News RORC Transatlantic Race: a Passionate Adventure

RORC Transatlantic Race: a Passionate Adventure

London, November 8, 2016

Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with the International Maxi Association and supported by Calero Marinas, Camper & Nicholsons Marina, Port Louis Grenada and Grenada Tourism Authority, the third edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race has once again attracted a varied fleet, from MOD70s, SuperMaxis, 4 Class 40s and everything in between from 40 - 112 ft (12.19 to 34.14 m).

Lanzarote prepares for third edition: start is on Saturday 26th November 2016, bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada, 2,865 nmiles across the Atlantic. 

Veteran professional sailors will race on the same course as first time Corinthians; all making tricky tactical decisions to ensure the fastest crossing and keep the momentum going on this long, intense race. The race is a competitive adventure and on the bucket list of many sailors. For most, the passion to race never diminishes.

Calero Marinas prepare
As winter arrives in the Northern Hemisphere and sailors make the most of the tradewinds to head south for a season of Caribbean racing and the RORC Caribbean 600 in February 2017, Lanzarote in the Canary Islands is a hub for yachts preparing for their transatlantic crossing.

Marina Lanzarote in Arrecife is at its busiest now with an influx of yachts arriving over the past few weeks in time for the third edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race to Grenada, starting on Saturday 26th November. For the Calero family, which built and now manages Marina Lanzarote, it is a very special place and a way of life, as José Juan Calero, Managing Director for Calero Marinas explains:

"Our father developed Puerto Calero, Lanzarote's first marina, knowing that the combination of a great climate, a safe and relaxed culture, clean waters and breeze was a gift. He has instilled in us the importance of maintaining a clean and safe environment for visitors and we are lucky to have a great team, many of whom have been with us for well over a decade. As the first port of call in the Canaries, it's a busy time for us of course, particularly in Marina Lanzarote which has been completely full at times over the last month, but as ever, the sailing crowd is a delight; seeing the crew of hi-tech foilers chatting with family cruising 40-footers is what it is all about."

Spanish sailors on Path to Grenada

Having competed in four Volvo Ocean Races and with over 220,000 sea miles, Pepe Ribes is one of Spain's most experienced and talented offshore sailors. Pepe's recent accomplishment was on board the 100ft Comanche, setting an East to West Transatlantic record. He has crossed the Atlantic at least 24 times and will be Crew Boss and Navigator for Anatoly Karatchinski's Baltic 112, Path for the RORC Transatlantic Race. The magnificent Super Maxi has crossed the Atlantic on seven occasions, but this will be the first time she has raced across any ocean. For this, the owner has assembled a perfect crew combination for the Atlantic crossing, with his permanent highly experienced crew, led by Italian Captain Daniele Cesaro, enhanced by top racers.

"The greatest asset of Lanzarote is that you have wind and that is why the Volvo teams choose to train there," explains Ribes. "The marinas have the draft to accommodate Path and Lanzarote has good food, good weather and good activities such as surfing and cycling. I have spent over two years living in Lanzarote and it is a wonderful place to live or to enjoy a holiday.

"Crossing the Atlantic from Lanzarote to Grenada should be a very enjoyable experience. We will be sailing most of the time downwind with good wind in a powerful boat. That is paradise for any sailor. To make sure the experience is enjoyable we must avoid breaking equipment. The preparation for that is essential and the team have spent many hours checking systems, deck gear, sails, checking everything. Also during the race, managing squalls is an essential area; reducing sail before the wind increases will be an important part. Behind the wheel on Path it is demanding; you need to keep your concentration, the spinnaker is huge, about 800 sq. metres and when you accelerate down an Atlantic wave, you really feel the power," concludes Ribes.

Essential time on the water
Miranda Merron's 6th place finish in the 2014 Route du Rhum was the final race in a fine career for Class40 N°101 in the colours of Campagne de France. Launched in 2011, the Pogo S2 won the Quebec Saint Malo Race the following year and posted several podium results in other races. However, with the development of new more powerful prototypes in the class, Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron felt that it was time to consider a new boat; and so began their latest adventure.

