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Members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) have elected Dr Deborah Fish, OBE, as the new Commodore of the London and Cowes-based Club with effect from 1st January 2024.

She will take up the prestigious role from James Neville. Richard Palmer will take up the role of Vice Commodore from Eric de Turckheim, and Andrew Tseng and Joe Lacey will become Rear Commodores.

Under James and Eric’s leadership, RORC has further strengthened its position as a global leader in offshore racing, successfully introducing the RORC Nelson’s Cup series in Antigua and the new 635nm Roschier Baltic Sea Race. They have also set the foundations for the return of the Admiral’s Cup in 2025, as well as initiating the exciting redevelopment of its Cowes Clubhouse. Both have enjoyed tremendous racing success during their tenure. Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine was awarded 2023 RORC Yacht of the Year after overall wins in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and RORC Transatlantic Race. James Neville’s INO XXX enjoyed many victories and was second overall in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race; the best result for a Commodore in office since John Illingworth’s Myth of Malham won the Fastnet Race in 1949.

Deb is the first woman to be elected Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, which will celebrate its centenary in 2025. She has been very active in her role as a Rear Commodore, chairing the Membership Committee and championing youth sailing through her leadership of RORC’s Griffin initiative. Deb also has a strong offshore racing background having raced with the RORC since 1999 and completed the Rolex Fastnet Yacht Race 11 times. Deb and Rob Craigie sailed Bellino, Rob’s Sun Fast 3600, double handed to overall victory in the 2023 RORC Season’s Points Championship. This was the first time Bellino has won the RORC Championship overall after coming third in 2022 and second in 2019.

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Wicklow Sailing Club's Kyran O'Grady flew the flag for the 2024 Round Ireland Race at last weekend's 2023 Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Annual Dinner and Prize Giving at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, London.

O'Grady was able to brief some key campaigns planning to compete in what is the second-longest race in the RORC calendar.

As Afloat reported previously, Wicklow Sailing Club aims for 70 boats for Ireland's premier offshore sailing event on 22nd June and attracting top UK boats is part of an important mix for Wicklow's international fleet.

Celebrating an impressive season of RORC racing, more than 250 guests enjoyed a cocktail reception and gourmet dinner at the five-star hotel in Mayfair.

The 2023 RORC Season's Points Championship featured 15 offshore races held in nine different countries. The exciting programme included the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the RORC Transatlantic Race, the RORC Caribbean 600, and the cornerstone of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the Rolex Fastnet Race, celebrating its 50th edition.

2023 IRC Overall RORC Season's Points Championship winner:
Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600 Bellino (GBR)

RORC Yacht of the Year
Eric de Turckheim's NMD 54 Teasing Machine (FRA)

IRC Super Zero - I Love Poland (POL)
IRC Zero - Teasing Machine (FRA)
IRC One – Dawn Treader (GBR)
IRC Two - Scarlet Oyster (GBR)
IRC Two-Handed and IRC Three - Cora (GBR)
IRC Four – With Alacrity (GBR)
MOCRA Multihull – MOD70 Zoulou (FRA)
Class40 - The 3 Bros (FRA)

Special Awards

The Dennis P Miller Memorial Trophy for Best Overseas Yacht to Tom Kneen's Sunrise III, the Haylock Cup for Best British Service Yacht to Fujitsu British Soldier, the Arambalza Swan Cup for Best Swan to Louis Balcaen's Balthasar, the Freddie Morgan Trophy for Best Classic Yacht to Andrew Tseng's Quailo 3, the Highwayman Cup to Gavin Howe's Tigris, the Best Sailing School Yacht to Susan Glenny's Olympia's Tigress, the Peter Harrison Youth Trophy to Galahad of Cowes.

