HomeRORCOut of Africa - Day 3 RORC Transatlantic Race

Out of Africa – Day 3 RORC Transatlantic Race

Land effects have created strategic options for the international fleet for the first three days of the RORC Transatlantic Race. 

On the third day, the majority of the international fleet is racing down the West African Coast. Hazards include numerous fishing boats dragging nets, but the positive gain is due to the Western Sahara Desert delivering thermal wind to the boats sailing south. The fastest boats are now heading west into the Atlantic and the strategic decisions in the future will be far from land, influenced by weather and ocean currents. Erik Maris’ MOD70 Zoulou (FRA) leads the multihull division and the Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock is the leading monohull.

For now, the vast majority of the fleet see the Cape Verde Islands as the ‘target’ for their race – All bar one boat; Richard Fromentin’s JPK 1180 Cocody (FRA) which was the only boat to go north of the Canary Islands and is the overall leader for the race after IRC time correction.

The race leaders on 9 January at 0600 UTC: Multihull Line Honours & MOCRA – Zoulou (FRA), Monohull Line Honours & IRC SZ – Leopard 3 (MON). IRC Overall & IRC One – Cocody (FRA), IRC Zero – Warrior Won (USA), Class40 Sensation Extreme (FRA), IRC Two Handed Tigris (GBR).

Follow the fleet and view rankings here: tracking

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Day Three Update – Position at 0600 UTC 9 January 2024

MULTIHULL

Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) has led the Multihulls along the African coast and was the first to gybe west at approximately 1600 UTC on 8 January. Followed by Erik Maris’ Zoulou (FRA) and Alexia Barrier’s Limosa (FRA).

Argo’s Chad Corning checked in after gybing west on day two: “Argo had a good start and we have managed to pull a bit of a lead on Zoulou and Limosa. The conditions have been spectacular with winds between 15-18kts and orderly seas. We gybed away from the African coast and are now on a long slant to the south west.  All well onboard; we’re getting into our rhythm and sailing fast.”

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Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) at the start of the race © Robert Hajduk

All three MOD 70s are now well offshore, making a westerly heading, but an area of lighter winds north of the Cape Verde Islands is producing different trajectories for the trio. Argo gybed south during the night, while Zoulou continued to go west. Limosa kept inshore longer than the competition and maybe looking to get wind enhancement from the Cape Verde Islands.

At the time of the Day Three Update, Zoulou leads on the water 2,356nm from the finish, and is the closest boat to the rhumb line. Argo is second, having sailed 49 miles more than Zoulou, but has been consistently registering better boat speed. Limosa – The Famous Project is third, but the most southerly of the entire fleet. Adrian Keller’s 84ft catamaran Allegra (SUI) is 2,615nm from the finish. At 30 tons Allegra weighs more than all the MOD70s put together, and then some. However, after MOCRA time correction Allegra is still very much in the hunt. On board Allegra all is well, according to Allegra crew member Helena Darvelid, but they are having to keep a good look out for numerous fishing boats and their associated nets!

With the leading MOD70s now hitting over 25 knots of boat speed to the north of the Cape Verde Islands, it is likely that their focus is now on keeping their boat speedometer high to get through the transition zone and into solid pressure.

Helena Darvelid Allegra1

Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) at the start of the race © Robert Hajduk

IRC OVERALL

Richard Fromentin’s JPK 1180 Cocody has raised a few eyebrows having taken the northerly route heading towards a vicious low pressure system. At 0600 UTC on day three, Cocody turned south before the arrival of the front. The gamble looks to have paid off for now, with Cocody leading the RORC Transatlantic Race overall under IRC. However, Cocody will be very focused on getting through the transition zone to the south of their position. If they stall in this calm area, the team could well be in very strong headwinds from the southwest.

Jean-Francois Guillon’s Solaris 50 Sea-Nergy (FRA), from the Société Nautique de Marseille, is ranked second overall under IRC. Chris Sheehan’s PAC52 Warrior Won (USA) is ranked third overall under IRC and leading IRC Zero.

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Richard Fromentin’s JPK 1180 Cocody (FRA 530081) © Robert Hajduk

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Jean-Francois Guillon’s Solaris 50 Sea-Nergy (FRA) © Robert Hajduk

Chris Sheehan contacted the media team from on board Warrior Won on 9 January at 1000 UTC: “Right now it’s really all about keeping her moving as quickly as possible, so driving and trimming is critical,” commented Sheehan. “It’s a very benign sea state, maybe a half a metre or two metre, occasionally from the north. We have 13 knots of breeze which is nice; 16 is better, we go on a step there and can plane, but otherwise a beautiful, brilliant sunny day. The crew morale is great and we’re really moving along in a band of pressure, maybe 100 miles wide. For the overall prize under IRC we are keen to stay in touch with Leopard. We are 40 to 50 miles behind, which is okay on corrected time, but we need to stay focused as Leopard is bound to accelerate after the Cape Verde Islands.”

A number of teams in the RORC Transatlantic Race are sending back pictures and video from on board. These are posted on the RORC social media pages, including Instagram and Facebook. All of the boats in the RORC Transatlantic Race are fitted with YB Trackers with regular position reports and more data available from the official minisite. The RORC Transatlantic Race is part of the RORC Season’s Points Championship, the world’s largest offshore racing series. www.rorctransatlantic.rorc.org

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