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Faster than the wind…

Tulikettu is back in business. The Finnish team skippered by Arto Linnervuo is now ready for their first race; The RORC Transatlantic Race, from Lanzarote across the Atlantic to Grenada, starting on 8 January 2023.

Tulikettu’s sails were hoisted on 11th November 2022, the first time since 20th April following the tragic accident in the North Atlantic and the ensuing drama and months of repairs. 

The boat is back to as good as new and thanks to further improvements made after the repairs had been completed, the boat is now in a better condition than before the accident. “In England, we have sailed faster than wind not only when reaching but also downwind.” says Arto Linnervuo, Tulikettu’s skipper. 

Getting to such speeds, especially downwind, is extremely rare for a boat of this size and demonstrates the exciting potential of a modern DSS foil-assisted boat whose design is based on the foil instead of choosing the right foil for an existing hull design. Linnervuo points out, however, that a perfect race performance is dependent on more than one element… 

Only very few 52-foot boats are faster than wind when sailing downwind. The conditions for the boat’s first race are good in that there is a lot of downwind on the route across the Atlantic. However, we had to give our opponents a six-month lead because we weren’t able to train on the boat any earlier. It has also been a challenge to get the boat fully ready for the race in a very short period of time.

The realistic goal is to get the boat performing at its best just before our main race of the season; the Rolex Fastnet Race at the end of July. Our team’s learning curve with the new boat type will hopefully not be linear but steepening towards the Fastnet. The first race in January will be the start of that curve, and we will get a lot of valuable data from the boat’s sensors as we continue to optimise the boat’s performance,” Linnervuo continues. 

The Tulikettu team is currently making final preparations in Lanzarote, the start point of the race.  The all-Finnish crew are still being coached by New Zealand four-time Volvo Ocean Race winner Stu Bannatyne.

“Stu’s main task is to steepen our learning curve with the new boat,” says Linnervuo.

Tuliketu’s goal is to become the first all-Finnish team to win the overall RORC series, as well as some of its most legendary and important races, such as the tough Rolex Fastnet Race, held every two years since 1925.

“The Fastnet Race in July 2023 will be our first really big race, the equivalent of a tennis Grand Slam in sailing,” Linnervuo says.

Watch the TV interview and Tulikettu team skipper Arto Linnervuo’s comments on the boat’s first practice after the disaster here:

For more information about the Royal Ocean Racing Club: