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Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

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Afloat reported in August that the Irish duo of Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee aboard RL Sailing had been denied a podium position in the Fastnet Race despite crossing the finishing line ahead of her class rivals.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) race jury later found that RL Sailing had unintentionally entered a commercial shipping TSS (prohibited zones under race rules) and awarded them a 10% penalty dropping them to last place.

Despite the team's protest and redress requests, the jury apparently relied on the screenshot of the Yellowbrick tracker that showed RL Sailing inside the RSS.

However, an Afloat investigation identified several other vessels that the Yellowbrick tracker put inside the TSS that were not penalised by the race jury.

Furthermore, screenshots from the tracking app appear to show boats missing out on rounding the Fastnet.

The yacht in this picture is clearly in TSS, but recorded as a legitimate finisher in 162nd place.

A screenshot from the tracker apparently showing Challenger II inside TSSA screenshot from the tracker apparently showing a yacht inside the TSS (displayed in a red tint) 

In the screenshot below the yacht, Horus seems to not only be in the TSS but her track suggests she failed to round the Fastnet. Results show her as a genuine finisher in 118th place.

A screenshot from the tracker apparently showing Hourus in TSS, not rounding the Fastnet RockA screenshot from the tracker apparently showing Hourus in TSS, not rounding the Fastnet Rock

The J/125 Magic Wind was recorded finishing in 76th place, but the tracking screenshot suggests that she too missed the Fastnet and entered the TSS.

 A screenshot from the tracker apparently showing Magic Wind in TSS, not rounding Fastnet A screenshot from the tracker apparently showing Magic Wind in TSS, not rounding Fastnet

Afloat is not suggesting that there was any wrongdoing by these vessels, but rather that the source of evidence relied on in the protest room - the Yellowbrick tracker - is questionable.

If this evidence was available to RL Sailing in the protest room, would the outcome have been different?

RORC did not respond when Afloat put these questions to them.

UPDATE: October 16 2021: RORC Racing Director Chris Stone responded as follows:

1. Was any action taken against these boats for what appears to be infringements of the SIs?

No further action was taking with regards Magic Wind, Horus & Challenger I (not Challenger II as you had referenced). Race Committee (RC) had concluded that none of the boats in question crossed into a TSS zone. For your information both Magic Wind & Horus had tracker failures (water ingress after a heavy couple of days) prior crossing the Celtic Sea and were put on AIS transmission. Both boats had received positions outside the TSS zone (clearly closer to land) and were then reported further down the course south of the Isles of Scilly and again when in AIS range closer to France. Both boats appear to have cut the course due to the dead reckoning between actual AIS positions. In the case of Challenger I on the western side of the Fastnet TSS, a failed satellite report and variations in boat speed meant that dead reckoning place them within the TSS zone while actually being outside. In cases where the RC cannot find evidence to prove a boat was outside the TSS zone, boats are scored with the standard penalty and asked to provide proof of their course, speed and heading to the international jury at the event, should they wish to.

2. If so was it a DSQ and reinstatement on the basis of evidence supplied?

None of the 3 boats identified were given a penalty because the RC had already determined they hadn’t breached the obstruction.

3. If not, was this because of any malfunction by the tracking system?

As noted above two boats had failed trackers and we were using AIS positioning as a safety precaution (which as we all know has very limited range). The third boat had a failed satellite transmission.

4. If the tracker malfunctioned on these three occasions, would it not be appropriate for those boats that were disqualified to request reinstatement?

No – individual tracking units failing or a failed satellite transmission doesn’t represent a failure or malfunctioning tracking system. In all cases, boats who have an issue with their penalty have the right of reply through an international jury. The jury is onsite at the event and open for this very reason (and other protest matters as well). In all cases where competitors wish to take the matter to the International Jury, they are asked to provide satisfactory evidence that they weren’t in the TSS zone (which is easy enough to do with ALL modern navigation technology) or alternatively show evidence that through no fault of their own they breach the TSS zone. For your information, all competitors are also made aware that taking a matter to an International Jury gives them no right of appeal after the decision of the international jury, as laid out in the Racing Rule of Sailing.

Some other points that may help in publishing further facts in relation to the matter around RL Sailing;

  • Satellite tracking is extremely accurate. YB trackers report multiple GPS fixes in a single satellite transmission, meaning that in one transmission (which is every 15 minutes at that point of the race) they can have up to 90 GPS fixes, if requested to do so.
  • The YB tracking system is set up specifically for Rolex Fastnet and the TSS zones are set up within the system as ‘poly-fences’. Any time a boat comes close to a poly-fence the YB tracking unit automatically requests higher frequency GPS reporting to monitor its approach into the TSS zone.
  • The RC also use a two box theory to identify boats within a TSS zone. 1 - being the outer box that is the actual TSS coordinates and then 2 - an inner box set some distance inside the outer box to allow for a higher degree of accuracy for a breach. Any boat with multiple GPS fixes inside box 2 will receive a standard penalty.
  • All penalties and protests for all boats can be found here https://www.rolexfastnetrace.com/en/competitors/race-documents/race-documents . Hearing 8 is the matter in relation to RL Sailing.
  • For your information there were only 4 boats in the Figaro III class, RL Sailing came 3rd after the penalty.
  • RORC and the RC made every effort to help RL Sailing after receiving a penalty, including allowing Pamela Lee to review the RC data about the breach and distances involved, and specifically identifying information required that would be useful in pleading her case with an International Jury.
  • From the hearing decision, RL Sailing appear to be unable to provide sufficient evidence that they did not cross into the TSS zone or provide evidence that any breach was through no fault of their own.

RORC ‘s ongoing position remains the same, as it has done for more than a decade, the club elects for the purpose of safety and prudent seamanship, in what can be busy commercial shipping areas, to have TSS zones as obstructions within its sailing instructions. Those obstruction breaches receive a standard penalty and allow the RC to enforce any breach of an obstruction when there is suitable proof to do so. RORC regularly reminds competitors of the need to take a wide berth of areas of obstruction and allow for clearance when rounding marks or corners of any obstruction. These penalties and obstructions are clearly identified in ALL RORC race sailing instructions.

Additionally, Chris Stone emphasises RORC 'feels strongly' in representing the following facts;

  • For RORC this is a broad safety issue. The sailing instructions clearly state that TSS infringements will be penalised! This has been the case for a number of years and prior to 2020 the penalty was 20%.
  • YB Tracking (satellite tracking) is extremely reliable and the information is suitable any number of purposes, including determining breaches. As we are aware YB tracking is the industry standard for almost all major events (Vendee, Middle Sea, Hobart, Route du Rhum) and they all use YB tracking for similar purposes including identifying penalties.
  • The 3 boats raised in your email (and there were others) were all reviewed and identified as having sailed the course without entering an obstruction zone.
  • RL Sailing was NOT the only boat who received a 10% standard penalty for TSS infringement. There were several other boats across the entire fleet who received the same penalty.
  • RL Sailing did attend a hearing with the international jury and the jury found RL Sailing was unable to provide sufficient evidence that they did not cross into the TSS zone or provide evidence that any breach was through no fault of their own.
  • There was no failure or malfunction of the tracking system that had adversely affected RL Sailing’s position in relation to a TSS zone. There were individual tracker failures which highlighted areas of further investigation which were reviewed by the RC.

The RORC are aware that this is an extremely disappointing penalty for RL Sailing however RORC operates fairly and without bias for all competitors in relation to the rules within the sailing instruction and we feel in the case of TSS infringements we have conducted ourselves appropriately.

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The hiatus is over - the RORC Caribbean 600 is back and set to start in Antigua on February 21st, 2022. Early entries include teams representing a dozen different countries from around the world including Ireland.

Dublin's Adrian Lee has had a love-affair with the RORC Caribbean 600 since his overall win in the inaugural race. Adrian will be racing Lee Overlay Partners, hoping for strong breeze to suit the Swan 60. And ISORA's Andrew Hall who now owns Pata Negra, the winner of IRC one in the Caribbean 600's last edition, is also competing.

The RORC Caribbean 600 is a race for all, enticing the fastest boats on the planet and passionate corinthians racing performance racer/cruisers and classics. A full house is expected for the bold and beautiful 600-mile race around eleven Caribbean islands.

