Displaying items by tag: Royal Ocean Racing Club
The largest, most diverse fleet of racing boats ever in offshore yachting set sail this morning in the Rolex Fastnet Race.
The biennial flagship event of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, a tradition since 1925, will take the fleet some 608 miles from Cowes on the Isle of Wight along the UK's south coast and across the Celtc Sea to Fastnet Rock off the Cork coastline, before returning past the Scilly Isles to the finish line at Plymouth.
An incredible 318 yachts are competing this year and they come in all shapes and sizes, from the 40m trimaran Maxi Banque Populaire to the 9.1m Rogers 30, Brightwork.
The majority of the fleet will be racing under the IRC for the Fastnet Challenge Cup, won by the crew that sails best to their rating. The weather will play a big part in this, as a fast start and slow finish favours bigger boats - so far today looks to be the opposite.
The 45-55 foot boats will surely provide the most competitive action, with past Fastnet winner Piet Vroon piloting his championship-leading Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens towards another victory.
Fans of the Volvo Ocean Race will also be watching the race live tracker intently today, as this is one of the only times many of the competitors will line up together before the start of the round-the-world yachting challenge.
Regatta News has more on the story HERE.
RORC's Round Eddystone Lighthouse race aka the MYTH OF MALHAM RACE is considered a good dress rehearsal as well as being a qualifying race for this year's Rolex Fastnet Race and 125 yachts braved a windy forecast to compete in the race.
With a west north west wind between 15 and 25 knots and yachts experiencing gusts of over 30 knots it was a tough test and an excellent warm up for the fleet who had to beat all the way to the Eddystone lighthouse off Plymouth and experience a fast run back to the Solent.
French boats dominated the results taking three out of the top four places with Noel Rascine's Foggy Dew the overall winner. Foggy Dew, a JPK 10.10 and one of the smallest boats in the race, found the conditions very tough but finished the 240 mile course in 33 hours - seven hours behind the line honours winner, the Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens with her owner Piet Vroon on board. Second overall was another French yacht, the JPK 9.6 Ultreia!, owned by Matthias Kracht.
Amazingly, Matthias was sailing in and won the Two-Handed Class. Considering the weather conditions, this is a pretty special feat. Both Noel and Matthias were unable to comment today, as they were delivering their yachts back to France!
Third overall was Ross Appleby's 24 year old Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster, and the winner of IRC Two. Ross was delighted with the result having pushed this old design very hard to achieve a podium place: "As we left the Solent we could tell by the boats around us that we were doing well. We got headed quite early and we changed our plan by heading into Lyme Bay.
We were a bit anxious about the move in case the breeze died on us however, the move really paid off," explained Ross "It was a ballistic run back from the Eddystone with gusts of over 35 knots off Portland. We managed to keep the rig on top of the boat but the kite had other ideas blowing up in one big gust and we ran right over it and then broke the pole! We used our jockey-pole on our No. 3 headsail, which was not as fast, but that did mean we could sail straight down the rhumb line in control and we still managed 20 knots on the surf."
IRC Zero saw an epic duel between two yachts: Derek Saunders' CM 60, Venomous, crossed the finish line a mere 11 seconds ahead of Jens Kuehne's Reichel Pugh 48, Sjambok. However after time correction, Sjambok was declared winner of the class.
Jonathon Goring's brand new Ker 40, Keronimo was the winner of IRC One and 5th in IRC overall. By all accounts, the new yacht from the drawing board of America's Cup designer Jason Ker is a real speed machine. Tonnerre de Breskens was second and previous Myth of Malham winner, Mike Greville's Ker 39, Erivale III put in a great performance to take third.
"Ten days out of the box and straight into a very breezy race was bit of a baptism of fire!" commented Goring: "A 120 mile beat to Eddystone and then a screaming run back in 30 knots of wind was a great test for this brand new design. We got a good start in the middle of the Squadron Line and we were chuffed to be the first of the big boats out of the Solent. The run home was brilliant and we had some amazing surfs on the tidal over falls at each headland with long periods where the speed was over 20 knots. At times there was white water past the mast but we didn't broach once for the whole trip."
