The first ever RORC Transatlantic Race concluded just a few days before Christmas with the prizegiving at Camper & Nicholsons’ Port Louis Marina, having started 3,000 miles away in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, on 30 November.
An international fleet of yachts took part, with crew from at least 12 different countries racing magnificent maxis, crewed by top professional sailors, as well as production yachts crewed by friends and family.
eremy Pilkington’s Baltic 78, Lupa of London was first to arrive at Camper & Nicholsons’ Port Louis Marina in an elapsed time of 11 days, 01 hour, 38 minutes and 55 seconds, setting the record for others to beat in future editions of the race. Skipper, Daniel Stump was full of praise for the team: “We were only eight crew, but they are some top sailors with great commitment and willpower. In our dreams we wanted to take Line Honours and the overall win, but that was a big call, so this really is a dream come true.”
The final finisher, a week behind the front-runners, was Denis Villotte’s 38 foot Sérénade, which crossed the finish line off Quarantine Point in the early hours of Friday 19th December, just in time for the following night’s prizegiving party.
Guest of honour at the RORC Transatlantic Race Prizegiving was the Honourable Yolanda Bain-Horsford, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation of Grenada. Also present were Nikoyan Roberts of the Grenada Tourism Authority, Glynn Thomas of Camper & Nicholsons Marinas and Graham Williams and Nick Kingsman of Westerhall Rums.
Newly elected RORC Commodore Michael Boyd opened proceedings by thanking the Government of Grenada, Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Puerto Calero Marina and Westerhall Rums for their generous support in helping to make the race a reality. Eddie Warden Owen, CEO of RORC, and Andrew McIrvine, RORC Admiral & Secretary General of the International Maxi Association were also on hand to enjoy the party.
All the race finishers agreed that there is no better place to arrive than Grenada, to experience genuine human kindness and goodwill to all, at Christmas or at any other time of year.
Every yacht, regardless of the time of day or night was greeted at the finish line by the marina and escorted to the dock for a warm reception and a cold beer and a basket of Grenadian goods, including Westerhall Rums. During their stay, staff from Port Louis Marina and Grenada Tourism Authority assisted with immigration, hotel accommodation, island tours and all manner of yacht services. The people of Grenada were just as welcoming.
The unquestionable success of this new race is exciting for the island of Grenada and for the development of yachting in the region. Preparations for the 2015 race have already begun, and RORC’s experience with their Caribbean 600 event suggests that the fleet will be significantly
bigger next year. There’s no doubt that the RORC Transatlantic Race has already asserted itself as a major annual event in the yacht racing calendar.