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The first edition of the RORC IRC National Championship was held in 1999 and for over 20 years a huge variety of yachts have enjoyed success winning the right to be named national champions.

For the 2021 regatta, over 40 teams will be competing for three days of thrilling racing in the Solent. Up to eight races will be fiercely contested with the fleet split into three IRC Classes.

The overall winner will be awarded the RORC IRC National Championship Trophy and together with IRC Class winners, they will celebrate at the RORC Clubhouse in Cowes.

Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ RánNiklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán

IRC One

Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán, will be defending their class win in 2020, Zennström’s team also won the class with TP52 Rán in 2008 and 2009. Peter Morton will be racing his GP42 Jean Genie. Morton has helmed three boats to class victory of the years: IC45 Yes (2001), Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble (2014) and FAST40+ Girls on Film (2019). IRC One will also feature the first encounter between two IC37s in the Solent with Ian Atkins’ Icy and Bertie Bicket’s Fargo going toe-to-toe.

Stuart Sawyer’s J/122 Black Dog, overall winner in 2019 Photo: Paul WyethStuart Sawyer’s J/122 Black Dog, overall winner in 2019 Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Two

Five Cape31s are expected for the IRC Championship, the first time that the Mark Mills designed pocket rockets have been racing at the event. Stuart Sawyer’s J/122 Black Dog, overall winner in 2019, will be racing with his West Country team. A past winner under new ownership is the Mills 39 Zero II, skippered by James Gair.

IRC Three

The 2020 overall IRC National Champion is back to defend the title. Howell and Newell’s A35 Arcus posted a perfect scoreline to win the championship. Adam Gosling’s JPK 1080 Yes! is the scratch boat for the class. Statistically, Gosling is the most successful skipper in the history of the event, having won class four times in various boats, all called Yes! (2009, 2011, 2016, 2017). In 2016, Adam Gosling’s Yes! had the unusual distinction of a tie for the overall win with Dunkerque - Les Dunes de Flandre. Giovanni Belgrano’s one-off classic Whooper will also be racing this year, hoping to emulate their overall win in 2017.

Giovanni Belgrano’s one-off classic Whooper Photo: Paul WyethGiovanni Belgrano’s one-off classic Whooper Photo: Paul Wyeth

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One hundred and twenty five boats started the 230 nautical-mile RORC Myth of Malham, held over the Bank Holiday Weekend. High pressure at the start of the race, delivered light to moderate conditions with brilliant sunshine for a magnificent spinnaker run down the South Coast of England. On the morning of Day Two, as the majority of the fleet were rounding the Eddystone Lighthouse, the wind speed increased to over 20 knots from the northeast. A feisty beat in confused seas lasted for about seven hours. The wind faltered later in the race creating calm seas, which combined with a strong unfavourable tide, to slow the progress of the smaller boats.

David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala. Photo: Paul WyethDavid Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala. Photo: Paul Wyeth

David Collins’ Botin IRC52 Tala took Line Honours and the Myth of Malham Cup for the best corrected time under IRC. Congratulations to all of the class winners including Orange Mecanix2 skippered by Maxime de Mareuil, Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine’s Pintia, Louis-Marie Dussere’s Raging-bee², Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews racing Cora, James Harayda & Dee Caffari racing Gentoo, Charles Emmett’s Virgin Media Business, and James Holder’s Slinky Malinki.

Full Results

“It’s been a long time and great to be back, the last distance race I did was the Fastnet 2019,” commented Tala’s navigator Campbell Field. “Thankfully the South Coast turned on some beautiful weather with a little bit of bash and crash on the way back to the finish. Tala is not putting much emphasis from this result towards the Fastnet in August. If the Myth of Malham had been run seven days earlier, the systems coming through would have created a different story. It was nice to sharpen our act a little, get the team together for some beautiful sailing, and we have found a few things to improve our performance.”

James Harayda’s Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo, racing with Dee Caffari. Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC   James Harayda’s Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo, racing with Dee Caffari. Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC  

IRC Two-Handed

Thirty-Eight Two-Handed teams competed in the race, James Harayda’s Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo, racing with Dee Caffari, was the winner of the Ville D’Hyeres Trophy. Kelvin Rawlings’ Sun Fast 3300 Aries, racing with Stuart Childerley, was second. Henry Bomby & Shirley Robertson racing their Sun Fast 3300 were third. The first IRC Two-Handed team to finish the race was Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing with Deb Fish. Bellino was fourth after IRC time correction.

