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Classic Solent conditions prevailed for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s first inshore regatta of the 2022 season. After eight thrilling races, IRC class winners for the RORC Easter Challenge were: Ian Atkins’ GP42 Dark N Stormy (IRC 1), The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster (IRC 2), and Lena Having’s Corby 33 Mrs Freckles (IRC 3).

At the final Prize Giving held at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse, Regatta Race Manager Steve Cole introduced RORC Commodore James Neville who had been racing INO XXX at the Easter Challenge.

James awarded glassware to the IRC class winners and the customary Easter Egg frenzy was well received by a big turnout!

The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster won IRC Two, with J/112 Happy Daize - raced by Team Knight Build - in a gallant second place in the three-day RORC Easter ChallengeThe Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster won IRC Two, with J/112 Happy Daize - raced by Team Knight Build - in a gallant second place in the three-day RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul Wyeth 

“A fantastic regatta and it has been great to see so many teams competing in fine weather and looking forward to a busy season of racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club,” commented James Neville. “A big ‘Thank You’ to Steve Cole and his race team, as well as the coaches led by Dog Palfrey, who have done an absolutely cracking job. I know I speak for so many teams when I say that the North Sails debriefs and help out on the water has been really appreciated.”

Full Results link here

The Solent delivered magnificent weather every day of the RORC Easter Challenge, but Mother Nature saved the best until last. Easter Sunday was blessed with a solid south-easterly, building during the day along with the tide. With outside assistance allowed during the regatta, a RORC coaching team supported by North Sails, was led by Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey. All competitors were offered coaching during racing, plus the daily video debriefs and online content provided an opportunity to take-in the lessons learnt. At the Saturday debrief, one of Dog Palfrey’s main points was the start routine and the final day’s racing proved that the teams were listening. Two races were held for all IRC classes with close to blanket starts achieved by the competitors.

Rob Cotterill’s J/109 Mojo Risin’ benefits from on-the-water coaching from North Sails and RORC Photo: Paul Wyeth Rob Cotterill’s J/109 Mojo Risin’ benefits from on-the-water coaching from North Sails and RORC Photo: Paul Wyeth 

IRC One

Ian Atkins’ GP42 Dark N Stormy won the last two races in the big boat class to tally-up seven wins from eight starts. The youth team racing Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by Gerd-Jan Poortman, was second. Van Uden was just two points ahead of Harmen Jan de Graaf’s Dutch Ker 43 Baraka Gp.

“More of the same please,” commented Dark N Stormy’s Ian Atkins. “I don’t think I have ever done this regatta when it has felt like we are sailing in summer, with sea breeze and temperature in the high teens. We just had a blast. I wish it would go on for a few more days. Dark N Stormy has a hardcore of my previous team and if the rest of the season is like this, we are going to have a lot of fun!”

Ian Atkins has identified a big group of IRC boats of a similar ilk in the Solent. “These boats are fantastic fun to sail, high performance re-defined and we think there are 12-15 boats that are like Dark N Stormy. We would love them to come and compete in a series using existing events. We have five events in mind, mainly with the RORC and also Cowes Week, and a dedicated event later in the year, with a big party at the end. We know those boats are out there and we have sent invitations to boats ranging from TP52s to IC37S.”

Ian Walker, double Olympic Medallist and Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper was tactician for Dark N Stormy and commented: “The coaching team were really helpful, we got lots of good input and the race team did a great job with the course. There was no hanging around; I can’t fault any of it. The thing I noticed the most was that for us it was getting harder and harder to do well in the races; you could see the standard going up in the fleet, which was the aim of the regatta. Helped by the weather, you couldn’t have had a better weekend of racing.”

Ian Atkins’ GP42 Dark N Stormy scored seven wins in the RORC Easter Challenge and took victory in IRC One Photo: Paul Wyeth Ian Atkins’ GP42 Dark N Stormy scored seven wins in the RORC Easter Challenge and took victory in IRC One Photo: Paul Wyeth 

Ian Atkins team on Dark N Stormy: "We just had a blast. I wish it would go on for a few more days...." - Easter Eggs and prizes for the IRC One winners in the RORC Easter Challenge after three competitive days of racing Photo: Paul Wyeth Ian Atkins team on Dark N Stormy: "We just had a blast. I wish it would go on for a few more days...." - Easter Eggs and prizes for the IRC One winners in the RORC Easter Challenge after three competitive days of racing Photo: Paul Wyeth 

The youth team racing Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by Gerd-Jan Poortman took second place in IRC OneThe youth team racing Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by Gerd-Jan Poortman took second place in IRC One Photo: Paul Wyeth 

A close third place in IRC One for Harmen Jan de Graaf's Dutch Ker 43 One-off Baraka Gp Photo: Paul Wyeth A close third place in IRC One for Harmen Jan de Graaf's Dutch Ker 43 One-off Baraka Gp Photo: Paul Wyeth 

IRC Two

The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster won the class in the very last race of the regatta. J/112 Happy Daize raced by Team Knight Build, was a gallant second. VME Racing’s Mills 39 Zero II, skippered by James Gair finished the regatta in style, taking a second and first place in the final two races to snatch the last podium position. The intensity in the class was exemplified by two race ties after time correction between Andrew McIrvine’s Ker 39 La Réponse and Happy Daize.

Happy Daize skipper James Chalmers commented: “I have not been at the Easter Challenge for many years and we are really glad that we have competed this year. The competition on the water, especially with British Soldier and La Réponse, has been excellent. Right up to the last race we were crossing each other and that sort of competition increases performance. A big ‘Thank You’ to the RORC and the coaching team for organising a superb regatta. Our big regatta this year will be Cork Week in July and we have made a huge amount of progress for that event at the RORC Easter Challenge.”

All smiles - and chocolate eggs for the IRC Two winners on the Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster Photo: Paul Wyeth All smiles - and chocolate eggs for the IRC Two winners on the Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster Photo: Paul Wyeth 

Team Knight Build on J/112 Happy Daize took second in IRC Two Photo: Paul Wyeth Team Knight took second in IRC Two Photo: Paul Wyeth 

A third place on the podium for VME Racing’s Mills 39 Zero II, skippered by James Gair Photo: Paul Wyeth A third place on the podium for VME Racing’s Mills 39 Zero II, skippered by James Gair Photo: Paul Wyeth 

IRC Two start on the final day of the RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul Wyeth IRC Two start on the final day of the RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul Wyeth 

IRC Three

Lena Having’s Corby 33 Mrs Freckles scored a 1-2 on the last day to win the class. Lena and her partner Eivind come from Gothenburg, Sweden and Mrs Freckles was sailing with a majority female crew, including two from the Magenta Project: “Although I have raced in the Solent before, I think the biggest area we need to improve on is learning about the strong tides, which we do not have in Gothenburg,” commented Having. “This year we plan to compete at a number of events in the Solent, both double-handed with Elvind and also with a full crew. A Swedish all-women’s team will be coming out for the Women’s Open Keelboat Championship this summer. While we love to sail in Sweden, you really have to come to the Solent for really competitive racing.”

