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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. 

Published in RORC

#rorc – Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, 86 yachts in the Channel Race experienced thunder, lightning and all manner of wind conditions, which produced a complex 100 mile race in The Solent and offshore along the south west coast of England writes Louay Habib. Local weather effects made even the most detailed weather forecast useless and those teams that reacted correctly to the fluctuating conditions were well rewarded. The course took the fleet east out of The Solent then west past St. Catherine's Point and onto Poole, followed by a reciprocal course downwind around the south side of the Isle of Wight with a finish off Gilkicker Point.

Pascal Loison's JPK 10.10, Night and Day, was the overall winner of the Channel Race. The French team have excelled winning class in their last three RORC races. However Pascal was not on board for the Channel Race, his son Alexis and Joel Ahrweiler were the crew. Sensationally Night and Day won the overall prize, IRC Three and the Two Handed Class.

"My father is a great teacher!" smiled Alexis. "It was a difficult race with many sail changes but the boat is very good in all wind angles and conditions and I think we sailed very well. Like me Joel is a Figaro sailor and we have sailed together for many years. For the Fastnet I will be sailing with 'le professor' (referring to his father) and the start date will be my 29th birthday, so I hope we can really celebrate when we arrive back in Plymouth."

In IRC Canting Keel two goliaths had a monumental match race, with the lead on the water changing on many occasions. Andy Budgen's British Volvo 70, Monster Project, had an early set back when one of the crew suffered a hand injury requiring medical attention but the team fought back to challenge IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing. In a sprint finish, Monster Project passed Artemis Ocean Racing to take Line Honours for the class by under seven minutes but, on corrected time, the class win went to the young crew on board Artemis Ocean Racing.

In IRC Zero Harm Prins' Volvo 60, Pleomax, had a memorable race pacing the canting keel class around the track and finishing the course in the fastest elapsed time. Pleomax won IRC Zero to extend their lead for the RORC Season's Points Championship, as the Dutch team corrected out to win by just over 6 minutes from Derek Saunders' British CM60, Venomous. Dutch Volvo 60, Team Heiner One, was third.

In IRC One Piet Vroon's Dutch Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3, took line honours by some distance but after time correction the current leader for the RORC Season's Points Championship could only score 6th place for the race. Steven Anderson's British Corby 40, Cracklin' Rosie, sailed a great race to take the class win, after a tremendous battle with Nick Jones' British First 44.7, Lisa. RORC Commodore Mike Greville racing Ker 39, Erivale III, was third after a close encounter with Laurent Gouy's French Ker 39, Inis Mor.

RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine racing British First 40, La Réponse, was triumphant in IRC Two, after a close battle with the British Army Sailing Association's J/111, British Soldier, and former RORC Commodore Peter Rutter racing Grand Soleil 43, Trustmarque Quokka.

"It was a fascinating race with a plenty of changes in pace," explained Andrew McIrvine. "We set off in very little wind and lots of tide but by the time we got to Bembridge the breeze switched off and with the tide holding us back, the fleet compressed. Just as we were thinking about kedging, the Coastguard put out a gale warning! A big thunderstorm appeared and, with the wind increasing to 20 knots, there was a flurry of activity on board with sail changes. As we got near St. Catherine's Point the wind subsided again, so in the first few hours we had gone through just about all the sails on board.

"The wind filled in from the west and we managed to keep inside our competition and got a great benefit because of that. We knew how well we were doing when we crossed ahead of a Volvo 60 as we approached Poole Bar! In our class, we had a really good battle with Quokka and British Soldier, we were all in sight of each other for much of the race. Quokka were using asymmetric kites on the run back to St. Catherine's but we were still locked together as we swapped gybes. However the wind went south and increased quite dramatically gusting close to 30 knots and Quokka blew out their spinnaker. We got away downhill with ten knots of boat speed and three knots of tide under the keel, we hammered past Bembridge Ledge at great speed."

Night and Day was the winner of IRC Three with Jerome Huillard's French A35, Prime Time, second in class and third overall for the race and John Allison's J/109, Jumbuck, third in IRC Three. Night and Day also won the Two Handed Class with David Gebbett's Dehler 36, Krackpot, in second place and the Artemis Offshore Academy's Figaro II, Artemis 21, in third.