An astonishing pack of multihulls will be ripping through the course, including the race record holder Maserati Multi70. The flying Italian stallion is skippered by Giovanni Soldini. The reigning class champion, and 2020 Line Honours winner, Cayman Island’s Peter Cunningham will be racing MOD70 PowerPlay. The multinational team, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, is set for a stout defence of their title. Back for another bite at the apple is Jason Carroll’s American MOD70 Argo with multiple record holder Brian Thompson on the team sheet. Antoine Rabaste and Jacek Siwek will be taking part in their second race with the largest multihull in the fleet, the French 80ft Maxi Multi Ultim’Emotion 2.

Of the expressions of interest so far, favourite for Monohull Line Honours is the 100ft Supermaxi Comanche, with a triple-A crew skippered by Australian Mitch Booth. The VPLP-Verdier 100 last competed in the race in 2016, finishing in just over 40 hours. Given solid trade winds for the race, Comanche is very capable of beating the Monohull Race record, set by George David’s American Rambler 88 in 2018 (37 hours 41 minutes and 45 seconds). Of the current entries, the biggest threat to Comanche will be the boat that set the original record, the Farr 100 Leopard 3 back under new ownership.

The overall winner and individual class winners for the RORC Caribbean 600 are decided by IRC time correction. Tilmar Hansen’s German TP52 Outsider is expected to be defending their overall win in 2020. Outsider races in IRC Zero which is shaping up to be a real battle of the titans and, more often than not, the winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy comes from the big boat class.

David Collins’ British Botin IRC 52 Tala came second overall in 2019 and can match Outsider all the way around the course. From Larchmont YC USA, Christopher Sheehan will be racing Pac52 Warrior One, class winner of the 2021 Transpac Honolulu Race. Two new designs will make their debut in IRC Zero. German skipper Stefan Jentzsch has competed in the race on many occasions, but this will be the first RORC Caribbean 600 for IRC 56 Black Pearl with a multinational team, including South African Marc Lagesse. The Infiniti 52 Zeus will also be making its race debut. Boat Captain Matt Brushwood confirms that the carbon 52ft yacht is close to completion in the USA. A principal design feature is transverse DSS foils.

Antiguan Bernie Evan-Wong has competed in all-twelve past editions and will be back for another with his Reichel Pugh 37 Taz. Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 Liquid will also be flying the Antiguan flag with a young crew.

British interest in the 2022 RORC Caribbean 600 is as strong as it has ever been with four top boats making their race debut. The overall winner of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise is confirmed, as is RORC Commodore James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX, second overall in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader will be making its debut, as will Christopher Daniel’s J/122 Juno. Lombard 46 Pata Negra has raced in the past four editions and won IRC One in the last race. Now under the ownership of Andrew Hall, Pata Negra is back for a fifth race. Taking on the RORC Caribbean 600 with its multitude of manoeuvres is a real challenge for Two-Handed teams. Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada and Tim Knight’s Pogo 12.50 Kai are amongst the early entries.

French interest for the 2022 edition include new boats to the race and around 10 Class40s are expected to have a re-run of the fantastic battle in 2019. Racing Under IRC will be Jean Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First 3, which was fourth in class for the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race and Remy Gerin’s Spirit of Tradition Classic Faiaoahe. Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange de Milon, Laurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza, skippered by Philippe Falle, and Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen will also be competing. While this is the first race for the all-French crew, as Tonnerre de Breskens, the boat has won class on two occasions. In the MOCRA Class Christophe Cols’ French F40 Chaud Patate is set for a return to the race having last competed under previous ownership as Dauphin Telecom – Johnny Be Good in 2014.

Around 10 Class40s are expected to be on the start line of the 2022 RORC Caribbean 600 © Tim Wright/Photoaction.comAround 10 Class40s are expected to be on the start line of the 2022 RORC Caribbean 600 © Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Winner of IRC one in the last edition - the Lombard 46 Pata Negra has competed in the past four editions © Tim Wright/Photoaction.comWinner of IRC one in the last edition - the Lombard 46 Pata Negra has competed in the past four editions © Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Lance Shepherd’s Telefonica Black will be racing with charter guests, as will Jens Lindner’s HYPR Ocean Racing Team. It is difficult to imagine a more thrilling experience for Corinthian sailors than ripping around the RORC Caribbean 600, competing against the professional teams in a Volvo 70! Ondeck Antigua’s Farr 65 Spirit of Juno will also compete with charter guests and will be under the guidance of Paul Jackson in his seventh race.

Ross Applebey will be taking part in his ninth race, skippering Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster which has won class on seven occasions. Scarlet Oyster’s long, friendly rivalry will continue with Andy Middleton’s First 47.7 EH01. Two First 40s will be adding a chapter to their long history in the RORC Caribbean 600. Susan Glenny, taking part in her fifth race, will be racing on Olympia's Tigress with a Californian crew. Yuri Fadeev will be on race number six, racing Optimus Prime with a crew from St. Petersburg Russia.

Canadian teams replacing frozen seas for the warmth of the tropics will be J/121 Wings, skippered by American Bill Wiggins, and Ray Rhinelander from the Royal Newfoundland Yacht Club racing J/133 Bella J. Morgen Watson and Meg Reilly will co-skipper Pogo 12.50 Hermes with a multinational crew and this will be the fifth race for the Canadian boat. Jonas Grander’s Swedish Elliott 44 Matador is also returning for another tilt and will be competing in the highly competitive IRC One Class.

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The final race of the 2021 RORC Season’s Points Championship was won by David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala, second was Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster and third was Gavin Doyle’s Corby 25 Duff Lite, racing Two-Handed with Alex Piatti. The Army Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier was the winner of IRC Three and fourth overall. Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra was the winner of IRC One. Sam Goodchild’s Multi 50 Leyton was first to finish, taking just 7 hours and 23 minutes to complete the 91nm course. Greg Leonard’s Kite was the Class40 winner.

Full Results are here

Tala’s David Collins presented with the Loujaine Trophy by RORC Commodore James Neville (right). Photo: Paul WyethTala’s David Collins presented with the Loujaine Trophy by RORC Commodore James Neville (right). Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Zero

Tala’s David Collins was presented with the Loujaine Trophy by RORC Commodore James Neville for the best overall corrected time under IRC.Tala was also the winner of IRC Zero. Second in class was VME Racing’s CM60 Venomous, sailed by James Gair. Third was Lance Shepherd’s Volvo Open 70 Telefonica Black.

"Once the shorter course was announced, our routing showed it to be much more favourable for us in terms of the tidal gates,” commented Tala’s Pete Redmond. “The beat against the tide worked in our favour against the boats in our class, as well as the smaller boats. Once Tala got around St. Cats and out of the really strong tide, we also had a favourable wind shift. Tala has had a really good season, David (Collins) is really happy. In a fleet with a massive range of IRC Ratings, and a lot of tidal gates in home waters, you don’t always get the best conditions over the season, but we have always tried to get the best result we can. Tala’s current plan for the future is the RORC Transatlantic Race and then up to Antigua for the RORC Caribbean 600. Tala has been optimised for offshore racing, but we have a lot of work planned in preparation for the RORC Transatlantic Race.”
IRC One

Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra was the winner in IRC One for the Quailo Cup. Sport Nautique Club’s Xp 44 Orange Mecanix2, sailed by Maxime de Mareuil, was second. Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood was third.

Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster Photo: Paul WyethRoss Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Two

Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster was presented with the Trophee des Deux Manches for winning IRC Two. Second was Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise, sailed by Jack Trigger. Susan Glenny’s Olympia’s Tigress was third.

“The Castle Rock Race was a bit of a mission,” commented Ross Applebey referring to the 40 tacks in a five-mile stretch approaching St. Cats from the east. “It was full-on, but quite good fun! If we had an infinite amount of energy, we would have done a few more! We really worked hard upwind which put us in a good position.” Downwind Scarlet Oyster made a big gain with their symmetrical kite, as Ross explains. “We went inshore at The Shingles with our pole, temporarily we had five knots of tide against us, which was a bit alarming, but it set us up to get inshore and the advantage of the back eddy to St. Cats. In relatively flat water we gybed out to pass St. Cats and put up our big new kite and we were really rocking with that. Looking to the future, with the permission of my wife and daughter, we hope to enter the RORC Transatlantic Race, and we do have some spaces available for sailors with the right experience.”

The Army Sailing Association’s Fujitsu British Soldier Photo: Paul WyethThe Army Sailing Association’s Fujitsu British Soldier Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Three

The Army Sailing Association’s Fujitsu British Soldier was the winner of IRC Three winning the Yacht Club de France Trophy. Second was Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, raced Two-Handed with Deb Fish. Third was Kevin Armstrong’s J/109 Jazzy Jellyfish.

