Top professional and corinthian sailors from around the world will gather in Lanzarote for the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race on 8th January 2022. Double Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott will be one of them - racing on Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 PowerPlay © Lloyd Images

Fleet get ready for RORC Transatlantic Race

Fleet get ready for RORC Transatlantic Race

With less than a month to the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race, well over half of the record international fleet have arrived in Calero Marinas Puerto Calero in Lanzarote for the start of the 3,000 nautical mile race to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada. Over 200 sailors from at least 22 different nations will be competing. The eclectic mix includes professional sailors from the Olympics, America’s Cup, Vendée Globe, and The Ocean Race, however, the vast majority are passionate corinthians.

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Double Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott will be part of Peter Cunningham’s crew racing his MOD70 PowerPlay. This will be Scott’s first ever transatlantic, but he has a wealth of multihull experience as tactician for INEOS TEAM UK’s America’s Cup campaign.

“The only offshore I have done previously was the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race on the same boat when it was Concise, so this is a bit new for me,” admitted Scott. “I am used to the speed that we will achieve, but clearly this will be very different; we are racing across the Atlantic and there are going to be some big waves. Hopefully we will get good trade winds and it will be 3,000-miles downwind, which will be nice!”

The major difference for Scott will be racing offshore for a number of days and nights, something that he has not experienced in the Finn or the AC75. “I am fully into the unknowns here; it is a first step up into this world. I am looking forward to it, but I am nowhere near being an expert. I will be following the lead of the guys around me. I really don’t know what to expect in the middle of the Atlantic and this is almost a different sport. I hope I can perform to a high standard for the team. This is out of my comfort zone and that is why I want to do it. It will be an experience with a great set of guys and I am sure I will learn a lot,” concluded Scott.

With echoes of the Prada Cup in New Zealand earlier this year between INEOS, American Magic and Luna Rossa, the RORC Transatlantic Race features PowerPlay with a majority British crew, Argo from the United States, and Maserati from Italy.

“I am not sure about that analogy!” smiled Scott. “This race should be a real tussle; all three boats are set up differently. I am sure I can bring some experience to the team from the ‘Cup but I am not going to revolutionise anything. It doesn’t really matter what type of sailing you do, there is always parallel learning and this is a new area for me and why I am so keen to do it. My INEOS commitments don’t ramp up for a few months and since I stopped Olympic sailing, getting into offshore racing has been of real interest.”

The 2022 edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race has been organised in association with the Yacht Club de France and nine of the competing teams will be flying the French tricolour. French teams have lifted the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy on three occasions: Jean-Paul Riviere’s Nomad IV (2015) Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine (2017) and Olivier Magre’s Palanad 3 (2021).

Two stand out teams racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France will be Jacques Pelletier’s L’Ange De Milon and Remy Gerin’s Faiaoahe. Jacques Pelletier has lost count of the number of Fastnet Races he has competed in, including winning class in 2019, but this will be his first RORC Transatlantic Race with his Milon 41 L’Ange De Milon. Having suffered mast problems in the heavy weather at the start of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, it is wonderful to see L’Ange De Milon has been repaired and is ready and waiting in Lanzarote. Designed by Jacques Valer of JPK fame, and with a highly experienced French crew, L’Ange De Milon will be a force to reckon with.

Dominique Tian loves ocean racing and his Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen is also one of the hot prospects from France. This will be the first RORC Transatlantic Race for the boat which has been meticulously prepared for the race. The team is full of experience, including navigator Oliver Kraus, who came second in the Multi 50 Class in both the TJV and the Québec St Malo:

“I am enthusiastic about my first Transat in this boat,” commented Dominique Tian. “It is one of the goals for 2022; the other being the RORC Caribbean 600. To finish with the crew and boat in good shape is always the most important thing. If we can also perform well, then we will achieve the best outcome possible.”

Remy Gerin’s Faiaoahe is a spirit of tradition classic, built in 2006 to sail around the world. The 65ft (19.8m) cutter-rigged sloop will be raced in the IRC Two-Handed class by skippers Remy Gerin and Bernard Jeanne-Beylot. Faiaoahe will dwarf another IRC Two-Handed competitor; Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada (overall winner in 2019), which is almost half the same length.

“Faiaoahe has been raced and cruised numerous times in the Pacific and Atlantic, including twice around Cape Horn, but this will be the first time we have raced her Two-Handed across the Atlantic,” explained Gerin. “Our first goal is to complete the race and then we are looking forward to welcoming our friends and family who will join us in the Caribbean.”

For centuries, racing across the Atlantic Ocean has always been the centre of fascination for ocean racers, the opportunities to take part in an all-out race across the world’s second largest ocean is rare, especially for corinthian sailors. Of the 27 confirmed entries for the 8th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, the youngest crew member on file is just 18 years old. Swedish sailor Filip Henriksson will be competing on the Volvo 70 HYPR skippered by Jens Lindner, which is one of 11 Maxis eligible for the IMA Trophy. Filip learnt to sail big boats with his family in the Gothenburg archipelago:

“My dream is to race across the Atlantic,” commented Filip. “2022 is my gap year and I saw HYPR when I searched the internet and I thought if I am going to do it, I may as well do it big. I am so excited to have got a position on board. I will be turning 19 during the race and my parents will be flying to Grenada to celebrate with me and have a holiday to explore the island.”

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Louay Habib
Image: Lloyd Images