Displaying items by tag: Commodores Cup
Last night, Ireland was among several teams that presented appeals to the International Jury that awarded full redress to Rockall III of the Hong Kong team for missing a course change in Thursday race. Initially, Ireland's lead increased to 40.5 points but after redress was awarded, Hong Kong were 31.5 points behind going into today's penultimate race.
After three hours of deliberations, the outcome was that Ireland's Roxy replaced as the race winner. Rockall was joint second, resulting in a two point gain to Ireland.
Boats were returning to Cowes Yacht Haven throughout yesterday, back from the offshore race of the 2010 Rolex Commodores' Cup. With a 2.5x point co-efficient this race had the potential to provide a major upset in the results, but after four days of competition the Irish team hold an even more commanding lead, now up to 29.5 points. Hong Kong has regained second place, this time with a 25-point cushion over the leading French team, which in turn is just 5 points ahead of GBR Red and 15 points ahead of France Yellow in fifth.
Dave Dwyer’s marinerscove.ie was overall winner of Class 2 while team captain Anthony O’Leary’s Antix scored second place. Rob Davies Roxy 6 skippered by Andrew Creighton was fourth in Class 3.
“We’re feeling quite positive as we’ve just had one of the best offshore results ever – the lads all worked their socks off,” commented Barry Rose, Commodore of ICRA. “We’ve strengthened our lead so we’re in a good, solid position and looking forward to the rest of the regatta.”
The team had all returned to Cowes by mid-afternoon to prepare the three boats for tomorrow’s (Thursday) Rolex Trophy race on a long-inshore race that is expected to last three hours. Friday will also feature a single race as the fleet competes for bonus points in the Round Isle of Wight course.
Saturday’s single race finale counts for double-points and strong challenges from Hong Kong, France Blue and Britain’s GBR Red are expected.
“Its still all to play for. Hong Kong are looking very strong and there are a lot of points still to be earned,” cautioned Rose. “There’ll be no change in our strategy – we have a plan and we’re going to stick to it. Its about grind out the results day by day.”
Hong Kong and Ireland scored equal points in the offshore race with the former's Rockall III winning the small boat class while the latter's marinerscove.ie claimed the mid-sized class.
On the water Rockall III was first home in the whole fleet, crossing the line just to the west of the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour at 10:40:41 BST, winning her class by almost one hour on corrected time. While racing for Hong Kong, where he used to live, Rockall III's owner Christopher Opielok is German. His crew is largely from Hong Kong but also includes two Dutch, one Irishman and three Australians. According to Opielok he bought his Corby 36 specifically to compete in the Rolex Commodores' Cup, "we have been preparing for this for a long time. The boat clocked since delivery to us last year, 4,000 miles. We did a lot of offshore racing. We have four very good helmsmen. The navigation was very well prepared. We had a good tactician and I believe altogether with a very good boat, ended up with this result."
Opielok said they faced stiff competition from the Irish team's small boat, Roxy 6, "we focussed on sail trim and sailed extremely hard without any rest. We knew we could only beat Roxy upwind. We put all our effort into the 60-mile beat and then we tried to control them downwind. Luckily the tide went with us and pushed us even further than expected." The tide was particularly beneficial on the final run into the finish.
Simon Henning, owner of the Alice II from GBR White was delighted to have won the big boat division. His Farr 45, the biggest yacht in this year's Rolex Commodores' Cup does not have a favourable rating and they have not performed well in the inshore racing so far. Having to continue past Anvil Point and on to the East Shambles mark in Weymouth Bay, the Class 1 course at 191-nautical-miles was some 35 nm longer than the Class 3 version, which simply did an about-turn at Poole. Yet Alice II reached the finish line just under four minutes astern of Rockall III.
Alice led the 30-boat fleet out of the Solent in the strongest conditions of the race and enjoyed a fantastic blast down to the Owers, the easternmost mark of the course, to the southeast of Selsey Bill. "We saw 24-25 knots [of wind] and we were surfing up to 17 several times – it was lovely," commented Henning. Thanks to this they caught the tide turning at the Owers and from there never looked back. Despite the wind dropping to five knots this morning, they claimed the big boat class by a margin of 1 hour 20 minutes on corrected time.
Aside from torrential rain yesterday afternoon, conditions were not as bad as had been forecast. In the southwesterly breeze the sea was being kicked up by the wind-against-tide on the first beat out of The Solent and apart from the overfalls off St Catherine's Point, the southern tip of the Isle of Wight, it was generally considered a pleasant race.
"It was great fun - the course had a fabulous variety," commented Anthony O'Leary, who's Ker 39 Antix corrected out to be second amongst the big boats. "Every corner we went around it seemed that the tide was against us, but that was part of plan to give us a varied course with all the options and all the challenges - and there were plenty. Going into Poole Bar in the middle of the night and the Anvil in the dark is a challenge but thankfully we got away and managed to hold the thing together."