Mrs Freckles crew included the National Yacht Club's Saoirse Reynolds on board. Reynold's is an Aurelia crew member and part of that J122's DBSC/ISORA/Round Ireland team. 
The Dublin Bay sailor adds the Easter win to her Caribbean 600 exploits on an RP37, a  sister ship to the new Royal Irish yacht Wow!  

Harry J. Heijst’s S&S 41 Winsome finished the regatta in style, taking the race win in the very last race to finish second, by a single point in IRC Three. Winsome was also awarded the Prix D'Elegance Award. Quarter Tonner Bullit, skippered by Julian Metherell was unable to race on the final day. Having led the regatta from the very first race, Bullit still placed third on countback from Rob Cotterill’s J/109 Mojo Risin’.

RORC Commodore James Neville presents the happy team on Mrs Freckles with the winners decanter and Easter Eggs after taking pole position in IRC Three in the RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul Wyeth RORC Commodore James Neville presents the happy team on Mrs Freckles (that includes the NYC's Saoirse Reynolds) with the winners decanter and Easter Eggs after taking pole position in IRC Three in the RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul Wyeth 

Lena Having’s Corby 33 Mrs Freckles scored a 1-2 on the last day to win IRC Three Photo: Paul Wyeth Lena Having’s Corby 33 Mrs Freckles scored a 1-2 on the last day to win IRC Three Photo: Paul Wyeth 

Second place in IRC Three for Harry Heijst's S&S 41 Winsome Photo: Paul Wyeth Second place in IRC Three for Harry Heijst's S&S 41 Winsome Photo: Paul Wyeth 

Quarter Tonner Bullit, skippered by Julian Metherell was placed third, despite not racing on the final day Photo: Paul Wyeth Quarter Tonner Bullit, skippered by Julian Metherell was placed third, despite not racing on the final day Photo: Paul Wyeth 

Racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club continues with the first European-based offshore race of the 2022 RORC Season’s Points Championship. The Cervantes Trophy Race will be a cross-Channel dash to Le Havre, starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes on Saturday 30th April.

The next inshore regatta for the RORC will be the Vice Admiral’s Cup, with racing in the Solent for primarily one-design classes from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd May.

Results here

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The Easter treats continued for close to 300 hundred sailors taking part in the RORC Easter Challenge. Fabulous sailing conditions continued in the Solent for Day Two of the regatta. The RORC Race Committee, led by Steve Cole, with Paul Jackson as PRO, organised two race courses giving the fleet a mixture of windward-leeward races and round the cans courses. Three races were completed for all three IRC Classes; a south-easterly breeze of 10 to 16 knots, with beautiful spring sunshine, provided superb racing.

A race debrief was held at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse with more expert advice from Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey and the coaching team, and included drone footage from North Sails of starts, mark roundings and boat handling. Those unable to attend watched the presentation via Zoom with documents, videos and pictures also uploaded to the Cloud. “What a fantastic job by the RORC Race Committee; a great mixture of courses, which is what you want for a training regatta,” commented Dog Palfrey. “We have seen some solid improvements since the first day. There is still a way to go to be consistently well-sailed, but every team has made ground towards that goal.”

Another day of coaching on and off the water Photo: Paul WyethAndrew 'Dog' Palfrey and the North Sails coaches continued their valued post-race debrief sessions at the RORC Clubhouse

Andrew 'Dog' Palfrey and the North Sails coaches continued their valued post-race debrief sessions at the RORC ClubhouseAndrew 'Dog' Palfrey and the North Sails coaches continued their valued post-race debrief sessions at the RORC Clubhouse

IRC One

Intense racing in the big boat class saw Ian Atkins’ GP42 Dark N Stormy score two more bullets to take a firm grip on the class, but it was far from easy. In Race 5, a well-executed gybe by Dark N Stormy could well have made the difference, with them taking the win by just one second after IRC time correction from Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden. Harmen Jan de Graaf’s Dutch Ker 43 Baraka Gp turned the tables on Dark N Stormy, winning the last race of the day by two seconds after time IRC time correction.

“Really great organisation today by the RORC, mixing up the windward leeward races with some well thought-out round the cans courses,” commented Dark N Stormy’s Ian Atkins. “All of the boats in IRC One are almost the same, but we all have our own areas of advantage. Usually, we are not the first to the top mark, so we have definitely put the gybe set into our armoury to get that separation. Brilliant coaching on the water makes this event outstanding at the start of any campaign.”

Ian Atkin’s GP42 Dark ‘n Stormy Photo: Paul WyethIan Atkin’s GP42 Dark ‘n Stormy Photo: Paul Wyeth

Harmen Jan de Graaf's Dutch Ker 43 One-off Baraka Gp Photo: Paul WyethHarmen Jan de Graaf's Dutch Ker 43 One-off Baraka Gp

IRC One saw intense racing in the big boat fleet Photo: Paul WyethIRC One saw intense racing in the big boat fleet Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Two

After posting a 1-2-4 today, J/112 Happy Daize raced by Team Knight Build, retained the class lead by a single point from The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier. Cape 31 Tokoloshe 4, skippered by Dave Bartholomew, has kept third in class, but only on countback from Andrew McIrvine’s Ker 39 La Réponse.

“We love this regatta,” commented Henry Foster, skipper of Fujitsu British Soldier. “The debriefs are really useful because we have a lot of crew turbulence due to Army commitments, so the learnings from this regatta are invaluable for the new crew who have joined us this weekend. I have been doing this regatta for 15 years and what RORC and North Sails provide is really good for setting up the boat for the season. This is a great regatta and we really enjoy it. We have been working on our upwind settings and we got a lot of good feedback from Andrew Palfrey. Tactically, we have improved our starts and getting into the phase of the shifts up the first beat. We have bigger boats in our class and it is very important to perform well on the first beat. We have been improving race-on-race, so we are really pleased.”

Andrew McIrvine’s Ker 39 La Réponse is crewed by friends that have known each other for many years. Team Larry, as they are known, will be competing at two bucket-list events this year. They are chartering a boat for Antigua Sailing Week at the end of this month, then in July, the Ker 39 La Réponse will be racing at Volvo Cork Week, which is also the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s 300th birthday. “Larry’s back having fun. We are a bunch of friends with no professionals. The racing’s great, the craic’s great, and I am loving it!” commented Andrew McIrvine.

