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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
24th November 2021

IRC 2022 Rule Text Published

Following the international IRC annual Congress meeting in October, the 2022 IRC rule text is now published online.

The new rule text includes the following changes agreed by Congress: Stored power (autopilots) for steering is prohibited unless permitted by the relevant notice of race (rule 15.2); IRC measurement condition for boat weight now explicitly includes permanently installed renewable energy features such as solar panels etc. (rule 17.1), and a spar used as a whisker pole to set a headsail or flying headsail only requires declaration if used to leeward (rule 21.3.6). The 2022 IRC rule applies from 1st January 2022, except in countries with June-May validity where the rule will apply from 1st June 2022.

A proposed rule change from Australia to allow a boat to hold two concurrent valid certificates for different configurations was agreed in principle. A pilot scheme will be developed to be tested in Australia and other southern hemisphere countries during 2022, with a view to worldwide rollout if it proves successful.

2022 IRC Rule text and more information about the rule changes here

 

Published in RORC
Tagged under

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

Held every four years, the 1,805nm Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race “is a true marathon of epic proportions”, according to its organisers the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC).

Roughly three times longer than the Rolex Fastnet Race, the course sends the competing teams around a myriad of headlands with tidal strategies.

Coupled with the notorious British and Irish weather, the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race is arguably the toughest pro-am race in the world. Every team that completes the challenge rightly deserves the admiration of any offshore sailor.

The Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race also requires that at least half of the crew must have completed a minimum of 500 miles offshore racing within 18 months of the race start, including the skipper. Every crew member must also have experience of sailing a boat offshore and be prepared to encounter heavy weather.

“This is not a race like any other in the RORC programme,” RORC racing manager Chris Stone said. “It is a very tough race in remote locations with a lot of navigational work required. Ultimately the qualification process combined with the crew working together will result in success for the teams.

“This is not a race to put a crew together at short notice, it is a race for a well-seasoned and well-practiced team. The Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland is not a race for novices.”

Previous editions have seen the course reversed due to adverse weather conditions. Here is a walk through the course assuming a clockwise direction for the next edition that’s set to start nine months from now, on Sunday 7 August 2022:

After a momentous start at the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, Isle of Wight, the fleet race through the Solent then past the famous headlands of southwest of England. The epic adventure continues into the Celtic Sea, past the Fastnet Rock and Mizen Head onto the wild West Coast of Ireland.

The Atlantic racing continues past St Kilda, up to the most northerly point of the course, Muckle Flugga on the 61st parallel. Then, turning south through the infamous North Sea, the fleet will have turned their bows for home.

The English Channel and Solent form the final stages of the race where, after the finish, a warm welcome awaits at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse.

The Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race route map, assuming a clockwise direction | Credit: RORCThe Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race route map, assuming a clockwise direction | Credit: RORC

The overall winner of the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race is decided by IRC time correction. In the last editon in 2018, the winner was Giles Redpath’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra. Antoine Magre was one of the crew and will be racing again in 2022 on Class40 Palanad 3.

A number of Class40 teams are expected for this race. Palanad 3 is both the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race Class40 champion as well as overall winner of the 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race.

“In 2018 I said to myself that I need to do this race on a Class40. There is some upwind, but a lot of reaching angles where you can open up — it will be a whole new world in a Class40,” Antoine Magre said.

“It is a very fast and a very harsh race; that is the attraction. You know you are going to have storms to deal with and it can be very wild and hostile. It is a complete race in terms of seamanship skills — I would love to put a second notch on my belt!”

The outright race record for the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race was set in 2014 by Oman Sail-Musandam. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet, the MOD70 finished the race in an elapsed time of three days, three hours, 32 minutes and 36 seconds. At an astonishing average speed of 23.48kn, Oman Sail-Musandam set a record that few believe will ever be broken.

“The weather was exceptional…I doubt you could find better for the course, let alone the race. We went round Great Britain and Ireland without a tack, only gybes. No tack, zero tacks. That is rare, possibly unique,” Gavignet said.

In 2014, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s VO65, Azzam, skippered by Ian Walker, set the monohull race record of four days, 13 hours, 10 minutes and 28 seconds. After four days of relentless, high-speed racing, pushing the crews and the fleet of VO65s to their limits, the strong downwind conditions abated. As Azzam and Team Campos closed in on the finish, the leaders had a light air battle for the line.