Tired but elated, James Harayda and Dee Caffari spoke dockside: “The race was delayed by about 30 minutes because of a ship coming through the Solent, which threw off our plans for the tidal gates. We got a good start and there was a big transition at The Needles but the big boats in front of us gave a good indication of what was to come.” After tight racing all the way down the South Coast, there was little separating the leaders. “It was literally a traffic jam as we rounded the Eddystone Lighthouse. We made sure we got our manoeuvres right and then the fun really started. After a wonderful ride downwind, we had a really messy sea state and 20 knots of wind as we beat back. Approaching Portland, we stayed offshore a little, hoping for more breeze which worked. It is never over until you cross the finish line, anything can happen, and at the end of a long race you can get tired and make a mistake, we had to race-clever all the way to the end.”

IRC One

The French xP44 Orange Mecanix2 skippered by Maxime de Mareuil, has won the Loujaine Cup. Orange Mecanix2 pulled off a tremendous finish to win IRC One from Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood. Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra made a big gain going into Lyme Bay on the return leg, finishing third after IRC time correction. Class Line Honours went to Ed Fishwick’s Farr 42 Redshift, after a close battle with RORC Commodore James Neville racing HH42 Ino XXX.

Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine’s French J/133 Pintia. Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC   Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine’s French J/133 Pintia. Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC  

IRC Two

Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine’s French J/133 Pintia won the class winning the Jamarella Trophy and placed second overall for the fleet. Thomas Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise took Class Line Honours, was second in IRC Two, and third overall. Christopher Daniel’s J/122E Juno was third in class. IRC Two produced the most competitive contest for the podium with less than 20 minutes separating the Pintia, Sunrise and Juno, after 36 hours of racing.

“We are very pleased to race the Myth of Malham, our first race since Cherbourg in 2019,” commented Pintia’s Gilles Fournier. “We were very eager to come to England in spite of the pandemic. Even with all the safety measures in place, we received a good welcome in Cowes. For the race, we had friendly and well-sailed competitors, and Pintia is delighted to have won our class. On the way back, Portland Bill was tough with a lot of tide, and we were overtaken by our competitors, but we got back, which was so nice. Thank you to the RORC for a great race!”

IRC Three

French boats filled the class podium with Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 1180 Raging-bee² winning the taking Class Line Honours and the win after IRC time correction from the legendary Noel Racine racing his new JPK 1030 Foggy Dew. Maxime Mesnil’s J/99 Axe Sail, taking part in their debut race, was third by just 19 seconds. Raging-bee² wins the Maid of Malham Cup.

IRC Four

Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews won a tight finish racing Two-Handed on Sun Fast 3200 Cora to win the Ernest Moore Plate. Emmanuel Pinteaux’s fully crewed French JPK 10.10 Gioia was second. The Two-Handed team of William McGough & Christian Jeffery, racing J/109 Just So was third, only three minutes behind after time correction. 

Myth of Malham Trophies and Medallions will be presented on Saturday 11th September at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse at 1930 hrs. All skippers and crews are most welcome.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club 2021 Season’s Points Championship continues with the East Coast Race, starting on Saturday 5th June. The race starting and finishing in Harwich, will pitch the RORC fleet in the North Sea on a course of approximately 125nm.

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club offshore programme is in full race mode this weekend with 127 boats expected on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line for the 230nm race around the Eddystone Lighthouse. The Myth of Malham Race is always an important event in a Rolex Fastnet Race Year, as it mirrors the start of the world-famous yacht race that will start from Cowes in August. Even more, importance is attached to the Myth of Malham Race for 2021.

Among the Irish sailors competing is Greystones, County Wicklow yachtswoman Pamela Lee on board Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine's J133, Pintia.

This will be the largest RORC fleet to set sail since the start of the pandemic. The forecast fair weather will make for an impressive spinnaker start off Cowes Parade.

Conditions at the start of the race may suit teams racing light displacement boats, especially those that can clear the tidal gate at Portland Bill. Among the favourites for Monohull Line Honours in IRC Zero are David Collins' Botin IRC52 Tala and CM60 Venomous skippered by James Gair. In IRC One the fastest boats will also challenge to be the first to finish, especially RORC Commodore James Neville's HH42 Ino XXX and Ed Fishwick's Farr 42 Redshift. James Holder's Dazcat 1295 Slinky Malinki is currently the only team racing for Multihull Line Honours. For overall victory under IRC for the Myth of Malham Trophy and victory in the six IRC Classes, the form book is wide open, especially as the wind is forecast to increase in speed for the slower boats.