The Crew of Ju Kyu, skippered by Dr Peter Rowe, was awarded the Seamanship Trophy for an Outstanding Act of Seamanship. Shortly after the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race start, Ju Kyu stood by a sinking yacht Vari, and assisted the emergency services and the RORC Race Committee. Once the Vari crew was safe, Ju Kyu rejoined the race and finished the Rolex Fastnet Race. Ju Kyu was given a rousing standing ovation at the Prize Giving.

The 2024 RORC Season's Points Championship has already started with the Rolex Middle Sea Race in October 2023. The 2024 Championship has notable international races including the RORC Transatlantic Race, the RORC Caribbean 600, the SSE Renewables Round Ireland, and the second edition of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race. The majority of the series is held in Northern Europe with the Myth of Malham and the Cowes Dinard St Malo being ever popular. 

Full List of Special Awards and Winners

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One of offshore racing’s great adventures will return in 2025. The New York Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club, in partnership with the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Storm Trysail Club, have announced the Transatlantic Race 2025, which will start from Newport, R.I., on June 18, 2025, and finish off Cowes, England.

The west-to-east Transatlantic Race was most recently run in 2011, 2015 and 2019. This slightly extended break has allowed the race to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the RORC as well as the next edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race and the return of the Admiral’s Cup.

“For the past few years, we have been fielding regular calls regarding the next iteration of this race,” says Commodore Paul M. Zabetakis, M.D., of the New York Yacht Club. “Crossing the Atlantic is a bucket-list achievement for many offshore sailors. The time and effort required to prepare for and compete in the race, the unpredictability of the North Atlantic Ocean, the tactical challenge presented by the Gulf Stream and the historic connection to the origins of offshore racing distinguish this competition from all other distance races.”

It was over drinks at the Union Club in New York City one night in October 1866 that the first Transatlantic Race came to be. Three proud yachtsmen—Pierre Lorillard, George Osgood, and James Gordon Bennett—each thought their yacht to be the fastest and decided the best way to settle the discussion would be a race from Sandy Hook, N.J., to the Needles, off the Western tip of the Isle of Wight. To make it interesting, they each put up $30,000 to go to the winner and then started on December 11, 1866. Bennett’s Henrietta won, six sailors were tragically lost in a storm and a new standard for offshore adventure was set.

The schedule of races has been sporadic in the years since, and the course has changed frequently. But the allure of racing from the United States to England hasn’t diminished.

RORC member Peter Bacon skippered the Xp44 Lucy Georgina to a win in IRC 2 in 2019. He also completed the 2023 RORC Transatlantic Race Two-Handed with his son Duncan as owner of Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear.

“The highlight of our 2019 Transatlantic Race was crossing the finish line at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes within 8 minutes of our closest competitor, Pata Negra, after 3,000 plus miles of racing," says Bacon (at left). "The 16 days leading up to the finish saw many fast sailing highs and almost as many cold, wet and uncomfortable lows. I am planning to be back for the 2025 race.”

While the 2025 edition of the race will officially finish off the Isle of Wight, in the Solent, a timing gate will be established at the Lizard to preserve the Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point record, which is monitored by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. That record, currently 6d:22h:08m:02s, was set by George David’s Rambler 100 in the 2011 race.

Finishers of the 2025 edition will be dropped right into the middle of a historic year for sailing on the Solent as the RORC celebrates a significant milestone.

"The Royal Ocean Racing Club is proud to continue to be part of the Organising Committee for the Transatlantic Race 2025, which continues our long relationships with the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Storm Trysail Club,” says RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton. “2025 is a special year for the new RORC, which will be celebrating our centenary. Transatlantic Race boat owners, crew, family and friends will receive a warm welcome at our newly refurbished Cowes Clubhouse, which is undergoing major works to be completed in early 2024. The 2025 RORC Season will be nothing short of spectacular; a full season of racing, including the special centenary celebration of the first Rolex Fastnet Race and the return of The Admiral’s Cup.”

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Ireland's coastal town of Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay is set to host the next IRC European Championship in September 2024, the 2023 international IRC Congress held in Paris heard recently.

