Isle of Wight sailors celebrate success in 3,000-mile Transatlantic Race

·4-min read
2022 has got off to the perfect start for Isle of Wight sailing following successes for local sailors in the RORC Transatlantic Race.  Images: RORC
2022 has got off to the perfect start for Isle of Wight sailing following successes for local sailors in the RORC Transatlantic Race. Images: RORC

RORC TRANSATLANTIC RACE 2022
THERE were huge successes for Isle of Wight sailors this week in one of world sailing’s most prestigious races — the RORC Transatlantic Race.

After setting off from Lanzarote on January 8, all the competitors took on a monumental 3,000-mile transatlantic battle against the elements and rough seas to the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Cowes-based Jeremy Waitt and Richard Palmer, in Richard’s JPK 10.10 yacht, Jangada — the smallest in the fleet — went it into the race with the top prize under their belt from 2019.

WATCH: Cowes sailors Jeremy Waitt and Richard Palmer summarise the 2022 Transatlantic Race

After 18 days, they celebrated winning the IRC Two-Handed event on Tuesday — finishing the race in a corrected time of 16 days 13hrs 58mins 34secs, which beat their 2019 time and set a new IRC record for the race.

“It was tough — an absolutely mental race from start to finish, with no let up at all. There was some difficult downwind and tactical sailing,” Richard said.

Isle of Wight County Press: Richard Palmer, left, and Jeremy Waitt, celebrate winning the IRC Two-Handed title in this year's RORC Transatlantic Race after 18 days at sea.
Isle of Wight County Press: Richard Palmer, left, and Jeremy Waitt, celebrate winning the IRC Two-Handed title in this year's RORC Transatlantic Race after 18 days at sea.

Richard Palmer, left, and Jeremy Waitt, celebrate winning the IRC Two-Handed title in this year's RORC Transatlantic Race after 18 days at sea.

“It was like 16 coastal races back-to-back, downwind racing day after day in sloppy seas. It was full on, really intense, but great fun.

“If the race had stopped after 1,000 miles we would have won it overall."

Proud of his continued success alongside Richard, Jeremy added: "It's great to see the event grow and be a major success in the offshore racing circuit — seeing some of the world's best sailors take part.

"We are very proud to have won the double-handed division of the race and set a new IRC record.

"We now look forward to the next event of the Caribbean 600, which is similar to the fastnet in course length.

Isle of Wight County Press: Richard Palmer's yacht, Jangada, on its approach to the finish line in Grenada on Tuesday. Photo: RORC
Isle of Wight County Press: Richard Palmer's yacht, Jangada, on its approach to the finish line in Grenada on Tuesday. Photo: RORC

Richard Palmer's yacht, Jangada, on its approach to the finish line in Grenada on Tuesday. Photo: RORC

"We have picked up some good series points toward our aim of winning the international series trophies this year."

Jeremy echoed Richard's sentiments.

He told the County Press: "What a privilege to sail in the remote Atlantic. It was amazing to see the bright moonlight on the waves and the clear nights were stunning.

"After the difficulties of getting the boat, and people in the right place for the start, it was a massive stress relief to get underway.

"Some boats had positive tests days before the race, which was very sad for them.

"One of the joys of sailing is seeing land from a different perspective and it creates a great space for thinking.

Isle of Wight County Press: Richard and Jeremy with their prize for winning the IRC Two-Handed event. Photo: RORC
Isle of Wight County Press: Richard and Jeremy with their prize for winning the IRC Two-Handed event. Photo: RORC

Richard and Jeremy with their prize for winning the IRC Two-Handed event. Photo: RORC

"The three hours on and off on watch was gruelling, being on the helm with 130m of sail up was tricky — especially when the squalls hit us at 30 knots!

"Grenada is an amazing place to finish and the welcome was wonderful. After such a difficult and frustrating race, the sandy shores of the Caribbean were heavenly.

"We raced very hard and its great to have won the double-handed division and set a tough course, which is likely to stand for many years.

"Fingers crossed — we hope to continue a run of recent success in the Caribbean 600."

On the race’s 11th day, David Collins’ Botin 52 Tala won the IRC Zero class.
The boat was specifically modified for the race.

Isle of Wight County Press: Tala, which won the IRC Zero title in the RORC Transatlantic Race, had two Islanders on board as part of the winning crew — Robbie Southwell, third left, and Brett Aarons.
Isle of Wight County Press: Tala, which won the IRC Zero title in the RORC Transatlantic Race, had two Islanders on board as part of the winning crew — Robbie Southwell, third left, and Brett Aarons.

Tala, which won the IRC Zero title in the RORC Transatlantic Race, had two Islanders on board as part of the winning crew — Robbie Southwell, third left, and Brett Aarons.

Among the crew were Islanders Robbie Southwell and Brett Aarons, of Cowes, who do a lot of sailing together.

Robbie, back in the UK after the epic race and delighted with the win, told the County Press: “The race was good. It took us 11 days.

“With a low pressure system a few days into it, we had to chase down Caro, who had Ian Moore, who lives in Gurnard, on board navigating.

“After that, we headed west towards Grenada. The final few days were tough as tiredness set in and the temperature was rising, so life downstairs wasn’t the best!

Isle of Wight County Press: Brett Aarons, of Cowes.
Isle of Wight County Press: Brett Aarons, of Cowes.

Brett Aarons, of Cowes.

“Managed to finish in the daylight and get ourselves some well-earned beers before leaving for Antigua.

“We’re doing the RORC Caribbean 600, so really looking forward to that.”

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