Tomorrow at 12, local time, starts the third edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race: the 2865 miles long ocean regatta crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Lanzarote (Canary Islands) to Grenada (Caribbean Sea). There’s a definite whiff of the big ocean regattas on the docksides in Marina di Arrecife these days as the 15 crews entered in the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race busy themselves with last-minute boat preparations, and navigators and skippers pore over the weather predictions for the first couple of days at sea.
The American and European prediction models are both giving the same snapshot of what lies in store. The situation is rather unusual for the Atlantic at this time of year, with the Trade Winds not quite established and a large depression associated with extensive fronts that will demand finely-tuned tactical choices to negotiate successfully.
The race multihull record to beat was set by Phaedo3 just last year in a time of 5 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes and 3 seconds. It will be very much a two-boat battle between her and Maserati Multi70 as the latter will be attempting to get the most out of the “flying” L-foil and T-rudder working together on her port side.
«It’s going to be a very tricky race. We came here thinking we were in for a Trade Winds-favoured transat, but now we find ourselves facing into an unrecognisable Atlantic», explains Giovanni Soldini. «The situation is complex this year: the Trade Winds are being affected by a series of tropical depressions and so the race will hang on tactics aimed at avoiding ending up in a place mid-route where you can barely feel the Trade Winds. We’ll see whether the boats that go looking for wind in the northerly fronts or those that head south are right. Because of our foils, if we get at least 15 knots of air, we’ll have the perfect conditions to do battle with Phaedo3».