Neil Kipling's J 122, Joopster was second in IRC Two behind Scarlet Oyster. RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine's First 40, La Réponsewas third, after a close battle with another First 40, Edward Broadway's Carpe Diem.
As well as winning overall,Foggy Dew had a convincing win in IRC Three. James Heald's J 105, Flawless J was second overall with Peter Olden's A 35, Solan Goose of Hamble in third.
24 yachts competed in the Two Handed Class and only one of them did not finish the course; a testament to the seamanship of all the crews. The top three boats Ultreia!, Night and Day and Flawless J finished 2nd, 4th and 7th overall, which is a huge achievement in this top class fleet.
Two Class 40s enjoyed the fresh conditions, especially Cathrine Pourre's Earwenwhich took the class win from Mark Denton's MAXVMG.
Ultreia! won IRC 4, Pascal Loison was second in another JPK 960 Night and Day. In third place was Peter Diamond's Rapscallion, which also won the Sigma 38 class by nearly an hour, from Nigel Goodhew's Persephone of London. Jon England's Vitesse was third.
The conditions were tough and a good test for any serious offshore racer who has his eyes set on competing in this years Rolex Fastnet race. A number of boats had incidents including a man overboard, a dismasting and severe seasickness. This necessitated the emergency services being called out on three occasions.
The Myth of Malham counts for points towards the RORC Season's Points Championship and the overall leader is still Piet Vroon's Tonnerre de Breskens. Niall Dowling's J 111, Arabella is in second place and by virtue of his win this weekend Noel Racine's Foggy Dewmoves up to third overall.
The next race in the series is scheduled to start, next Friday 3rd June. The 180-mile North Sea Race from Harwich to Scheveningen in Holland. The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship consists of a testing series of races, which attracts an international and varied fleet. Trying to win the Season's Points Championship is a real challenge for the serious offshore sailor. This year the Championship includes the tactically and physically challenging Rolex Fastnet Race, the oldest and most prestigious offshore yacht race in the world.
For the full RORC racing programme, results and more information go to: http://www.rorc.org/
2010 Round Ireland Race winner Piet Vroon's custom Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, returns to RORC racing after winning her class at this year's RORC Caribbean 600. The sky blue flyer, which was RORC Yacht of the Year for 2010, has undergone some rig and sail modifications in Breskens before arriving in Hamble this week to continue their racing programme, leading up to the Rolex Fastnet Race this August.
Chaz Ivill's Grand Soleil 54, John B, won IRC One in last month's Cervantes Trophy Race. "John B will be competing in six RORC races this year, including the Rolex Fastnet Race," explained Chaz Ivill. "Competing in the De Guingand Bowl is just part of this year's offshore program. The core crew has been very successful and has been together for five years, this will be our third Fastnet campaign on the trot. However, John B has a blend of youth and experience and we have three sailors new to offshore sailing. Sam Cooper is just 18 and a student, Nathan Hanley is 22 and a sailmaker and Matt Mills has just finished University and is the son of regular crew, Tim Mills. Also William Broughton will be joining us this week for his first race on John B, William is eighteen and studying at Plymouth University."
RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine's First 40, La Réponse, won class in the Cervantes Trophy Race. McIrvine's crew are all friends with no professionals on board. "Jason Owen will be the skipper for the De Guingand Bowl Race, fresh from winning the Etchells Class in Bermuda," commented Andrew. "Jason is highly experienced but not all of the crew are; Tame Welsh has done very little sailing but has rowed across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and is also a PhD nurse." McIrvine's La Réponse can expect a close battle with another First 40, Guy Prest's Tarka II of Hamble, which should provide a close duel. Neil Kipling's J/122, Joopster, is also in fine form.