Irishman Michael Boyd, who chaired the Congress and is also Chairman of the IRC Board, told delegates the biennial event will "draw sailors from across Europe and beyond, offering challenging competition and the opportunity to experience the beauty of Irish waters". 

As Afloat reported earlier, the Bay's Royal Irish Yacht Club confirmed three major keelboat events for September 2024

2024 will be the second Irish hosting of the IRC Euros, the inaugural championship was raced as part of  Cork Week in 2016.

The 2023 International IRC Congress was hosted by the Yacht Club de France, joint owners of the international IRC rating rule with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

The meeting was well attended, with representatives of several countries present along with the IRC teams from the UK and France, while others around the world participated by video conference.

IRC is a rating rule made by sailors for sailors, illustrated by the fact that most IRC Congress members are racing sailors and talking to boat owners, with direct experience on the water that helps shape the proposals and decisions they make in the meeting room.

Reports from the different nations spanning various continents and sailing cultures offered a comprehensive global perspective on IRC racing. This panoramic view helps to identify underlying trends and facilitates valuable exchanges of insights among members from different countries.

Technical developments of the IRC rating rule

The IRC Congress announced a series of rule changes for the 2024 racing season. These changes have been carefully considered and approved by Congress and their aim is to ensure the fairness and competitiveness of IRC racing while addressing specific concerns and developments in the sailing community. The IRC Technical Committee and IRC Congress are committed to keeping the IRC rule system responsive to the evolving needs and practices of today’s sailing community while protecting the existing fleet.

The biggest change for 2024 is the introduction of rating the number of headsails carried. Carrying multiple headsails can give a distinct advantage due to flexibility in a boat’s sail wardrobe for varying conditions, and the ability to increase headsail area by multiple headsails set flying, particularly for larger boats and in a reaching configuration.

From 2024, the number of headsails carried aboard will be rated in IRC. Photo: Paul WyethFrom 2024, the number of headsails carried aboard will be rated in IRC. Photo: Paul Wyeth

For Endorsed IRC certificates any sails certified (measured) after 31st December 2023 will require a measurement sticker or stamp. Sail stamps serve as a visual confirmation that a sail has been properly measured and complies with the rating certificate, and aid equipment inspection at events when checking sails. The design of IRC flying headsails has been opened up with a reduction in the minimum half-width ratio from 62.5% to 60%.

The IRC Technical Committee is committed to further enhancing transparency within the world of competitive sailing and discussions at Congress included improving openness and providing valuable insights into boat ratings and their influencing factors while preventing the potential misuse of data. It is proposed to publish page 2 of the IRC certificate to provide sailors and the sailing community with a clear understanding of each boat's equipment and measurements, such as the number of sails that should be aboard.

IRC events 'thriving'

The conference heard that "events are central to the success of IRC and these events "continue to thrive", with many events seeing notably close results. As well as the major offshore races using IRC, continental championships continue to grow.

Dubai will play host to the 2023 IRC Middle East Championship this December, promising to bring together sailors from the region, offering them a platform to showcase their skills in unique Middle Eastern conditions.

Looking further ahead to the Admiral’s Cup in 2025, RORC has already received interest from over 20 countries, underscoring the event's and IRC’s international appeal.

The IRC Congress Minutes and papers are published here

The 2024 agreed rule changes and full rule text will be published on when finalised.

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The Notice of Race is now available for the fifth edition of the Drheam Cup, which will take place from 11-21 July 2024.

As previously reported on, the competition’s three courses will be identical to the previous edition’s, between Cherbourg-en Cotentin and La Trinité-sur-Mer.

Eleven classes are invited to the race: Ultime, Imoca, Ocean Fifty, Class40, Figaro Beneteau 3, Mini 6.50, Multi 2000, Large Monohulls Open class, IRC, classic yachts and for the first time the new Sun Fast 30 one design, whose design was initiated by the RORC and UNCL - Racing Division of Yacht Club de France.