“The race crew have got a few bumps and bruises, sail changes were excellent and navigator Simon Fisher didn’t put a foot wrong all race,” Ian Walker said after the race. “The first 48 hours was brutal; it has been really hard on the body and there is not much left of our hands. However, mentally nothing has been as tough as the last 12 hours.”

In 2018, Phil Sharp’s Class40 Imerys Clean Energy set a new world record (40ft and under) of eight days, four hours, 14 minutes and 49 seconds. “This is definitely the toughest race in the northern hemisphere, harder than a transatlantic and all credit to the team who stuck at it and were exceptional, especially when the going got tough,” he said after setting the record. “You don’t expect to do a race like this without breaking gear.

“During the race we saw real extremes of challenging weather conditions, from heavy downwind, to light upwind sailing. Although in our class we had other competitive boats that pushed us, it turned out to be very much a race of attrition. Many thanks to the Royal Ocean Racing Club for organising a fantastic race.”

Long-term partner Sevenstar Yacht Transport continue to support what’s widely regarded as the toughest event in the RORC racing calendar and the 2022 edition will mark their fifth as title sponsor, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland
Tagged under

Would Tom Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunrise have still won the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021 if it had been sailed on the old course, with Plymouth rather than Cherbourg as the finish? Imponderable it may be, but it's a question of renewed interest as the row rumbles on about the in-race shortening of the recent Rolex Middle Sea Race 2021.

This course shortening was done in view of a developing northeasterly storm which soon made the harbour-mouth finish dangerously impossible for smaller boats still at sea. But as everyone is now well aware, it meant that Sunrise – already finished and in port along with two-thirds of the fleet – had to make do with second overall, after looking for a while as though she was about to achieve the magnificent double of Fastnet and Middle Sea overall victories in one season, achieved with such style that it would all have been done and dusted within the space of three months.

But the unhappy outcome instead caused an almighty row, and some of us sought shelter in trying to analyse it from a different point of view. The affable but very keen and obviously extremely effective Tom Kneen is a loyal member of the Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth, and he happily admitted that in the RORC members' poll about the change to the Fastnet course, he had voted in favour of the traditional finish in Plymouth rather than race the extra 90 miles to a new big-scale welcome in Cherbourg.

The traditional Fastnet finish at Plymouth and the 2021 version with the finish at Cherbourg. It's possible that the extra 90 miles to Cherbourg gave the Plymouth-base Sunrise her overall win.The traditional Fastnet finish at Plymouth and the 2021 version with the finish at Cherbourg. It's possible that the extra 90 miles to Cherbourg gave the Plymouth-base Sunrise her overall win.

Ironically, it may well be that the extra 90 miles "imposition" gave Sunrise her clearcut win. She had been reasonably well-placed but not winning at earlier stages, thus it was the lengthened final stage after the Bishop Rock and up the middle of the English Channel in a private breeze – a feat repeated with almost equal success by Ronan O Siochru's Desert Star from Dun Laoghaire – which saw Sunrise get so clearly into the Glitter Zone.

But having been given a portal to overall success by the long-planned extension of the Fastnet Race, Sunrise then found the door to a Middle Sea repeat slammed shut in her face by the sudden imposition of a course shortening. Some may raise their eyes to heaven and say: "The Lord Giveth, the Lord Taketh Away". But the more grounded have raised – not for the first time – the question of whether well-meaning amateurs should have ultimate control of the running of any major event in which the combined long-term expense of involvement by a huge fleet – whether amateur or professional – is a figure running into tens and probably hundreds of millions of euro.

The crew of Sunrise celebrating what looked like becoming a remarkable double at their finish of the Middle Sea Race 2021 in Malta. Photo: North SailsThe crew of Sunrise celebrating what looked like becoming a remarkable double at their finish of the Middle Sea Race 2021 in Malta. Photo: North Sails

Instinctively, many of us will incline to the support of the enthusiastic amateurs. But the harsher judges will quote Damon Runyon who, on enquiring about the activities of one of his Manhattan acquaintances, was told that: "He is doing the best he can", to which Runyon responded that he found this to be a very over-crowded profession.

VOLUNTARY ADMINISTRATORS

The voluntary race administrators in the Royal Malta Yacht Club came in for huge flak and this week issued what is in effect a mea culpa and a promise to do better in future. But it's going to rumble on like the Palme volcano for some time yet, and just yesterday Peter Ryan, the Chairman of ISORA, suggested they should now declare two sets of results as though they'd been running two races of different lengths in parallel all along, which if nothing else would lead to dancing in the streets in the Silversmiths' Quarter in Valetta.

