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Displaying items by tag: Royal Ocean Racing Club

The 2021 Royal Ocean Racing Club Annual Dinner and Prize Giving was held to celebrate a spectacular season of racing. Dubbed the RORC Oscars, over 300 attendees enjoyed a cocktail reception and a three-course gourmet dinner. A glittering array of prestigious prizes were presented to the season’s winners in The Ballroom of the 5-Star InterContinental London Park Lane.

More than 4,000 sailors from around the world, racing in a dazzling variety of 400 boats, took part in the 2021 RORC Season's Points Championship. The world's largest offshore racing series comprised 11 testing races, each with its own coveted prizes.

During dinner, the main stage lit up for the awards ceremony and RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton introduced guest speaker and RORC member Pip Hare to the stage. Pip’s IMOCA 60 Medallia was also one of the winners, being awarded the Dennis P Miller Memorial Trophy for the best British Overseas Yacht. A magnificent result in the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe, saw Pip become the first British skipper to finish the premier solo round the world race. Pip’s 20-minute presentation was warmly received by the RORC members and guests.

“Getting to the start line of the Vendée Globe is the most difficult goal of all and I have many people in this Club to say a big thank you for getting me there,” commented Hare.

RORC member and guests speaker Pip Hare was awarded the Dennis P Miller Memorial Trophy for the best British Overseas Yacht for her magnificent result in the Vendée Globe on IMOCA Medallia Photo: Rich BowenRORC member and guests speaker Pip Hare was awarded the Dennis P Miller Memorial Trophy for the best British Overseas Yacht for her magnificent result in the Vendée Globe on IMOCA Medallia Photo: Rich Bowen

Sunrise win IRC Overall + Yacht of the Year 2021

RORC Commodore James Neville, assisted by RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone, welcomed the trophy winners to the stage; each one receiving tumultuous applause from the audience. There was a standing ovation for the overall winner of the 2021 RORC Season's Points Championship, Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise. The team received a huge haul of prizes including the Jazz Trophy for winning IRC Overall and the Somerset Memorial Trophy for RORC Yacht of the Year.

Sunrise’s victorious season is unprecedented in the 21-year history of the Championship. Winning the RORC Season’s Points Championship by 133 points, including overall wins under IRC in the East Coast Race and the Morgan Cup. The zenith of Sunrise’s success came when Tom Kneen became the first British skipper to win the Rolex Fastnet Race since 2003.

“This really is unbelievable,” commented Kneen. “The Sunrise team is a very unique group of people that has done something quite astonishing. Collecting all this silverware in front of this special crowd makes you start to comprehend what we have achieved. The reality is that this will not sink in for a while. This season is beyond our dreams; everything went really well for us and you have to be lucky as well as good. I think we have proven that you don’t need to be wealthy as we are a fairly small budget boat with a young crew. This achievement is through hard work and commitment. Our biggest challenge right now is to keep it going and it is very hard to imagine what next. We can do amazing things with this team and the platform we have created.”

“This really is unbelievable,” commented Tom Kneen after collecting all the silverware at the RORC Annual Dinner and prizegiving for the the winners in the 2021 RORC Season's Points Championship. “Sunrise is a very unique group of people that has done something quite astonishing. Photo Paul Wyeth

The zenith of Sunrise’s success came when Tom Kneen became the first British skipper since 2003 to win the Rolex Fastnet Race Photo Paul WyethThe zenith of Sunrise’s success came when Tom Kneen became the first British skipper since 2003 to win the Rolex Fastnet Race Photo Paul Wyeth

Tala win IRC Zero Overall

Retaining the Europeans Cup for the best yacht in IRC Zero was David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala. A fantastic season included winning IRC Zero for the Rolex Fastnet Race. Tala left the UK at the start of November and sailed to Puerto Calero, Lanzarote for the start of the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race. The 3,000 nautical mile race across the Atlantic Ocean to Camper and Nicholsons’ Port Louis Marina, Grenada starts on 8th January 2022 with a record entry of world-class boats.