IRC Two also contains several First 40.7s, including Trevor Drew's Blue Juice, representing the Civil Service Offshore Racing Club.
"The CSORC has a long history as a club, with one of its first races being the 1979 Fastnet," explained Trevor Drew. "The emphasis is on having fun, with a friendly atmosphere. There is no minimum level of experience to sail with the club but the offshore crew has now completed the RYA Sea Survival and the ISAF Offshore Safety Course. We've been out on Blue Juice, getting in some team practice in the Solent and offshore. Our aim is to learn as much as we can and hopefully winning will come later."
Two-handed racing is becoming an extremely popular discipline within the RORC Season's Points Championship and fourteen yachts will be competing this weekend. Racing short-handed requires an all-round sailing ability and the class attracts a wide variety of people.
Kirsteen Donaldson and Judith Eastwood make up the all-girls team on X 332, Pyxis. Between them they have racked up thousands of sea miles including races from The Solent to La Trinité and Santander but Kirsteen is happy that the De Guingand Bowl Race will finish in the Solent.
"Previously, I would have preferred races that could be used as a feeder for a holiday. However, my sailing partner's husband is not keen on sailing and my 'other half' is not keen on long passages home, so finishing near where we started allows us to get a good sail into a weekend most diplomatically!"
Frederic Waniart and crew are the two-handed team in form, having won the Cervantes Trophy Race last time out. Vim is one of the oldest boats competing but has been meticulously prepared by the French team. The legendary Paul Elvström designed the Aphrodite 101 in 1977.
"We will be racing the De Guingand double handed, as part of our season racing with RORC and also the UNCL double handed series," explained Frederic Waniart. "One lawyer and one surgeon who have been sailing friends for quite some time. As for experience, it is my fourth season with the RORC in double handed sailing. I love racing with the RORC because there is a real competition, and the courses are very well organised."
The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship consists of a testing series of races, which attracts an international and varied fleet. For the serious offshore sailor, trying to win the Season's Points Championship is a real challenge. The Season's Points Championship this year includes the tactically and physically challenging Rolex Fastnet Race, the oldest and most prestigious offshore yacht race in the world.
There were mid fleet performances from Irish boats at RORC's Easter Sailing Challenge on the Solent where competitors not only head home wiser after three days of coaching, but also with suntans...so the July-like conditions continued for Easter Sunday, the final day of competition.
Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary was fifth from ten starters in IRC one and Niall Dowling's new J111 Arabella finished the same in IRC 2. Both boats moved up from sixth overall in yesterday's final day of racing.
Racing got underway in the morning with just enough northwesterly gradient coming out of Southampton Water for the race committee to set courses to the north of Ryde Sands. The first race was held in 5-10 knots while in the second, the breeze dropped off after the second start.
Despite a protest over their start in today's second race that might have cost them the top spot, Rob Gray and Sam Laidlaw's Farr 52, Bob, won IRC 1 by a comfortable four points, the biggest boat in the RORC Easter Challenge fleet benefitting from clear air in the light winds.
Mike Bartholomew's King 40, Tokoloshe, had a disappointing day posting two fourths, dropping them to second. "It was thoroughly enjoyable, a great regatta, although it was a pity the wind got a bit fickle at times," said the South African skipper. "I think it was quite funny that we are one of the lowest rating boats in our class and we ended up second while the top rating boat won. There has been a lot of criticism of the IRC, so maybe it works! And the weather was beautiful. I don't live here all the time, but I have never seen England so good."
Mark Devereux's Club Swan 42, Brevity, slipped into third today after the British Keelboat Academy's Farr 45, Kolga, was OCS in today's second race. Kolga has British Keelboat Academy crew with RYA Youth Match Racing National Champion Mark Lees, 19, steering.