O'Leary was thankful that the Irish team had cumulatively posted a solid result in this high scoring race. "You could easily lose the regatta if you had a disaster and in that respect it is certainly satisfying. But there is still plenty to do and there are still plenty of points available. We'll keep on chipping away."
David Dwyer's marinerscove.ie maintained the impeccable Irish performance, first home in the mid-sized class, although by the slender margin of three and a half minutes over Anthony Day's Blondie IV. Tactician on the Irish boat, Andy Beadsworth, commented that, "it was a really good race and it was nice to finish relatively early today." The team enjoyed spending most of the night racing in company with the big boats. "It wasn't that lumpy. We hardly had any water over the deck!" said Beadsworth, adding that he had tried to get some sleep only to be awoken when he overheard the rest of the crew about to make decisions on deck.
Finishing behind Rockall III in the small boat class was Bernard Moureau's JND 35 Gaia in France White. Tactician Alex Mercier said that they are improving with every race aboard their new boat. "The start was a bit improvised but we were able to place ourselves well and to maintain a good position during the entire night and this morning as well." They are still discovering Gaia but have found it goes well under spinnaker.
Behind them in third was Jim Macgregor's Elan 410 Premier Flair, which posted the best result for GBR Red, with another crew who had thought they would perform better inshore than off. The line-up includes British Olympic-squad 470 sailor Ben Saxton as tactician. "It was long but enjoyable, different. It was nice weather because it was windy enough and we made good progress and we finished close to other boats so that kept it fun the whole way around," said Saxton who admits he only slept for about five minutes. Saxton reckons they made their biggest tactical gains with the tide on the beat up to Poole.
Tomorrow the Rolex Commodores' Cup returns to racing on The Solent with one inshore course scheduled for Rolex Trophy Day. Crews get a well-earned rest following their efforts of the past 24 hours or so, with the start scheduled for noon BST. With two high scoring races to follow on Friday (the x1.5 Round the Isle of Wight Race) and Saturday (a double-points inshore race) the teams at the top know this event is far from over. The Irish will sleep more comfortably tonight having cruised through the major test of the week, but undoubtedly will be on alert tomorrow to avoid the pitfalls encountered by previous compatriot teams.
Top Five Teams - Provisional Positions after completion of 5 races
Team / Points / Place
Ireland / 42 / 1
Hong Kong / 71.5 / 2
France Blue / 84 / 3
GBR Red / 89 / 4
France Yellow /99 / 5
After two further inshore races off Cowes today, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association's (ICRA) three-boat team continues to hold the overall lead of the Rolex Commodores' Cup at Cowes. The team has a 20.5-point advantage.
Team Captain Anthony O'Leary's Antix scored a first-place tied with Codiam of the France Blue team in the morning race and followed this with a second in the afternoon. Class 2 entry Marinerscove.ie fourth and second for the day while Rob Davies Roxy 6 in Class 3 had a seventh and a well-earned race win.
"It was a great days racing with tough conditions this morning in 18 knots of breeze," commented Barry Rose, ICRA Commodore. "We had a bit of a fight in some of the classes and we dug out three results with a very strong performance in the afternoon. All in all, it was a great day's work in sometimes tricky conditions."
The fleet go downwind. Photo: Kurt Arriga/Rolex
The GBR Red team holds second overall with France Blue in third, just 5.5 points behind having improved from seventh overall in Day 1.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) sees the start of the Offshore Race that counts for 2.5 times the points of a normal inshore race. The course is intended to last between 24 and 36 hours in duration and by the conclusion, just over half the points for series will have been won.
"We'll put our minds to our minds to having a very positive approach to the offshore and be consistent for the duration," said Rose. "The aim is to sail strongly for the full duration – it won't be containment and we intend to keep up the intensity."
Roxy 6 douses her kite. Photo: Kurt Arriga/Rolex
Conditions were perfect for today's two races with brilliant sunshine and more breeze – 14-17 knots from the northwest for the first, dropping off to 10-15 for the second. First up was an inshore race around the length and breadth of the eastern Solent, followed by a shorter windward-leeward course set off Hill Head on the mainland shore.
In the big boat class race one saw a rare corrected time tie between Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39 Antix (IRL), maintaining her perfect scoreline for the Irish team, and Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau's Grand Soleil 43 Codiam in France Blue. While Antix remains the boat to beat among the big boats, it was Codiam that scored two bullets today.
"I think the conditions were ideal for our boat, which is a bit heavy and ideally needs about 15 knots," commented Nicolas Loday, racing his fourth Rolex Commodores' Cup, but his first in the Grand Soleil 43. "It is a boat that goes very well with flat water. It is not at all a boat that goes fast in the big waves or the choppy seas you get in the Channel. So today the conditions were perfect for this boat – like yesterday, but yesterday we made wrong tactical decisions. Today we kept close to the other boats and this paid off very well."
Perhaps it was coincidence, but in Class 2 another Grand Soleil 43 shone today with former RORC Commodore Peter Rutter's Quokka 8 (GBR Red) scoring two bullets ahead of UNCL Commodore Marc de Saint Denis and Géry Trentesaux's Coup de Coeur (FRA Blue) and Ireland's marinerscove.ie, belonging to David Dwyer. Quokka 8 rates at 1.103 under IRC compared to Codiam's 1.110 as the French boat has a larger sail plan.