And there have been suggestions that the RORC "should consider its position in relation to the Middle Sea Race", which is polite-speak for saying that the RORC should at least think about withdrawing its active support from what is essentially the Royal Malta YC's premier event. But nothing happens in a vacuum, and people making this extreme proposal are failing to take note that there's a turf war (ridiculous to have a turf war at sea, but there you are) going on between the ORC and the IRC measurement systems.

One of the starts from the harbour in the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2021. The wind was already from the northeast, and a severe storm – which caused fatalities in nearby Sicily – made the harbour entrance extremely dangerous by the time the smaller boats were finishing.One of the starts from the harbour in the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2021. The wind was already from the northeast, and a severe storm – which caused fatalities in nearby Sicily – made the harbour entrance extremely dangerous by the time the smaller boats were finishing.

The IRC is very much identified with the RORC, while the ORC has its own setup. And even as quiet territorial expansions are taking place on various fronts with new events emanating from both camps - the interesting Finnish-connected RORC race in the Baltic is one example – a proposed marriage between the World Championships of both systems appears to have resulted in the IRC being left stranded at the altar without a word of explanation.

In this febrile atmosphere, were the RORC to dump on the Royal Malta, it's always possible that the ORC's organisation might step into the breach, for the Middle Sea Race now has a momentum and vitality of its own, and it will happen each year regardless of politicking ashore.

A public spat online was inevitable, and in time we'll be persuaded that it has cleared the air, for that's the way these things happen even if various waters are temporarily muddied. But in global sailing, however big the row, it will only have been in the ha'penny place by comparison with the controversies which are now in the DNA of the America's Cup, which has been a joy and delight for m'learned friends ever since the original hand-written Deed of Gift – inkily scratched on parchment in 1857 – went on to become a Protocol in 1882 which was then revised in 1887.

PROTOCOL FATIGUE

In Ireland, we may well be suffering from Protocol Fatigue these days, but regardless of our feelings, the long-awaited Protocol for the next staging of the America's Cup – AC37 – will be revealed on Wednesday, November 17th by defenders Team New Zealand and the Challenger of Record, Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Ltd.

Doubtless, there'll be many bumps in the road between now and then, just as there have been bumps to the point of chasms in getting to where they are now. It's an uneven progress, with the professional/amateur divide still involved to such an extent that when the New York Yacht Club recently announced that they were "passing" on direct club participation this time around, in a subsequent statement the New Zealanders described the NYYC Commodore as a "Corinthian".

The New York Yacht Club's summer base of Harbour Court, Rhode Island. The Kiwi's description of the Commodore as "Corinthian" did not quite seem to have the usual complimentary intent.The New York Yacht Club's summer base of Harbour Court, Rhode Island. The Kiwi's description of the Commodore as "Corinthian" did not quite seem to have the usual complimentary intent.

This is normally a term of approval, but there was a distinct feeling that approval was not the intention in this case. In addition to the increasingly complex legalities, it made things personal, and that is not a good place to be in a situation like this.

But then this "situation" has become a world of its own. So much so, in fact, that the America's Cup legalities have provided the makings of its own department in the University of Auckland, and it has already graduated its own PhD in the shape of Dr Hamish Ross, who published his latest findings this week. You've probably read it already, but even so, it's a good browse for a November Saturday morning:

LEGAL OPINION

In eleven days' time, the Protocol for the 37th America's Cup is due to be revealed, eight months after Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Limited filed a notice challenge under the Deed of Gift.

What can we expect and what is likely to be left unanswered?

Sources close to the Defender indicate that the all-important venue selection is yet to be made and may not be announced until as late as March 2022. This will not be welcome news to the Challenger of Record, who will be getting impatient. It has a right to fall back onto the Deed default match terms if relations become strained, which will likely result in a commercial black hole.

Given the selected venue may impact the yacht to be raced, publication of the Class Rule may be similarly delayed, although it was at least agreed last March, that it would be in the AC75 class used in Auckland. There are always refinements to be made. If there is a meaningful push towards costs savings, as has been announced, look for more supplied or common design elements in the same way as the foil systems were supplied for AC36 in Auckland.

Unfortunately, the Deed requirement that the competing yachts must be "constructed in the country" of the respective competing yacht clubs puts the brakes on what could be achieved. In the past, this requirement has sometimes been interpreted rather liberally focusing on the hull, but many would agree that the Deed probably only requires an assembly of components, which can be sourced from anywhere, to create a yacht.
The "construction in-country" term of the Deed has never been fully tested in a court or jury, although the issue was on the table at the end of the 2010 match. Expect sailing restrictions and launch dates to remain to limit the advantages of well-funded competitors.