“We are really pleased with our class win but a bit frustrated that we were fourth overall by just five minutes,” commented Henry Foster, skipper of Fujitsu British Soldier. “We had a cracking race with some very well sailed Two-Handed teams, hats off to Bellino, Tigris and Diablo, it was a hard race but good fun. To get third in class for the season is really pleasing, especially as we have had a development team on board for a number of races. For 2022, we are looking at racing Round Ireland and Cork Week, but the big focus as ever, will be the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Personally, I will not be on the boat for that race, but we have Phil Caswell and Wil Naylor who have done about ten races between them.”

IRC Two-Handed teams racing in the RORC Castle Rock Race Photo: Paul WyethIRC Two-Handed teams racing in the RORC Castle Rock Race Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Four

Two-Handed teams occupied all three podium positions in IRC Four. Gavin Doyle & Alex Piatti racing Duff Lite won the Jolie Brise Trophy. Second was Renaud Courbon racing with Rosie Hill in his First Class 10 Shortgood. Stuart Greenfield’s S&S 34 Morning After was third.

IRC Two-Handed

Duff Lite was the winner of the RORC Trophy. Shortgood was runner up and Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews, racing Nigel Goodhew’s Sun Fast 3200 Cora, was third.

“I asked Alex (Piatti) how many tacks we did, and he replied – too many!” commented Duff Lite’s Gavin Doyle. “If we are going inshore, we like to be the guys that go in the furthest and get the most out of it. We are absolutely delighted with the result. This is our first season with the boat, next up will be the IRC Two-Handed Championship, and we are looking forward to a head-to-head with another Corby 25 in the Hamble Winter Series.” 

BBQ hosted at the RORC Cowes ClubhouseBBQ hosted at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse

There was something of an end of term party atmosphere after the Castle Rock Race with a Race Prizegiving and BBQ hosted at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse. The RORC Annual Dinner, a spectacular black-tie awards ceremony for the RORC Season's Points Championship, will be taking place on Saturday, 27th November at the Intercontinental Park Lane, London.

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club Season’s Points Championship concludes this weekend in the UK with the Castle Rock Race, the grand finale for the RORC season. The eleventh and final race for 2021 will decide the class winners for the world’s largest offshore racing series. Over 400 teams will have competed in the championship over the twelve-month series.

Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise secured the overall championship win in last month’s Rolex Fastnet Race. However, the overall runner up for the season will be decided after the Castle Rock Race. Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader is currently second, but three teams are very much in contention: ISORA's Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra, Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster, and Dubliner Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood.

VME Racing’s CM60 Venomous © Carlo BorlenghiVME Racing’s CM60 Venomous © Carlo Borlenghi

In IRC Zero, VME Racing’s CM60 Venomous is in pole position but David Collins’ Botin IRC52 Tala is favourite to retain the IRC Zero title by completing the final race. Eric de Turckheim’s NYMD 54 Teasing Machine is currently third but a good result by Ross Hobson and Adrian Banks' Pegasus Of Northumberland will see them overtake Teasing Machine for third.

Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood © Paul Wyeth/RORCMichael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood © Paul Wyeth/RORC

IRC One will have a new champion for the series, as neither of the top contenders has won the class before. Michael O'Donnell’s Darkwood has a five-point lead over Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra with both boats unlikely to be able to better their current scores. Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorus II had a superb Rolex Fastnet Race and is odds on to claim the final podium position, ahead of Ed Fishwick’s GP42 Redshift.

Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster © Paul Wyeth/RORCRoss Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster © Paul Wyeth/RORC

In IRC Two Tom Kneen’s Sunrise is virtually unbeatable. However, Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster is looking strong for runner-up in the class with Ed Bell’s Dawn Treader assured of at least third place for the season.

Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with Deb Fish © Rick Tomlinson/RORCRob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with Deb Fish © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

A record 83 IRC Two-handed teams have been racing in the RORC Season’s Points Championship and the class winner will be decided in the Castle Rock Race. Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing with Deb Fish, leads the class for the season by just over seven points from Nigel Goodhew’s Sun Fast 3200 Cora, raced by son Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews. Bellino was the champion in 2019, Cora was second.

In IRC Three, there are four Sun Fast 3600 battling for the podium. Bellino looks set to win the class, having been runner-up in 2019 by less than two points. Bellino is only four points ahead of James Harayda’s Gentoo, racing Two-Handed with Dee Caffari. However, Gentoo has not entered this weekend’s race. Battling for the final podium position are the Army Sailing Association’s Fujitsu British Soldier and Nick Martin’s Diablo.

Nigel Goodhew’s Sun Fast 3200 Cora, raced by son Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews. © Rick Tomlinson/RORCNigel Goodhew’s Sun Fast 3200 Cora, raced by son Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews. © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

In IRC Four, the podium for the season looks to be decided prior to the Castle Rock Race. Cora has an unassailable lead and will win IRC Four for the first time. Renaud Courbon & Emmanuel Winsback, racing First Class 10 Shortgood, is in second place.

Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, racing with Jeremy Waitt, is less than two points behind in third, but Jangada is en route to the Rolex Middle Sea Race and will not be competing in the Castle Rock Race.

Greg Leonard’s Class40 Kite © Paul Wyeth/RORCGreg Leonard’s Class40 Kite © Paul Wyeth/RORC

37 Class40 teams have competed in the championship. Greg Leonard’s Kite is entered for the Castle Rock Race for somewhat of a lap of honour having won class for the season. Sam Goodchild’s Multi 50 Leyton will be making a RORC debut, with plans to compete in next year’s RORC Caribbean 600.

Yachts taking part in the Castle Rock Race will start to gather off Cowes Parade from around 1800 on Friday 10th September. The full entry list and AIS tracking link can be found here and also via smartphones with the YB App. 

Once back in Cowes competitors will experience the warm welcome by the RORC Cowes Clubhouse where the prizegiving will extend to an evening of partying, with competitors and their guests enjoying all that the Clubhouse has to offer.

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Teams racing Two-Handed in IRC Four dominated the overall results for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Channel Race. Held in light to medium airs, the 98nm offshore race was won overall by Jeffrey Knapman’s MG335 Virago, racing with Tristan Kemp. Second overall was the Sun Fast 3200 Cora, raced by Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews. Gavin Doyle’s Irish Corby 25 Duff Lite, racing with Alex Piatti, was third. Duff Lite was a slender 17 seconds ahead of William McGough & Christian Jeffery, racing J/109 Just So.

RORC has Congratulated all of the class winners, including Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD54 Teasing Machine, Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood, Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster, Henry Bomby & Sam Matson racing Sun Fast 3300 Swell, and Class40 Manic, skippered by Brian Thompson.

Full Results Link here

Starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line on an ebb tide, the 80-boat RORC fleet beat to the west to exit The Solent. The ingenious course then required the fleet to pass a line of longitude, south of Bournemouth, before easing sheets and racing downwind past St Catherine’s Point. A second line of longitude, south of Littlehampton, was the next leg of the course. The RORC fleet then rounded the Nab Tower, before finishing at Stokes Bay East off Gilkicker Point.

Jeffrey Knapman’s MG335 Virago, racing with Tristan Kemp. Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORCJeffrey Knapman’s MG335 Virago, racing with Tristan Kemp. Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

“This is our first race as a Two-Handed team, although we have raced, together and against each other, as kids in dinghies.” smiled Jeffrey Knapman, who raced Virago to overall victory with cousin Tristan Kemp. “To be honest, the conditions really suited the set-up of the boat. The No.2 is our biggest jib and was perfect for the upwind conditions. This season we have a much bigger spinnaker, which does put our rating up, but really increases the horse-power.” Both Jeffrey and Tristan managed to grab two hours sleep each in the first half of the race. “It’s unusual to get that much sleep but it helped us to be proactive in the latter part of the race, especially staying alert for wind shifts and a confused sea state. When the Sun Fast 3200 Cora finished, we calculated they were three minutes ahead of us on corrected time. This was a real incentive to make up the time to win our class, but we were very surprised to win the race overall!”

Eric de Turckheim’s French NMYD54 Teasing Machine Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORCEric de Turckheim’s French NMYD54 Teasing Machine Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

IRC ZERO

Eric de Turckheim’s French NMYD54 Teasing Machine was the winner of IRC Zero after a fascinating battle with David Collins’ British Botin IRC 52 Tala, which took Line Honours for the race.