“We have been improving Tala after every race; she is now a lot dryer than she was!” commented Collins. “Tala has the capability to win races, sending this boat is huge fun and we hope to get that opportunity. When it gets really gnarly, we know we will need to preserve the boat. Nobody in the team is under any illusions, we are taking a racing car rallying. I have never raced across the Atlantic before and if we get the tradewinds and all goes well we should finish in under 10 days.”

A fantastic season for David Collins' team onboard his Botin IRC 52, Tala, winning the Europeans Cup for IRC Zero overall in the Season’s Points Championship and taking home two Assuage Tankards for their performance in the Myth of Malham and Castle Rock Race Photo Rich BowenA fantastic season for David Collins' team onboard his Botin IRC 52, Tala, winning the Europeans Cup for IRC Zero overall in the Season’s Points Championship and taking home two Assuage Tankards for their performance in the Myth of Malham and Castle Rock Race Photo Rich Bowen

Bellino win IRC Two-Handed & IRC Three Overall

2021 was a victorious year for Rob Craigie racing his Sun Fast 3600 Bellino with Deb Fish. Bellino won IRC Three with 93 entries, as well as IRC Two-Handed with 80 entries.

“I love sailing with Deb and it is really good to win this year, especially as we couldn’t sail last year with the pandemic. We have been building on what we have done for many years and this is the first time we have won IRC Three. Given the quality of the fleet this year, that is very special,” commented Craigie.

Deb Fish added that many younger teams are coming into the IRC Two-Handed Class: “Many of the younger sailors come from a dinghy background and that is scary for us because they can get to a good standard very quickly. They have the advantage of youth where they don’t get as tired doing 60 tacks. Once they get the experience, they become a very potent force.”

Rob Craigie racing his Sun Fast 3600 Bellino with Deb Fish won IRC Three with 93 entries, as well as IRC Two-Handed with 80 entries Photo: Rich BowenRob Craigie racing his Sun Fast 3600 Bellino with Deb Fish won IRC Three with 93 entries, as well as IRC Two-Handed with 80 entries Photo: Rich Bowen

RORC Admiral Mike Greville also presented a special award to Eddie Warden Owen, marking the finale of 12 years at the helm of the Royal Ocean Racing Club as Chief Executive Officer. Eddie was awarded life membership of the Club and a gift of a special dossier of his articles produced for Seahorse Magazine.

Eddie Warden Owen - Awarded lifetime membership of the RORC for his work over 12 years at the helm of the Royal Ocean Racing Club as Chief Executive Officer Photo: Rich BowenEddie Warden Owen - Awarded lifetime membership of the RORC for his work over 12 years at the helm of the Royal Ocean Racing Club as Chief Executive Officer Photo: Rich Bowen

Over three hundred attended the RORC 2021 Season's Points Championship dinner and awards ceremony in London Photo: Rich Bowen

After the prize-giving, guests partied to a live set from rock and pop cover band 4 to the Floor. 

Racing for the 2022 RORC Season's Points Championship continues on January 8th with the RORC Transatlantic Race. The exciting RORC Season, which started with the Rolex Middle Sea Race, includes the RORC Caribbean 600, the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, and the inaugural RORC Baltic Sea Race. 

Published in RORC

The Royal Ocean Racing Club, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club de France, expect a record entry for the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race. From the mighty Comanche to the miniscule Jangada, 29 teams from all over the world make up an extraordinary entry list. A world class fleet of multihulls and monohulls are scheduled to start the RORC Transatlantic Race on the 8th of January 2022 from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote.

The 3,000 nautical-mile race across the Atlantic to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada, has two major prizes for the monohulls. The overall winner, after IRC time correction, will win the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. The IMA Transatlantic Trophy will be awarded for Monohull Line Honours. The star-studded entry list of racing yachts includes teams from Austria, Cayman Islands, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States of America.