Dr Hamish Ross took his PhD at Auckland University in America's Cup law.Dr Hamish Ross took his PhD at Auckland University in America's Cup law.

Commercial rights will likely largely remain as they have been since Valencia 2007. Will there be a profit-sharing mechanism between competitors as in 2007 and 2013, if there is a financial surplus? It would seem a major venue financial windfall would be unlikely in the current economic climate.

Timing of the match, and the preceding challenger series may be difficult to fix without a venue having been decided. Don't expect to see firm dates yet. The Deed has hemisphere restrictions limiting the times when a match can be held in each hemisphere. There are seasonal weather and oceanographic factors to be considered at any venue.

Additionally, there is the timing of other events to consider. Few would want to take on a head-on commercial and media clash with the Olympics or the Football World Cup, which traditionally sucks out a lot of sports fan eyeballs and commercial sponsorship from the sports sponsorship market.

A profitable venture – the America's Cup 2007 at Valencia. Ireland's Marcus Hutchinson was on the management team, and the event showed a profit.A profitable venture – the America's Cup 2007 at Valencia. Ireland's Marcus Hutchinson was on the management team, and the event showed a profit.

What other events will be held before the start of the challenger series? Expect a warmup regatta or two. There may be a concessionary warm-up regatta in Auckland on the table to try to calm local waters. But these regattas all cost money, a loss of valuable time and never raise enough money for them to be self-funding when an effort is said to be made to reduce costs.

More chance they will be held in the selected venue than holding a global circuit like Sail GP. A defender will always want an opportunity to check-in against the challengers before the match to try and limit any surprises. Expect Sail GP to actively look into holding an event or two in Auckland during the America's Cup match, if Auckland is not the selected venue!

What will prospective challengers be looking for? When will they see the Class Rule? How long will they have to design, build and test a yacht? How much of a design head start have the Defender and the Challenger of Record given themselves? What will it cost them to compete? Can they hire the design, boatbuilding and sailing talent needed?

This will put the nationality rule into sharp focus– can they get approvals from the Defender as an "emerging nation"? Where will it be held? Don't expect billionaires to line up for an unattractive venue with security risks. What advertising space on the yacht do they have to sell to their sponsors and what space will be taken by the event and in what product categories? Will Prada or Louis Vuitton return as a sponsor? Above all, is there a chance to win or is it simply too stacked up against us?

Expect entry fees to remain the same or increase. US$3,350,000 plus a bond of US$1m was the cheapest entry last time. Expect the challenges to again contribute towards the costs of the challenger selection series unless a sponsor agrees to fund it as did Prada last time.

Finally, who gets to amend the Protocol and the Class Rules? Can anyone competitor block a change? Will there be a tyranny of the majority or simply a Defender and Challenger of Record dictatorship?
Drafting a Protocol involves a delicate balance of many issues both sporting and commercial. Get it wrong and it could be 2007-2010 all over again. Nail it, and it will be back to the big America's Cup heydays of Fremantle 1986-87 or Valencia 2007.

INTERESTING TIMES

For the top end of the international sailing world, the next ten days will be extremely interesting, as we can only guess at the global wheeling and dealing and drafting going on behind the scenes. And when the AC37 Protocol is published, we can be quite sure there'll be controversy, which is meat and drink to the communications industry in all its forms.

In fact, controversy is the gift that just keeps on giving. For even after you've agreed a settlement on whatever is causing the current high profile controversy, you can then go on to have a controversy about how the word "controversy" should be properly pronounced… 

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) together with the Ocean Racing Alliance (ORA) says it has Irish interest in its new offshore race to start on 21st July 2022.

The RORC Baltic Sea Race is open to boats racing under IRC, MOCRA, Class40 Rules and other class associations.

The race of approximately 630 nautical miles will start and finish off Helsinki in the Gulf of Finland. The course will incorporate the Swedish island of Gotland, located approximately 250nm southwest of Helsinki.

The race is supported by the City of Helsinki, the Nylandska Jaktklubben (NJK), Finnish Ocean Racing Association (FORA), Helsingfors Segelklubb (HSK), FINIRC and the Xtra Stærk Ocean Racing Society. The local class association, Finnish Offshore Racing Association (AMP) will also work together with other offshore class associations in surrounding Baltic Sea countries to promote the race.