“We had a good race which was very interesting,” commented Teasing Machine’s Eric de Turckheim. “The lines of longitude were giving quite a lot of tactical options, especially the angle of attack and the relationship with the currents. Most routing software programmes work using waypoints, not lines of longitude, also you have to plan much farther forward for the next leg. On the first leg west, Tala was on one extreme south, and we were on the other extreme north, but we finished the race almost together. In the end, Tala was quicker than us to the finish, but this was a good race for Teasing Machine. Next we will do the Fastnet Race, and I am really looking forward to it.”

Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORCMichael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

IRC ONE

Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood was the winner or IRC One, three minutes and 42 seconds ahead after IRC time correction from Jacques Pelletier’s French Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon. Third was Colin Campbell’s British Azuree 46 Eclectic.

“For us, L'Ange De Milon is a benchmark for our performance, given that they won the class in the last Fastnet Race, “ commented Darkwood’s Michael O'Donnell’s. “For this race they were always wily, and we spent the whole time looking over our shoulder. She was always in touch with us, right to the finish. Pelletier’s team are formidable competitors, and on corrected time, they only give us seven seconds an hour. I am sure they will be one of the boats giving us a tough battle for the big race. We look at the FAST40+ as well, and we are competitive in conditions were they can’t plane, probably 14 knots of wind. Our opportunity comes when it is a bit lighter, and this season has been light airs so far. We would not be at all upset if those conditions continued for the Fastnet Race. Having said all that, you need to sail the boat well. The RORC racing in the Spring was really useful, as we got out every sail, raced around plenty of corners, and all in a variety of conditions.”

Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORCRoss Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

IRC TWO

Ross Applebey’s British Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster was the class winner. A terrific battle for second place was fought between two British JPK 11.80s. Ed Bell’s Dawn Treader won the duel by just 17 seconds after IRC time correction, from Thomas Kneen’s Sunrise, sailed by Tom Cheney. Sunrise leads IRC Two for the season, but with the discard race rule kicking in, Dawn Treader and Scarlet Oyster have closed the gap in the class prior to the Fastnet Race.

Henry Bomby & Sam Matson won IRC Three racing Sun Fast 3300 Swell Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORCHenry Bomby & Sam Matson won IRC Three racing Sun Fast 3300 Swell Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

IRC THREE

The Two-Handed pair of Henry Bomby & Sam Matson won IRC Three racing Sun Fast 3300 Swell. Mike Yates’ J/109 JAGO, racing Two-Handed with Eivind Bøymo-Malm, was runner-up, by just 26 seconds after IRC time correction. Third in class was Nick Martin’s Sun Fast 3600 Diablo. Nick Martin was racing Two-Handed with Calanach Finlayson and has moved up to fourth in IRC Three for the season.

The RORC Season’s Points Championship continues on Sunday the 8th of August with the 49th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race. Starting from the RYS Line Cowes, about 400 boats will set off on the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s flagship offshore race

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club Season’s Points Championship continues with the Channel Race, which will start on Saturday, July 24th from the RYS Line, Cowes. 80 boats have entered the non-stop overnight race with the majority of the fleet expected to finish the race in about 24 hours. The Channel Race is the ninth race of the RORC Season’s Points Championship with an international fleet racing under IRC and Class40 Rules. The Channel Race is the final RORC race before the main event of the season, the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race.

Favourites for Line Honours and the Hugh Astor Trophy will be racing in IRC Zero. David Collins' Botin IRC 52 Tala took line honours and IRC Zero for the Channel Race in 2019. Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD54 Teasing Machine, second in 2019, will be Tala’s main opposition. Lance Shepherd’s Volvo Open 70 Telefonica Black and Ross Hobson’s Open 50 Pegasus Of Northumberland, will hope for strong reaching conditions to be first to cross the finish line. Jean Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First 3 will be racing with his team from Marseille, France. 

Greg Leonard’s Kite and Manic skippered by Brian Thompson will duel for Class40 honours.   Greg Leonard’s Kite and Manic skippered by Brian Thompson will duel for Class40 honours. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Michael O’Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC ONE

Michael O’Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood leads IRC One for the 2021 RORC Season’s Points Championship and is a contender for the overall title. Darkwood will be defending the Channel Challenge Cup, as overall winners in 2019. Ed Fishwick’s GP42 Redshift is second in class for the 2021 season, and with a good result in the Channel Race, could take the lead from Darkwood. RORC Commodore James Neville, racing HH42 Ino XXX, will be in a confident mood after winning the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race overall. Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorus II, and Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra, will both be racing and looking to improve their points tally for the season. The Tall Ships Youth Trust has two entries. The 72ft Challenger Yachts will be skippered by Michael Miller and Sue Geary. Teams from overseas include, Jacques Pelletier’s French Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon, winner of IRC One in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet, and Steven Verstraete’s Belgian Sydney 43 Morpheus.

Thomas Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise Photo: Rick TomlinsonThomas Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise Photo: Rick Tomlinson

IRC TWO

The overall leader of the 2021 RORC Season’s Points Championship will be racing. Thomas Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise is the clear leader by over 100 points. However, Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader has scored one less race for the season and is very likely to close the gap after the Channel Race. The same mathematics is true for Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster. Five Beneteau First 40s will be in action including three entries from Sailing Logic: Lancelot II sailed by James Davies, Merlin sailed by Simon Zavad with CSORC, and Arthur sailed by Jim Bennett. Promocean’s First 40 Hoeoca Sfida and Susan Glenny’s First 40 Olympia's Tigress will also be in the mix. Teams from the Netherlands, both racing Two-Handed are J/122e Moana, sailed by Frans van Cappelle & Michelle Witsenburg and JPK 1180 Il Corvo, sailed by Roeland Franssens & Astrid de Vin. Benedikt Clauberg’s Swiss First 47.7 Kali will be taking part in their sixth RORC race of the season.

Gavin Howe's Sun Fast 3600 Tigris Photo: Paul WyethGavin Howe's Sun Fast 3600 Tigris Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC THREE

23 teams are expected to be racing in IRC Three, including many teams racing Two-Handed. Fully crewed entries include Trevor Middleton’s Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep. Skippered by Jake Carter, Black Sheep is the leading fully crewed team in IRC Three. Five fully crewed J/109s will continue their close rivalry for the season. Kevin Armstrong’s Jazzy Jellyfish is leading the J/109s for 2021 ahead of Mojo Risin' skippered by Rob Cotterill.

IRC TWO-HANDED

28 teams are entered racing Two-Handed, the majority racing in IRC Three and Four, the top two double handers for the season so far will be in action. Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing with Deb Fish, is less than ten points ahead of James Harayda’s Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo, racing with Dee Caffari. Two Sun Fast 3600s are battling for third for the season. Gavin Howe’s Tigris, racing with Maggie Adamson, is 13 points ahead of Nick Martin’s Diablo, racing with Calanach Finlayson. Two-Handed teams from France include Max Mesnil & Hugo Feydit racing J/99 Axe Sail, and Gilles Courbon & David Guyonvarch racing First Class 10 Shortgood.

Stuart Greenfield’s S&S 34 Morning After Photo: James TomlinsonStuart Greenfield’s S&S 34 Morning After Photo: James Tomlinson

IRC FOUR

Sun Fast 3200 Cora sailed Two-Handed by Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews is leading the class for the season. Cora will be looking to hold off a spirited challenge for the series from Stuart Greenfield’s S&S 34 Morning After, also sailed Two-Handed with Louise Clayton. 20 teams are entered in IRC Four including Gavin Doyle’s Irish Corby 25 Duff Lite and Pierre Legoupil’s French classic Le Loup Rouge Of Cmn.

Yachts taking part in the Channel Race will start to gather off Cowes Parade from around 1000 on Saturday 24th July. The full entry list and AIS tracking link can be found at https://yb.tl/channel2021 and also via smartphones with the YB App. 

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With less than a month before the start of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, IRC Three boasts the largest class competing with 88 teams entered from at least 10 different countries. IRC Three has a cornucopia of boat designs, mainly raced by amateur crews. However, amongst these Corinthian sailors is a rich vein of world class professionals, especially racing in the Two-Handed discipline. In recent editions, IRC Three has produced two overall winners of the race - Pascal and Alexis Loison racing Two-Handed with Night and Day (2013) and Gery Trentesaux’s fully-crewed Courrier Du Leon (2015).

