News RORC Transatlantic Race: Phaedo prepares to Land

RORC Transatlantic Race: Phaedo prepares to Land

2 December 2016

Lloyd Thornburg's American MOD70 Phaedo3 is flying towards Grenada's Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina and expected to touch down in about 24 hours. Mike Slade's Maxi 100 Leopard 3 is racing against the clock in an assault on the race record. The IRC Fleet and Class40 Division are getting a savage taste of ocean racing.

MOD70 Phaedo3 is screaming towards the finish line outside Port Louis Marina in Grenada. Skipper Brian Thompson has told the crew to fasten their seatbelts and stow their dinner tables. For nearly a week, the crew have had no more than a few moments sleep in cramped conditions, living off freeze-dried mush and warm desalinated water. A hot shower, a proper bed, delicious food and a cold beer is just a few more hours away! A warm welcome is set for Phaedo's arrival and for Giovanni Soldini's MOD70, Maserati. However the Italian flyer is estimated to be as much as 24 hours behind their rivals.

The crew aboard Mike Slade's British Maxi, Leopard 3 have a huge lead on the water over the IRC fleet, vying to win the IMA Transatlantic Trophy. This morning the powerful Maxi had reduced speed as they passed through a transition zone created by a low pressure system to the north and solid trade winds in the south. The clock is ticking away, as Mike Slade explains via satellite connection:

"What a night! Almost every sail we have took a share of a battering; 80 degree wind shifts and wind speeds ranging from 6 to 40 knots, demanding at least 12 sail changes. Leopard never knew what the fuss was all about! Now into more stable conditions charging along at 16 to 20 knots, still hoping for line honours but the record will be won or lost by a matter of minutes. Once again the drone caused excitement reaching huge heights taking fab photos. We need to finish by 6 December at 1900 GMT, 1500 local time. After last night we all need a rum or two, but will have to wait. 1,500 miles to go."

Leopard's complications have been to the advantage of the variety of yachts that are also racing in the IRC Division. Arco Van Nieuwland & Andries Verde's Dutch Marten 72, Aragon has continued to perform. Approaching the halfway mark, the team are back as race leaders contesting for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy, and making a move south to hook into the trade winds. Leopard 3 is estimated to be in second overall, but should increase speed over the next 24 hours which may propel the team back to the top of the leaderboard. Swan 82 Stay Calm is already further south than Aragon and could well make up time on their immediate rival. All of the IRC fleet have now turned south away from the highly unusual westerly winds to the north. However the last 24 hours have been tough going for the Class40 division and smaller yachts in the IRC fleet.

Leader of the Class40s, Halvard Mabire & Miranda Merron's Campagne de France has sent in their latest blog. The team are racing Two Handed: "Campagne de France, somewhere in the Atlantic on a very dark night. We must have read the wrong brochure. Trade wind route it isn't. Still upwind since the night before last, but on the way to better things, although the wind is refusing to match the forecast at the moment. Upwind = bouncing/ slamming off waves and into troughs. Getting water into the Jetboil and then pouring boiling water into a mug and keeping the contents in it while placing the lid on it are activities best undertaken in foul weather gear and boots, despite the heat. Every four hours we receive a position report (or punishment report depending on performance), where we see how Campagne de France, or more precisely her crew, has fared against the competition. There are still 2,000 miles of race course to go. Many more miles than that to sail as the direct route is closed, at least if we want to get to the finish this year, and a lot can happen in that time," writes Miranda Merron.

James Heald sent an SMS via satellite from on board his IRC Two Handed entry, Swan 45 Nemesis. James and his crew Ben Harris have 2,000 miles to race to complete an epic challenge.

"Man thinks he's king of the world. Yet Mother Nature rules out here as we beat into 20 knots, of that there is no doubt. Course is sort of towards Grenada; it's going to be a long one. Boat and us getting a beating today and looks set to continue before we hit forecast light winds again. Perhaps the southerly route via the Cape Verdes would have been more favourable, though I still believe in the Rhumb, or is it Rum! Routine and camaraderie are our friend, from our daily Iridium forecast we continue to execute our best attempt at using these contrary conditions to our goal. Ben broke a finger nail today. Me, I am just racing my yacht in an iconic race on my own terms and at times wonder WTF I am doing. One things for sure, it's a true adventure and that's what we were put on this planet to do: explore, sail, live. Checking off watch," Capt James Nemesis.

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

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London SW1A 1NN
Tel: 020 7493 2248
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International Maxi Association
Legal Headquarters: c/o BfB Société Fiduciaire Bourquin frères et Béran SA - 26, Rue de la Corraterie - 1204 Genève - Switzerland