Yachts taking part in the RORC Myth of Malham Race will start to gather off Cowes Parade from around midday on Saturday 29th May. The full entry list and AIS tracking link can be found here.

Additional reporting by the Afloat team

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Vice Admiral’s Cup came to a conclusion on Sunday 23rd May after two days of racing in fresh to feisty conditions in the Solent. The final day of racing produced more challenging conditions for the high performance classes racing under IRC and One-design Class Rules. A gentle south-westerly wind with clear skies was soon replaced by a significant rain squall with over 20 knots of breeze, gusting over 25 on occasions.

Congratulations to the eight class winners: Niklas Zennström’s Rán, Rob Bottomley’s Sailplane 3, Glyn Locke’s Toucan, Sam Laidlaw’s BLT, Tony Mack’s McFly, David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish, Russell Peters’ Squirt and Stephen Procter’s Xcellent.

FAST40+ Class

Niklas Zennström’s Rán won four out of six races to dominate the FAST40+ Class. Christian Hamilton & Guy Gillon’s Fast40+ Khumbu was second, just a point ahead of Peter Morton’s Jean Genie.

“Winning the first round of the FAST40+ circuit was our aim towards our goal of winning the season,” confirmed Rán’s Tim Powell. “We have a number of youth sailors, both female and male and it was especially pleasing today to have well-executed crew work in difficult conditions. The FAST40+ Class is very much about boats that are built to withstand heavy weather, but perfecting those manoeuvres is so important towards the performance. I think the competition in the fleet is getting closer. Khumbu has most definitely found another gear and the twin rudder set up on Ino XXX makes the team very quick at certain angles. Morty’s Jean Genie has had a number of modifications and I am sure after some fine tuning the boat will be very hard to beat.”

Performance 40 Class

Rob Bottomley’s Mills 42 Sailplane 3 continued their impressive form winning the Performance 40 Class with a race to spare. Michael Blair & Stevie Beckett’s King 40 Cobra finished off a highly consistent performance by winning the last race of the regatta to take second place for the class. David Cummins’ Ker 39 Rumbleflurg completed the podium just a point ahead of VME Racing’s Mills 39 Zero II.

“Sailplane is very much a team effort and we are delighted with our first win of the season against good opposition in the Performance 40 Class. I have to single out Nick Jones who has done an outstanding job in putting the programme together,” commented Sailplane’s Rob Bottomley. “Our next race will be the Myth of Malham and we have created a boat which is a good all-rounder for inshore and offshore racing. The two disciplines do help each other and we hope to put in a good start to the offshore race, buoyed by the confidence from this win in the Vice Admiral’s Cup.”

A lively day on the water for the Quarter Tonners, with Sam Laidlaw’s BLT winning the class © Rick TomlinsonA lively day on the water for the Quarter Tonners, with Sam Laidlaw’s BLT winning the class © Rick Tomlinson

Quarter Tonner Class

Sam Laidlaw’s BLT won the last race of the regatta to win the class. Held in over 20 knots of wind, the last race was full-on for the Quarter Tonners. Olivia Dowling’s Catch finished the regatta in second place with Julian Metherell’s Bullit third.

Sam Laidlaw was quick to mention that the biggest factor in BLT’s win was teamwork. “We have been racing together for about 10 years,” said Sam. “When you race these quirky boats in big breeze it requires a lot of know-how and understanding and when you get it right it is very thrilling! The Quarter Ton Class has a lot of well sailed boats that excel in different types of conditions so you really have to be at the top of your game. Many thanks to the RORC Race Team for providing great racing, especially on the first day. The fast race sequence allowed us to get four races in, which should be applauded.”

HP30 Class

Glyn Locke’s Farr 280 Toucan was the winner of the HP30 Class, retaining the title won in 2019. Toucan was pushed to the maximum by Jerry Hill & Richard Faulkner’s Farr 280 Moral Compass which finished the regatta just a point behind their rivals. Jonathan Powell’s Farr 280 Peggy scored a third place in the final race to claim third, just a point ahead of Jamie Rankin’s Farr 280 Pandemonium

Glyn Locke races Toucan with his two sons, Alex who drives and Anthony who trims upwind and downwind. The Locke family hails from Yarmouth IOW, giving a home victory to the team: “It was pretty full-on, fast and furious and we had a few scary moments and it was very, very wet!” commented Alex. “It’s an absolute blast,” smiled Glyn Locke. “The chit-chat and banter from the whole crew is so much fun.”