"We didn't feel on fire yesterday losing one race by 6 seconds and another one by less than a minute," explained Peter Rutter. "We needed to sit down and think - we did that last night and it's come out fantastic. We have a different way of trimming the main and we are also making sure that people only stop hiking out when given permission to. So, a bit more dictatorial, but it worked really well and the crew felt really happy."
Rutter felt their performance today was to down the change in crew work rather than having the ideal boat for the conditions. "It wasn't that different from yesterday, a little more wind. We stopped being stupid really."
Antix jostles for position downwind. Photo: Kurt Arriga/Rolex
In the flat water and moderate conditions, the smaller higher-rated boats did seem to suffer today. Marinerscove.ie the Class 2 boat from the all-powerful Irish team struggled to post a 4-2. "We are in a 39-foot boat racing against 43-foot boats which rate significantly lower than us - it is very hard for us especially in the medium to upper wind ranges," commented her tactician, former America's Cup helmsman Andy Beadsworth. "After the first race we said 'we sailed well, for sure we could have done some things cleaner and smarter, but we were never going to beat those guys'. That was the reality."
In the second race Beadsworth was particularly pleased when his call to go left up the first beat came good, despite dissenters on board. They ended up reaching the weather mark a minute ahead of the competition.
The South African team is still trying to get out of its own way, lying seventh equal with GBR White after day two. Their mid-sized boat, Mike Bartholomew's King 40 Tokoloshe has been based in the Solent for two years, but Bartholomew says they have been struggling to get off the line cleanly. "It is essential in this type of racing. The races are being won and lost in the first 30 seconds. We have had four races where we haven't done that and we are paying the price. It has been very tight racing. We are disappointed we haven't done better than we have. We know what we are doing wrong and it is a case of trying to correct it."
In Class 3 Marc Alperovtich and Jerome Huillard's A-35 Prime Time won today's first race for France Yellow, while Robert Davies' Roxy 6 took the second for the Irish. But once again it was France Blue that came to form with Samuel Prietz' X-40 Goa claiming second in both today's races.
"Yesterday we had some minor difficulties with boat handling," admitted Prietz, a past Codiam crewman, for whom this is also his fourth Rolex Commodores' Cup. "We haven't sailed together since June, so yesterday we didn't do so well. We missed a couple of opportunities in tactics, also we were not able to point high enough comparing to some other boats - so not really promising. Today we sailed much more relaxed, with a much better mood inside the team."
Tomorrow, the complexion of the Rolex Commodores' Cup changes with the start at 10.30 BST of the 24-36-hour offshore race. The weather is also expected to take a turn for the worse with the passage of a front tomorrow afternoon. According to meteorologist Mike Broughton, working with the Irish team, this will bring with it 20-plus knot winds, before conditions lighten on Wednesday night, and then fill in again on Thursday. "It means it won't be a complete lottery. There will be no thermal switch off," he advises.
Offshore in waves with a mix of wind conditions, along with the rigours of racing at night, maintaining focus with little or no sleep, perpetually on the rail, after up to 36 hours of racing – will a new group of boats come to the fore? Past experience indicates that the French and British teams have proved strongest in the Rolex Commodores' Cup two-and-a-half points scoring offshore race. And, if there are stronger gradient winds - will the Irish continue to be the class act? We will not have the final answers to these questions until Wednesday, but by tomorrow night we may some pointers. All yachts will be carrying tracking units with the positions presented at: http://commodorescup.rorc.org
Top Five Teams - Provisional Positions 16/8/10
Team / Points / Place
Ireland / 24.5 / 1
GBR Red / 45 / 2
France Blue / 51.5 / 3
Hong Kong / 54 / 4
France Yellow /59 / 5
Ireland is in firat place in the Rolex Commodores' Cup after a strong performance by the three-boat Irish Cruiser Racing Association team in Cowes this afternoon. Two inshore races were sailed with five race wins and a second place scored by the team.
Class 1 entry Antix skippered by Team Captain Anthony O'Leary won both races, as did Rob Davies Roxy 6 in Class 3. Dave Dwyer's Marinerscove.ie swapped the lead narrowly in both races, winning the first race by ten seconds and placing second in race two by ten seconds.
The Irish team holds the overnight lead with a 16-point margin while the GBR Red and South Hing Kong teams are tied for second place on 23 points apiece.
"We are very pleased with the consistency of all three Irish boats and its obvious that the hard work and dedication of all involved is starting to pay off," said Barry Rose, Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association. "There is still a long way to go in the series and Tuesday's overnight race will be critical as the offshore races for one third of the points in the entire event."
Conditions on the Solent for the opening two races improved gradually as winds freshened to a brisk 20-knot breeze. The tides in the area are the biggest of the year, running at up to four knots. Together with very shifty northerly winds, tacticians had to be vigilant to maximise the changes.