"For us it was a case of our making sure that all the fundamentals we've been working on in the manoeuvres and the communications on board were all clicking," commented British Keelboat Academy Head Coach, Luke McCarthy. "In the first race today it all came together and it was nice to get second on corrected in a pretty competitive IRC fleet."
In IRC 2, RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine was in his stride, scoring two wins aboard his First 40, La Rèponse. This left him tied in first with Andrew Williams' Prima 38, Max 'Ed Out! which won having one more bullet.
The scorers also had to resort to countback in IRC3 where Chris and Hannah Neve's First 35, No Chance, was pipped at the post by Louise Morton's MAT 1010, which had two wins today to gain the all-female crew (apart from Volvo Ocean Race winner navigator Jules Salter) the overall prize on countback.
No Chance's tactician Phil Lawrence, grumbling that his match racer daughter Charlotte aboard MAT 1010 had beaten him, said that in the second race their chances were scuppered when they got gassed by the J/109, Toe in the Water, led by round the world sailing legend, Brian Thompson. "There was much less breeze and we are not so quick in that and Toe In the Water, which has been sailed really well, got past us and dropped us back into the pack. We could just never catch them."
The regatta's only run-away leader was Grant Gordon's J/97 Fever. She finished 16 points ahead of Robert Baker's X-332, Brightwork, despite losing today's final race to Alistair Evans' immaculate Swan 37, Alvine XV, winner of the Prix d'Elegance (as chosen by the ladies on the committee boat).
Following on from Gordon's Swan 45 of the same name, the J/97 is being sailed by a new team that has been together since last Cowes Week.
"It has been very well organised by the RORC," continued Gordon. "They have done a good job and it is great to get feedback from the coaches. We got some good input on trimming the sails from Eddie Warden Owen, and being so light, the starts were quite challenging. It is a great way to start the season and it is much better to do it when there is a heat wave. Last year, we were sweeping snow off the deck!"
Traditionally the Challenge has been an event for full oilskins and thermals to counter the freezing cold and driving rain For the first day of the RORC's annual European season opener, conditions were more like August, albeit with the wind cooled by the still chilly Solent. With this afternoon's first race held in six knots, followed by a puffy breeze gusting at times to an unforecast 12 knots during race two, combined with a building flood tide, it was a tricky day for the tacticians, but with the unseasonal sunshine there were no complaints.
In a class dominated by Ker designs it was the Mark Mills-designed King 40 Tokoloshe of South African Mike Bartholomew that posted two bullets in IRC One. Rob Gray and Sam Laidlaw's perennial Farr 52 Bob, the biggest boat competing, led the way around the race course with a sufficient enough advantage in both races to finish the day with two seconds.
One of the pre-race favourites following her Rolex Commodores' Cup win last year, Antix, the Ker 39 of Anthony O'Leary, had a disappointing first race. "There would be a lot of beeping," said O'Leary when asked to describe what went wrong. "We had a terrible start. After that there was no place to recover, but the second race was fun and it was a lot more pleasant than the last two Easter freeze-outs. It was bloody cold and wet last year..." Antix, which has had no changes made to her since her Rolex Commodores' Cup victory, is currently lying sixth overall in IRC One.
In IRC Two it is even closer with three boats within a point of one another at the top. Tied in first with Andrew Williams' Prima 38 Max 'Ed Out!, is Andrew McIrvine's First 40 La Réponse. "We got tied up on the first beat in the first race and we tacked into more tide against and more wind, but we made a good recovery," recounted the RORC's Commodore, "but the Prima had the best of it." McIrvine was pleased his newly formed crew is starting to gell. They plan to compete in all the RORC races this year, culminating in the Rolex Fastnet Race. "It was a lovely day sailing. You couldn't ask for better. It is like the middle of summer."
Proving his skill is not solely in racing giant multihulls round the world or singlehanded on IMOCA 60s, Brian Thompson is leading IRC 3 with his crew on the J/109 Toe In The Water. However Thompson's crew, that includes several recuperating servicemen, is just one point ahead of Chris and Hannah Neve's much campaigned Lymington-based First 35 No Chance, their team having three Commodores' Cups behind them.