What’s more, all results will count towards the RORC Championship and it will be the second race in the IRC Two-Handed European Championship.

RORC Vice-Commodore Eric de Turckheim, who confirmed he will be taking the start in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin on board his NYMD 54 Teasing Machine on 15 July, said: “We brought the 2022 edition of La Drheam-Cup/Grand Prix de France de Course au Large into the RORC calendar as it fulfilled our criteria: a great course, open to IRC, a race authority the meets the standards of the RORC and it does not run the same years as the Rolex Fastnet Race.

“Following that edition, we discussed with Debbie Fish, who will soon succeed me as head of the programme and race commission, to establish a number of conditions for La Drheam-Cup/Grand Prix de France de Course au Large to award points and enter the RORC Championship. This meant an audit of sailing instructions, safety, inspections of boats, etc. Jacques Civilise [president of Drheam-Promotion, organisers of the race] and his team met our demands, leading us to this decision to integrate the race into our championship.”

The fifth Dhream Cup will also be the second leg of the second edition of the IRC Two Handed European Championship, organised in part by the RORC. “In 2024, the two events that will be included are Cowes-Dinard-Saint-Malo and La Drheam-Cup,” De Turckheim said.

The Notice of Race is available HERE.

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It's been quite a year for Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews racing Sun Fast 3200 Cora. After winning IRC Two-Handed and IRC Three for the 2023 RORC Season's Points Championship, Cora has become the Royal Ocean Racing Club's 2023 IRC Double-Handed National Champions.

Cora won the Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race at the beginning of the month and scored a double-win on Saturday, 09 September, in the final race. Cora took line honours and the win after IRC time correction for Race Two.

Last year's championship winner, Mike Yates' J/109 JAGO, racing with Will Holland, was second to Cora by narrow margins in both races. Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600 Bellino was third for the championship. In Race Two, Kathy Claydon's Arcona 370 Arcsine, racing with Phil Kirk, finished third after IRC time correction.

The next race organised by RORC will be the 15th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race. The 3000-mile race across the Atlantic starts from Marina Lanzarote on 7th January.

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Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster has won the 2023 RORC Channel Race overall under IRC. The top three boats in IRC Two filled the overall race podium with less than four minutes between them after IRC time correction. Ian Hoddle’s Sun Fast 3300 Game On, racing with Ollie Wyatt was second overall and won IRC Two-Handed. Third overall was Gareth Edmondson’s JPK 1030 Insert Coin. Congratulations to all the IRC Class winners including IRC Zero winner Henry Bateson’s Iceni 39 Andrasta, skippered by Bill Edgerton with the RORC Griffin Youth Team. In IRC One, Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia was the winner.

The penultimate race of the RORC Season’s Points Championship proved to be a windy affair with 20-25 knots of south westerly wind for most of 145nm race. Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line the fleet beat west leaving North Head to Port to avoid the worst effects of the tide and wind at The Needles. The beat continued as far as Peveril Ledge off Swanage. A downwind sleigh ride back to the southside of the Isle of Wight and as far east as Shoreham Outfall, had boats hitting over 20 knots of boat speed. In the hours of darkness, a series of shorter legs, at a variety of wind angles, tested the boat handling and stamina of the teams. The finish was at Browndown in the Eastern Solent.

Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster, with a highly experienced crew that has raced thousands of miles together, got away to a great start and revelled in the upwind conditions to get into a strong position after IRC time correction by Peveril Ledge. “We might have been a little under canvassed at the start but with the possibility of 30 knot gusts, our main aim was to get away to a clean start out of The Solent and not make life unnecessarily hard,” explained Ross Applebey. “We played the shifts pretty well to Peveril Ledge, and got there a little ahead of our routing,” continued Ross.

Scarlet Oyster’s competition in the race included a number of downwind flyers and sail damage to Scarlet Oyster also slowed the displacement Oyster 48 for the middle part of the race, which was all off the breeze.