Team Knight Build on J/112 Happy Daize, skippered by James Chalmers Photo: Paul WyethTeam Knight Build on J/112 Happy Daize, skippered by James Chalmers Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Two start on Day 2 of the RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul WyethIRC Two start on Day 2 of the RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul Wyeth

The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster Photo: Paul WyethThe Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster Photo: Paul Wyeth

Andrew McIrvine's Ker 39 La RéponseAndrew McIrvine's Ker 39 La Réponse Photo: Paul Wyeth

Michael Bartholomew's Cape 31 Tokoloshe 4 Photo: Paul WyethMichael Bartholomew's Cape 31 Tokoloshe 4 Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Three

Quarter Tonner Bullit, skippered by Julian Metherell retains the class lead, but failed to keep up their perfect scoreline from the first day. Lena Having’s Corby 33 Mrs Freckles had a great day at the races, including winning Race 5 to retain second place. J/109 Mojo Risin’ skippered by Rob Cotterill also had a great day, scoring two podium race finishes to move up to third in class.

Elan 450 Emily of Cowes is skippered by the highly experienced Richard Oswald, but for the RORC Easter Regatta, a new crew has been put together to start a campaign by RORC member Geoff Johns. “Most of the crew are new to keelboat racing having sailed dinghies on reservoirs in the past. Richard Oswald suggested we should come to the RORC Easter Challenge and we are very glad that we have. The racing is extremely well-organised and the debriefs are an invaluable way for us to learn. Also, having on-the-water coaching gives us expert advice to improve our performance.”

The smallest boat at the regatta, Julian Metherell’s Quarter Tonner Bullit retains the class lead in IRC Three Photo: Paul WyethThe smallest boat at the regatta, Julian Metherell’s Quarter Tonner Bullit retains the class lead in IRC Three Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Three start Photo: Paul WyethIRC Three start Photo: Paul Wyeth

Results here

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The first day of the RORC Easter Challenge was blessed with sparkling conditions in the Solent. A light gradient breeze from the south east built during the day to over 10 knots of pressure. Brilliant sunshine throughout the day added to the superb conditions. The RORC Race Committee led by Steve Cole held a number of practice starts, followed by three short, sharp windward-leeward races.

The coaching team out on the water giving competitors top advice included North Sails and a RORC team run by Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey. After racing, competitors enjoyed a free bowl of pasta and a beer before the well-attended coaching debrief at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse.

“The coaching team have one overall goal and that is to help all the teams progress at an early stage in the season. The wind strength was better than expected, not especially shifty, but wind speed did vary,” commented North Sails' Jeremy Smart. “In puffy conditions, anticipating the change becomes very important and we saw quite a few teams not foreseeing the change in gear, so that is definitely an area for them to work on.”

Helping teams progress in the early season RORC Easter Challenge regatta - The North Sails and RORC coaching teams were on hand to offer expert advice out on the water Photo: Paul WyethHelping teams progress in the early season RORC Easter Challenge regatta - The North Sails and RORC coaching teams were on hand to offer expert advice out on the water Photo: Paul Wyeth

Dark 'n Stormy took three bullets in the competitive IRC One class on the first day of racing at the RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul WyethDark 'n Stormy took three bullets in the competitive IRC One class on the first day of racing at the RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC One

Ian Atkin’s GP42 Dark ‘n Stormy got their 2022 campaign off to a perfect start taking three bullets, but it was far from easy. Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden skippered by Gerd-Jan Poortman finished the day in second place, just a point ahead of their Dutch rivals Ker 43 Baraka Gp, skippered by Harmen Jan de Graaf.

“That was just a blast, a small class but there were no idiots out there,” explained Ian Atkins, who was taking part in his first regatta with his new boat. “The young team on Van Uden were a real handful, especially off the start line, but I think we had just a bit more acceleration in the corners. It was just fantastic to be out racing again, it was such a brilliant day.”

Ker 46 Van Uden is a young development squad with high hopes of reaching the highest level of keelboat racing. “For us the big thing is that we are finally racing against comparable boats,” commented Van Uden’s mid-bow Bouwe van Der Weiden. “We can see the big changes we have to make, but also the small changes that really make the difference. It was only our first day and we have the potential to get some good results at this regatta.”

The young development squad on the Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden skippered by Gerd-Jan Poortman finished the day in second place in IRC One Photo: Paul WyethThe young development squad on the Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden skippered by Gerd-Jan Poortman finished the day in second place in IRC One Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Two

The largest class in the regatta also produced the closest racing. Team Knight Build on J/112 Happy Daize is skippered by James Chalmers. Happy Daize finished the day in pole position for the class by a single point. The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster, proved hot competition, finishing the day in second place. The Army team was just three seconds shy of winning Race 1 after IRC time correction. Dave Bartholomew’s Cape 31 Tokoloshe 4 was third in class after winning the final race and was the top Cape 31 for the day. VME Racing’s Mills 39 Zero II had cause for celebration, winning Race 2 by just two seconds after IRC time correction.

IRC Two saw very close racing in the largest class, with Team Knight Build on J/112 Happy Daize taking pole position by just one point on the first day Photo: Paul WyethIRC Two saw very close racing in the largest class, with Team Knight Build on J/112 Happy Daize taking pole position by just one point on the first day Photo: Paul Wyeth

The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster, proved hot competition, finishing the day in second place Photo: Paul WyethThe Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster, proved hot competition, finishing the day in second place Photo: Paul Wyeth

Dave Bartholomew’s Cape 31 Tokoloshe 4 was the top Cape 31 for the day Photo: Paul WyethDave Bartholomew’s Cape 31 Tokoloshe 4 was the top Cape 31 for the day Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Three

The smallest boat at the regatta is Julian Metherell’s Quarter Tonner Bullit which punched well above their weight, especially at race starts, scoring three bullets on the opening day of the RORC Easter Challenge. Lena Having’s Corby 33 Mrs Freckles scored two podium results to end the first day in second place, just a point ahead of Oliver Love’s SJ320 Frank 3.

“Most of the team have been racing together for about 10 years and after the disruptions of the past two seasons, it was so much fun to get out racing again,” enthused Oliver Love, whose team were spotted dancing to the starting area playing tunes through their deck speakers. One of the Frank 3 crew, now dubbed ‘Shoeless Joe’, lost his footwear in a gybe and will be spending the remainder of the regatta in sea boots!

IRC Three: Julian Metherell’s Quarter Tonner Bullit scored three bullets on the opening day of the RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul WyethIRC Three: Julian Metherell’s Quarter Tonner Bullit scored three bullets on the opening day of the RORC Easter Challenge Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Three: Oliver Love’s SJ320 Frank 3 finished third in class at the end of the first dayIRC Three: Oliver Love’s SJ320 Frank 3 finished third in class at the end of the first day Photo: Paul Wyeth

After the first RORC Easter Challenge debrief, lead coach Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey commented: “What a wonderful attendance at the RORC! Thanks, and we hope you got something from the debrief. Overall, a great start for day one of the season in fabulous conditions.”