Chris Neve, sailing with the experienced Phil Lawrence on mainsheet, was particularly pleased with their performance in today's second race when they port tacked the fleet and went on to win, despite putting in a penalty turn at the top mark when they tacked too close to another boat.
Leading the J/80s is Douglas Neville-Jones, a relative newcomer to the class, who co-owns his boat with Erivale III owner Mike Greville. Their reason for having the boat is to teach their sons and daughters. "The young ones usually just get sidelined and don't get to understand what's happening," explained Neville-Jones. "Do this [the J/80] and you get involved and that makes a huge difference, because they actually learn about why you are going this way or looking for shifts. Otherwise if you are on the weather rail of a big boat and the guys at the back are discussing whether they are on a shift or not – you aren't aware of that at all."
Throughout the day the coaching squad, led by Jim Saltonstall, has been out on the water in force, helping crews with their boat's tuning, their sail handling and manoeuvres, etc. With the rule preventing 'outside help' being dropped for this regatta, the coaches can get on board and help. Much video of the racing was taken and this was analysed in the Cowes Yacht Haven Events Centre post racing.
"It is incredibly useful," said Mike Moxley of the coaching. His HOD35 Malice is mid-fleet in IRC Three. "Barry Dunning, who has come in to give us a bit of coaching, is always incredibly useful. He is very perceptive. You can see things going on with the sails 50m away that you can't see on board. He has taken trimmers off and put someone on the boat who has coached us directly. So good on RORC – it is very useful. Otherwise you always get good competition - there are some very good helms here and it is always hotly contested."
Racing continues tomorrow with three races scheduled with the first warning signal due at 0955 BST.
Two big names in Irish offshore racing are among the 30-boat fleet preparing for the Transatlantic Race 2011 (TR 2011) this June. Last night the organisers, the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club, extended the deadline to enter the Race to March 31, 2011.
Adrian Lee's Cookson 50 from Dublin Bay and the Limerick Volvo 70 skippered by Ger O' Rourke's both make the entry list although the Shannon estuary's Chieftain is described only as a 'provisional' entry. For Entry list click HERE.
With the Transatlantic fleet now over 30 entries and many new inquiries following the success of the RORC Caribbean 600 - part of the companion Atlantic Ocean Racing Series - the organisers encourage those interested to enter the TR 2011 as soon as possible to secure a spot since the Notice of Race notes a maximum of 50 yachts for the race.
The TR 2011 will cover 2,975 miles from Newport, R.I., to the Lizard in England. The focus of pre-race activities will be the New York Yacht Club's Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, R.I. There will be three staggered starts from June 26 to July 3. The awards ceremony on August 9th and other post-race activities will be held at the Castle, the home of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, England.
The fleet will include IRC Racing, IRC Racer/Cruiser, Classic and Open divisions with a minimum length overall (LOA) of 40 feet and no maximum. Competition is building within several segments of the diverse fleet, notably the 100' and up range which includes Sojana, Rambler 100, ICAP Leopard, and Maltese Falcon.
Tight racing is also expected in other classes and divisions, such as yachts in the under 50' range in IRC Racing and IRC Racer/Cruiser including the Class 40s - Concise 2, Dragon, and Kamoa'e, the Rogers 46s - Shakti and Varuna, as well as British Soldier ASA, Jacqueline IV, Sasha, Dawn Star, and Carina. For a complete list of entries click here.
All race documents are available HERE.
The TR 2011 is the centerpiece of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS), and is organized in concert with the following clubs: Royal Malta Yacht Club, Annapolis Yacht Club, Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Montego Bay Yacht Club, Naval Academy Sailing Squadron, Jamaica Yachting Association, Antigua Yacht Club and Real Club Nautico de Sanxenxo.