J/111 Class

In the J/111 Class, Tony Mack’s McFly held off a strong challenge to win the J/111 Class. Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s Journeymaker II won the last race to finish the regatta in second place ahead of Cornel Riklin’s Jitterbug.

J/109 Class

David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish won the J/109 Class scoring three race wins including a full-blooded final race battle with Christopher Burleigh’s Jybe Talkin'. Mike Yates’ Jago was third.

J/109 winners: David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish © Rick TomlinsonJ/109 winners: David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish © Rick Tomlinson

Cape31 Class

Russell Peters’ Squirt has stamped their authority on the newly formed Cape 31 UK Class, winning five straight races to clinch the class win - the first round of the Cape 31 circuit. Lance Adams’ Katabatic was runner-up for the class and Simon Perry’s Jiraffe had a great final day at the Vice Admiral’s Cup, winning the last race to take third place for the class.

SB20 Class

Conditions were right on the edge for the SB20 Class with Stephen Procter’s Xcellent scoring their fourth win of the regatta to take the title by a handsome margin. Tom Neilson’s team was second, and an impressive final race for Lizzie Farrington’s Boomerang lifted the team to third, just one point ahead of Richard McAdam’s Breaking Bod.

Stephen Procter’s SB20 Class Xcellent scored their fourth win of the regatta to take the title by a handsome margin © Rick TomlinsonStephen Procter’s SB20 Class Xcellent

Racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club continues next weekend with the 230nm offshore Myth of Malham Race. The first major offshore race of the year mirrors the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race. Well over one hundred boats are expected, which will be an impressive sight, starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line on Saturday 29th May.

Full results here

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Racing got underway at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Vice Admiral’s Cup on Saturday 22nd May with four highly competitive races for all eight classes. The gale that had blown through the Solent the previous day had passed, but there was a moody sky as the 55-strong fleet headed out to the combat zone. A gentle breeze from the southwest, oscillated during the day providing shifty conditions. The wind speed varied under a pewter sky with glimpses of sunshine breaking through.

Over 20 knots blasted in from the Western Solent for the final race of the day to create a thrilling, full-on foam up finale.

Quarter Tonner Class
Sam Laidlaw’s BLT leads the class having claimed two race wins today. Olivia Dowling’s Catch won the last two races to finish the day in second place. Julian Metherell’s Bullit is third. Stories resonate throughout the fleet, but one that really tells the tale behind the return to racing after lockdown, is from the Quarter Tonner Class.

Olivia Dowling’s Catch is a beautifully prepared yacht, but due to family commitments, she has not had the time to sail her for a while. Racing in the highly competitive fleet, Olivia was especially keen to get the better of her husband Niall Dowling (Royal Irish Yacht Club), racing Per Elisa in the same class.

Niall commented after racing: “I made the mistake of tacking on Olivia in the first race and that obviously got her going, because it was the last time we got anywhere near her for the rest of the day! I have to say a big ‘thank you’ to the RORC Race Team that produced a really professional performance in difficult conditions. 

Cork Harbour sailmaker Tom McWilliam (black hat, centre) on board Niklas Zennstrom's Rán. One point separates the top three in the FAST40+ fleet, with Rán holding onto top place after one day of racing Photo: Rick TomlinsonCork Harbour sailmaker Tom McWilliam (black hat, centre) on board Niklas Zennstrom's Rán. One point separates the top three in the FAST40+ fleet, with Rán holding onto top place after one day of racing Photo: Rick Tomlinson

FAST40+ Class
Niklas Zennström’s Rán won two of today’s races to finish the day top of the leaderboard. Peter Morton’s Jean Genie is in second place, no doubt enjoying his first race victory in his new boat, beating Rán by just over a minute in Race 3. Christian Hamilton & Guy Gillon’s Fast40+ Khumbu got off to a great start, taking line honours and the corrected time win in Race 1. Khumbu finished the day in third place, just two points ahead of Ino XXX, with RORC Commodore James Neville at the helm.

Performance 40 Class
Rob Bottomley’s Mills 42 Sailplane 3 had a spectacular day, scoring three bullets to top the class after four races. Michael Blair & Stevie Beckett’s King 40 Cobra is second having scored all podium finishes. David Cummins’ Ker 39 Rumbleflurg is third having scored a win in Race 2 by just nine seconds after IRC time correction. Andrew McIrvine’s Ker 39 La Réponse is just a point off the podium.