The RORC Cowes Clubhouse was full of smiling sailors relishing the prospect of similar glamourous conditions for the second day of the RORC Easter Regatta.

Following a great day's racing, a coaching debrief with the North Sails teams took place at the RORC Cowes ClubhouseFollowing a great day's racing, a coaching debrief with the North Sails teams took place at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse

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The RORC Easter Challenge is back with three days of racing in the Solent over the Easter Bank Holiday, 15-17 April.

Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club for over 30 years, the RORC Easter Challenge offers crews the chance for some vital pre-season training and fine-tuning. With on the water coaching, teams will be guided by world-class coaches from North U and also Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey. The RORC Cowes Clubhouse will be regatta-central for video debriefs after racing, plus daily prize givings.

“The fleet will be divided into three IRC Classes, with windward-leeward and round the cans courses; there will also be practice starts,” confirmed RORC Race Officer Steve Cole. “Glassware will be presented to the class winners, and there will be plenty of Easter Eggs as daily prizes. However, the main aim of the RORC Easter Regatta is to get tuned up for the season ahead. The coaches will be giving their help right through the fleet, with top advice on rig set-up, trimming, driving and manoeuvres.”

Leading the coaching team will be Andrew ‘Dog’ Palfrey who lives in Cowes and is respected as one of the top coaches in the world. “The RORC Easter Challenge has been an excellent way to start the season for many years,” commented Palfrey. “From the coaches’ point of view, it is really about getting everyone back out on the water and looking at areas where teams may be a little weaker. We will be chatting with teams on the water and highlighting areas in the nicest possible way in the debriefs. We hope to see a general improvement throughout the event, especially in teamwork, boat handling and starts, which are all critical parts of any race. The absolute goal for the coaches is to help people and, in that respect, we welcome interaction from all the sailors.”

Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden will be raced by a youth team, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race veteran, Gerd-Jan PoortmanDutch Ker 46 Van Uden will be raced by a youth team, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race veteran, Gerd-Jan Poortman Photo: Paul Wyeth

Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden will be raced by a youth team, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race veteran, Gerd-Jan Poortman: “Van Uden will be racing with the RORC for much of the season, leading up to the season highlight, which will be in the IRC European Championships in Breskens this August,” confirmed Poortman. “I was very pleased to see that we are allowed two additional crew for this regatta. Van Uden has a big squad of both men and women sailors who are all keen to race. After the disappointment of retiring from the Rolex Fastnet last year, it will be great for all of us to return to Cowes for this regatta.”

Van Uden will have good competition within their class, including fellow Dutch competitor, Ker 43 Baraka GP, skippered by Harmen Jan de Graaf. Also in the big boat class will be Ian Atkins at the helm of a new team, racing GP42 Dark N Stormy. RORC Commodore James Neville will be racing at the helm of his HH42 INO XXX.

Cape31 Class Manager Dave Bartholomew reports that at least five Cape31s are planning to race at the RORC Easter Challenge. Mike Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe 4, Russell Peters’ Squirt and Roger Bowden’s Nifty are among the early entries. “Easter is a natural starting point for the season,” commented Dave Bartholomew, who has competed at the regatta for over a decade. “An early-season three-day regatta is where we can start honing skills with training and coaching. It is a great way to get up-to-speed at the beginning of the year. Also, as the regatta is held over the bank holiday, the crew do not need to take time off work. The RORC Easter Challenge has a nice, relaxed atmosphere; it is really fun to do.”

Chris Jones and Louise Makin’s J/111 Journeymaker II Photo: Rick TomlinsonChris Jones and Louise Makin’s J/111 Journeymaker II Photo: Rick Tomlinson

The Cape31s are bound for a battle within their class. A close battle is expected between bigger performance cruisers including, Andrew McIrvine’s Ker 39 La Réponse, Michael O’Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood, James Gair’s Mills 39 Zero II, and Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s J/111 Journeymaker II.

IRC Three could well be the largest class at the regatta with a heady mix of displacement keelboats including Elan 450 Emily of Cowes, skippered by Richard Oswald, Harry Heijst's evergreen S&S 41 Winsome, and the Royal Naval Sailing Association J/109 Yacht Jolly Jack Tar. The smallest yacht of the early entries is Gavin Doyle's highly successful Irish Corby 25 Duff Lite.

Competing in IRC Three - Harry Heijst's S&S 41 Winsome Photo: Rick TomlinsonCompeting in IRC Three - Harry Heijst's S&S 41 Winsome Photo: Rick Tomlinson

The RORC Cowes Clubhouse will be serving complimentary pasta and beer before each debrief session, with the Clubhouse Restaurant available for bookings every night. The RORC Easter Challenge prize giving will take place on Sunday 17th April, with the bar open throughout the regatta.

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In a statement in response to the invasion of Ukraine, the world's leading offshore yacht racing body has said it abhors the invasion of Ukraine and extends its wholehearted support to the Ukrainian nation.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) says it "endorses the positions taken by World Sailing, IOC, BOA, and the RYA".

Until this situation is resolved RORC says it will not permit any yachts with identified connections with Russian and Belarusian nationals to participate in any of its events.

RORC says it will continue to assess the situation and will take any appropriate actions in line with the international community and World Sailing.

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Tropical heat, moderate trade winds and ocean swell provided superb racing conditions for the first day and night of action in the 2022 RORC Caribbean 600. In the deep south a battle is raging between the three foremost multihulls, with Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati (ITA) and Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA) less than a mile apart. The 70ft trimarans have been recording boat speeds in excess of 35 knots at times. Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay (CAY) led the fleet to Barbuda, but is now 20 miles behind the leaders at Guadeloupe. Maserati and Argo are on course to beat the Multihull Race Record (30 hours 49 mins 00 secs) and are expected to finish the race at around sunset tonight.

PowerPlay’s Paul Larsen sets the scene at St Barths: “PowerPlay is shrieking and whooshing at between 28 and 33 knots in silence, just flying … and then with the tortured sound of a loaded winch easing, the symphony starts again… and again. We’re desperately trying to hang on to the foilers. In these conditions it feels like managing losses until lighter conditions arrive… hopefully. We’ve made a brutal little campsite high on the windward hull. It’s basically a sail bag and two lashed down camp mattresses. With respect to comfort, it’s a joke… but one we’re grateful for. We need the bodies out there. The boat is in the groove. It’s been a bloody fast race. We did well to lead to Barbuda but now Maserati must be smokin’.”