Tomorrow's programme (Monday) sees two further inshore races with similar fresh conditions forecast.
Additional Report from Commodores Cup Press Office:IRISH SET FORMIDABLE PACE
Ireland grabbed the 2010 Rolex Commodores' Cup by the throat on the opening day. With two windward-leeward races held in the eastern and central Solent, the three Irish boats won in each of their classes in the first race. In the second race, the team's otherwise perfect scoreline was only tarnished by their mid-sized boat, David Dwyer's Mills 39 marinerscove.ie, posting a second. With six days of competition left, the Irish, on 7 points, already hold a huge lead over the defending champions, GBR Red and Hong Kong, tied on 23. Previous experience will not allow the Irish to get carried away just yet.
The Solent started out grey and miserable today but the sun broke through mid-morning with a 10 knot northwesterly and a strong eastbound tide. For race two the Race Committee moved the race area to just east of the Brambles Bank to minimise the tide and for this the wind had veered into the northeast and built, at times gusting up to 20 knots.
In this opening day of competition for mainly Corinthian crews, with only one or two professionals allowed on each boat, some cobwebs were being blown out with a number of sail handling errors evident and even a collision during a port-starboard incident in race two between two mid-sized boats - Francois Lognone's Nutmeg IV in France White and Paul Turner's Grand Soleil 43 Artemis in GBR Black. The French subsequently admitted their mistake – explaining that they lacked steerage to avoid the incident. While they came out unscathed, unfortunately Artemis was holed and is having to be repaired overnight. Both yachts retired from race two.
Followers of this event will know that Ireland leading after day one is a regular feature of recent Rolex Commodores' Cups. The Irish have been favourites going into the last three events, but they have never before made such a strong impression on the event so soon.
"We are delighted on a shifty day like today to make a start like that; you can't ask for anything better," commented Anthony O'Leary owner of the Irish team's 'big boat', the Ker 39, Antix. "This is our third time doing it. I said to the guys yesterday – 'we have never been as well prepared'." In the Irish team Antix and Dwyer's marinerscove.ie are both well campaigned while the small boat, Robert Davies' Corby 36, Roxy 6, was launched this year, but already has had much regatta experience. This year Antix for example has won the Irish IRC Nationals in Dublin and their class at the Scottish Series.
O'Leary, a Rear Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, says that they have been building up to this regatta all year and after so many strong, but ultimately unsuccessful Irish campaigns previously it would mean a lot to win this year. "But don't be thinking that after one day of low points racing," he warns.
Sailing aboard the Hong Kong mid-sized boat, Blondie IV, Jamie McWilliam was pleased with his team's opening-day performance; "I'd say we are in the hunt. It is a tough regatta to win, but everyone knows that and that's what makes it worth coming. It is interesting but it is always the case here, because there is the variation in the courses that you race and in the conditions you get over the week. Trying to get the rig settings correct is impossible by definition so sometimes you are going really well and sometimes you are getting stuffed. Also, the longer boats with lower rating, the more cruiser racer types, they really go in the flat water."
For the mid-sized Class 2 boat it ended up being a long day following three general recalls before race two got away successfully on the fourth attempt under the Z-flag.
France Yellow holds fourth place, largely due to the efforts of their big boat, Bernard Gouy's Ker 39 Inis Mor which posted a 2-2 today. Their mid-boat is Pen Azen, from Saint-Quay-Portrieux in northern Brittany, and for owner Philippe Delaporte this is his third Rolex Commodores' Cup, but the first aboard his J/122, that was RORC Yacht of the Year in 2008. Delaporte bemoaned their tactics today. "We had a 5 and 7 - we were not lucky in our choices of side. We have good speed, so the problem is us."
This was not an issue of tides – they have big tides in Brittany - but the unstable wind direction. "We didn't manage that very correctly."
Some post-race appraisal will be going on in the South African camp tonight, as after day one they are lying seventh out of ten. Their highest place in race one was that of the small boat, Rick Garratt and David Hudson's J/109 Inspara, with a 6, and even in race two the team's results were little better.
"I thought we were going to do really well, but we had a shocking day," admitted Andrew Cape, the much-capped Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup navigator, who is sailing on the team's big boat, Philipp Gutsche's Landmark 43, Windpower. "The 40 footers seem to be staying up with a 43 footer. I thought we were in for a shot after what we saw in Cowes Week." Cape competed in the first Rolex Commodores' Cup back in 1992 as part of the winning US team and hopes he can maintain his record. He regularly sails with Gutsche in South Africa. While there was a substantial cross-tide today, Cape believes this wasn't the issue. "It was the wind that sorted out the winners and losers today, not the tide."
The Rolex Commodores' Cup continues tomorrow with a further two inshore races. The forecast weather is for Force 3-4 from the north west, with more sunshine than today.