“From Peveril Ledge to The Needles Fairway it was a deep starboard-tack reach and we had our A4 up with the boat achieving 17 knots of boat speed.” However, just as Scarlet Oyster approached The Needles Fairway Buoy a big gust hit the boat blowing the head off the kite. “In windy conditions we rig to drop the kite into the cockpit with a retrieval line, so two of the crew immediately got onto that. This kept much of the bottom of the kite out of the water and the rest of the crew was able to get it back on board fairly quickly. We then elected to hoist the Jib Top and a staysail, which was a little under powered but okay. At St. Catherine’s we had a bear-away and with no A4, we had to hoist our old A3. Meanwhile the downwind flyers, especially Game On and Insert Coin, were making big gains hitting over 20 knots of boat speed. Pintia had gone for their Code Zero and was really flying.”

As Scarlet Oyster approached Owers the wind went aft, which did not suite their sail set up. “We just couldn’t get deep enough with our A3 and the risk out-weighed the reward of keeping it flying. We poled out our Jib Top and set another jib to leeward, it was slower than a spinnaker but it reduced our losses and was far less stressful. However by Shoreham Overfalls we were probably last in IRC Two, but racing against surfing boats this was what we expected. We knew that with a heavy strong crew we could make up our time for the upwind legs; this was our forte. ” commented Applebey.

Approaching Shoreham Overalls, the Scarlet Oyster crew readied themselves and the boat for a big finish. “We went through our checklist and got the boat set up so that we would be straight into our stride for upwind trim. Very quickly we saw the gains; the crew were all hiked out and with full enthusiasm remaining until the finish. Our expectations increased as we realised that we would have a slight tidal advantage on the boats behind us.”

Scarlet Oyster won The Channel Race after IRC time correction, beating Game On and Insert Coin by less than four minutes after over 18 hours of racing. “The IRC rule does a good job,” commented Ross Applebey. “The course setters gave a good balance of upwind and downwind angles, it just shows if you have a great team that is focused and committed, an older displacement boat can compete with modern well-sailed planing yachts under IRC.”

Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia Photo: Paul WyethGilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia Photo: Paul Wyeth

Seven boats that retired during The Channel Race have been accounted for with no reports of any injuries to racing crew. Sun Fast 3300 Atomic was dismasted in 20 knots of wind, east of Bembridge IOW. Ronan Banim’s Galahad of Cowes and Mark Rayward’s Stormcloud should both be commended; both retired from the race to stand by to assist Atomic.

The final race of the 2023 RORC Season’s Points Championship will be the Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Friday 01 September from 1800 BST. The Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race is also Race One of the IRC Double-Handed National Championship. 

RORC Channel Race results here

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Channel Race is set to take place on Saturday, August 12th, as part of the RORC Season's Points Championship.

Although the number of participating boats will be significantly lower than the world record entry for the Rolex Fastnet Race, competition will be intense as sailors compete for points in the world's largest offshore racing series.

After analysing weather forecasts, the RORC Race Team will set a course starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, heading west for approximately 120 nautical miles. Spectators can watch the start from Cowes Parade and along the shore of the Western Solent.

Ross Hobson's Open 50 Pegasus of Northumberland (GBR)Ross Hobson's Open 50 Pegasus of Northumberland (GBR)

IRC Zero

Among the line honours contenders in IRC Zero are Ross Hobson's Open 50 Pegasus of Northumberland (GBR) (that is still seeking a Round Ireland record) and Arto Livorno's Infiniti 52 Tulikettu (FIN). Although both boats have similar IRC ratings and canting keels, Tulikettu is a new concept incorporating DSS side foils, and is significantly lighter than Pegasus, which has more sail area and has been raced by Hobson for many years. Other boats in the class include Mark Emerson's A13 Phosphorous II (GBR) and Henry Bateson's Iceni 39 Andrasta, skippered by Bill Edgerton with the RORC Griffin Youth Team.


