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RORC Transatlantic Race – Day 14 – Aragon watches the clock
Three cheers and a warm welcome dockside for Aragon who finished the race in Port Louis. After IRC time correction, the Dutch Maxi is leading the race for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy © RORC/Arthur Daniel

RORC Transatlantic Race

Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder’s Marten 72, Aragon (NED) crossed the finish line of the RORC Transatlantic Race outside Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina at 11h 17m 03s on 9th December 2016.

After IRC time correction, the Dutch Maxi is leading the race for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. However, several yachts still racing have the potential to better Aragon’s corrected time.

The crew of Aragon are a blend of family, friends and professional sailors and the youngest sailor in the RORC Transatlantic Race, Anna Van Nieuwland was at the helm of Aragon as the team crossed the line.

‘Taking Aragon through the finish line was one of the coolest things I have done in my life,’ smiled Anna Van Nieuwland. ‘Over the last two weeks I have learnt a lot of sailing techniques, especially trimming and how to catch a wave when driving, and I have learnt a lot about the crew, which is all men! This has been an amazing opportunity and anyone who has the chance should go for it.

Arco Van Nieuwland has wanted to race across the Atlantic for a long time: ‘This race has been on my bucket list for a while. We have raced in the Mediterranean and the RORC Caribbean 600, but this one was on the top of the list and it now has a check mark.

RORC Transatlantic Race – Day 14 – Aragon watches the clock

At the helm on arrival in Grenada: 18 year old, Anna Van Nieuwland took the Marten 72, Aragon across the line at the finish of the RORC Transatlantic Race. The 11-strong crew includes friends, family and some ‘pro’ sailors. A winning combination for the two Dutch owners: Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder who have owned the boat together for six years. © RORC/Arthur Daniel

We have been putting this crew together for many years but our starting point for crew is family and friends and some professionals. It is a fantastic combination and a good part of the reason why we have performed so well as we have a solid team and we really enjoy racing together.

Aragon had some tough moments during the 14 days racing in the RORC Transatlantic Race as co-owner, Andries Verder explains: ‘The weather was very challenging and that was the stressful part of the race; we were trying to save every second; this was a transatlantic race and we always had that in our minds. We blew out a few spinnakers, but we managed to keep up our speed and performance and we have finished the race with everybody safe and sound. The boat performed very well and as expected. A large part of that is excellent planning; without that, small issues can easily damage your chances of winning. Everything held up perfectly and that is due to very good preparation. We also have a good spirit in the team and that friendship, combined with the preparation of a great boat, is hopefully a winning combination. It is wonderful to be in Port Louis and to receive such a fantastic welcome.

The next team expected to finish the RORC Transatlantic Race is Infiniti 46, Maverick, due to arrive in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina at dawn on Saturday 10 December (1000 GMT).

Check out probably the last blog from Olly Cotterell, the skipper of Maverick and others in the race.

RORC Transatlantic Race – Day 14 – Aragon watches the clock

Three cheers and a warm welcome dockside for Aragon who finished the race in Port Louis. After IRC time correction, the Dutch Maxi is leading the race for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy © RORC/Arthur Daniel

‘Regardless of the outcome, I am very proud of my team. They have all worked incredibly hard in some physically and mentally taxing conditions. This is what makes ocean racing unique. It is a marathon and not a sprint. If you cannot keep the yacht together then you will not finish. As they say, in order to win, first you need to finish. Maverick has given us some of the best sailing experiences of my life during this race and I will always remember them. By signing up to the RORC Transatlantic Race we knew we would be put against some of the best teams out there. We would not turn up to a knife fight with a gun, so to speak. We are going to push hard right to the end. One thing this crossing has shown me is that this yacht with this team will be a force to be reckoned with in future events. Being our first ocean race we will go away and review the performance, work on the reliability and be back for more. Sometimes I forget that this yacht has only been in the water for seven months…’ Olly out.

by Louay Habib

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