Two-Handed Warriors

The vast majority of the 2021 Fastnet Race’s IRC Two-Handed teams will be racing in IRC Three. The double-handed discipline has become hugely popular, almost doubling in the number of entries over the last decade. The 49th edition is set to eclipse the 64 entries in the 2019 race.

2013 was a golden edition for the father and son duo, Pascal and Alexis Loison, racing JPK 1010 Night and Day to overall victory. Alexis Loison’s success continued in 2019 with JPK 1030 Léon. Racing with the boat’s builder Jean Pierre Kelbert, Léon was the winner of IRC Three and IRC Two-Handed. Léon was leading the Two-Handed Class by 17 minutes at the Fastnet Rock but won the class by nearly five hours by the finish. “After the Rock we had strong reaching conditions with big seas,” recalls Alexis Loison. “With the A5 spinnaker up we were surfing at 19 knots and by the time we reached the Scilly Isles we were with IRC One!”

For the 2021 edition, Alexis will race Léon with a rising star. Guillaume Pirouelle excelled in the 470 Class, won the Tour de France à la voile, and was selected to skipper Region Normandie in the Figaro Class. Should the pair taste success in this year’s race, the two Normans will undoubtedly receive a hero’s welcome in Alexis’ home port of Cherbourg.

“We don’t think about the finish; all of our effort is put into preparing Léon for the race,” continued Alex. “The competition in the Two-Handed Class is very strong from the British Sun Fast teams and like Léon, they will be very fast in strong reaching conditions.”

Past winner, Alexis Loison will race Léon with Guillaume Pirouelle in IRC Three Photo: Carlo Borlenghi/RolexPast winner, Alexis Loison will race Léon with Guillaume Pirouelle in IRC Three Photo: Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex

British Two-Handed teams competing for glory in IRC Three include the leading team for the class in the 2021 RORC Season’s Points Championship. Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing with Deb Fish. Bellino’s best Fastnet Race to date was 2017 with a third in both classes. Between them, Rob and Deb have competed in 18 races.

“We're as always excited by the pinnacle race of the season,” commented Deb Fish. “It's a fascinating course with lots of challenges for the navigator and we have already started analysing the tides and strategies for passing Alderney for the new course. We would love to do better than our 2017 result, but that will be a tall order with the influx of boats and talent into the class.”

A new Two-Handed pairing this year and proven race winners are James Harayda and Dee Caffari racing Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo. Dee has vast offshore experience, including the Volvo Ocean Race, six Round the World races, the Vendée Globe, and was the first woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world in both directions. James competed in 2019 on Gallivanter and is looking forward to the new course and tactical decisions that come with it. “I love the race for the adventure, excitement and challenge and am looking forward to the new finish destination of Cherbourg,” said Harayda.

Henry Bomby and Shirley Robertson will be racing Sun Fast 3300 Swell in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Henry was second in the Two-Handed Class in 2019, racing Fastrak XI with Hannah Diamond. Four times Figaro sailor Henry Bomby also competed in the last Volvo Ocean Race and this will be his fifth Rolex Fastnet Race. Shirley Robertson was the first British woman to claim consecutive gold medals in the Olympics. This will be Shirley’s third race, but she is under no illusion that it will be a very different experience, racing doublehanded in the Fastnet Race for the first time.

2015 Two-Handed winners Kelvin Rawlings and Stuart Childerley will be racing Kelvin’s Sun Fast 3300 Aries. Kelvin is an amateur sailor with decades of big boat racing success. Stuart is a two-time Etchells World Champion and double-Olympian. Stuart will be racing after returning from the Tokyo Games where he is Race Officer for the Finn Class. The Aries crew has a combined age of 126 years. Earlier in the 2021 season, Aries put in a winning performance beating both Bellino and Gentoo. "It’s all down to Stuart Childerley, I am only the labourer on the bow!" joked Rawlings. "Our aim is to win by sailing as best and as hard as we can. I enjoy every second of it.”

Veteran racer Alex Bennett will be racing Two-Handed with fellow pro-sailor, Conrad Humphreys in his 1984 Swan 46 Ginny B. The British teams accolades run off the page with Bennett excelling in the Mini Transat and Class40 arena, whilst Humphreys’ success includes winning skipper in the BT Global Challenge and completing the Vendée Globe.

“The challenge is always bigger when you go shorthanded and it offers the greatest challenge over this kind of course,” says Bennett, who is in awe of the IRC Two-Handed fleet. “It is huge - like the Mini Transat fleet in terms of numbers.” Bennett first sailed the Fastnet Race in 1995, when, aged 19, he led the Fastnet Youth Challenge to second place in class aboard a Sigma 36.”

Rob Craigie and Deb Fish will compete Two-Handed on Sun Fast 3600 Bellino Rob Craigie and Deb Fish will compete Two-Handed on Sun Fast 3600 Bellino Photo: James Tomlinson  


James Harayda and Dee Caffari racing Sun Fast 3300 GentooJames Harayda and Dee Caffari racing Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo © James Tomlinson

Team Bomby/Robertson: Henry Bomby and Shirley Robertson on Sun Fast 3300 Swell in the Rolex Fastnet RaceTeam Bomby/Robertson: Henry Bomby and Shirley Robertson on Sun Fast 3300 Swell in the Rolex Fastnet Race Photo: Paul Wyeth

 2015 Two-Handed winners Kelvin Rawlings and Stuart Childerley will be racing Kelvin’s Sun Fast 3300 Aries2015 Two-Handed winners Kelvin Rawlings and Stuart Childerley will be racing Kelvin’s Sun Fast 3300 Aries Photo: Paul Wyeth

Fully Crewed Internationals

Over half of the teams racing in IRC Three for the Rolex Fastnet Race will be competing with a full crew. With team rotation and all hands on deck for manoeuvres, these teams can push their boats harder for longer than their doublehanded adversaries. Whilst the Two-Handed favourites come from France and Great Britain, there is a rich diversity of nationalities racing fully crewed with British and French teams joined by crews from Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Russia and the United States.

This will be the fourth Rolex Fastnet Race in a row for the Black Sheep crew. Trevor Middleton bought the Sun Fast 3600 from new to win the 2019 RORC Season’s Championship overall. “Always nice to round the Rock and I’m looking forward to seeing what the different route is like,” commented Middleton. The Rolex Fastnet Race is always a ‘must do race’ on the calendar. We like the bigger races, Rolex Fastnet, RORC Caribbean 600, Rolex Middle Sea etc. The most difficult part is getting to the start line with everything ready and prepared, but the race is simply a classic which will be hard to miss when the time comes to stop racing. I will be competing with a crew of friends who have sailed together for a while, skippered by Jake Carter.”

One of the fancied French teams, racing fully crewed in IRC Three, will be Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 1080 Raging-Bee², which will be racing to their home port of Cherbourg. Racing Raging-Bee² raced Two-Handed in the 2019 edition and was third in class. The fully crewed Raging-Bee² was in fine form for the recent Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race, winning IRC Three. “It is wonderful to race again in Cowes and see all our English friends on the starting line,” commented Dussere. “We know that we are very good upwind against the top competition, so, we hope there will be a lot of upwind components to the race.”

The fourth Rolex Fastnet Race for 2019 RORC Season’s Points Championship winners - Trevor Middleton's Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep Photo: Paul WyethThe fourth Rolex Fastnet Race for 2019 RORC Season’s Points Championship winners - Trevor Middleton's Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep Photo: Paul Wyeth 

Racing fully crewed in IRC Three back to their home port of Cherbourg will be Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 1080 Raging-Bee² Photo: Paul WyethRacing fully crewed in IRC Three back to their home port of Cherbourg will be Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 1080 Raging-Bee² Photo: Paul Wyeth

Denis Murphy and Royal Cork Yacht Club Rear Admiral, Annamarie Fegan will be racing Irish Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo for the Fastnet Race. The tactician will be one of Ireland’s top sailors, Nicholas O’Leary, who has competed in three races, including doublehanded with Alex Thomson on IMOCA60 HUGO BOSS. The Nieulargo crew includes 21-year-old Harry Durcan, a champion Optimist, Laser and 29er sailor, and Killian Collins who represented Ireland in the 2004 Olympic Games.

“All of the crew are from Cork, including Denis’ two daughters Mia and Molly who are the principal drivers, and bow woman extraordinaire, Cliodhna Connolly,” commented Nicholas. “We had a good result winning the Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race overall this year, to add to a win in the Dun Laoghaire to Cork race in 2020. Nieulargo will be proudly representing the Royal Cork Yacht Club and as always, it will be a special moment in the race when we round the Fastnet Rock.”