J/111 Class
Tony Mack's McFly leads the class by just one point from Cornel Riklin's Jitterbug with both boats scoring a pair of wins each. Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s Journeymaker II had a very consistent day to finish the day in third place.“We knew where we wanted to go on the racecourse and getting a good start in a one design fleet meant we didn’t have a bigger boat taking our lane,” explained Jitterbug’s Ritchie Hinde-Smith. Full credit to the race team for laying excellent windward-leeward courses which gave us all thrilling racing where you had to be at the top of your game. This is our fourth outing as a team this year and it all clicked together, plus our new North 1.5 headsail was really fast straight out of the bag.”

J/109 Class
David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish leads the J/109 class after four races, finishing the day in style by winning the final two races. Christopher Burleigh’s Jybe Talkin' scored a second place in the final race to move up to second for the class. Mike Yates’ Jago was scoring well but had to retire before the start of the final race with a minor crew injury. Jago is third on countback from Mojo Risin' skippered by Rob Cotterill.

Cape31 Class
Russell Peters’ Squirt had a perfect start to the Cape 31 UK season winning all of today’s races. Lance Adams’ Katabatic came within 20 seconds of winning Race 2 and finished the day in second place. Simon Perry’s Jiraffe is third on countback from Tor McLaren’s Gallivanter III.

HP30 Class
Glyn Locke’s Toucan opened their defence of their Vice Admiral’s Cup title with three straight bullets. In the final race, a real ripper, with the HP30s planing at terrific speed. Jerry Hill & Richard Faulkner’s Farr 280 Moral Compass took the win to finish the day in second place. Three boats are within a point of each other for third. Jamie Rankin’s Farr 280 Pandemonium scored a third in the final race to place just a point ahead in the series from Lucian Stone’s Fareast 28 Vendetta and Jonathan Powell’s Farr 280 Peggy.

SB20 Class
The SB20 Class was an awesome sight today, especially in the final race, scorching downwind in a ball of spray. Stephen Procter’s Xcellent scored three race wins, but a seventh place in Race 3 means that Xcellent only leads the class on countback from Tom Neilson’s team. Richard McAdam’s Breaking Bod is third.

After racing, a dinner was held at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Cowes Clubhouse with social distanced dining for over 70 competitors, members and guests. The RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup will conclude on Sunday 23rd May.

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British sailing team Alex Thomson Racing will begin their 2021 competitive season with the Fastnet Race on August 8th.

Three months out from the start of the prestigious race, the team this week returned their IMOCA 60 yacht, HUGO BOSS, to the water, with training set to commence in the coming days.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Thomson, a pre-race favourite in the Vendee Globe, quit the round the world race last November due to rudder damage.

"The boat has had a full inspection, NDT and service, and two new rudders installed" said Skipper Thomson. "Restrictions here in the UK due to the pandemic have meant that we've worked at a steady pace to keep our team safe. Now, with the work complete and restrictions set to ease, we're looking forward to getting back out there to train again".

The 695 nautical mile Fastnet Race will begin on Sunday 8th August from Cowes, UK with a record 450+ boats - across multiple classes - set to compete. The fleet will sail via the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland and will finish, for the first time in the race's 96-year history, in Cherbourg, France.

Sailing onboard HUGO BOSS, Thomson - joined for the double-handed race by a co-skipper yet to be decided by his team - will aim to better his previous second-place finish in the race: "This will be my 11th Fastnet, I believe, so we've got a lot of experience in this race. I'm really looking forward to sailing the new course and finishing in Cherbourg. I think it adds a new tactical dimension to the race".

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High-performance racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club is back with the Vice Admiral’s Cup taking place in the Solent from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd May. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic, but over 50 teams have taken up the challenge for 2021. Eight classes will compete on technical windward-leeward courses, with adrenalin-packed action for FAST40+, Performance 40, J/111, J/109, Cape31, HP30, Quarter Tonner and SB20.

FAST40+ Class

The Grand Prix class returns to racing for the first time this year. Whilst the class follows a box rule, the carbon fibre flyers have very similar IRC Ratings. Niklas Zennström’s Rán is the boat to beat having won the class at the 2019 Vice Admiral’s Cup. Peter Morton returns to the FAST40+ arena with a new boat, Jean Genie which has been tricked up for action. In contention for the Vice Admiral’s Cup will be Christian Hamilton & Guy Gillon’s Khumbu with several rigging upgrades. RORC Commodore James Neville racing Ino XXX has innovative sails in the wardrobe. Ed Fishwick’s Redshift has a lower IRC rating as a result of modifications over the winter layoff.