Two races in the AORS have been completed: the Pineapple Cup - Montego Bay Race and the RORC Caribbean 600. The Pineapple Cup, from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to Montego Bay, Jamaica, a distance of 811 miles, was won by Genuine Risk, a 97-foot canting keel super maxi skippered by Hugo Stenbeck. In the RORC Caribbean 600, George David's Rambler 100, took line and overall IRC honors and set the monohull record of one day, 16 hours, 20 minutes and 2 seconds for the course's 600 miles.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and Union Nationale pour La Course au Large (UNCL), joint owners of the IRC rating rule, have been in discussion with the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC) about the possibility of creating a unified organisation to govern yacht ratings worldwide. This initiative to bring the world offshore rating systems together was endorsed by ISAF following its AGM in 2009 in Korea.
The intention is for RORC/UNCL and ORC to create a joint venture company which would run the existing rules, IRC and ORC and then in time, using the combined knowledge and resources, evolve new rating systems that combine the benefits of IRC and ORC to create fast, fun and seaworthy boats for unified competition all over the world.
Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC, working alongside Vice-Chairman Wolfgang Schaefer, are enthusiastic and confident about working with the RORC. "We appreciate the work and friendship with RORC and we believe it is finally time to get back to the IOR era and to the ORC founding spirit, when only one single rule was recognised as 'the international' rule in offshore sailing."
Chris Little, Admiral of the RORC, working with Commodore Andrew McIrvine agree that it is time to bring the development of rating systems under one umbrella.
"We have received strong support from a number of countries and potential owners to develop a rule that will allow us to recreate the international yacht racing circuit and we shall continue to work towards this goal."
Round Ireland Champ Piet Vroon from Holland is in Wicklow town for Saturday night's celebration of the 30th Round Ireland. Vroon, 80, who has already picked up the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Yacht of the Year award is back in Wicklow and it is certain exploits during Ireland's offshore race in July will be relived when Vroon lifts the Round Ireland trophy at the Park Hotel in Newtownmountkennedy. The Wicklow Sailing Club prize giving includes a new Irish Cruiser Racing Association trophy (ICRA) and the inaugural winner is a local boat, Aquelina (The Tyrrell fmaily) from Arklow.
Among the attendance at the offshore night of the year is 19 crew from visiting UK competitor Malta Puma.
More on the Round Ireland Yacht Race:
At last night's Skipper's Briefing for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) announced a dramatic change to the race. Part of the reason for the change is being blamed on a lack of shelter for boats in trouble on the Irish West coast. There are no Irish entries in this year's race.
Due to a severe weather forecast for the west coast of Ireland for Thursday 26th August, the RORC have decided to reverse the course so that the fleet will race anti-clockwise around Britain and Ireland. The start remains unchanged from the Royal Yacht Squadron line to the east at 14.00. This should give the fleet a fast running start towards the forts in the Solent.
Andrew McIrvine, Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club explains why the club took the decision:
"The reason for changing the course is consideration for all the competitors. We have been monitoring the weather models for the last few days and they are all in agreement that a deep depression will be arriving to the west of Ireland at the same time as most of the fleet will be there. The RORC weather advisor Mike Broughton, believes that this will bring wind speeds of at least 40 knots, possibly as much as 50 knots on the nose. Worse than that, as the wind direction changes over 180º as the low passes through the sea state becomes very confused. Although the boats are very well prepared, these conditions could cause damage and retirements and the west coast of Ireland has very few places offering shelter. By going east about, the boats will avoid the worst of the depression and the confused sea state and will have far more shelter opportunities as there will be several ports that the boats can go into should they decide to do so."
The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starts tomorrow at 1400 from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.
For more information and to follow the fleet via the race trackers go to: http://sevenstar.rorc.org/
Go to the Royal Ocean Racing Club's race minisite and click on the Virtual Race button to get started: http://sevenstar.rorc.org/