Top Five Teams - Provisional Positions 15/8/10
Team / Points / Place
Ireland / 7 / 1
GBR Red / 23 / 2
Hong Kong / 23 / 2
France Yellow /28 /4
GBR White / 36 / 5
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The ICRA Team Celebrations in Cowes, Photo: David Branigan
After a series of near misses in the Commodores Cup, there are many reasons why 2010 was an entirely appropriate timing for an Irish win in Cowes today.
Ireland's single three boat team (below) faced stiff opposition in the final ten team line up. Individual performances this season though, including a win at the British IRC Nationals, is proof, were it needed, that Ireland still was always on course to win the Commodores Cup.
Ireland's team on the Solent was Royal Cork based; Antix, Anthony O'Leary (Ker 39); Marinerscove.ie David Dwyer (Mills 39) and Roxy 6 Robert Davies (Corby 36). The full crew list for each boat is below, representing the very best of Irish sailing talent.
Third time lucky is how it was scripted in 08, but not how it was acted out. After first being jilted by the French and now, for the second time, by the English, the Irish could be forgiven for giving up on the cup but we never did. This victory represents the final week of eight months preparation for superb assault on the title.
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Team Ireland 2010 Commodores Cup
Photos by Robert Bateman
IRL3939 Antix Anthony O'Leary (Ker 39)
Anthony O'Leary (IRL)
David Lenz (GBR)
Peter O'Leary (IRL)
Ross Deasy (IRL)
Brian Lennon (IRL)
Stephen O'Sullivan (IRL)
Eoin Leahy (IRL)
Frederick Cudmore (IRL)
Simon Johnson (IRL)
Rory O'Sullivan (IRL)
Jimmy Houston (GBR)
Derek Moynan (IRL)
Tom Durcan (IRL)
Robert O'Leary (IRL)
Darragh O'Connor (IRL)
IRL39000 Marinerscove.ie David Dwyer (Mills 39)
Andy Beadsworth (GBR)
David Bolton (IRL)
Padraig Byrne (IRL)
Alan Curran (IRL)
David Dwyer (IRL)
Bernard Fitzpatrick (IRL)
Brian Heneghan (IRL)
David Love (IRL)
Tom Murphy (IRL)
Nicholas O'Leary (IRL)
Clive O'Shea (IRL)
Sandy Rimmington (IRL)
Chris Schirmer (GBR)
Don Wilson (IRL)
IRL36000 Roxy 6 Robert Davies (Corby 36)
Rob Davies (GBR)
Andrew Creighton (IRL)
Marty O'Leary (IRL)
Jim Hughes (IRL)
Paul Farries (GBR)
Nelson Moore (IRL)
Tom Whitburn (GBR)
Michael Liddy (IRL)
Aidan O'Connell (IRL)
Maurice O'Connell (IRL)
Barry Rose, Fintan Cairns, Denis Kiely, Mike Broughton and Norbert Reilly
- Anthony O'Leary
- Norbert Reilly
- Eoin Leahy
- Maurice O'Connell
- Commodores Cup
- Fintan Cairns
- Peter O'Leary
- Mike Broughton
- roxy 6
- Mariners Cove
- David Lenz
- Ross Deasy
- Brian Lennon
- Stephen O'Sullivan
- Frederick Cudmore
- Simon Johnson
- Rory O'Sullivan
- Jimmy Houston
- Derek Moynan
- Tom Durcan
- Robert O'Leary
- Darragh O'Connor
- Andy Beadsworth
- David Bolton
- Padraig Byrne
- Alan Curran
- David Dwyer
- Bernard Fitzpatrick
- Brian Heneghan
- David Love
- Tom Murphy
- Nicholas O'Leary
- Clive O'Shea
- Sandy Rimmington
- Chris Schirmer
- Don Wilson
- Rob Davies
- Andrew Creighton
- Marty O'Leary
- Jim Hughes
- Paul Farries
- Nelson Moore
- Tom Whitburn
- Michael Liddy
- Aidan O'Connell
- Barry Rose
- Denis Kiely
The first in the seven race series of the HM Yachts August/September League took place at Royal Cork last night. Competitors were given a boat start from Corkbeg and beat to the Cage in a good south westerly breeze before a run to No. 7 and thence on to No. 13 off Cuskinny. There was a very good turnout of approximately twenty boats, an excellent number in view of the fact many boats have gone west for Calves week.
The first gun for these August races will be 18.50hrs each Thursday and 18.25hrs for the September races in order to allow for fading light.
A Gallery of photos from last night's race is HERE.
There are only a few weeks to the close of entries at this year’s Rolex Commodores’ Cup and Ireland's team is building up speed at Cork week this morning, using the home event as a warm up for August. Whilst most teams have finalized their boats and crews, others are still engaged in discussions to determine their line-ups. For all teams, both settled and prospective, certain things are set in stone. Most importantly there must be three boats, one in each of the stipulated rating bands, and, all teams must be on the starting grid for the first race on Sunday, 15 August. At present, organisers’, the Royal Ocean Racing Club are expecting 11 teams representing France, Ireland, Hong Kong, South Africa and the United Kingdom to contest the international trophy. The shaping field looks to be as competitive as ever. The sea battles that have been fought in recent weeks off the coasts of France and Ireland, and, of course, on the event venue waters of the Solent suggest that a no quarter given epic is in the making. Neutrals, with an eye for the outsider, are likely to follow the progress of the South African team over the course of the Rolex Commodores’ Cup. 2010 marks the first time a team from the world’s second largest continent has participated. As with Hong Kong’s presence in 2008, for this to happen a number of stars have had to be in alignment. According to Mike Bartholomew, skipper of the team’s Class 2 yacht, the King 40 Tokoloshe, “it was Eddie Warden Owen from the RORC who actually suggested to Rick Nankin and myself that we should consider putting a South African team together.