“Rán have been out training in all conditions and it will be a breath of fresh air to be back out racing,” commented Rán’s Tim Powell, “The weather is looking changeable for the regatta, so we are keeping an open mind as to what the conditions will be. A lot of boats have spent time over the winter improving their boats. As this is the first race of the season it will be very interesting to see where everybody has got to in terms of performance.”

The impressive sight of the Grand Prix FAST40+ fleet Photo: Rick TomlinsonThe impressive sight of the Grand Prix FAST40+ fleet Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Back to defend their class win from 2019 - Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán Photo: Rick TomlinsonBack to defend their class win from 2019 - Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Performance 40 Class

The Vice Admiral’s Cup will be the first round of the 2021 Performance 40 Series. Under tight IRC Rating rules the class provides intense racing for a variety of performance cruisers. Teams will be racing designs from the drawing boards of Jason Ker, Mark Mills, Beneteau and X-Yachts. Proven winners include Michael Blair & Stevie Beckett’s Cobra, David Cummins’ Rumleflurg and James Gair’s Zero II. Past RORC Commodore and Admiral, Andrew McIrvine will be competing with La Réponse.

Rob Bottomley’s Sailplane 3 will be relishing the prospect of pure windward leeward racing as navigator Nick Jones explains: “We have set up Sailplane for windward leeward racing for the Bottomley family. Although the Rolex Fastnet Race is very important, the vast majority of the crew are youngsters that are into weekend racing. The biggest change for this event is that we are back to a full crew, which will change how we sail the boat. This should be a huge leap forward in slick manoeuvres and the way that the boat can perform.”

Rob Bottomley’s Sailplane 3 will be competing in the Performance 40 class in the three-day Vice Admiral's Cup Photo: Rick TomlinsonRob Bottomley’s Sailplane 3 will be competing in the Performance 40 class in the three-day Vice Admiral's Cup Photo: Rick Tomlinson

J/111 fleet Photo: Rick TomlinsonThe J/111 fleet Photo: Rick Tomlinson

J/111 Class

Racing inshore and offshore, the J/111 class has been established in the Solent for about 10 years. The fast 36' (11.1m) One-Design is recognised by World Sailing and will host their World Championship in the Solent in 2022. Competing at the Vice Admiral’s Cup will be UK National Champion Tony & Sally Mack’s McFly and J/111 World President Chris Jones, racing Journeymaker II with Louise Makin.

J/109 Class

For 20 years the J/109 has been a familiar sight racing in the Solent. More recently the 35ft (10.7m) racer cruiser has been one of the largest one-design classes for the Rolex Fastnet Race. Top J/109 teams for the Vice Admiral’s Cup include Mike Yates’ Jago, David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish and Rob Cotterill racing Mojo Risin'.

Tony & Sally Mack’s J/111 McFly is UK National Champion Photo: Rick TomlinsonTony & Sally Mack’s J/111 McFly is UK National Champion Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Mike Yates’ J/109 Jago Photo: Rick TomlinsonMike Yates’ J/109 Jago Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Cape31 Class

Designed and built for Table Bay, Cape Town, the 31ft (9.6m) Mills One-Design is a new class in the Solent. Four will be racing at the Vice Admiral’s Cup; the first official event for the 2021 Cape31 UK Series. Russell Peters will be on the helm of Squirt and the crew includes his daughter Suzy as navigator.

“It is an awesome boat to race,” commented Suzy. “So far, we have only raced in a mixed IRC fleet, but we have managed to hang in there to the top mark with the bigger boats and then wave goodbye at 20 knots downwind! We are so excited to have four boats out for a one-design regatta and we hope to have eight by Cowes Week.”

HP30 Class

The HP30 Class has a box rule for powerful planing boats of around 30ft that race under a tight IRC Racing band. Exotic materials are restricted, making for thrilling racing at an affordable price. The Vice Admiral’s Cup will be Round 2 of the 2021 Championship Series. The fleet of HP30s in action include Farr 280s, FarEast 28s and one Lutra 30. Glyn Locke’s Toucan, with son Alex driving, is the defending champion from 2019.