Fifteen J/109 teams have entered the Fastnet Race for the J/109 Trophy, 12 will be racing in IRC Three. One of the fancied performers in the J/109s will be Mike Yates’ JAGO, racing Two-Handed with Eivind Bøymo-Malm. This will be Mike Yates’ first Fastnet Race after 30 years of racing, which includes winning the Commodores’ Cup (way back when), Etchells, Ultras, Skiffs, Mumm30, Ton-class racing, as well as various transatlantics. Yates is also aiming for a top 10 in the Two-Handed class.

Six classic design yachts have entered the Fastnet Race in IRC Three, including Robert Nichols’ Swan 48 Snow Wolf, Ben Morris’ Swan 55 yawl Lulotte and Swan 48 Dantes sailed by Michael Orgzey. Hiroshi Nakajima’s American S&S 49 Hiro Maru is a one-off aluminium yacht designed in 1969 for the original owner Chuck Kirsch. In 2019, Hiro, with his all-amateur Corinthian crew, sailed to victory in the Transatlantic Race, taking first in class for the 3,200nm race.

Denis Murphy and Royal Cork YC Rear Admiral, Annamarie Fegan will be racing Irish Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, with tactician Nicholas O’Leary Photo: Afloat.ieDenis Murphy and Royal Cork YC Rear Admiral, Annamarie Fegan will be racing Irish Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, with tactician Nicholas O’Leary Photo: Afloat.ie

One of the fancied performers in the J/109s will be Mike Yates’ JAGO, racing Two-Handed with Eivind Bøymo-Malm Photo: Rick TomlinsonOne of the fancied performers in the J/109s will be Mike Yates’ JAGO, racing Two-Handed with Eivind Bøymo-Malm Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Hiroshi Nakajima’s American S&S 49 Hiro Maru is a one-off aluminium yacht designed in 1969 Photo: Rick TomlinsonHiroshi Nakajima’s American S&S 49 Hiro Maru is a one-off aluminium yacht designed in 1969 Photo: Rick Tomlinson

The myriad of boat designs and crews racing in IRC Three mirrors the character of theFastnet Race. From its inception in 1925, the race has proven highly influential in the growth of offshore racing and remains closely linked to advances in yacht design and sailing technique. As always, the winner of the class will be the team that sails a near perfect race. The weather then decides if the class winner will win the Fastnet Race overall, but with recent winners of the race coming from IRC Three, this class will be one to watch.

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Among many hot boats in IRC Two will be the JPK 1180, big brother to the JPK 10.10 Night and Day and 10.80 Courrier Du Leon, which won the Rolex Fastnet Races in 2013 and 2015 respectively. This year five of those potent IRC performers are entered in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s premier event: Eric Fries' Fastwave 6 and Richard Fromentin's Cocody from France, Astrid de Vin's Il Corvo from the Netherlands and from the UK, Ed Bell's Dawn Treader and Thomas Kneen's Sunrise.

Veteran of the Volvo Ocean Race, Dave Swete is sailing master on board Sunrise this season. The Hamble-based Kiwi professional is looking forward to sailing with her young crew, who earlier this season finished third from 112 finishers in the RORC’s Myth of Malham Race, covering the first part of the Rolex Fastnet Race race course down to the Eddystone Lighthouse. Owner Tom Kneen is only 36 and many of his crew are part of the RORC’s long term initiative to develop racing for Under 35s, run by the club’s Griffin Committee. Swete sees great value in the programme: “In the UK I think there is a link that is missing between people who come out of university or school or out of dinghies and into keelboats.

“On Sunrise we have a youth crew who are all amateurs, apart from me, and up and coming sailors who might make a career out of it. We have three girls on board – in fact, I don’t know a Performance 40 that doesn’t have a girl on board. It is quite an inclusive class like that.” (Swete is also Class Manager for the Performance 40 class, which straddles IRC One and Two in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Eric Fries and his crew on Fastwave 6 are seen as quiet favourites for winning IRC Two, a dark horse to watch out for in this fiercely contested class. Under her former guise of Adam Gosling’s Yes!, Dawn Treader was a proven performer and Ed Bell continues to campaign her very seriously.

Tom Kneen's JPK 1180 Sunrise - helping to foster offshore sailing opportunities for under 35sTom Kneen's JPK 1180 Sunrise - helping to foster offshore sailing opportunities for under 35s Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Just as serious, but always with a smile on their faces, are the crew of Richard Fromentin’s Cocody. Crewman Nicolas Dupard comments: “Our main goal is to win on corrected time in our class. At least we are aiming for a top three! In the end, the most important thing for us is to have done the most to achieve our goal, even if we've not won the race.

“We are all good friends, and we are pretty sure that if we’ve done our best, we will have a lot of fun on this fantastic race. As a private joke, we call ourselves “Cocody’s Rangers” - and a Ranger never gives up! Do not hesitate to inform our competitors! Also, we noticed that Rolex Fastnet Race ‘RFR’ could be the ‘Richard Fromentin Race’! Maybe it will bring us luck for this year.”

Bringing a huge amount of experience from competing in the previous six Rolex Fastnet Races is Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau’s Grand Soleil 43 Codiam. Their track record includes IRC One victories in 2009 and 2011 and overall finishes of tenth and seventh in 2017 and 2011 respectively.

The J Boat family will be out in force for the Rolex Fastnet Race and are well represented in IRC Two. Stuart Lawrence and his crew on the J/120 Scream 2 have been making a noise in JOG races this season. If the wind direction sets up the course for a reach to the Rock and back, Lawrence & Co. will have a scream on corrected time.

Of the J/111s lining up in this division, pick of the bunch is probably SL Energies skippered by Laurent Charmy, who finished third overall under IRC in last season’s Drheam Cup.

Corinne Migraine co-owns the successful J/133 Pintia with her father Gilles Fournier. This family team are very long-term supporters of RORC races and fare very well in them too - this year’s second place overall in the Myth of Malham being a perfect example. Fournier is proud of his family line-up on board. “I sail with my daughter Corinne, my grandson Victor Migraine and my two nephews - Yan and Thomas Fournier. We are all from the Société des Régates du Havre, the best sailing school in France.”

Seventh Rolex Fastnet Race for Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau - Grand Soleil 43 CodiamSeventh Rolex Fastnet Race for Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau - Grand Soleil 43 Codiam Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

J/111 SL Energies skippered by Laurent CharmyJ/111 SL Energies skippered by Laurent Charmy Photo: Paul Wyeth

Another French family with a long and strong association with the Rolex Fastnet Race are the Catherineaus. Back in that fateful year of 1979, Alain Catherineau risked his life coming to the rescue of seven sailors on board the RORC’s youth training yacht Griffin, skippered by Stuart Quarrie. For his efforts, he was voted the YJA Yachtsman of the Year for 1979. Despite that bruising experience, he continues to come back to the race and with great competitive spirit. Skippered by his daughter Marie, and with his other daughter Anne-Sophie on board, the J/122 Lorelei has won the RORC’s La Trinité Race and will be a serious contender in IRC Two.

Sistership to Lorelei, British skipper Andy Theobald’s J/122 R&W is another serious player in this class. Theobald loves to bring in employees from his R&W civil engineering business to share the pleasures and challenges of offshore racing with him. Another to watch will be Christopher Daniel’s J/122e Juno, the 2019 Champion in the Performance 40 class.

Several ‘modern classic’ yachts from the 1960s and 1970s are competing in the race. Among them is the Nicholson 55, Eager, owned by yacht broker Chris Cecil-Wright and skippered by RORC Committee member Richard Powell. Eager was the first Nicholson 55 to be launched when she was known as the Lloyd’s of London Yacht Club’s Lutine until she was sold in 1999. The yacht has since undergone a massive rebuild and modernisation, including the fitting of a much-enlarged sail plan based around a carbon spar, a new rudder, deck, deck layout and superstructure, and complete interior, layout and systems. Expect Eager to be well sailed and very competitive in IRC 2, as several stars of the INEOS Team UK America’s Cup crew are expected to step on board for the ride.