Skorpios leads in the race for Monohull Line Honours and are on record pace to break the Monohull Race Record (37 hours 41 mins 45 secs). Comanche is an hour behind Skorpios, but after IRC time correction is the overall race leader. With a north-easterly wind of 13-18 knots the RORC fleet have been making excellent progress. The bulk of the boats are in the vicinity of St Maarten at the top of the 600-mile course. Class leaders at dawn on Day Two include Maserati, Warrior Won, Sunrise, Scarlet Oyster and Guidi.

Onboard SkorpiosOnboard Skorpios

Snapshot: 0700 AST 22 February

IRC Super Zero

Dmitry Rybolovlev’s ClubSwan 125 Skorpios (MON), skippered by Fernando Echavarri, leads the monohull fleet at Montserrat. They are 12 miles ahead of the VPLP/Verdier 100 Comanche (CAY) skippered by Mitch Booth. The Farr 100 Leopard (MON), skippered by Chris Sherlock, with Joost Schuijff at the helm is third on the water, 45 miles behind Comanche. After IRC time correction Comanche leads the class. Volvo 70 I Love Poland (POL), skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski is estimated to be two hours behind on IRC with Skorpios third. The leaders are about to negotiate the wind shadow of Guadeloupe, which could be a decisive moment in the race.

Dmitry Rybolovlev's ClubSwan 125 Skorpios and Comanche at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 Photo: Tim WrightDmitry Rybolovlev's ClubSwan 125 Skorpios and Comanche at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 Photo: Tim Wright

IRC Zero

Christopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior Won (USA) leads the class on the water and after IRC time correction, by approximately two hours. Jim Murray racing Pac52 Callisto (USA) is in second, with David Collins Botin IRC52 Tala (GBR) third in class. This trio of downwind flyers are about to pull the trigger, screaming off downwind towards Guadeloupe and very likely to jump up the overall ranking.

Christopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior Won (USA) leads the class Photo:Tim WrightChristopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior Won (USA) leads the class Photo:Tim Wright

Charles-Louis Mourruau’s Guidi (FRA) lis currently the leading Class40Charles-Louis Mourruau’s Guidi (FRA) lis currently the leading Class40  Photo:Tim Wright

Class40 Division

Charles-Louis Mourruau’s Guidi (FRA) leads at the top of St. Maarten, itching to come off the breeze for the blast south to Guadeloupe. Herve Thomas’ Minnimo (FRA) was three miles astern, with Olivier Delrieu’s Vitican (FRA) in third within striking distance of the leaders.

IRC One

Having rounded Saba Island before dawn, Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) leads on the water by a mile on the beat to St Barts. Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise (GBR) and Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader (GBR) are neck-and-neck behind Pata Negra. After IRC time correction, Sunrise leads by just 21 minutes from Dawn Treader, with Pata Negra third.

Alex Picot contacted the RORC media team from Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L’Ange de Milon (FRA), which is lying fourth in class after time correction.

“Everything is fine on L'Ange de Milon as we are approaching St Barths. The start of the race was thrilling, with a lot of close tacks. The long leg to Barbuda with the Code 0 did not go well for us with a few technical and speed issues. Luckily, it's behind us and the skipper and crew are giving everything for the come-back! This race track is great and the wind, sun and warmth of the Caribbean reminds us of summer in Brittany.”

Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L’Ange de Milon (FRA), which is lying fourth in IRC Two after time correction Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L’Ange de Milon (FRA), which is lying fourth in IRC Two after time correction  Photo:Tim Wright

Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) is leading the class on the water and after IRC time correction Photo: Rick TomlinsonRoss Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) is leading the class on the water and after IRC time correction Photo: Rick Tomlinson

IRC Two

Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) rounded Saba Island in the early hours to lead the class on the water and after IRC time correction. Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada (GBR), racing Two-Handed with Jeremy Waitt was just two minutes behind after time correction. Sigma 38 Sam (GBR), skippered by Peter Hopps, was estimated to be third in class, an hour behind Jangada.

Two boats have retired from the RORC Caribbean 600 with all sailors safe and well. Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer (USA) and Todd Stuart’s Swan 82 White Rhino (USA) are returning to Antigua.

Track the fleet and follow all the updates as the race unfolds below

Published in Caribbean 600
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The 13th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 started on time and in sone style from Antigua on Monday 21 February.

The IRC Super Zero start was nothing short of hell-raising, with Comanche reaching at full speed towards the Pillars of Hercules, then hardening up to take the inside line perilously close to the cliffs.

VO65 Groovederci Racing - Sailing Poland, sailed by Deneen Demourkas was in close quarters. As the two leaders tacked out, they crossed with the massive ClubSwan 125 Skorpios (MON) and the Volvo 70 Ocean Breeze coming inshore on starboard. In the MOCRA start, Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 PowerPlay (CAY) flipped a wheelie on final approach before blasting off into the lead in a ball of spray at over 25 knots.

Seventy-four teams with over 700 sailors from 32 countries started the race. The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 600-mile race around 11 Caribbean islands had a spectacular start with 15 knots of wind from the northeast gusting up to 20 knots.

Hundreds of spectators, on and off the water watched the Caribbean 600 IRC Super Zero yachts head off Photo: Tim WrightHundreds of spectators, on and off the water watched the Caribbean 600 IRC Super Zero yachts head off Photo: Tim Wright

The mighty Skorpios, Leopard and Comanche in IRC Super Zero Photo: Rick TomlinsonThe mighty Skorpios, Leopard and Comanche in IRC Super Zero Photo: Rick Tomlinson

The IRC Super Zero start was nothing short of hell-raising, with Comanche reaching at full speed towards the Pillars of HerculesThe IRC Super Zero start was nothing short of hell-raising, with Comanche reaching at full speed towards the Pillars of Hercules Photo: Tim Wright

Fleet Snapshot: DAY 1 - 1500 AST 21 February

Four hours into the race, Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) was leading the Multihull Class from Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay and Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA). In the race for Monohull Line Honours, the leader by just a mile, was Dmitry Rybolovlev’s ClubSwan 125 Skorpios, skippered by Fernando Echavarri. The VPLP/Verdier 100 Comanche, skippered by Mitch Booth was second on the water. With just over two hours to go until the first sunset of the race, the majority of the fleet were making good progress to Barbuda, the first and only mark of the course.

“The start was just incredible, it’s rare to see so many big boats in a start like that, just taking it on, but it was not just the big boats. This fleet is stacked right through all the classes, with competitive starts the whole way through. Good luck to all the teams,” commented Race Director Chris Stone. “Making sure the fleet get away to a good start is the first part of this stage of the race management. We continue to focus on the safety aspects out on the race course. There will be different weather conditions and some parts of the course are pretty treacherous. For the RORC Race team it is about keeping the fleet safe, with 24-hour monitoring for every boat.”

Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) and Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 PowerPlay (CAY)Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) and Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 PowerPlay (CAY) Photo: Arthur Daniel/RORC

IRC ONE and IRC TWO START

Yuri Fadeev’s First 40 Optimus Prime (GBR) nailed the inshore end of the line, closely followed by Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR). Bernie Evan-Wong’s RP37 Taz (ANT) also had a great start. Stuart Dahlgreen racing J/121 Wings (USA) was OCS by just five seconds, but restarted correctly.

Four hours into the race, Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise (GBR) and Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader (GBR) were neck-and neck at the front or IRC One. Just a mile behind the leaders, Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) was going well. In IRC Two, two old rivals were battling for the lead on the water: Andy Middleton’s First 47.7 EH01 (GBR) and Scarlet Oyster. Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 Liquid (ANT), skippered by Julian White was just three miles behind the leaders.

Start of IRC 1, IRC 2 and CSAS onlyStart of IRC 1, IRC 2 and CSAS Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Peter Lewis' J/122 Whistler from BarbadosPeter Lewis' J/122 Whistler from Barbados was among the first start with boats racing in IRC 1 and IRC 2 Photo: Tim Wright

Pogo 12.50 Hermes from Canada amongst the starters in IRC 1 Pogo 12.50 Hermes from Canada amongst the starters in IRC 1 Photo: Arthur Daniel/RORC

IRC ZERO and Class40 START

Christopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior Won (USA) totally nailed the start, ripping over the line at full pace towards the lifting pressure. David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR) was second over the line. On her hip with a good controlling position was Jean Pierre Dreau’s Mylius 60 Lady First 3 (FRA). In the Class40 Division, Herve Thomas’ Finnimo (FRA) got the best start, staying out of the melee inshore. Baptiste Hulin & Clement Commagnac’s Rennes - Saint Malo (FRA) and Marc Lepesqueux’s Sensation Class40 Extreme (FRA) tucked right in under the cliffs and crossed the line in good shape.

Four hours into the race, Warrior Won (USA) was leading on the water, two miles astern was their Pac52 sistership Callisto (USA) sailed by Jim Murray and Tala (GBR). In the Class40 Division, Finnimo held a one-mile lead from Charles-Louis Mourruau’s Guidi (FRA). Sensation Class40 Extreme was third on the water.

UP Sailing, Morgan Ursault Poupon's Class40 UP Sailing, Morgan Ursault Poupon's Class40 was one of nine Class40s at the start Photo: Arthur Daniel/RORC

Christopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior Won (USA) totally nailed the startChristopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior Won (USA) totally nailed the start Photo: Tim Wright

Charles-Louis Mourruau's Class40 Guidi and Adrian Lee's Swan 60 Lee Overlay Partners from Royal St. George Yacht ClubCharles-Louis Mourruau's Class40 Guidi and Adrian Lee's Swan 60 Lee Overlay Partners from the Royal St. George Yacht Club on Dublin Bay Photo: Rick Tomlinson

RORC Caribbean 600 2022 | Live Start Replay

Track the fleet and follow all the updates as the race unfolds. All yachts are fitted with a race tracker below:

Published in Caribbean 600
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Three navigators spill the beans on what lies ahead for their respective teams in the 13th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, which starts on Monday

The RORC Caribbean 600 has a racecourse like no other, testing the seamanship of the crews with a myriad of manoeuvres around 11 Caribbean islands, but the race is far more than a workout in the tropics. Strategy and tactics add to the mix, with forward planning playing a big part in scoring a top performance.

Campbell Field is racing on David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR).

This will be Campbell’s seventh race, including third overall on the 182ft schooner Adela and runner-up twice on IRC 52s.

“From start day to day four, currently the forecasts are looking reasonably typical for the RORC Caribbean 600,” commented Campbell Field. “Trade winds in the mid-teens, warm and sunny, interspersed with some possible squall/rain activity with some good moisture content in the air column. There are indications that the latter part of the race could be slightly lighter and left of average. This wind speed is within the ideal conditions for Tala, especially broad reaching and running where we can start planing and that is where the fun is! Generally, the 600 is a great course for Tala, with plenty of open angle reaching to stretch our legs, combined with some shorter VMG beats and runs.”

"Caribbean 600 requires full focus over 12 legs"

“The RORC Caribbean 600 is a great course for navigators because it requires full focus over 12 legs, each with their own subtleties,” continues Field. “This does mean few opportunities for rest, but I love the physical and mental challenges. I'll have to keep my pencil sharp and paper dry for the race with two other closely matched 52s on the start line.”

Campbell Field, navigator on David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR): "From start day to day four, currently the forecasts are looking reasonably typical for the RORC Caribbean 600"Campbell Field, navigator on David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR): "From start day to day four, currently the forecasts are looking reasonably typical for the RORC Caribbean 600" © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Brian Thompson will be racing on Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA).

This will be Brian’s sixth race in multihulls, taking Line Honours on three previous occasions.

“We have been doing routing analysis for three days (13-16 February) to see how the weather is developing and it has been really interesting,” commented Brian Thompson. “A few days ago, the GFS Model was showing a windy race and the ECMWF was showing a moderate race. Now they are coming into align and showing possibly slightly less than moderate. At the moment we might be looking at 12-16 knots, slightly north of east. We have had a lot of wind in the build-up to this race, but by race day we should see calm seas, relatively for the Caribbean. However, keep in mind we are looking at the weather only as far as 36 hours into the race.”

"By race day we should see calm seas"

“Hopefully Argo will finish the race early Tuesday evening; record pace would be around sunset on day two. Regarding record pace, I don’t think this race will see too many squalls disrupting the wind, but getting through the lee of Guadeloupe could be tricky. If Argo can round Guadeloupe before the competition, we would be in a very good position to finish first.”

To break the RORC Caribbean 600 Multihull Race Record, held by Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (30 hours, 49 minutes, 00 seconds), any multihull would need to finish the race before 18:19 AST on Tuesday 22nd February.

Brian Thompson will be racing on Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) - "If Argo can round Guadeloupe before the competition, we would be in a very good position to finish first" © Carlo Borlenghi/RolexBrian Thompson will be racing on Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) - "If Argo can round Guadeloupe before the competition, we would be in a very good position to finish first" © Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex

Tom Cheney is racing on Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise.

This will be the first race for Cheney who works with Suzy Peters on the strategy, together with Dave Swete, a three-time race winner.

The trio were also on Sunrise for their overall victory in the Rolex Fastnet Race and will be racing the boat in the RORC Caribbean 600.

“The RORC Caribbean 600 is very different to the Rolex Fastnet Race,” commented Tom Cheney. “One of the big considerations is planning the strategy for the wind shadows for the number of high volcanic islands. So, we know what to expect and the manoeuvres are fairly easy to predict. Between myself, Suzy and Dave we have put together a strategy, breaking the course down into twelve legs. On top of that we have broken down each leg into thirds; the transition in, the leg itself and the exit into the next leg.”