The whole thing really just grew from there. We approached two others we knew well, Phil Gutschi and Rick Garratt, to see if they could join the party. Both were enthusiastic from the word go.” Gutschi owns the Landmark 43, Windpower, to be skippered by Nankin in Class 1, and Garratt has chartered the J-109, Zelda, to be skippered by Dave Hudson in Class 3.
The second catalyst, in Bartholomew’s opinion, has been having a South African owned yacht (Tokoloshe) eligible for the Rolex Commodores’ Cup sailing in the Solent for the past two years, “previously it would have been too much of an ask to put a team together and, in any event, there were not any really competitive boats in South Africa.” Bartholomew is being modest about Tokoloshe’s sailing. She has not just been competing, but has proved a force to be reckoned with in recent months, going head to head with some success against other Rolex Commodores’ Cup contenders on the Solent circuit. The vast majority of the crews will be South African, easily meeting the strict eligibility criteria for the event, “most of the individuals are from Cape Town.
Even Phil, who is from Port Elizabeth, keeps his boat there. The main exceptions are the navigators, Andrew Cape on Windpower and Rick Oswald on Zelda, and, of course, some of the regulars on Tokoloshe.” Experience is essential for a good result at the Rolex Commodores’ Cup. Not necessarily just time on the waters of the venue, but in competing over a tight, but demanding series. Bartholomew is unconcerned by this aspect, “there is a fair amount of experience in the crews most of whom have had international exposure. Phil has campaigned a number of boats over the years. His skipper Rick Nankin is probably by far the most experienced South African in the mix. But Rick Garratt still remembers the good times of the 1995 Admirals Cup. He will have aboard Mark Sadler, the skipper of Shosholoza the South African entry in the previous Americas Cup.” All three boats will be in UK waters by Cowes Week and will use that regatta as a final serious warm-up. One final element in the list of irresistible forces was the involvement of the Race Ahead project. David Hudson and his brother Roger have been part of the sailing scene for almost all their lives, and, both are very successful sailors in their own right. In 2008 they created 'Race Ahead', a project aimed at giving South Africa's young sailing talent a structured route into the international sailing world.
The project has allowed young South Africans to compete in the highly competitive Laser SB3 circuit in the UK and Ireland. The effort has not been without reward: a top 10 overall finish at Cowes Week; followed by a class win at Cork Week and a second overall at the inaugural Laser SB3 World Championship in Dublin. For Garrett to have access to this pool of talent was a major motivating factor in his participation. Just like Hong Kong, the South African team is not just coming along for the ride. Bartholomew is succinct on this point, “we will try to win.” The 2010 Rolex Commodores' Cup will be held off Cowes, Isle of Wight, from 15 to 21 August. Nationality At least 50%... of the crew of each boat on board in any race shall comprise individuals who are Nationals of the country of the relevant team or individuals who have had since 1 August 2009 had their principal residence in that country or individuals who were born in that country. Further information about the Rolex Commodores' Cup may be found at: www.rorc.org
Cork's Marinerscove.ie (Dave Dwyer) has been declared RORC IRC National Champion, successfully retaining the title, a feat only ever achieved once before by Justin Slawson’s Big Cheese in 2001. Louay Habib Reports.
The tension was mounting at the start of the final day of the RORC IRC National Championship. The international fleet from Belgium, France, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Netherlands and South Africa were waiting to act out the final chapter of the championship. The seabreeze kicked in from south west at about 1100 and the fleet got into race mode for the last two races of the championship.
During the day, the southwesterly built from a wispy six knots to a stiff sixteen knots with wind over tide, giving the Western Solent some degree of swell; truly sublime racing conditions.
There were dramatic scenes right from the off with a bevy of boats infringing the start line of Race 7. Johnny Vincent’s TP52, Pace, was called over the line and got back smartly to not only recover but to win Race 7. In IRC One there were no less than five boats hauled back to restart.
The RORC IRC Super Zero title was won by Charles Dunstone’s highly impressive TP52, TEAMORIGIN Rio. Volvo Ocean winner, Jules Salter, who is currently navigating with Emirates Team New Zealand, was in the afterguard and he had this to say after their win: “It was great to be back sailing in the Western Solent, I can see my house from there! It is a place that I really call home. The tides are pretty well documented but reading the effects on the wind created by the tide is always a challenge, one that I really enjoy, it is a pleasure to sail with Charles and I count many of the crew as good friends.”