Richard Powell's Nicholson 55 Eager - one of several ‘modern classic’ yachts from the 1960s and 1970s competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race Photo: Paul WyethRichard Powell's Nicholson 55 Eager - one of several ‘modern classic’ yachts from the 1960s and 1970s competing in the Rolex Fastnet Race Photo: Paul Wyeth

A few latter-day America’s Cup veterans, such as Paul Standbridge will also be on Desperado of Cowes, the Swan 65 ketch owned since 1986 by Richard Loftus. For this year’s race Loftus’ crew has an average age of 65 to compete with him in his tenth Rolex Fastnet Race. Over the years Loftus has enjoyed success with Desperado, notably in 1989 when his heavyweight ketch and upwind weapon won CHS overall. Desperado also enjoyed the breezy 2007 race, when they found themselves well in the lead at the Fastnet Rock under corrected time, only to be overhauled downwind on the way back. Nonetheless, the Swan 65 still finished 7th overall under IRC. 

Even older than Desperado, but almost identical under IRC rating, is Refanut. This 63ft Sparkman & Stephens design was built in Stockholm in 1955, originally for Swedish banker and industrialist Jacob Wallenberg. She is now being campaigned by his grandson Fredrik Wallenburg who can’t wait to get going on his second assault on the Rolex Fastnet Race. “Our first was in 2015. Now, as then, it is still a bucket list race for most of the crew.” Refanut has been raced extensively since her launch in 2015, mostly in the Baltic (the Gotland Runt race being the annual tradition), but she’s also had some success in the Mediterranean, as well as in Newport, Rhode Island.

“The crew is a mixture of my friends (around 50) and my younger brothers group (30 or so). I’d love to call it brains and brawn, but the biggest brawn is in my group and there is no telling where the brains are!” Fredrik and his brother Peder are passionate about continuing to race Refanut. Other notables on the crew are the former Commodore of the Royal Swedish Yacht Club, Staffan Salén, and the owner/helmsman of Team Inga from Sweden, Richard Göransson.”

A family affair on the 1955 Sparkman & Stephens Refanut - Fredrik Wallenberg is campaigning the boat built for his GrandfatherA family affair on the 1955 Sparkman & Stephens Refanut - Fredrik Wallenberg is campaigning the boat built for his Grandfather

One of the biggest ‘races within a race’ will be between the 18 First 40s competing, most falling within the minimum 1.070 IRC TCC limit for the Performance 40 class. Many are making the trip to Cowes from different corners of Europe. Gianrocco Catalano and his Italian crew on Mon Ile Tevere Remo enjoy good results in the Mediterranean including an overall IRC victory in the 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar race. Håkan Grönvall, from the Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) is bringing his First 40 C-Me the 1,200 nautical miles from Stockholm to compete.

Alexander Vodovatov, the head of Russian offshore racing club, SeaVentus, is chartering the First 40, Zada, having previously chartered a Farr 50 for the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, followed by a J/122 in 2019. “For my club this will be the fifth time in the Rolex Fastnet Race,” said Vodovatov. “We respect this race. We know its history and traditions, and we never miss an opportunity to compete in this legendary race.”

Finally, another strong IRC Two contender will be serial RORC entrant Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster, whose family has been campaigning their Oyster Lightwave 48 continuously for 30 years. During this time they have racked up numerous race wins and class victories in notably the Rolex Fastnet Race and RORC Caribbean 600. In 2019, Scarlet Oyster won overall both the gnarly De Guingand Bowl and the Cowes-Dinard-St Malo. This year, at the time of writing, Applebey’s red flyer is sitting third in IRC Two in the RORC’s 2021 Seasons Point Championship behind Sunrise and Dawn Treader.

Ross Applebey’s Oyster Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster has racked up numerous race wins and class victories notably in the Rolex Fastnet Race and RORC Caribbean 600 Photo: ELWJ PhotosRoss Applebey’s Oyster Lightwave 48 Scarlet Oyster has racked up numerous race wins and class victories notably in the Rolex Fastnet Race and RORC Caribbean 600 Photo: ELWJ Photos

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120 boats competed in the 2021 Cowes Dinard St Malo Race. The historic race which dates back to 1906, was won overall by RORC Commodore James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX. Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader was second and Ed Fishwick’s GP42 Redshift was third. In the modern era, James Neville is the first RORC Commodore in office to win the King Edward VII Cup.

“Some amazing sailors have been Commodore of the RORC, so this is a proud achievement,” commented James. “We got a fantastic start and held onto Teasing Machine up the Solent. It was a challenging race for the navigator Coriolan (Rousselle), especially to judge how far west we could go to hedge our bets with the tide. Then when the wind went very unstable, we stuck to our plan and cracked off for speed. The tactic worked as we were lifted to get ahead of Redshift. We are really happy about our performance because light winds beating is not really our best conditions, it is not what we are set up for, but we really played our hand very well.”

Line Honours for the MOCRA Class was taken by Francis Joyon’s IDEC. Line Honours for monohulls ,and winner of IRC Zero, was Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD54 Teasing Machine. Congratulations to all the class winners: Nicolas Jossier’s Class40 La Manche #EvidenceNautique, Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader, Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 1080 Raging-Bee², and Elizabeth Wallis’ Albin Express, Expressly Forbidden.

Full Results here

By the morning of the race, 40 French and Dutch boats had sailed to Cowes to compete. On receiving YB Trackers delivered by RORC RIB, all of the overseas teams were delighted by the warm RORC welcome. The club was equally delighted that so many overseas sailors teams had made the effort in these unusual times.

The 150 nautical mile race started off the Squadron Line in brilliant sunshine and light airs. Race fans enjoyed a spectacular view from Cowes, as the majority of the fleet started on the island shore as the tide began to turn favourably to the west. A building south-westerly breeze arced up the boats in the Western Solent for an impressive send-off past The Needles and into the English Channel. Conditions offshore were extremely unstable, the prevailing wind was a light southerly, but the fleet experienced significant changes in wind strength and direction, which coupled with strong tide provided a complex conundrum. Managing the changing conditions was rewarded with a top performance.

 Francis Joyon’s IDEC and Yves Le Blevec’s Ultim Actual, sailed by Ronan DehayesFrancis Joyon’s IDEC and Yves Le Blevec’s Ultim Actual, sailed by Ronan Dehayes Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC

MOCRA Class

Francis Joyon’s IDEC and Yves Le Blevec’s Ultim Actual, sailed by Ronan Dehayes, had an extraordinary dial up for the start of the race. The two giant trimarans circled each other match racing for position. Actual seemed to win the start, racing to windward of IDEC in a controlling position. IDEC was just ahead of Actual at The Needles and eventually pulled away. A westerly breeze kicked in as IDEC rounded the Casquets, ramping up the trimaran to over 20 knots of boat speed. IDEC took Multihull Line Honours and the win in the MOCRA Class. Andrew Fennell’s Morpheus was the third to finish and second in the MOCRA Class. James Holder’s Dazcat 1295 Slinky Malinki completed the MOCRA podium.

Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD54 Teasing Machine and Ultim Actual cross tacks at the startEric de Turckheim’s NMYD54 Teasing Machine and Ultim Actual Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC

 IRC One Start at the RYS Line CowesIRC One Start at the RYS Line Cowes Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC One

RORC Commodore James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX and Ed Fishwick’s GP42 Redshift had yet another close battle in IRC One. Ino XXX eventually winning the class by approximately five minutes after time correction. David Cummins’ Ker 39 Rumbleflurg was the early leader but finished third in class, just ahead after time correction of Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorus II.

For the RORC Season’s Points Championship, Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood retains the class lead from Redshift. Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra is third.

Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader. © Paul Wyeth/RORCEd Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader. © Paul Wyeth/RORC

IRC Two

Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader was the winner, scoring an impressive victory over Thomas Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise by nearly two hours after time correction. Dawn Treader was very close to winning the race overall, just over two minutes behind Ino XXX after time correction. Christopher Daniel’s J/122e was third in IRC Three.

For the RORC Season’s Points Championship, Sunrise is still the overall and IRC Two Class leader. Dawn Treader is second in both overall and class.

Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 1080 Raging-Bee²Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 1080 Raging-Bee². © Paul Wyeth/RORC

IRC Three

Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 1080 Raging-Bee² was the first boat in class to finish and was the winner in IRC Three after time correction. Mike Yates’ J/109 JAGO, racing Two-Handed with Eivind Bøymo-Malm, was second and Noel Racine’s JPK 1030 Foggy Dew was third.