Current entry list is here

The firm favourite for Monohull Line Honours is the 100 ft (33 m) canting keel maxi Comanche (CAY), skippered by Mitch Booth. Comanche holds the Monohull West-East Transatlantic sailing record (Ambrose Light - Lizard Point. 5d 14h 21m 25s) and has taken Monohull Line Honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race, the RORC Caribbean 600, the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the Transpac and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Skipper Mitch Booth confirms that Comanche will be aiming to set a new race record for the RORC Transatlantic Race, which was set in 2018 by Pier Luigi Loro Piana's Supermaxi My Song (10d 05h 47m 11s).

“We are looking forward to it; this is what Comanche was made for and the RORC Caribbean 600 is on the programme as well,” commented Mitch Booth. “The RORC Transatlantic is a perfect race for Comanche - a perfect length with a reaching course. It is an iconic race and setting a new race record is one of the challenges we are aiming for. Setting a race record doesn’t allow you to choose the right weather window and the current race record is fast – but it’s beatable. We have a couple of the My Song crew in our team and we are looking forward to having a crack at it; that’s the name of the game!”

Given the high number of performance yachts entered for the 2022 edition, a fierce battle is expected for overall victory after IRC time correction for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy.

HYPR embarks on her rounding of the volcanic island of Stromboli in the recent Rolex Middle Sea RaceHYPR embarks on her rounding of the volcanic island of Stromboli in the recent Middle Sea Race © ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo

A significant number of out-and-out ocean racers will race across the Atlantic, including Jens Lindner at the helm of the turbo charged Volvo 70 HYPR and Bouwe Bekking with Volvo 70 L4 Trifork . Gerwin Jansen will skipper the VO65 Sisi (AUT), raced by the Austrian Ocean Race Project. Richard Tolkien’s Open 60 Rosalba (GBR) and Jean-Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First III (FRA) will also be on the start line in Lanzarote.

For Stefan Jentzsch and his team racing Black Pearl, (GER) the RORC Transatlantic Race is unfinished business. The brand-new IRC 56 retired with a broken bowsprit in 2021. New to the race, and fresh from a third in class for the Middle Sea Race, will be Maximilian Klink’s new Botin 52 Caro (GER). The RORC Transatlantic Race will also mark the debut for Arto Linnervuo’s Infiniti 52 Tulikettu (FIN).

David Collins' Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR), winner of IRC Zero in the Fastnet Race, left the UK in early November to sail all the way to Lanzarote. “The RORC Transatlantic Race is a big undertaking for Tala,” commented Pete Redmond. “The boat is specifically set up for offshore and we have been working on improving the water ingress especially for this race. We have no doubt that we will have a bit on. It should be a lot of fun, but ask me that again in Grenada after about 11 days!”

The RORC Transatlantic Race - a big undertaking for Tala which has been set up for long offshore racing in the 3,000nm transatlantic race to Grenada The RORC Transatlantic Race - a big undertaking for Tala which has been set up for long offshore racing in the 3,000nm transatlantic race to Grenada © ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi

A number of highly competitive yachts under 50ft (15.24m) will be in action for the RORC Transatlantic Race. The Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) was second overall in the 2019 race. Now under the ownership of Andrew Hall, Pata Negra will be taking part in its second RORC Transatlantic Race.

Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) has been a proven winner racing with the RORC on both sides of the Atlantic. However, this will be Scarlet Oyster’s RORC Transatlantic Race debut. “I am a proud RORC member and having won class in the ARC 10 times and overall five times, it feels right to take on a bigger challenge,” commented Ross Applebey. “Looking at the strength of the entrants this will be a hard race to win but we will score well for the RORC Season’s Points Championship.”

Newcomers for the RORC Transatlantic Race include Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorous II (GBR) which has been in fine form this year. Christopher Daniel’s J/122 Juno (GBR) will be racing with a crew of family and friends. French teams will be racing with highly experienced crews including Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen (FRA) from Marseille and Jacques Pelletier Milon 41, L'Ange de Milon (FRA), class winner for the 2019 Fastnet Race, as well as several classic yachts; Baptiste Garnier's Eugenia V, Remy Gerin's Faiaoahe and Alain Moatti's beautiful fife ketch Sumurun.

Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster - 'Taking on a bigger challenge' in the highly competitive RORC Transatlantic Race Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster - 'Taking on a bigger challenge' in the highly competitive RORC Transatlantic Race © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Alain Moatti's beautiful fife ketch SumurunSeveral classic yachts will be competing in the RORC Transatlantic race, including Alain Moatti's beautiful fife ketch Sumurun © Sumurun

The smallest yacht in the current entry list, both in terms of water-line length and crew, is Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada, which will be racing in IRC Two-Handed with Jeremy Waitt as co-skipper. This will be the third RORC Transatlantic Race for Jangada, including an overall victory under IRC in 2019. Jangada was in fine form for last month’s Middle Sea Race, winning IRC Two-Handed in feisty conditions.

“This will be the second race for the season and the ambition is to win the RORC Season’s Points Championship overall, which has never been done by a Two-Handed team,” commented Richard Palmer. “For our RORC Transatlantic Race win in 2019, the weather gods were in our favour, but the championship series was thwarted by the pandemic. This year, even getting to the start line is logistically challenging. However, once the starting gun fires the nerves and anxiety fall away, you are just in race mode.”

The first Two-Handed winners of the spectacular RORC Transatlantic Trophy in the 2019 race - Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada will return for the 2022 edition with Jeremy Waitt as co-skipper © Arthur Daniel/RORCThe first Two-Handed winners of the spectacular RORC Transatlantic Trophy in the 2019 race - Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada will return for the 2022 edition with Jeremy Waitt as co-skipper © Arthur Daniel/RORC

Published in Offshore

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. 

Published in RORC

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) has announced Jeremy Wilton as the new Chief Executive of the London and Cowes based Club from 6th April 2021. He will take over the leadership and development role of one of the world’s most influential yacht clubs from Eddie Warden Owen, who has helped shape the success of the Club through its international offshore racing programme for the past 12 years.

“We look forward to welcoming Jeremy who has an excellent understanding of leading membership-based clubs and a proven record of delivering strong financial and commercial results,” says RORC Commodore, James Neville of the new CEO, soon to head the 4,000-strong worldwide membership.

“Having held senior leadership positions in the world of rugby, where he spent over seven years working at Bath Rugby and Wasps, as well as over a decade at Whitbread PLC and founded and developed a marketing communications agency, we are certain that Jeremy’s experience and vision will be a huge asset, ensuring that the RORC is in a strong position as it nears the Club’s centenary in 2025,” continues Commodore Neville.

“I understand what it means to be part of a successful culture and together with the RORC Committee, management and staff, I am determined to continue the Club’s evolution and make it the best it possibly can,” says incoming CEO Wilton of his new role.

Talking of the Club and the sport of sailing coming out of the current epidemic, Wilton comments: “It is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive effect on business practices and social life in London and the sailing programme and clubhouse in Cowes and as we emerge from the pandemic we are going to have our challenges, but with these will bring exciting opportunities and new avenues for innovation.”

Wilton is no stranger to the world of sailing. During his time at Whitbread PLC, he oversaw and developed a sponsorship portfolio that covered two Whitbread Round the World Races, and having been introduced to sailing at a young age, it has featured heavily throughout his life, both in Australia and the UK.

Starting in dinghies of various shapes and sizes and graduating to offshore racing. He has competed in the Fastnet, Sydney to Coffs Harbour and nearly all of the RORC’s long-distance races; numerous Cowes Week regattas, and narrowly missed out on representing Great Britain in the Admiral’s Cup.

Warden Owen will step down from the overall running of the RORC in April, but will continue to work on delivering the Club’s flagship event – the 49th Rolex Fastnet Race starting from Cowes, UK on Sunday 8th August and finishing for the first time in Cherbourg, France.

Joining this prestigious Club at a significant time, both in terms of shaping the way forward and ensuring it remains in high revere is something Wilton relishes: “It is a privilege and honour to be appointed as the new CEO of RORC. I am looking forward to guiding the Club into a new era and to be part of the team that will chart the next chapter of this esteemed Club’s history.”

