A historic day for Lanzarote as the Real Club Náutico de Arrecife gave the final signal to mark the start of the Calero Marinas Solo Transat: the first time that the island has independently organised a transatlantic race.
Long respected as a prime race training location due to reliable winds and a range of sailing conditions within easy access, Lanzarote has been successful in attracting some exciting teams seeking to optimise team and boat preparation. From numerous Volvo Ocean Race campaigns to the recent World Match Racing M32 catamarans, Calero Marinas have been fortunate to see the development of an increasingly thrilling scene.
The Canaries are of particular strategic interest to transatlantic sailors, offering a safe Atlantic haven with ample nautical facilities and a warm dry climate throughout the year. The Mini Transat has based their stopover no less than 6 times in Lanzarote with Marina Lanzarote hosting both the RORC Transatlantic Race and the Panerai Transat Classique.
This year also marked the first IMOCA event in Lanzarote. Enda O’Coineen in Kilcullen Voyager set the trend, training from Puerto Calero last year prior to taking part in the B2B. The 2016 Calero Marinas Solo Transat then emerged to meet the needs of other IMOCA preparation teams wishing to qualify early and seize one of the few remaining places on this elite list, ahead of the other Class transatlantic races taking place later in the season.
This first event then includes three entries; Pieter Heerema’s No Way Back, Sebastien Destremau with faceOcean and Alan Roura aboard Superbigou with Un Vendée pour la Suisse. Inclement weather for the delivery down from France together with last minute Class measurement requirements meant that the start was delayed for three days, however this allowed for a calm and controlled start on Tuesday 12th with both No Way Back and Superbigou in great shape. Sébastien Destremau meanwhile has set to finishing minor modifications in the Marina Lanzarote yard, with the Sailing Instructions allowing him sufficient time to get ready.
Newcomers to Lanzarote have been delighted with the opportunities offered by the island, including yard facilities and technical services in both Puerto Calero and Marina Lanzarote. Competitors were pleased to catch up with Alex Thomson and the Hugo Boss team who arrived in Puerto Calero in timely fashion for a convivial barbeque, although eyes are now on the race which offers a Yellow Brick tracking service to follow participants to Newport, Rhode Island where they will be welcomed by Sail Newport and Newport Shipyard.