“I have always wanted to win class in the St Malo Race, but this is the first time I have achieved that,” smiled Louis-Marie Dussere. “We know that Raging-Bee² is a good boat for upwind but so is the J/109 JAGO. Noel Racine (Foggy Dew) is a good friend ashore but a fantastic enemy offshore. So, we are really happy with this win, and it has been wonderful to race with the RORC again. At Les Hanois, I think we were about fifth, but the wind disappeared, and we had a re-start. Raging-Bee² put in a really good finish, and to be honest the wind stopped again just after we crossed the line. This was a great race against really good opposition.”

For the RORC Season’s Points Championship in IRC Three and IRC Two Handed, Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing with Deb Fish, is the new leader. James Harayda’s Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo, racing with Dee Caffari, is second, and Gavin Howe’s Sun Fast 3600 Tigris, racing with Maggie Adamson, is third.

IRC Three start at the RYS Line Cowes. © Paul Wyeth/RORCIRC Three start at the RYS Line Cowes. © Paul Wyeth/RORC

IRC Two Handed

31 teams started the race in IRC Two Handed Elizabeth Wallis racing her Albin Express Expressly Forbidden with Bryn Phillips, revelled in the light upwind conditions to win by approximately seven minutes after IRC time correction from Mike Yates’ J/109 JAGO. Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews, racing Sun Fast 3200 Cora was third. Elizabeth Wallis and Bryn Phillips are both under thirty and taking part in their first RORC race of the season. Expressly Forbidden, with an overall length of 25ft was the smallest boat in the race.

120 boats compete in the Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race. © Paul Wyeth/RORC120 boats compete in the Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race. © Paul Wyeth/RORC

IRC Four

Expressly Forbidden was the winner with Cora second. Jonathan Rolls' Swan 38 Xara had an excellent race following on from the overall win for the De Guingand Bowl. Xara was third in class for the St Malo Race. The classic yawl Amokura, sailed by Paul Moxon & Steve Jones, was the last boat to finish the race. With great tenacity, the team did not waiver from their goal to finish the race, taking nearly two and a half days to complete the course.

For the RORC Season’s Points Championship, Cora leads IRC Four by just over five points from Stuart Greenfield’s S&S 34 Morning After with Xara third. 

The Royal Ocean Racing Club Season’s Points Championship continues with The Channel Race, scheduled to start on Saturday 24th July. 

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship continues this weekend with a spectacular fleet of over 130 boats of all shapes and sizes, racing from Cowes to St Malo. The 151 nautical mile race is steeped in history, pre-dating the Royal Ocean Racing Club by almost 20 years. The overall winner under IRC will be awarded the magnificent King Edward VII Cup, presented by the British Monarch in 1906. Two of the world’s fastest multihulls will be racing in the MOCRA Class, Francis Joyon’s IDEC and Yves Le Blevec’s Actual Ultim 3. The race will feature a fleet of Class40s racing with the RORC under class rules.

Francis Joyon’s IDEC is the reigning Jules Verne Trophy holder. © IDEC SPORT / ALEAFrancis Joyon’s IDEC is the reigning Jules Verne Trophy holder. © IDEC SPORT / ALEA

MOCRA Class

Francis Joyon’s IDEC is the reigning Jules Verne Trophy holder, having circumnavigated the world with his crew in 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes 30 seconds. Racing solo, Joyon has held all of the major offshore sailing records, including the fastest single-handed sailing circumnavigation from 2008 to 2016. Bernard Stamm will be on IDEC for the race - the Swiss sailor has recorded four round the world records and race wins. IDEC’s immediate competition for the race to St Malo will come from Yves Le Blevec’s Actual, which was sailed by François Gabart as Macif, setting the current world record for solo around the world. Whilst IDEC and Actual will be odds-on to take Multihull Line Honours, a total of five multihulls are entered for the Yachts and Yachting Cauldron for the best corrected time under the MOCRA rule.

Eric de Turkheim’s French NMYD54 Teasing Machine. © Rick Tomlinson/RORCEric de Turkheim’s French NMYD54 Teasing Machine. © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

IRC ZERO

The big boat division will race for the Lloyds of London Salver and will be favourites for the Sandison Memorial Salver for the first Monohull Yacht Home. After third in class for the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Eric de Turkheim’s French NMYD54 Teasing Machine will be in action for the second race of the championship. Volvo 70 Telefonica Black, Open 50 Pegasus of Northumberland, and the Mylius 60 Lady First 3, will be hoping for strong downwind conditions for the race.

Michael O'Donnell J/121 Darkwood. © Paul Wyeth/RORCMichael O'Donnell J/121 Darkwood. © Paul Wyeth/RORC

Didier Gaudoux’s JND 39 Lann Ael 2. © Paul Wyeth/RORCDidier Gaudoux’s JND 39 Lann Ael 2. © Paul Wyeth/RORC

IRC ONE

Seventeen teams, racing 17 different kinds of boat, will be looking to score the best corrected time under IRC for the Noryema Trophy. RORC Commodore James Neville, racing his HH42 Ino XXX is the top rated boat in class and was second overall in 2017. Ino’s immediate rival will be Ed Fishwick’s GP42 Redshift. Four French teams will be racing in IRC One including Didier Gaudoux’s JND 39 Lann Ael 2, overall winner of the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race, and Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon, winner of IRC One for the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. Irish owner/skipper Michael O'Donnell will be racing to retain the class lead for the 2021 season with J/121 Darkwood.

Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster. © Paul Wyeth/RORCRoss Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster. © Paul Wyeth/RORC

IRC TWO

Twenty-five teams will be racing for the Yeoman Bowl including the current holder of the King Edward VII Trophy, Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster, which won the race overall in 2019. Six French teams will be racing including Pierre Sallenave’s X-442 Ster Wenn 5, the overall winner in 2018, and Francois Lognone’s MC34 Nutmeg Solidaire En Peloton, the overall winner in 2015. Eight Beneteau First 40s will enjoy a battle within the class, the majority will be crewed by paying guests under the guidance of professional charter skippers.

Swan 55 yawl Lulotte, skippered by Ben Morris. © Rick Tomlinson/RORCSwan 55 yawl Lulotte, skippered by Ben Morris. © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

IRC THREE

Forty-two teams will be racing for the Yacht Club de Dinard Trophy. About half of the boats racing in IRC Three will be racing Two-Handed. Fully crewed entries include seven J/109s having their own private battle. Seasoned competition includes Richard Oswald’s much travelled Elan 450 Emily of Cowes and the overall winner of the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship, Trevor Middleton’s Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep, skippered by Jake Carter. Top French opposition includes Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 1080 Raging-bee² and Noel Racine’s JPK 1030 Foggy Dew. The beautiful classic Swan 55 yawl Lulotte, skippered by Ben Morris, will also be racing.

Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, racing with Jeremy Waitt. © Rick Tomlinson/RORCRichard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, racing with Jeremy Waitt. © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

IRC TWO-HANDED

Forty-one teams have entered racing in IRC Two-Handed, the majority racing in IRC Three and Four. The largest short-handed fleet racing with the RORC since the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, racing with Jeremy Waitt, is on for a hat trick of class victories, following triumphs in the Morgan Cup and De Guingand Bowl. However, competition in the class is so intense that Jangada is only third for the season. James Harayda’s Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo, racing with Dee Caffari, and Rob Craigie’s Bellino, racing with Deb Fish, are the two leading boats. Over a dozen teams from France will be racing, many making their RORC debuts of the season. Francois Moriceau was the Two-Handed champion for the race in 2019 and is back with a new JPK 1030 Mary-3. IRC Two Handed will be a fascinating encounter for this famous race.

J/109 Just So, sailed Two-Handed by William McGough & Christian Jeffery. © Rick Tomlinson/RORCJ/109 Just So, sailed Two-Handed by William McGough & Christian Jeffery. © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

IRC FOUR

34 teams have entered, racing for the IR Trophy. Jonathan Rolls’ Swan 38 Xara, overall winner of last month’s De Guingand Bowl Race, is one of a number of classic yachts competing. Six Sun Fast 3200 will be competing, as will the class leader for the season J/109 Just So, sailed Two-Handed by William McGough & Christian Jeffery. Eleven French teams have entered, including Emmanuel Pinteaux’s JPK 1010 Gioia, second in class for the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. The oldest boat among the impressive RORC fleet is Amokura, the 50ft yawl built by Moodys in 1939.

An optional return course has been organised by the RORC, especially for teams looking to gain additional race miles towards qualification for the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race. Details can be found in the Sailing Instructions for the Cowes - Dinard - St Malo Race. All boats taking part in the race will gather off Cowes Parade from around 0900 on Friday 9th July.

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