Published in RORC

On the fifth day of the RORC Transatlantic Race, all of the competing yachts are fully offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Life on board will have found a rhythm to the corkscrew motion of surfing downwind for days on end. Oren Nataf’s Multi50 Trimaran Rayon Vert, skippered by Alex Pella is leading the fleet and they will be celebrating having crossed the halfway mark in the 2,735-mile race from Lanzarote to the Caribbean. Rayon Vert’s skipper Pella is very much at home in the Atlantic. The Spaniard has won both the Route du Rhum and the Transat Jacques Vabre.

Olivier Magre’s Class40 Palanad 3 is the leading monohull, 18 miles ahead of Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon. The leading boats in the RORC Transatlantic Race are hundreds of miles south of the rhumb line. High pressure has pushed the ENE trade winds further south and the front runners have raced the additional miles to hook into the bigger breeze to maximise their velocity made good (VMG).

Third in the monohulls is Antoine Carpentier’s Class40 Redman; currently, 114 miles behind Palanad 3 when they contacted the RORC Race Team: “Everything is going well. We have solved a problem with our starboard rudder and everything is working normally. We spent most of the nights gybing and changing sails. Now the weather is better- it’s a good time to get back in the kitchen.”

Palanad 3’s Olivier Magre commented via satellite link: “All is well onboard and much calmer than the first 48 hours. We did have an issue with the spinnaker when it fell completely into the water, but there is not too much damage and Luke (Berry) has been up the rig to untangle the halyards. The atmosphere on board is very good. We have to be careful of the squalls because the trade winds are quite active.”

The performance cruisers racing in IRC are positioned further north. For these boats the strategy for maximizing VMG has produced a different tactic. Racing further south does not improve their speed enough to warrant the extra miles. Benedikt Clauberg’s First 47.7 Kali and Sebastien Saulnier’s Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi maybe over 100 miles apart on the water, but they are both approximately 2,000 miles from the finish.

Sebastian from Moshimoshi reports that life is good on board and that racing across the Atlantic has magical moments, such as visits from tropical birds who are also making their migration!

As previously reported, the IRC56 Black Pearl retired on January 10th. Black Pearl’s bowsprit had broken just west of the Canary Islands. The crew sailed back to Lanzarote unassisted, arriving on January 12th. The team are disappointed, but safely ashore and received a warm welcome from Marina Puerto Calero.

Published in RORC

After 12 years at the helm of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), Eddie Warden Owen has informed the club of his desire to step down as Chief Executive Officer in 2021. The identification of a replacement has already begun, and the intention is for Eddie to leave his role in October, at the earliest, to allow the club time to recruit and to ensure a smooth transition.

The RORC has undergone significant development under Eddie's leadership and continues to be recognised as one of the world's most influential yacht clubs, especially in the discipline of offshore sailing. "The time is right not only for the club, but for me personally. The period since joining the RORC in 2008 has seen great changes in both its structure and racing activities. There is always more to be done and this is the moment for a fresh pair of hands on the wheel. I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life once the transition is complete. I might even get to do more sailing!"

"Eddie's shoes will be hard to fill," said Commodore James Neville. "During his tenure as CEO the club has expanded its membership, as well as its physical footprint and racing programme. Most importantly, as we approach our centenary in 2025, the RORC is in a strong position to look forward and to continue its role within the sport."

Born in Wales, Eddie was introduced to sailing in the 1960s by his father, a shipwright and founding member of the Holyhead Sailing Club. Such was his passion and skill, that in the early 1970s he swapped a career in teaching PE for sailmaking and a stab at the Olympics. Thwarted in this latter ambition by the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Games, Eddie turned to racing bigger boats where his ability and achievements were quickly spotted and led to a series of Admiral's Cup campaigns in the 1980s and 1990s and, significantly, an introduction to match-racing, the world of the America's Cup and fully professional sailing.

After being part of six Cup campaigns, one in Fremantle, two in San Diego, two in Auckland and one in Valencia, between 1987 and 2007, Eddie was looking for a change in direction just as the RORC was looking for someone new to run the club. Eddie's profile, his knowledge of the sport, natural rapport with owners, crew and professionals, as well as an ability to open doors, made him the perfect fit.