In IRC Zero Glynn Williams’ Swan 45, WISC, was four points off the lead overnight. WISC took up the challenge, nailing the start of Race 7 and battled all the way to the finish taking the bullet by less than 30 seconds on corrected time. IRC Zero went to the wire. Going into the last race, WISC was level on points with Nick Burns and Fred Kinmouth’s King 40, EFG Bank Mandrake.
John Shepherd’s Ker 46, Fair Do’s VII, won the last race of the day but WISC clinched the IRC National title for Class Zero after coming home in second place.
‘It is a big, big, big, win,” declared Glynn Williams. “When we saw the fantastic opposition in the fleet, our expectation before the start was top four, so to come here and win is very satisfying indeed. Kevin Sproul did a marvellous job at the back, as he always does but the whole crew should be congratulated; there is not a gram of emotional baggage on board, they are all a pleasure to sail with.”
In IRC One Dave Dwyer’s Mills 39, Marinerscove.ie, continued their relentless onslaught, notching up win number four in Race 7. Peter Rutter’s Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, was a solid second but a battle went to the wire for third place between four boats who will be racing in the Rolex Commodores’ Cup: Christopher Opielok’s Corby 36, Rockall III, Robert Davies’ Corby 36, Roxy 6, and Philippe Delaporte’s J 122, Pen Azen. In the last race Rockall III overhauled their rivals to clinch third place.
Marinerscove.ie was also declared overall RORC IRC National Champion. Successfully retaining their title, a feat only ever achieved once before by Justin Slawson’s Big Cheese in 2001.
Andy Beadsworth has a long association with David Dwyer and had this to say at the prizegiving: “Before the championship we decided that we would judge our performance by how well we sailed rather than the result and that still stands. I believe that we covered the basics well and got our risk strategy right. The crew work has improved since we won last year and a lot of that is down to a determined effort by everyone on board to reach and maintain a high standard of boat handling. That has enhanced our boat speed which is a crucial area in any kind of yacht racing. Marinerscove.ie is in great shape for the Rolex Commodores’ Cup.”
Chris and Hannah Neve’s, No Chance, has had a cracking championship and blew the opposition away with a bullet and a second to take the IRC Two title by a healthy margin. It was evident why they have been chosen to represent England for the forthcoming Rolex Commodores’ Cup. No Chance was also awarded the Jackdaw Trophy for second best yacht overall in IRC.
“Overwhelmed, it’s absolutely fantastic to win against such high class opposition, we are so up for the Rolex Commodores’ Cup,” declared a delighted Hannah Neve.
In IRC Three Louise Morton steering Anchor Challenge was first in class beating two other Quarter Tonners; James Morland’s Menace and Mark Lees’ Espada, into second and third respectively.
Louise was not sailing her usual boat Espada but her sistership Anchor Challenge, which is usually sailed by Peter Morton who was on duty with TEAMORIGIN Rio.
“We are obviously delighted with the win and it was great to sail Anchor Challenge, we decided to sail her because she is a far more tweaky boat than Espada with additional systems such as halyard locks but I feel that the greater sail area is more suited to the boys, who weigh a fair bit more than the my all girl crew.”
Racing continues for the Royal Ocean Racing Club, on Friday 2nd July with the 164 mile Cowes – Dinard – St Malo Race in association with UNCL, Yacht Club de Dinard, Société Nautique de la Baie de St. Malo and the Royal Yacht Squadron as part of the RORC Season’s Points Championship.
The RORC UK IRC National Championship includes a trio of Irish boats that adds spice to an event that alos draws competitors from Belgium, France, Great Britain, Hong Kong and the Netherlands. Competing on tight Solent courses there is no doubt that this will be a very competitive regatta with plenty of high-octane action writes Louay Habib.
The international fleet contains many of the competitors that will be taking part in this year’s Rolex Commodores’ Cup and the scene is set for some close racing between rivals old and new. All of the classes racing at the IRC National Championship are brimming with talent.
IRC Super Zero has the mouth-watering prospect of the high performance big boat class lighting up the Solent including some TP52s; Johnny Vincent’s Pace, Charles Dunstone’s TEAMORIGIN Rio, the British Keelboat Academy’s John Merricks II and Rob Grey’s, Farr 52, Bob.
IRC Zero is virtually composed of Rolex Commodores’ Cup contenders from six different countries. Anthony O’Leary’s Ker 39, Antix, is the current Irish IRC Zero National Champion but only just beat Dave Dwyer’s Mills 39, Marinerscove.ie, by a single point less than a month ago. However Marinerscove.ie is the reigning IRC National Champion and will not be letting go of the trophy without a struggle.
IRC One has a highly competitive international line-up. Philippe Delaporte’s, Pen Azen, is over from France and the J 122 is a proven winner; having been awarded RORC Yacht of the Year in 2008.
“Pen Azen will be representing France in the Rolex Commodores’ Cup this August,” explained Philippe. “We see the RORC IRC Nationals as a perfect way to prepare for the event, the crew will be getting used to living in Cowes and the surroundings but also we will get some fantastic racing with our competition on the same race course.”