Four Cape31's will competing this coming weekend on the Solent, including Squirt Photo: Warsash Spring Series   Four Cape31's will competing this coming weekend on the Solent, including Squirt Photo: Warsash Spring Series  

Action on board Glyn Locke’s Farr 280 Toucan competing in the HP30 class Photo: Rick TomlinsonAction on board Glyn Locke’s Farr 280 Toucan competing in the HP30 class Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Quarter Tonner Class

The first Quarter Tonner Worlds was in 1967 and since 2005 the diminutive keel boat has seen a resurgence in the Solent, racing under the IRC Rule. Nine teams have entered the Vice Admiral’s Cup, including three winners of the Quarter Ton Cup under IRC. Bullit, Espada, and Protis. Sam Laidlaw has won the Quarter Ton Cup twice in a previous boat and will be racing BLT for the regatta. Louise Morton’s Bullet was the class winner for the Vice Admiral’s Cup in 2019.

“I am really excited to race in the Vice Admiral’s Cup, especially after last year was cancelled. Bullet is inundated with crew which is always a good sign,” commented Louise Morton. “It is going to be very competitive; the standard in the class is very high. There is very little between us and short, sharp racing is what we all enjoy. The Quarter Ton Cup will follow this regatta so it will be fascinating to see where we all are.”

SB20 Class

The British built 20ft (6.15m) keelboat has been racing in the Solent for about 20 years. Conceived by Tony Castro, the SB20 is designed for three or four crew with no hiking allowed. Weighing just 685 kg with a max. downwind sail area of 790 sq. ft, the SB20 is a pocket rocket capable of over 20 knots. 2019 Vice Admiral’s Cup champion, Breaking Bod is back to defend their title.

Louise Morton’s Quarter Tonner Bullet was class winner in the last RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup Photo: Rick TomlinsonLouise Morton’s Quarter Tonner Bullet was class winner in the last RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Tiger and Joker will be racing in the competitive Quarter Tonner class Photo: Rick TomlinsonTiger and Joker will be racing in the competitive Quarter Tonner class Photo: Rick Tomlinson

The pocket rocket SB20 class will include Richard McAdam's Breaking Bod - back to defend their class win from 2019 Photo: Rick TomlinsonThe pocket rocket SB20 class will include Richard McAdam's Breaking Bod - back to defend their class win from 2019 Photo: Rick Tomlinson

The Notice of Race for the Vice Admiral’s Cup reminds all competitors to comply with all Government regulations, Harbour Authorities and RYA guidance in respect of COVID19.

During the Vice Admiral’s Cup, the Royal Ocean Racing Club welcomes members and competitors to the RORC Cowes Clubhouse. A prizegiving will take place each day and tables will need to be reserved in advance.

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club organised two races over the May Bank Holiday weekend. 58 boats entered, including a 91nm race for IRC Two Handed, the first overnight race of the year. Giovanni Belgrano’s Classic Whooper won the race for crewed IRC boats. Mike Yates’ J/109 Jago, racing with Eivind Boymo-Malm, was the winner for IRC Two-handed. 

Giovanni Belgrano’s Classic Whooper Photo: Rick TomlinsonGiovanni Belgrano’s Classic Whooper Photo: Rick Tomlinson

A race of approximately 24nm was set for the IRC Crewed boats, essentially a windward leg from the Squadron Line to Bembridge Ledge Buoy with a reciprocal downwind leg back. David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala took line honours in just over four hours. However, the breeze built during the latter part of the race, giving an advantage to the smaller boats. Whooper won the race after time correction by a big margin. The smallest boat in the race, Ross Bowdler’s J/80 Justify, was second. The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster, was third.

“it was an awesome tactical race against all the forecast odds!” explained Whooper’s Giovanni Belgrano. “The wind speed ranged from 5 knots at the start to 20 knots in a rain squall. We had to use every trick we know to win the race. Going inshore on the return leg was the biggest gain. Whooper weighs about the same as Tala, but we only draw one metre, so we could go right over Ryde Sands.”

“A big thank you to the RORC for the race,” commented J/80 Justify’s Ross Bowdler. “It is so cool to race against the big boats and get a great result. Congratulations to Whooper, they sailed an impeccable race.”

Congratulations should also go to Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader. With all three races completed, Dawn Treader is the overall winner of the RORC Spring Series for IRC Crewed boats. Second is Rob Bottomley’s MAT12 Sailplane 3 skippered by Nick Jones. Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood was third overall.