Since joining the club, Eddie has overseen the merger with the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes giving the RORC a base on the south coast; the launch of RORC Caribbean 600 and RORC Transatlantic Race; the refurbishment of the London clubhouse in St James' and put the club's finances on a firm footing.

Eddie has also been responsible for the growth in entries and overall appeal of the club's signature event, the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Lifting the limits on entries to allow more Corinthian crews, while at the same time embracing the participation of professional classes, such as IMOCA 60s, Class 40s and grand prix multihulls, has enabled the race to flourish.

A desire to expand the fleet further led to the decision to move the finish of the 2021 and 2023 Rolex Fastnet Races to Cherbourg, which has the facilities and wherewithal to accommodate and host a fleet of over 350 yachts. It was a decision, however, that divided opinion at the London club and led to a vote of its members as Afloat reported here.

As one of the architects of this move, Eddie will continue to work with the event's partners in the lead-up and during the 2021 race to ensure its success.

Published in RORC

The 13th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 is scheduled to start off Fort Charlotte, Antigua on Monday 22nd February 2021.

“The RORC Flag Officers meet regularly and since July the overall commitment from the Club has been to provide safe racing when there is sufficient demand and when restrictions allow us to do so,” commented RORC Racing Manager, Chris Stone. “The early entries for the RORC Caribbean 600 and the enquiries we are receiving show that there is a real desire for the race to take place.”

The RORC Caribbean 600 course is unique; starting and finishing in Antigua, the competitors round 11 Caribbean islands. Warm trade winds and Caribbean swell provide superb sailing conditions and the local effects of the islands produce spectacular and strategic racing. For 600 miles the race is full of twists and turns with breath-taking scenery.

International travel is subject to change in the current climate. However, the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority has published a useful page for entry protocols which is regularly updated: https://visitantiguabarbuda.com/travel-advisory/

Below is a summary of the latest advisory for travel to Antigua by air and sea.

To fly to Antigua, all passengers must have taken a negative PCR test prior to departure. Arriving by boat, all crew and passengers are to have a Negative PCR Covid-19 test result prior to travel. There is an established travel bubble comprising the six OECS countries, along with Montserrat and Barbados. Given the fluidity of the Covid-19 situation, countries may be removed from or added to the list. Travellers should keep up-to-date for any changes.

Statistically, Antigua is one of the safest places to travel and the Antigua & Barbuda Government have taken a serious approach to tackling the health crisis. The marinas in Antigua are all implementing protocols to control access to the docks. Wearing of face masks and sanitisation and social distancing is compulsory in public areas, except for beaches. The rules are very similar to those adopted throughout Europe. In addition, a curfew is in place from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. each night.

Speaking with residents and business owners in English Harbour and Falmouth, the vast majority are very much open for visitors. The Antigua & Barbuda Marine Association (ABMA) reports that the docks are well-booked and marine service companies, restaurants, and stores are gearing up to receive an influx of boats for the Caribbean season.

The Antigua & Barbuda Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health issue Covid-19 compliance training certificates to ensure yacht workers understand the necessary precautions needed to be taken to ensure the safety of all. Taxi drivers, yacht workers, restaurant, bar staff and vendors have all participated in health protocols workshops.

Entries for the 2021 RORC Caribbean 600 include a diverse fleet of boats including some of the world’s fastest monohull and multihull yachts. Entry list here.

The overall winner, decided on IRC rating will feature world-famous sailors competing with, and against, passionate Corinthian sailors. Early entries boast teams from over a dozen different nations from the Caribbean, Europe, North America and from Australia.

Franklyn Braithwaite, Commodore of the Antigua Yacht Club has been a part of the yachting community in Antigua for his whole life. “The Antigua Yacht Club looks forward to working with RORC for the 2021 edition of the RORC Caribbean 600. The Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda welcome the arrival of the boats and crew to enjoy our hospitality and sailing conditions while observing all necessary Covid-19 protocols. I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable regatta.”