IRC One also includes RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine, and Peter Morton’s First 40, La Réponse, who will have their first inshore encounter with sister ship Coup De Coeur raced by Marc de Saint Denis and Géry Trentesaux. Other top contenders include Jim Macgregor’s Elan 410, Premier Flair, and Robert Davies’ brand new Corby 36, Roxy 6. IRC One should also provide some tense moments and close mark roundings with five First 40.7s amongst the high caliber fleet.
IRC Two is the largest fleet competing and includes the biggest variety of designs including David Aisher’s J 109, Yeoman of Wight, Wouter Borghijs’ A 35, Tontin, from Belgium and Chris and Hannah Neve’s First 35, No Chance, who have been selected for the forthcoming Rolex Commodores’ Cup. “The First 35 is a new design this year and we are absolutely loving the boat,” explained Chris Neve. “We are really looking forward to the championship.”
The scratch boat in IRC Three is Mike and Jamie Holmes’ J 97, Jika Jika, who should have a close tussle on the water with Richard Sparrow’s J 92, Who’s To No.
There are several Quarter Tonners expected including Paul Kelsey’s Runaway Bus, James Morland’s Menace and Louise Morton’s Espada. “This week there were 35 boats competing for the Quarter Ton Cup, enjoying some fantastic racing. It would be marvellous to see a big turn out for the RORC IRC National Championship, it is a great event and one not to be missed,” said Louise.
Early entry closes tomorrow, Thursday 17th June. For full information go to the RORC web site: http://www.rorc.org
A young Irish crew from Howth topped IRC Class 4, the biggest class which had 20 entries at the Scottish Series this evening. Ross McDonald and the crew of the Howth based X332 Equinox strung together a first and two second places from the final three races to win the class by four points from last year's class winners on the J92 NiJinsky. Robert Yates and his crew won both races today but finished second by four points ahead of the Davidson 36 Hops which had lead into the final day but which could only make a fifth and seventh today.
Anthony O'Leary and his Cork crew of the Ker 39 Antix conclusively won IRC Class 1 after posting a further two victories today in near perfect conditions. O'Leary, a long time supporter of the Scottish Series has won twice before in 2004 and 2006.
Counting six wins from eight starts in the nine boat strong class, Antix has been impressive across the wind ranges, proving the team are in good shape for the upcoming Rolex Commodore's Cup international team regatta in August.
Their class had depth including another three past winners of the overall top trophy in second, third and fourth places.
After more than three decades of trying with probably as broad a variety of different yachts that any one owner-skipper has campaigned at this key regatta with - from a slippery 37 foot ultra light Selection production race boat to a heavy Trintella 42 foot cruising boat - veteran Clyde owner-skipper John Corson and his long serving crew of the immaculately prepared Corby 33 Salamander XX lifted the Scottish Series Trophy, the top award for the annual Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series this evening.
"I am shocked and stunned." Said an emotional Corson, 80. " I don't know what to say. We have been so close so many times before that you just never know what is going to happen, or who it is going to go to. So I think most of all I just feel so relieved."
His win is a popular one. Corson has been a huge supporter of Clyde racing, and perhaps the most zealous participant over many years, competing from early season frostbite races right through until December year in year out. He has introduced many youngsters
His win, along with a crew of whom some have sailed with him for nearly 20 years, comes after many near misses. The veteran shed a tear or two before accepting the top trophy, just as his team did in 2005 when they were leading their class with a string of wins when their mast crashed down and their regatta was ended prematurely.
"This is a really, really special thing for John. He has always wanted to win this. In a sense this is his Olympics, the biggest thing in sailing for him so it is a real honour to have contributed. We have been close before, but this time things came together. After last year we had plugged the gaps which we felt we might still have in terms of optimising the boat, the crew work is really exemplary and the result of many long hours on the water over the years. So this is very special." Said John Highcock, the Clyde sailmaker who steered Salamander XX.
"It is so well deserved. Totally right." Commented double winner Anthony O'Leary
Corson and his crew won seven of their eight races in IRC Class 3, dropping an eighth as their allowable discard. With Clyde sailmaker John Highcock steering, Salamander XX's performance today was nothing short of electric. Twice today they were quick enough to be ahead of the leaders of Class 2 which had started five minutes ahead.
IRC Class 2 went right to the final race with the Clyde brothers Richard and Paul Harris triumphing after posting a third and a second on their Iain Murray designed Sydney 36.
The challenge from the Welsh-Irish new Corby 36 Roxy 6 faded notably in the lighter conditions of Sunday. Chris Bonar's BH36 Bateleur 97 finished with a flourish, two first places today, but that was not enough for them to catch their Clyde compatriots and they had to settle for third overall.
The only crew to have won all of their races right the way through the regatta is Ruairadh Scott's team on King Quick in Sportsboat Class 1. They counted eight first places from nine starts and were certainly among the elite group of contenders for the overall top trophy.