After managing the build themselves, they were aware of not being as competitive as they should have been in the Normandy Channel Race, learning that it's hard to come out of an 18-month build and push a new and relatively untested boat as hard as the well-honed competition. Time on the water this winter is essential to improve boat and crew performance:

"The European season is over and a good way to keep racing over the winter is to head across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, so we decided to join the RORC Transatlantic Race," explains Merron whose longterm goal is to race in the 2018 edition of the Route du Rhum on a boat she will know inside out.
© Jean Marie LIOT

Talking about the decision to build and manage their new boat, Mabire says: "With the support of our sponsor, Campagne de France, we have taken full control of our own destiny by designing and building a race boat based on our years of experience and within our means.

"Our financial situation was one of the driving forces; we didn't have the means to entrust the entire build to a well-known boat-building facility, but above all, even though we knew we were embarking on a difficult road, we were confident in our ability to rise to the challenge together. I have been building boats and been on the design side for more than 40 years and I was also aware of the extraordinary opportunity to be able to put all my knowledge and aspirations into this project. It's the chance of a lifetime that I have been given here, and I am doing my utmost to bring it to fruition," concludes Mabire.

Campagne de France will be racing against three other Class40s in the RORC Transatlantic Race: Marc Lepesqueux's Sensation Class 40.2 and his older boat, Sensation Class 40, plus Catherine Pourre's Class40 Mach40.3, Eärendil, before retuning from the Caribbean in time for the 2017 Class40 European season, which includes the Rolex Fastnet Race in August, organised by the RORC.

Another team attempting the transatlantic crossing shorthanded will be James Heald's Swan 45, Nemesis who is sailing with friend, Ben Harris in the Two Handed division.

"The two of us sailed the boat from St. Tropez to Lymington after we bought her and since then she has been modified to be more suitable for Two Handed racing, especially with respect to the sails and associated rigging," says Heald. "I have crossed the Atlantic before but it has always been a passion of mine to race across Two Handed. Ben and I sailed the boat non-stop from Lymington to Lanzarote a few weeks ago and we are really looking forward to the race. Once Nemesis is in the Caribbean she will be used both as a cruising boat for my family and for racing in future seasons. The RORC Transatlantic Race is ideal for our needs. I wanted to take part in a real race Two Handed and as we want a family Christmas in Mustique, the finish at Grenada works very well."

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ENDS/... Louay Habib



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    The third RORC Transatlantic Race starts in Lanzarote on Saturday 26th November 2016 and the 2,865 nautical mile race runs through the Canary Islands before crossing the Atlantic to arrive in Grenada
    The race is run in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA)
    The winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy for best elapsed time under IRC in 2015 was Jean-Paul Riviere's 100ft Finot-Conq. Nomad IV also won IRC overall and the IMA Trophy for monohull line honours. Nomad IV also set a new monohull record for the RORC Transatlantic Race: 10 days 07 hours 06 minutes and 59 seconds
    Multihull Record: 5 days 22 hours 46 minutes 03 secondsLloyd Thornburg's MOD70, Phaedo3 was the first boat to arrive in the last race and set the multihull record for the race
    Class40: 12 days 12 hours 36 minutes 32 secondsGonzalo Botin's Spanish Class40, Tales II was the first Class40 to complete the race in 2015, setting a Class40 record


    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 such as the RORC Easter Challenge and IRC National Championships 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 was an instant success, and in 2014 RORC extended its organisational expertise by creating the new RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote to Grenada in November
    The club is based in St James' Place, London and Cowes, Isle of Wight
    In co-operation with the French offshore racing club, UNCL, RORC is responsible for IRC, the principal international handicap system for yacht racing worldwide.The Spinlock IRC rating rule is administered jointly by the RORC Rating Office in Lymington, UK and UNCL Centre de Calcul in Paris, France
    The RORC Rating Office is the technical hub of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and recognised globally as a centre of excellence for measurement. For Spinlock IRC rating information in the UK please see:
    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter:  #rorcrtr #rorcracing