In IRC One, Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine's J/133 Pintia (FRA) is back in action after winning IRC One for the 2023 Fastnet Race. Tom Scott's X-50 Itma (GBR) is the top-rated boat in the class, skippered by Australian Ben Rahilly, while RORC Treasurer Derek Shakespeare will race J/122 Bulldog (GBR) in the class.

Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino Photo: Paul WyethRob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino Photo: Paul Wyeth


Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600 Bellino (GBR) is leading IRC Two for the season and is second in IRC Two-Handed. Racing Two-Handed with Deb Fish, Bellino will also be defending their class win in the 2022 RORC Channel Race. Other boats in the class include Jim & Ellie Driver's Sun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper (GBR), Trevor Middleton's Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep, skippered by Jake Carter, and Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR).

Nick Lee's Projection 920 Wee Bear (GBR), racing Two-Handed with Kare WoodwardNick Lee's Projection 920 Wee Bear (GBR), racing Two-Handed with Kare Woodward Photo: Rick Tomlinson

IRC Three

In IRC Three, Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews racing Sun Fast 3200 Cora (GBR) will rest for August, but Mike Yates' J/109 Jago, racing Two-Handed, will be looking to close the gap in the RORC Channel Race. Other boats in the class include David McHugh's Just So (GBR) raced Two-Handed by William McHugh and Christian Jeffery, and Chris Burleigh's Jybe Talkin' (GBR). Gavin Howe's Classic Channel 72 Wavetrain (GBR) is the oldest and only wooden boat in the race, while Nick Lee's Projection 920 Wee Bear (GBR), racing Two-Handed with Kare Woodward, is the smallest boat in the race with the lowest IRC rating.

Over a hundred sailors will be competing in the RORC Channel Race, with over 40% of the sailors under 40 years old and a quarter being women in the 18-25 age bracket. Channel Race Trophies and Medallions will be presented on Saturday, September 2nd, at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Channel Race is the 14th race of the RORC Season's Points Championship, the largest racing series in the world of offshore racing.

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Dublin sailor Johnny Mordaunt is boat captain on the Volvo 70 Tschüss 2 for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Cowes Dinard St Malo Race, which has attracted 204 boats with over 1,000 crew on board from 16 different nations.

This is the largest fleet for any offshore yacht race since the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race. One hundred and ninety-one boats will be competing under the IRC Rating Rule for the overall win and the King Edward VII Cup, which dates back to 1906.

From about 2pm on Friday 7 July, the fleet will gather in the Central Solent outside Cowes with multiple starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line. Spectators can watch the start from Cowes Parade and along the shore of the Western Solent.

Henry Vergnoux’s Arabel lift the King Edward VII Cup | Credit: Steve Cole/RORCHenry Vergnoux’s Arabel lift the King Edward VII Cup | Credit: Steve Cole/RORC

The multihull race record was set in 2015 by Tony Lawson’s MOD70 Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, Concise 10 set an incredible pace, finishing the 151-nautical-mile race in nine hours, 12 minutes and 35 seconds. The monohull race record was also set in 2015; Mike Slade’s Farr 100 Leopard scorched across the finish line in an elapsed time of 11 hours, 57 minutes and 53 seconds.

Returning to defend their overall win last year is Henry Vergnoux’s Classic Illingworth-designed 33ft sloop Arabel, which lifted the King Edward VII Cup in 2022. Arabel is proof that under IRC, any team that puts in a top performance and gets the rub of the green can win big trophies under IRC.

The Cowes Dinard St Malo is the final race for the inaugural IRC Two-Handed European Championship; the first leg is still in progress in the 350-mile La Trinité Cowes Race. An update of the double-handed teams vying for the championship will be released after the results are in for Leg One (La Trinité Cowes Race). The second leg to St Malo will feature 63 double-handed teams to decide the European Champion.

