship wins © Amory Ross / Puma Ocean Racing / Volvo Ocean Race

An impressive list of the world's most accomplished and celebrated sailors includes American Ken Read, who will be racing on the Swan 115 Jasi, skippered by Toby Clarke. Read will be taking part in his 12th transatlantic, in an illustrious career which includes three round the world races.

“The key goal for Jasi is that the owner and several of his friends are doing the RORC Transat as a bucket-list race. They've never done anything like this before, so we will make sure it stays safe and that they have a blast,” commented Ken Read. “We have a great crew with a lot of experience and it’s going to be fun for us to show them the ropes. Jasi has a great twin-rudder steering system and a big sail-plan, but we have to be smart and slowly work ourselves into fifth gear.” 

A twist of fate pits Swan 115 Jasi against a boat that Read knows very well. The Polish National Foundation’s Volvo Open 70 I Love Poland, was originally PUMA’s Mar Mostro, skippered by Read in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race. Mar Mostro was also based in Lanzarote prior to the round the world race.

“I can't wait to meet these guys, (I Love Poland),” continued Ken Read. “I've seen the boat a couple times from afar, but I haven't given her a hug, so to speak. You know you get attached to a boat that kind of saved your life from time to time. It would be an honour to get back on the old girl; maybe they can show me a few tricks on how to sail her! Ten years ago, Mar Mostro was based in Puerto Calero and the Calero family looked after us and instantly became part of the family, so I have a lot of familiarity with the superb sailing conditions and the warm welcome. I am sure the Calero family take very good care of this race.”

I Love Poland has an all-Polish team, many of which are under 30 years of age and are participants of a training programme on the Volvo Open 70. I Love Poland has taken Monohull Line Honours in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and Roschier Baltic Sea Race. “For the 2023 edition, we will do our best to sail faster than in 2022,” commented I Love Poland’s navigator, 27-year-old Konrad Lipski. I Love Poland’s elapsed time for the last edition was 10 days 11 hrs 12 mins 50 secs.

“Perfect conditions would be 20+ kts of reaching from start to finish, but that is never a reality,” continued Lipski. “We will analyse the weather in the following days and create a plan. Goal No.1, as always, is to sail safely and finish the race. Anybody who has sailed this kind of boat knows the amount of water that runs down the deck. So, for us, safety has a top priority; we never forget that.”

Of the three teams racing in IRC Two-Handed, the largest is IMOCA 60 Canada Ocean Racing skippered by Canadian Scott Shawyer. British solo-sailor Alan Roberts, winner of the VIVI Trophy for top International in the Figaro class, completes the crew. The RORC Transatlantic Race will be the first double-handed race for the team. For Ontarian Shawyer, the race is a big step towards his ambition to compete in the 2028 Vendee Globe.

Published in RORC, RORC Transatlantic Team

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  • Established in 1925, The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) became famous for the biennial Fastnet Race and the international team event, the Admiral's Cup. It organises an annual series of domestic offshore races from its base in Cowes as well as inshore regattas including the RORC Easter Challenge and the IRC European Championship (includes the Commodores' Cup) in the Solent
  • The RORC works with other yacht clubs to promote their offshore races and provides marketing and organisational support. The RORC Caribbean 600, based in Antigua and the first offshore race in the Caribbean, has been an instant success. The 10th edition took place in February 2018. The RORC extended its organisational expertise by creating the RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote to Grenada, the first of which was in November 2014
  • The club is based in St James' Place, London, but after a merger with The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes now boasts a superb clubhouse facility at the entrance to Cowes Harbour and a membership of over 4,000