    The racing activities for the Maxi as a separate class started in Porto Cervo in 1980 with the first Maxi Yacht Cup. Immediately afterwards an association of the Maxi owners was founded under the name "International Class A Yacht Association" (ICAYA) with Baron E. de Rothschild elected the first President of the Class. The legal office was created in Geneva, Switzerland. "Class A" was the definition of a Maxi boat in the IOR rating system in force at that time. The following year Gianfranco Alberini was appointed first Secretary General of the Association. ICAYA organized the Maxi Yacht World Championship for many years in Porto Cervo as its European base, as well in other venues in USA - Honolulu, Newport R.I., Miami, St. Thomas, San Francisco. In Europe Puerto Portales, Antibes and Saint Tropez were selected as championship locations
    When the definition "Class A" disappeared with the change from IOR it was decided to rename the Class as "International Maxi Association" (IMA). The Class is now registered in Geneva (Switzerland), has a base in Porto Cervo and an office in the USA, for rating and technical matters. The Class is now expanding its activities, and in 2010 the first Mini Maxi World Championship took place in September in Porto Cervo, Italy,  In 2011 the new Rolex Volcano Race opened the Mediterranean sailing season
    Andrew McIrvine took over as Secretary General in 2013. In 2014 the pure racer Mini Maxis were reformed into the Maxi 72 Class. The IMA has organised previous Maxi Transatlantic races but this is the first in association with RORC. IMA has presented a vintage trophy for line honours for this new race
    IMA is a recognized member of the IRC Congress. Since November 2010 ISAF has recognised the Maxis as an international class. This means that the International Maxi Association is now the sole authority with the right to hold World and Continental Maxi Championships


    Calero Marinas has developed and manages three marinas in the Canary Islands, having accrued over 35 years' experience in the sector. The Canaries' warm climate and regular supply of breeze has lead Lanzarote to become a favourite training ground for offshore race teams, whilst the combination of good flight connections and easily available services has created a popular and reliable base for international sailors
    Marina Lanzarote is the newest addition to the group with secure berthing for vessels of up to 60m LOA, a wide range of services and the advantage of having the city and maritime quarter within a few minutes' walk
    The shipyard is equipped to hoist superyachts and the inclusion of deep keel pits in the yard's design was considered especially to meet the needs of transoceanic racing yachts



    The premium yachting destination in the Southern Caribbean. Grenada and The Grenadines are widely considered to be the most unspoilt cruising grounds in the Caribbean. Famed for its people's warm and gregarious hospitality the 'Spice Island' of Grenada has a varied topography of mountains, rainforests and waterfalls, fringed by icing sugar beaches and cooled by trade winds


    Camper & Nicholsons is widely recognised to be one of the world's oldest and most prestigious yachting business names, with origins dating back to 1782. The company has specialised in marina and waterfront development for over 40 years and has provided services to clients in more than 25 countries worldwide. Projects range from small marinas through to developments of over 500 hectares.
    Camper & Nicholsons Marinas Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Camper & Nicholsons Marina Investments Limited, listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange. Camper & Nicholsons currently operate marinas in Grenada, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Turkey and the UK, with over 30 new projects currently under way all over the world.
    Owned and managed by Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, Port Louis Marina has transformed Grenada's yachting facilities. Overlooking the historic capital St Georges and designed to reflect the traditional Creole architecture, the marina offers 170 berths, including 30 superyacht berths for vessels from 25m to 90m LOA, and up to 7m draft
    For more information about Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina

Trish Jenkins - RORC Transatlantic Race
Press Liaison
M: +44 (0)7880 518689

Nick Elliott, Racing Manager
Royal Ocean Racing Club
T: +44 (0) 1983 295144

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London SW1A 1NN
Tel: 020 7493 2248
Fax: 020 7493 2470

International Maxi Association
Legal Headquarters: c/o BfB Société Fiduciaire Bourquin frères et Béran SA - 26, Rue de la Corraterie - 1204 Genève - Switzerland