Published in RORC

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Summer Series came to a conclusion with the fourth and final race of the RORC Summer Series. A light airs 36-mile race was held in The Solent. Ed Fishwick’s GP42 Redshift took line honours and the overall race win after IRC correction. James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX was second overall, and with the result, won the four-race series. Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, skippered by Jeremy Waitt, was third overall for the race and for the series. 136 boats entered the RORC Summer Series, which was designed to replace part of the 2020 RORC Season’s Points Championship.

Redshift’s Nick Cherry, a six-time figarista commented: “We really enjoyed this race and the series. Racing with six people, instead of ten, you really have to focus all the time and whilst we adapted our manoeuvres, we made no changes to the systems on board. When we get back to fully-crewed offshore racing, this has served as great practice, as you are in a watch system, often without the full complement of crew on deck.”

Congratulations to the class winners of RORC Summer Series Race 4 including Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader and Sun Fast 3300 Fastrak XII, sailed two-handed by Henry Bomby & Shirley Robertson.

Full Results

IRC One

Overall series winner, RORC Vice Commodore James Neville’s Ino XXX scored a first and two second places in class to win IRC One. Michael O’Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood was second in class and Rob Bottomley’s MAT12 Sailplane 3 was third.

"Well done to the RORC Race Team for coming up with the idea and making it happen,” commented James Neville. “The day races have been quite special, as it’s a good day out for the crew and a real challenge, especially racing Ino XXX with a reduced number. The series has been held in an amazing range of conditions and has been a lot of fun.”

IRC Two

Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster was the run-away winner of IRC Two, scoring two bullets and a third. Gavin Howe’s Sun Fast 3600 Tigris was second in IRC Two and third in IRC two-handed. Ed Bell’s Dawn Treader was just two points behind in third.

IRC Three

Olympic two-handed hopefuls, Henry Bomby & Shirley Robertson, racing Nigel Colley’s Fastrak XII took the win in IRC Three and second in IRC two-handed. Richard Oswald’s Elan 450 Emily of Cowes was runner-up. Jim Driver’s Sun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper was third.

After the second race, double Olympic Gold Medallist, Shirley Robertson commented: “Henry is an amazing young talent who has cut his teeth in the Figaro. Henry is a good teammate and a great teacher. It’s been good to hang out with Henry for the summer.”

IRC Four

Richard Palmer’s Jangada, skippered by Jeremy Waitt, was the clear winner of IRC Four and the winner of IRC two-handed. Chris Frost’s Swan 36 Finola was second in class in the last race to finish runner-up for the series. Tony White’s Sun Fast 3300 Mzungu was third.

MOCRA Class

Nine multihulls raced during the series and the smallest of the fleet came out on top for the series. Ross Hobson’s Seacart 30 Buzz was the victor. MOD 70 Powerplay, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, with Peter Cunningham on the helm, was second. James Holder’s Dazcat 1295 Slinky Malinki was third.

RORC 2H Autumn Series

Whilst the RORC Summer Series has come to an end, Friday 4th of September marked the start of the 2H Autumn Series. Race One was a race of approximately 100 miles, the first over-night race organised by the RORC since February. Jangada skippered by Jeremy Waitt, was the winner. Rob Craigie & Deb Fish racing Sun Fast 3600 Bellino were second. Sun Fast 3300 Wild Pilgrim, skippered by Daniel Jones, was third. The 2H Autumn Series, consisting of three races, continues on Saturday 26th September with another overnight race for two-handed teams.

Published in RORC

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Summer Series Race 3 was a full-on foam up in 25 knots of breeze gusting over 30. The long day race was a course of about 42 miles for the monohulls with a beat west from the Squadron Line to East Lepe, followed by a scorching downwind leg east through the Solent. After bisecting No Man’s Land and Horse Sand Forts, the downwind sleigh ride took the fleet to Pullar, northeast of the Nab Tower. The final leg was a beat to finish at the Squadron Line.