Mike Slade’s Farr 100 Leopard setting the Monohull Race Record for the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race in 2015 | Credit: Lloyd ImagesMike Slade’s Farr 100 Leopard setting the Monohull Race Record for the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race in 2015 | Credit: Lloyd Images

The Cowes Dinard St Malo Race will start at 1500 BST on Friday 7 July. The first to go of the four starts will be the 75ft (23m) Irens/Cabaret-designed trimaran Use It Again. Skippered by Romain Pilliard, the record-breaking trimaran has been renovated with recycled fixtures and fittings.

Favourites for monohull line honours and the Sandison Memorial Salver are racing in IRC Super Zero. Peter Morton’s Maxi 72 Notorious and Christian Zugel’s Volvo 70 Tschüss 2 are both based in Cowes and both sailors are RORC members. The latter recently took line honours in the Round the Island Race and for this race also features onboard Simon Johnson, fresh off his duties on Black Star at the 44Cup in Maarstrand.

Eric de Turckheim’s NMD54 Teasing Machine | Credit: Tim Wright/RORCEric de Turckheim’s NMD54 Teasing Machine | Credit: Tim Wright/RORC

IRC Zero

Eighteen boats are entered for IRC Zero with RORC vice commodore Eric de Turckheim’s NMD54 Teasing Machine looking to take the class win for the race for the third year in succession. Looking to stop his winning streak are two of the most high-tech IRC boats in the race: Niklas Zennstrom’s CF 520 Rán and RORC Commodore James Neville with his Carkeek 45 Ino Noir. Teasing Machine leads the class for the season, and the remainder of the current class podium will also be in action: Family De Graaf’s Ker 46 Baraka GP, and Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorus II.

Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader | Credit: Paul Wyeth/RORCEd Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader | Credit: Paul Wyeth/RORC


Forty boats are set for the race in IRC One, including the return of Géry Trentesaux with his new charge Sydney 43 Imagine, to be entered as Long Courrier later this month for Gery’s 17th Rolex Fastnet Race. Two teams with proven success in the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race are Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader, class winner in 2021, and Jaques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L’Ange de Milon, class winner in 2019. The two top boats in IRC Two for the RORC Season’s Point Championship will be a force to be reckoned with: Michael O’Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood and RORC treasurer Derek Shakespeare’s J/122 Bulldog will be in the race.

François and Corentin Lognoné’s MC 34 Nutmeg Solidaire en Peloton | Credit: Paul Wyeth/RORCFrançois and Corentin Lognoné’s MC 34 Nutmeg Solidaire en Peloton | Credit: Paul Wyeth/RORC


Sixty-four boats are entered in IRC Two, including many of the IRC Two-Handed entries battling for the European Championship. Of the fully-crewed entries in IRC Two, François and Corentin Lognoné MC 34 Nutmeg Solidaire en Peloton was last year’s class winner and won the race overall in 2015. Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster, overall winner in 2019, will be racing, looking to score more points for the RORC Season’s Points Championship. Two fully-crewed Sun Fast 3600s that are in the top 10 for the season will be racing: Trevor Middleton’s Black Sheep; and the Army Sailing Association’s Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Wil Naylor.

Rob Cotterill’s J/109 Mojo Risin’ | Credit: Rick Tomlinson/RORCRob Cotterill’s J/109 Mojo Risin’ | Credit: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

IRC Three

The top three boats for the class this season are all in action for the 53-boat IRC Three Class: Sun Fast 3200 Cora, raced double-handed by Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews; Mike Yates, skipper of J/109 Jago, two-handed with Wil Holland; and Rob Cotterill’s fully-crewed J/109 Mojo Risin’, skippered by Conrad Woodring. Cora has a massive 118-point lead for the season but is counting one additional race than Jago. Mojo Risin’ is third for the season by just 14 points from Chris Burleigh’s J/109 Jybe Talkin’ which will be racing to St Malo.

A total of nine J/109s are racing, producing a great competition within IRC Three, but they are not the only in-class skirmish. Of the 11 JPK 1010s, the leader for the season is Mark Brown’s Jetpack with a full crew from Gosport. Eleven Sun Fast 3200s are in action — seven are racing two-handed, including Cora, which is the favourite to be the first to St Malo of the double-handers.

