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RORC Transatlantic Race is underway

The 3rd edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race started without a hitch in ideal conditions outside Marina Lanzarote.Mike Slade's Farr 100 Maxi, Leopard

With a gentle breeze and slight sea state, it was a comfortable start to the 2,865 nautical mile ocean race to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada, West Indies.

The three fastest yachts have chosen to head north of the rhumb line. Once they have rounded Tenerife, the decision to continue north or dive south will become clear.

The monohulls were first off. Giles Redpath's Lombard IRC46, Pata Negra and Swan 82, Stay Calm got away well.

However, Mike Slade's powerful Farr 100, Leopard 3 was up to speed very quickly and held a lead of over a mile on Stay Calm by the turning mark at Puerto Calero.

Once Leopard cleared the gap between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the powerful Maxi turned at right angles to the course and headed north for over two hours.

Leopard's tactics may be to hook into a low pressure system predicted to develop further up the track. Making the low pressure system at the right time will be a huge factor for Leopard.

If the connection is right, Slade's team will slingshot south. If they are too late, brutal headwinds and a significant adverse sea state may result.

Giovanni Soldini's Italian Maserati

The MOD 70 duel between Lloyd Thornburg's American Phaedo3, lining up against Giovanni Soldini's Italian Maserati looks like developing into a tough and brutal race.

The two multihulls crossed the line in unison, with Phaedo taking the windward side. Maserati tacked away and continued for some distance, looking to get into better pressure.

However, it didn't materialise and Phaedo3 made the Puerto Calero mark well in front.

Three hours into the race, Phaedo3 had opened up a two-mile lead on Maserati.

Both looked to be heading north of the rhumb line; time will tell whether this is the chosen route.

Halvard Mabire & Miranda Merron's Campagne de France leads the Class40s but only just; Catherine Pourre's Eärendil is just behind.

It is very early to look at the overall leader under IRC, however, Swan 82 Stay Calm has been very impressive in the early part of the race.