The stand-out performance in the race was Sun Fast 3300 Fastrak XII, raced Two-Handed by Henry Bomby & Shirley Robertson. Fastrak XII was the overall winner after IRC time correction and the victor in both IRC Three and IRC Two-Handed.

Bomby and Robertson have set their sights on representing Great Britain in the 2024 Olympics. Bomby is one of Britain's most promising young sailors having raced in four Solitaire du Figaro campaigns, the Volvo Ocean Race and two years with the MOD70 Phaedo3. Shirley Robertson has won two consecutive Olympic Gold medals, and whilst Robertson has offshore experience, the Two-Handed offshore discipline is a new experience.

“Henry is a legend!” commented Shirley Robertson. “We just felt really solid, never on the edge. We made decisions in anticipation and thought it through, making very few errors and sailed a really clean race. The rust is coming away gradually and although offshore racing is a bit unfamiliar for me, a small boat is my bread and butter. We are getting faster and faster, and I have got to say, Henry is an amazing young talent who has cut his teeth in the Figaro. Henry is a good teammate and a great teacher. It’s been good to hang out with Henry for the summer.”

Congratulations to all of the IRC Class Winners in the RORC Summer Series Race 3. Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster was the winner of IRC 2 and second overall, Scarlet Oyster scorched around the racetrack in an elapsed time just three seconds shy of Fastrak XII. Rob Bottomley’s MAT12 Sailplane 3, skippered by Nick Jones, took Line Honours for the race, was third overall, and winner of IRC One. Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada, sailed by Jeremy Waitt and Paul Wood, won IRC Four. Ross Hobson’s Seacart 30 Buzz won the Multihull Class.

During the race, Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise was dismasted. However, none of the crew were injured and all returned safely to shore. Tom Kneen expressed his gratitude to the assistance offered by fellow competitors; James Neville’s Ino XXX, Darkwood skippered by Steve Lawrence, and Rob Bottomley’s Sailplane 3.

Full details of the revised RORC racing programme can be found on the RORC website, but in summary: permitted crew offshore can be up to a maximum of six people from any household or two-thirds of a boat's IRC crew number whichever is the least. Competitors are also reminded of the government guidance on social distancing and other Covid-19 measures.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Summer Series comes to a conclusion with the fourth and final race scheduled for Sunday 6th September. Further racing with the club is set to continue in September with a new Two-Handed Autumn Series (4th, 26th Sept. & 10th Oct.) as well as the IRC National Championship (11/13 Sept.) and the IRC Two-Handed National Championship (12/13 Sept.)

Published in RORC

For the first time in the history of the London club, the RORC Season’s Points Championship has had to be cancelled. Current restrictions continue to make it impossible to run overnight races for all IRC classes with the result that the last offshore race of the season, the Cherbourg Race has had to be cancelled. With only two races, the RORC Transatlantic Race and the RORC Caribbean 600 having been completed, and three required to constitute a series, the club has had no option but to cancel the 2020 Season’s Points Championship.

“This has been a difficult and unprecedented decision for the club,” said RORC Commodore Steven Anderson. “We were very keen to have one proper offshore race for all classes to allow us to complete the series. We all hoped that by September the restrictions to control the spread of the virus would have been eased sufficiently to allow a sprint to Cherbourg and a good way to end a very frustrating season for all.”


RORC Two-Handed Race to Cherbourg

Instead of the usual season ending Cherbourg Race, the RORC has confirmed the intention to run a two-handed race to Cherbourg. This race which will start on Friday 4th September is in line with current government regulation and has added significance in that the City of Cherbourg will host the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race for the 2021 and 2023 editions.

RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone has been delighted with the number of teams who are participating in the summer series.

“We were pleased to have 133 boats in ‘Race the Wight’, the first race of our Summer Series and interest in the rest of the series is very strong. We decided to start the two-handed race to Cherbourg on the Friday to give the opportunity for those two-handed teams who are involved in the summer series to participate in the last race of the series which is scheduled for Sunday 6th September.”

The RORC Summer Series consists of three additional races on Saturday 15th August, Saturday 22nd August and Sunday 6th September.

Published in RORC
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