In IRC Four Andy Theobald's Sigma 362, Nokomis, corrected out to win the class ahead of Kevin Sussmilch's Sigma 38, Mefisto, and Chris Choules' Sigma 38, With Alacrity. Nokomis was also the overall runner up for the Channel Race. "It is not often that we are 'in the chocolates' so that was very satisfying," commented Andy Theobald. "As always, good boat preparation and an excellent crew were vitally important but if there was one stand out moment in the race, it would be near the beginning, when we chose to stay inshore approaching Bembridge Ledge. We were not far behind the Sigma 38s so we knew we were in the hunt. Nokomis goes very well downwind and we managed to hold our kite from Poole back to Bembridge. Six of the seven crew on board will be taking part in the Fastnet next month and this win has definitely given us confidence, it goes without saying that our preparation this year is far better than the last time we attempted the Fastnet. In 2011 we broke our rig just a few days before the start and never started the race."

After months of preparation, the RORC Season's Point's Championship continues with the flagship race of the season The 45th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race will start on the 11th August with the largest fleet in the history of the race taking part.

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This year’s Channel Race was blessed with good breeze around the 130 mile course with sunshine during the day and warm air temperature at night. The overall winner was the First 40, La Réponse, owned by Peter Morton and RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine,  by just under three minutes on corrected time from Neil Kipling’s J 122, Joopster. Charles Ivill’s Grand Soleil 54, John B, was third but did win Class Zero, against some stiff opposition.

‘It was a real surprise to win overall”, admitted Andrew co-owner of La Réponse. “Perhaps the tide favoured the medium size boats better but we made full use of it; taking a line down the south side of the island putting us in the strongest tide possible. I must say it was a real delight to have a RORC race with a 60-mile downwind leg; something that doesn’t happen to often. A boil in the bag dinner on deck, under spinnaker was a real joy. I will be back at work on Monday, just like everybody else but offshore racing is an excellent way to get away from the stress of work, much better than staring at your navel for the weekend.”  La Réponse were also victors in IRC One with Neil Kipling’s J 122, Joopster, second, and Sailing Logic’s Reflex 38, Visit Malta Puma, third in class.

Class Zero winner was Charles Ivill’s Grand Soleil 54, John B, who beat several competitors against whom they will be competing in next month’s Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race.  “We had a very average start, having a few problems but with the No.1 headsail. We switched to the No. 2 which in the building breeze ended up to be the right sail,” commented  Charles Ivill. “We had a glorious run down the south side of the island in about 14 knots of breeze. Later in the race the wind got up to about 18 knots. It was a really enjoyable race with a great crew.

“There are no rockstars on John B, we are all friends who love to sail. The youngest on board is Sam Cooper who is just sixteen, he was also on board for the Eddystone Race and the race to St.Malo. Sam won’t be with us for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland, but all of the rest will.”

Second in IRC Zero was John Shepherd’s Ker 46, Fair Do’s VII, with Piet Vroon’s Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, in third

In IRC Super Zero Derek Saunders’ CM 60, Venomous was the handicap winner. Venomous got off to an excellent start, leading on the water from the British Keelboat Academy’s TP52, John Merricks II, as they left the Solent. However John Merricks II fought back to take line honours, in just under 14 hours

Peter Olden’s A 35, Solan Goose of Hamble, continued their recent run of form, to win IRC Two and the Two Handed Division. Propelling them to third in IRC Two for the Season’s Points Championship. From Belgium, Eric Van Campenhout’s JPK 110, Rackham, took line honours for the class and second place on handicap with French entry, Didier Dardot’s Sphinx 33, Parisfal, claiming third.

Jean Yves Chateau’s Nicholson 33, Iromiguy, came out top in IRC Three to open up a slender lead for the Season’s Points Championship from Matthias Kracht’s JPK 9.60 Ultreia!, who was second in the race. Phoenix Yacht Club’s Starlight 39 Spellbinder of Wytch, was third.

The next RORC racing is a mixture of inshore and offshore races for the Rolex Commodores’ Cup. For full results of The Channel Race and much more visit the RORC web site:  <http://www.rorc.org/> http://www.rorc.org


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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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