Two months before the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race, 24 teams from 10 countries have responded to the challenge for the 3,000-mile oceanic race.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 10th anniversary edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race will start from Lanzarote on the 7th January 2024. Supported by Calero Marinas and the International Maxi Association, along with Yacht Club de France. The RORC fleet will set off from Marina Lanzarote to race across the Atlantic Ocean, bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada, West Indies.
An estimated six Maxi yachts will be vying for the overall win under IRC, as well as the IMA Transatlantic Trophy awarded to the first Maxi yacht to complete the race. Six Multihulls are expected in the MOCRA class, including an unprecedented four 70ft trimarans vying for Multihull Line Honours.
2024 Entries & Expressions of Interest
Farr 100 Leopard 3 (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock is expected to line up against five former round the world racing yachts in IRC Super Zero. Roy P. Disney’s Pyewacket 70 (USA) is making its race debut and is the biggest threat to Leopard. The big boat entries feature all-carbon boats with canting keels; two Volvo 70 entries from Johannes Schwarz in Ocean Breeze (NED) and Green Dragon (AUT). Jens Lindner’s Volvo 70 HYPR (ESP), and Farr 65 Sisi (AUT), skippered by Gerwin Jansen, are ramping up for the battle.
In 2016, Leopard 3 with Mike Slade at the helm, won the IMA Transatlantic Trophy. Now under new ownership, she has undergone a major refit, including a new rig. Leopard 3 was in fine form in October, taking Monohull Line Honours in the 2023 Rolex Middle Sea Race. After the RORC Transatlantic Race, Leopard 3 plans to take part in their sixth RORC Caribbean 600, having taken Line Honours in two editions and will also compete in the RORC Nelson’s Cup Series.
“The new owners have been involved with the boat for three years and they are very analytical and want the best out of the boat," explained skipper, Chris Sherlock. "After the major refit and several 600-milers, the owners are ready to enjoy a longer race with the Leopard crew. The RORC Transatlantic is a fantastic race track, especially as in modern times the dynamic has changed as the boats have got so much faster. Now it is rare to go the traditional southern route, often you are pushing north to get into more breeze to go faster."
For the 2024 RORC Transatlantic Race, the turbo-charged Leopard 3 will have one eye on the Monohull Race Record set by Comanche in 2022 of 07 Days 22 hrs 01 min 04 secs at an average speed of 16 knots.
“I am not saying Leopard is quicker than Comanche, but in its previous heavier configuration, Leopard averaged over 18 knots for a very similar course (Tenerife – Virgin Gorda) in the 2012 IMA Transatlantic Race. Breaking race records is heavily dependent on the weather at the given time of the race,” continued Chris Sherlock. “Leopard is now beautifully set up. If we get relatively flat water and 25 knots from the right direction, we could break the record for the RORC Transatlantic Race, that is what we are going to try to do.”
For Multihull Line Honours and potentially a new RORC Transatlantic Race Record, four boats are in contention. Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 (ITA) set the Race Record last year, blasting across the Atlantic in 05 days 05 hrs 46 mins 26 secs. Maserati has just taken Line Honours in the Hong Kong – Vietnam Race. Sailing the boat via Cape Town, Maserati is expected in Lanzarote in December to prepare and then defend last year’s win. Stiff opposition is expected from three modified MOD70s; Erik Maris’ Zoulou (FRA), Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA), and Alexia Barrier’s Limosa (FRA).
At least 18 boats are expected to be racing under IRC for the overall win and the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. The latest entries include Dan Segalowicz’s Solaris 55 Team 42 (FRA), Club Swan 50 Pimu (MON) owned by Mikhail Malamud and skippered by Collin Mulry. Sebastian Dziwisch’s JPK 38 Orinoco (GER) will join Gavin Howe’s Sun Fast 3600 Tigris (GBR) in IRC Two-Handed. Richard Fromentin’s JPK 1180 Cocody (FRA) will have a match race with Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader (GBR). Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise (GBR) is also available for charter with LV Yachting.
Racing across the Atlantic Ocean is on the bucket list of any offshore sailor. Predominantly fast downwind surfing, both day and night, and with the added thrill of serious competition both on the water and after IRC time correction.
Image: In 2016, Leopard 3 with Mike Slade at the helm, won the IMA Transatlantic Trophy in the RORC Transatlantic Race © James Mitchell