Jonathan Rolls’ Swan 38 Xara | Credit: Paul Wyeth/RORCJonathan Rolls’ Swan 38 Xara | Credit: Paul Wyeth/RORC

IRC Four

Last year’s overall winner Arabel will be racing in IRC Four. Classic Swan 38 Xara, skippered by Jonathan Rolls was second last year and is back for the 2023 edition. The top two teams in IRC Four for the season will also be in action. Chris and Vanessa Choules’ With Alacrity leads the class for the RORC Season’s Points Championship. With Alacrity is one of four Sigma 38s racing to St Malo. In second place for the season, and one of the smallest boats in the race is Samuel Duménil’s JPK 960 Casamyas from Le Havre. Szymon Kuczynski’s Figaro One Hultaj is the smallest boat racing to St Malo at just 30ft (9.15m). However for Szymon, Hultaj is a large boat; he sailed his 20’6” (6.3m) sloop Atlantic Puffin solo around the world in 2018 to set a new world record. For the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race, Hultaj will be three-up with an all-Polish crew.

Szymon Kuczynski’s Figaro One Hultaj | Credit: Tim Wright/RORCSzymon Kuczynski’s Figaro One Hultaj | Credit: Tim Wright/RORC

The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Cowes Dinard St Malo Race is the 12th race of the RORC Season’s Points Championship, the largest racing series in the world of offshore racing. The race is organised by the RORC in association with UNCL - Pôle Course du YCF, Yacht Club de Dinard, Société Nautique de la Baie de St Malo, Junior Offshore Group and the Royal Yacht Squadron.

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The UK IRC National Championships has been the battleground for close victories in the past, with Rán winning last year by 0.005 of a point. However, the 2023 Overall IRC National Champion was decided by an even smaller margin. Adam Gosling’s JPK 1080 Yes! scored second place in Race 8 by four seconds after IRC time correction. This gave Yes! the overall IRC National Championships by 0.004 of a point.

Onboard Gosling’s JPK 1080 for the victory was Solent-based top Dublin crew James 'Heinzy' Hynes of Howth Yacht Club, who has a long and successful track record with the Yes! campaigns.

“It doesn’t get closer than that; races were won by seconds, and when you are up against other good boats, that level of competition makes you sail better,” commented Adam Gosling. “Arcus sailed really well in our class and really challenged us, as did John Smart’s J/109 Jukebox. Today, Elaine Again pulled a real blinder; well done to Ed Mockridge and his team. The RORC and the volunteers have given us three days of sunshine, wind and other people to sail against. Thank you, it has been a great regatta; see you again!” 

Yes! win the IRC National Championships and IRC Three by a whisker after three days of spectacular racing in the Solent Photo: Paul WyethYes! win the IRC National Championships and IRC Three by a whisker after three days of spectacular racing in the Solent Photo: Paul Wyeth

Giovanni Belgrano’s 39ft classic sloop Whooper was the overall runner-up, winning the Jackdaw Trophy as well as IRC Four. Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator made a welcome return to Solent racing, winning IRC One. James Howell’s Cape 31 Gelert was the winner of IRC Two and the Roger Grainger Trophy for the best-performing RORC boat.

Spectacular conditions prevailed for the final day of the IRC National Championship. The RORC Race Team delayed the start of racing to allow a solid south-westerly to establish, and it was well worth the wait, as 16-18 knots arrived in the combat zone. The race winners on the final day were: TP52 Gladiator, MAT 12 Sailplane 3, Cape 31 Gelert, JPK 1010 Elaine Again and the classic sloops Cetaweyo and Whooper.

Results are below

Next year, the RORC IRC National Championships will be going on tour! Held at the International Paint Poole Regatta over the Spring Bank Holiday, 25 - 27 May 2024.

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