2016 RORC Transatlantic: Battle of the Titans

Old yachts are out for records, while newcomers will be taking on their first major event in the battle for the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race.
leopard 3
The 100-footer Leopard 3 will set out to break the Transatlantic record during the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race Lloyd Images

Racing across the Atlantic evokes the primal desires of any offshore sailor and the Grenada-bound RORC Transatlantic Race, departing from Calero Marinas Marina Arrecife, Lanzarote on Saturday 26th November, has attracted a highly diverse range of boats and crews to compete in the third edition.

Leopard out to break the monohull record

Whilst the Atlantic is only half the size of the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic is as far away from land as possible, save Point Nemo in the depths of the Southern Ocean and Mike Slade’s 100ft canting keel maxi, Leopard 3 is no stranger to the Atlantic. Leopard has accomplished five separate Transatlantic records over the last nine years and has crossed the Atlantic 12 times, with this race being Boat Captain, Chris Sherlock’s 30th crossing. Leopard 3 is very capable of breaking the current monohull record for the RORC Transatlantic Race, set by Jean-Paul Riviere’s Finot 100, Nomad IV in the last race in 10 days 07 hours 06 mins 59 secs.

“The RORC record is the one we have not had and we want to add this to our list of achievements,” commented Leopard’s Chris Sherlock. “We are close to finalising the crew which will include regular Leopard crew with Olympic, Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup experience as well as eight guests who have a lot of racing experience and a big desire to race across the Atlantic. This combination works really well as it makes for a fantastic atmosphere on board.


“After a highly successful inshore season, winning at the Maxi Worlds and St. Tropez, Leopard is being put into offshore mode for the RORC Transatlantic Race. Transforming Leopard for the race is a big task and Lanzarote has everything we need for the preparation. The installation of all the safety equipment is mandatory and on top of that we have a different sail wardrobe and take spares and the tools to fix just about anything on board. Once we have started the race, the crew is on its own and we have to account for any eventuality. All of our guests are attending a sea survival course which is invaluable as well as a great way for the two groups of friends to bond together.”

Maserati’s newest project, the foiling MOD 70 will undergo its first race trials during the 2016 event. Guilain Grenier/

Research mode for Maserati MOD70

Maserati, synonymous with Italian flair and style, will be represented in this year’s RORC Transatlantic by Giovanni Soldini’s foiling MOD70. Maserati will be literally flying off the start line! This will be the first time the multihull in its new foiling set up has raced across the Atlantic, and it is something of a test bed for the international team.

Soldini has over 25 years of ocean racing experience and is probably the most decorated Italian offshore sailor of all time winning the Around Alone, Québec-Saint Malo, OSTAR and Transat Jacques Vabre. Soldini has completed over 40 oceanic crossings and since 2011 has been the skipper of the VOR70 Maserati, setting records for the Cadiz-San Salvador route and the New York-San Francisco Gold Route. However, the MOD70 Maserati is a new project only conceived this year.


“We are studying how this new concept will work and we have made some progress, but we are in research mode.” explained Giovanni Soldini. “Our goal will be to try to fly as much as possible, but there are some conditions where it will be impossible. We went around the world nearly two times with the VOR70 but it was time to change and to do something different. Personally for me, this is a bigger challenge and foiling in the middle of the Atlantic is certainly challenging. This race presents a great opportunity to try to understand more about the concept.

“On the tiller, when Maserati is flying, is just fantastic. It is very fast but you feel safe and in control and it is something very new; to fly with a big boat is something that is very special. During the race we will be studying and trying many different solutions to see where our performance is good or not so good, but it is not always black and white. This year we will be investing in the concept for the future. Our first step will be to achieve stable flight in the open sea with waves, so that will be a big job.”

Innovative foiling flyer

Infiniti 46 Maverick, skippered by Oliver Cotterell will be one of the smallest yachts in the race, but her innovative design means that Maverick is capable of tremendous speed. DSS foils, like short airplane wings protrude from the side of the hull, producing both righting moment and lift. Maverick also has a canting keel and the combination of these allow the boat to sail faster than the wind speed, in certain conditions.


“I have been watching the RORC Transatlantic Race since its inception. I think it’s a brilliant ocean race that’s been growing year on year. I have heard great things about its implementation, organisation and the back-up RORC provides for the teams involved,” commented Skipper, Oliver Cotterell. “Maverick has been entered for the RORC Transatlantic Race because it is designed for performance racing vessels. Just looking at the entries and the interest so far shows that this is a serious race with some serious teams. We want to compete against high performance elite racing yachts and the best teams on the circuit.

“The speeds we are maintaining whilst foiling on Maverick are unprecedented for a 46ft monohull, but it is actually a very stable feeling. The DSS foils mean she not only stays flat, but she also lifts her bow so that as we navigate through Atlantic swells, the boat should remain surprisingly dry. Maverick was always designed with long distance competitive offshore racing in mind. Preparation for CAT.1 racing was incorporated in the design from the very beginning. The boat has watertight bulkheads and has been built with the required inventory since her inception.”