Mike Yates’ J/109 Jago, racing with Eivind Boymo-Malm Photo: Rick TomlinsonMike Yates’ J/109 Jago, racing with Eivind Boymo-Malm Photo: Rick Tomlinson

29 teams racing in IRC Two-Handed were set a separate 91 nautical mile course with crews racing through the night for the first time this year. Starting from the Squadron Line the fleet raced upwind to the east. After exiting The Solent, the fleet were off the breeze for a spinnaker run along the South Coast of the Isle of Wight. After passing The Needles, a broad reach into Poole Bay was followed by a harden up to finish at North Head.

Mike Yates’ J/109 Jago, racing with Eivind Boymo-Malm, was the winner for IRC Two-handed. Sun Fast 3200 Mzungu, sailed by Sam White and Sam North was second by just 12 seconds in a race lasting almost 17 hours. Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, racing with Jeremy Waitt, was third.

“It was a very complex race, with many sail changes and tactical decisions from beginning to end,” commented Jago’s Mike Yates. “A big cloud at the Nab Tower caused a split in the fleet and we just managed to hold our kite. Our jib top was very effective on the southside of the island and the decision to go offshore at St Catherine's worked well with a breeze filling in from the southwest. We also just made several tidal gates in the latter part of the race. We are delighted to win and all credit to Elvind, two-handed racing is heavily reliant on teamwork, so he deserves just as much credit.”

“ A great race, with lots of opportunities for people to get back ‘into it’ if they had been unfortunate enough to find a hole, as there were a lot around.” commented Mzungu’s Sam White.

Racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club goes inshore for the Vice Admiral’s Cup Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd May. Offshore racing is scheduled to resume on Saturday, May 29th with the Myth of Malham Race. The 230nm race around the Eddystone Lighthouse is expected to have a substantial RORC fleet, as the start mirrors the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Results here

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After a year and a half of disruptions to offshore racing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has confirmed an overnight race for Two-Handed teams starting on May 1st.

The combined entry list for May 1st has a fleet of 48 yachts, including all the top Two-Handed boats from the inshore RORC Spring Series. The three-race series came to a dramatic conclusion on April 17th. James Harayda racing Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo with Dee Caffari, was just one second ahead of Kelvin Rawlings, racing Sun Fast 3300 Aries with Stuart Childerley.

The result in the last race gave Gentoo victory in the series by a single point from Aries. Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino racing with Deb Fish was third.

Dee Caffari shares her thoughts about the takeaways from the RORC Spring Series and the return to offshore action in the vid below.

“The Spring Series had a super-competitive fleet which just literally proved that every second counts,” commented Dee Caffari. “We have had the chance to blow the cobwebs off in The Solent, and on May 1st we will finally stretch our legs offshore. The next race is about preparation and also boat speed rather than the manoeuvres. We have seen how challenging this fleet is, so I am assuming we will all be testing each other to the max.”

For crewed entries, the RORC Spring Series will come to a conclusion this weekend. Two teams are tied for first place going into the deciding race. Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader and RORC Commodore James Neville, racing HH42 Ino XXX, have equal points. Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood is just two points behind the leaders, whilst Rob Bottomley’s MAT 12 Sailplane 3 is five points off pole-position.

“Safety always comes first, it is just too early to run an overnight race for fully crewed teams, however when the club offered to run an offshore race for Two-Handed teams, the response was an overwhelming – Yes Please!” commented RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. “Details of the course for IRC Two-Handed will be determined by the weather, but our intention is to set an overnight race, taking the Two-Handed fleet out of the Solent. For crewed teams racing under IRC, the final race of the Spring Series will be inshore with a target time of 6-8 hours.”

The RORC fleet are scheduled to start racing from the Squadron Line Cowes from 10:00 BST on Saturday 1st May.

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club has launched an updated Crew Match portal that aims to simplify the process of matching boat owners and crew wherever they race in the world.

The RORC Crew Match website has been upgraded to work with modern communication systems and is easy to use and anyone can register, whether a RORC member or not.

“Finding crewing opportunities can often be quite difficult if you are new to the sport or new to a particular sailing area. For boat owners finding experienced crew can often be trial and error through recommendation and often a time consuming and unsatisfactory exercise for both parties,” said RORC Commodore James Neville. “RORC Crew Match will simplify the process allowing crew to post their experience and owners to advertise crewing positions they are looking to fill and hopefully lead to more boats out on the water competing. It’s a one-stop-shop to find available crew and boats to race.”

Sailors are encouraged to log their details on the website posting their previous experience and their availability for a particular location and can view crewing opportunities being advertised before making the initial contact that will lead to being part of a committed race team.

For more go here

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