With over 5,000 miles of coastline, nine countries border the Baltic Sea, all with profound seafaring tradition and racing history: Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, and Russia. Interest for the RORC Baltic Sea Race is also expected from Ireland, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

The Ocean Racing Alliance (ORA) mission is to create international alliances to make it possible to have longer world class offshore races in the Baltic Sea. The Ocean Racing Alliance (ORA) Commodore and Class40 skipper, Ari Kansakoski has competed in three Rolex Fastnet Races, the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, the RORC Transatlantic Race and the RORC Caribbean 600: "We expect strong interest from teams participating from Finland and from all of the nations that border the Baltic Sea. The 2021 test event showed that the course for the RORC Baltic Sea Race is very interesting," commented Kansakoski. "The course is very strategic with land influences in the Gulf of Finland and around Gotland. In addition, it is basically on a windward leeward axis, so we expect tactical decisions on which side of the course to choose, as well as managing wind shifts.

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There appears to be no de-escalation of the long-festering row between IRC and the ORC that spilt out into the public domain this week.

The World's two leading rating administrators are locked into a war of words over the staging of the 2022 World Championships.

The latest is an admission from ORC that in its opinion the combined ORC/IRC event in 2018 in The Hague that featured averaging scores in ORC and IRC, was a 'failed solution'.

A World Sailing Offshore Committee has been silent since the matter aired this week. The governing body is scheduled to meet today and there's likely just one item at the top of the agenda but even then, it's not clear if any oil can be poured on these troubled waters via this virtual meeting. 

Bruno Finzi of the ORCBruno Finzi of the ORC

Meanwhile, Bruno Finzi of the ORC has responded to Michael Boyd's Tuesday 'shocked and disappointed' IRC salvo with a 2023 olive branch? Full statement below: 

Statement below from Bruno Finzi and the ORC Management Committee in response to yesterday's IRC press release:

We are sorry the IRC Board has expressed shock and disappointment about our decision with YCCS to issue the Notice of Race for next year's ORC Worlds and chosen to misrepresent our dialogue in their press release.

An email was sent on 4 October explaining to them our frustration over their insistence to replicate what we knew was a failed solution of averaging scores in ORC and IRC, as done in 2018 in The Hague. The feedback from the sailors at this event was very negative, and even the minutes of the 2021 IRC Congress admits this as well.

We feel we need to listen to the sailors on what is acceptable to them and not use an ineffectual scoring solution based purely on politics. Our proposal of using ORC scoring for inshore races and IRC scoring for offshore races seems the appropriate solution and we still believe would be acceptable to the constituency.

We, therefore, fail to see why the decision by YCCS and ORC to issue the ORC Worlds 2022 Notice of Race on 21 October could be a surprise: this is only 8 months prior to the start of this event. We also informed them of this on 4 October, their IRC Board meeting was on 6 October, and the IRC Congress was held on 16 October, and yet we still heard nothing from them before our announcement.

Regardless, we are available to re-engage in these discussions for a combined ORC/IRC event in 2023.

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London's Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) is considering staging its own separate IRC World Championships to "preserve the rights of sailors using our rating system" following a rival ORC decision last week to launch its separate championship in 2022. 

The international war of words broke out between the two leading yacht rating systems over the proposed scrapping of a previously 'agreed' combined World Championships for 2022. 

In a statement, IRC Board Chairman Michael Boyd says: "It appears that ORC has no wish to honour our shared commitment to hold joint World Championships made at the World Sailing Annual Meeting in Barcelona in 2016. We hope that this is not true, and we continue to be open to constructive dialogue.

Michael Boyd IRC Board ChairmanMichael Boyd, IRC Board Chairman

Boyd says the decision by the ORC to issue a Notice of Race for an exclusive ORC World Championship in Porto Cervo, Italy, in June 2022 cancels the previously agreed joint IRC/ORC event.

Boyd, who is a Dublin Bay-based yachtsman, says, "The IRC Board, RORC and UNCL were shocked and disappointed to read the ORC/YCCS Notice of Race". 

"This was a totally unexpected unilateral decision at a time when we thought negotiations were continuing to finalise a combined scoring system", he says.

"This action has damaged the foundation of trust and respect, which is essential for progress. If we cannot re-engage, we must consider our options to exercise our right to hold separate IRC World Championships to preserve the rights of sailors using our rating system to compete internationally at the highest level", Boyd concludes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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