"A boat under 50ft has never claimed the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy"

A boat under 50ft has never claimed the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the overall win, and Sunrise is less than 40ft long.

“We never set out to win a race overall, we simply try to race the boat to the best performance possible. But I do think that on paper this race does play quite well to our strengths, even more than the Fastnet. There is a lot of reaching in this course and Sunrise really lights up when we put the bow down. At the moment the forecast wind speed is trending-down for the first 48 hours when the big boats will still be racing. But there is a small chance that the breeze may go up on day three. As a smaller boat, we get more weather. The question is, will that be more or less wind? That is the make or break.”
Sunrise

Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise Tom Cheney is racing on Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise and will work with Suzy Peters on the strategy, together with Dave Swete © James Tomlinson

Published in Caribbean 600
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Seventy-five boats are entered for the RORC Caribbean 600 which starts on Monday 21 February in Antigua. The bulk of the astonishing fleet will be racing under IRC for overall victory and the Caribbean 600 Trophy. The glitterati of the sailing world will be taking part, as will passionate Corinthians. Over 700 sailors from 32 different nations will take on the thrilling race in the deep mid-winter of the Northern Hemisphere.

The beauty of the course is matched by the beast of conditions; trade winds and ocean swell create an exhilarating blast in tropical air around 11 islands in the Caribbean.

Dmitry Rybolovlev’s ClubSwan 125 Skorpios (MON), sailed by Fernando Echavarri, and the VPLP/Verdier 100 Comanche (CAY) skippered by Mitch Booth are favourites for Monohull Line Honours. Both Maxis are very capable of beating the Monohull Race Record set in 2018 by George David’s Rambler 88 (37 hours, 41 minutes, 45 seconds). The wild card for Line Honours is the Farr 100 Leopard skippered by Chris Sherlock. Leopard took Line Honours in the very first edition and it is great to see the famous boat back in Antigua. Comanche and Skorpios have only raced each other once before with Comanche taking the spoils in the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race.

“The RORC Caribbean 600 is a complicated race with a lot of different legs,” commented Skorpios skipper Fernando Echavarri.

“For Skorpios, how we play with the sails will be a very important area. Sail changes take a lot of time and each one reduces your speed, so we need to minimise the changes. To do that we choose sail combinations that are very versatile for the conditions and play with reefs and outriggers. It is super-important to make the right calls at the right time. The owner of Skorpios loves the two-day 600-mile races and this race is very interesting with so many islands and different points of sail, all in a beautiful place to race.

"RORC Caribbean 600 - 75 entries - 600 nm course - 700 sailors from 32 nations - 11 islands - 1 great race"

It is great to race against another very powerful boat. We know Comanche is very good in big breeze. Skorpios is a new boat and we have been making some changes to increase the performance in those areas where Comanche is strong, especially downwind. We were in race training mode crossing the Atlantic from Lanzarote to Antigua. It took us six days and seven hours to cover 3,120 nautical miles (Average speed 20.66 knots).”

One of the youngest teams in the race will be on board the Volvo 70 I Love Poland, competing in IRC Super ZeroOne of the youngest teams in the race will be on board the Volvo 70 I Love Poland, competing in IRC Super Zero Photo: Robert Hadjuk

Mills 68 Prospector (USA), skippered by Terry Glackin and taking part in their third race Photo: Tim Wright/Photoaction.comMills 68 Prospector (USA), skippered by Terry Glackin and taking part in their third race Photo: Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Groovederci Racing (USA) - A multinational crew on the chartered VO65 Sailing Poland skippered by Deneen Demourkas from Santa Barbara, California Photo: Tim Wright/Photoaction.comGroovederci Racing (USA) - A multinational crew on the chartered VO65 Sailing Poland skippered by Deneen Demourkas from Santa Barbara, California Photo: Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

IRC Super Zero

Fifteen Maxis will race in IRC Zero, just one less than the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race. For the RORC Caribbean 600 six Volvo 70s and three VO65s will be racing in IRC Super Zero. The fastest on IRC Rating is the Volvo 70 L4 Trifork (DEN) sailed by Jens Dolmer, with Joern Larsen at the helm. Tactician Bouwe Bekking commented that L4 Trifork’s primary goal is to be the first Volvo 70 to finish the race. Competition in the Volvo 70s will come from Johannes Schwarz’s Ocean Breeze with a crew from the Yacht Club Sopot in Poland and Il Mostro (CAN) skippered by Gilles Barbot of Atlas Ocean Racing. I Love Poland (POL) skippered by Konrad Lipski has one of the youngest teams in the race, including teenagers Mateusz and Kacper Gwozdz. Olympic Gold medallist and Volvo Ocean Race sailor Tamara Echegoyen will be racing on Jens Lindner’s HYPR (ESP). Six different nationalities make up the crew on Lance Shepherd’s Telefonica Black (GBR), with charter guests from Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Switzerland and the United States.

The VO65s will enjoy a battle within IRC Super Zero. Ambersail II (LUT) is skippered by Saulius Pajarskas with an all-Lithuanian crew. The Austrian Ocean Race Project’s Sisi (AUT) is skippered by Gerwin Jansen. Deneen Demourkas from Santa Barbara, California has chartered Sailing Poland’s VO65 and is competing under the famous team banner of Groovederci Racing (USA). The multinational crew includes Marc Lagesse as navigator and Taylor Canfield as tactician. Over the past two decades, Demourkas’ Groovederci Racing has excelled in top one-design classes, including three world championship victories in the Farr30 (formerly Mumm 30) Class. In 2015, Deneen was nominated for ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year.

The two lowest-rated boats in IRC Super Zero are the Mills 68 Prospector (USA), sailed by Shelter Island Transatlantic Partners and taking part in their third race. Richard Tolkien at the helm of his Open 60 Rosalba (GBR) will be taking part in his first RORC Caribbean 600.

IRC Zero

The top five boats on IRC Rating could produce the closest contest in the 75-strong fleet. Christopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior Won (USA), class winner in the 2021 Transpac, has a crack-crew including Stu Bannatyne from New Zealand and Canada’s Richard Clarke. From Lake Michigan Illinois, Kate & Jim Murray’s Pac52 Callisto (USA) is the highest rated boat in IRC Zero. Callisto’s crew includes navigator Jules Salter from the UK and Jared Henderson from New Zealand. Direct competition for the Pac52s will be David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR). Tala was in fine form for the RORC Transatlantic Race, placing third overall. Tala’s crew includes New Zealander Campbell Field as navigator and Jeremy Robinson from the UK.

Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD 54 Teasing Machine (FRA) rates lower than the pack of hot 50-footers. Teasing Machine’s tactician Laurent Pages commented that the team is really looking forward to the race against top competition. Ron Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer (USA), overall winner in 2013 and second overall in 2018, sailed to Antigua from Rhode Island to take part in the race. Juggy Clougher who was on the delivery, has raced around the world more times than Phileas Fogg and won the race overall with Beau Geste and Rambler. “Just bashed our brains out upwind in 20 knots for 1,200 miles, so we can race for 600 miles! That’s what you do.... this is a really special race!”

With 19 teams, IRC Zero is the largest class in the RORC Caribbean 600. The competition within the class is set to be red hot. Watch out for the battle of the two French Ker 46s; Dominique Tian’s Tonnerre de Glen and Frederic Puzin’s Daguet 3. Adrian Lee, winning skipper for the first edition with his Cookson 50 will be taking part in his sixth race in Swan 60 Lee Overlay Partners II (IRL). Adrian’s twin teenage children, Dasha and Alexander will be racing on board.

Christopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior One (USA) Photo: Sharon Green/Ultimate SailingChristopher Sheehan’s Pac52 Warrior One (USA) Photo: Sharon Green/Ultimate Sailing

Racing in IRC Zero - Ron Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer (USA) was overall winner in 2013 and second overall in 2018 Racing in IRC Zero - Ron Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer (USA) was overall winner in 2013 and second overall in 2018 Photo: Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

David Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR) will be competition for the Pac52s Photo: James Mitchell/RORCDavid Collins’ Botin IRC 52 Tala (GBR) will be competition for the Pac52s Photo: James Mitchell/RORC

IRC One

Two British JPK 1180s will be among the favourites in IRC One. Tom Kneen’s Sunrise (GBR) swept the board in the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, winning the world’s biggest offshore race overall. Ed Bell's JPK Dawn Treader (GBR) was out of luck in the Rolex Fastnet Race, retiring with a broken mast. Both boats were shipped across the Atlantic to take part in what will be their first race in the Caribbean.

Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L’Ange de Milon (FRA) and Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR) raced to the Caribbean in the RORC Transatlantic Race, coming second and fourth in class respectively. Two J/121s will be racing; Stuart Dahlgreen will sail Wings (USA) with a crew from Canada and the United States. Peter Lewis returns to the RORC Caribbean 600 with his team on Whistler (BAR).

The top two rated boats in IRC One features a match-up between two Pogo 12.50s. Tim Knight’s Kai (GBR) will race Two-Handed with Chris Swallow. Morgen Watson skippers Hermes II (CAN) for a fifth race, with a full crew, alongside partner Meg Reilly. There is no stopping Bernie Evan-Wong, the Antiguan skipper of the RP37 Taz has competed in every edition of the race and this year the Taz crew includes sailors from Antigua, Great Britain, Ireland and the USA.

One of the favourites in IRC One - Tom Kneen's British JPK 1180 SunriseOne of the favourites in IRC One - Tom Kneen's British JPK 1180 Sunrise Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L’Ange de Milon (FRA) competing in IRC OneJacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L’Ange de Milon (FRA) competing in IRC One Photo: Rick Tomlinson

IRC Two

A dozen teams will be competing in IRC Two. Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) has won class at the RORC Caribbean 600 a record six times. Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada (GBR), racing with Jeremy Waitt will be competing in their third race, having won the Two-Handed class in 2020. Two Antiguan boats racing in the class are Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 Liquid and Carlo Falcone’s legendary Caccia Alla Volpe, skippered by Carlo’s son Rocco, with sister Shirley in an all-Antiguan crew. America’s Cup winner Shannon Falcone will be on Comanche for the race. Caccia Alla Volpe was Shannon’s first home when he sailed to Antigua as a child with his parents. Peter Hopps will be racing Sigma 38 Sam (GBR) in his 12th race. Sam is the lowest rated boat under IRC, but always makes the prize giving!

Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) has won class at the RORC Caribbean 600 a record six times Photo: Tim Wright/Photoaction.comRoss Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) has won class at the RORC Caribbean 600 a record six times Photo: Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

IRC Two -Carlo Falcone’s legendary Caccia Alla Volpe, skippered by Carlo’s son Rocco, with sister Shirley in an all-Antiguan crewIRC Two -Carlo Falcone’s legendary Caccia Alla Volpe, skippered by Carlo’s son Rocco, with sister Shirley in an all-Antiguan crew Photo: Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Class40 Division

Nine Class40s will be taking part this year. The pocket-rocket 40-footers have always featured since the first race in 2009, with some exceptionally close finishes throughout the years.

Charles-Louis Mourruau’s Guidi is one of the latest Class40 designs in the race. The Sam Manuard designed Mach40.3 was commissioned in 2018. Charles-Louis is no stranger to RORC racing having competed in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race.

The 2017 Verdier designed Rennes - Saint Malo / Mer Entreprendre will be sailed by Baptiste Hulin & Clement Commagnac. Racing on Arthur Hubert’s BHB, Commagnac won the 2020 RORC Caribbean 600.

Brian Hennessy’s Dragon (USA) is arguably the most successful American Class40 skipper having won the Bermuda One-Two, the Miami to Havana and the Marblehead to Halifax races. He will be racing Two-Handed with Cole Brauer.

Morgane Ursault Poupon racing Up Sailing will be taking part in her second race. The 2007 Rogers Yacht Design is one of the oldest boats in the race but was an impressive class runner-up in 2020.

Latest entries can be found here

Published in Caribbean 600
Tagged under

This year’s RORC Caribbean 600 features a spectacular MOCRA Class with 10 multihulls in action. Whilst the overall winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 will be the monohull with best corrected time under IRC, racing under the MOCRA rating rule, many of the multihull class of 2022 are new to the race and the winner, after time correction, is wide open. The 600-mile RORC classic will headline a Line Honours re-match for three 70-foot trimarans which went hard and fast for the line in this year’s RORC Transatlantic Race.

Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) won the 3,000-mile race by a paper-thin margin and also holds the RORC Caribbean 600 Race Record (2019 - 30 hours, 49 minutes, 00 seconds). Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay (CAY) and Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA) will be looking to push Maserati all the way for the 2022 RORC Caribbean 600. PowerPlay took Line Honours in 2020 by less than five minutes from Argo, with Maserati third. The wild card for Multihull Line Honours is Antoine Rabaste’s Ultim’Emotion 2 (FRA), which has a waterline advantage over the three 70-foot trimarans. The multihull leader on the water is expected to change many times - be prepared for a photo-finish, potentially at record pace.

“The RORC Caribbean 600 is a very different race to the RORC Transatlantic. We will have more crew because of the many manoeuvres around the course,” commented Maserati’s Giovanni Soldini. “For sure Maserati is a faster boat than our record race in 2019, but to break it will depend on the conditions. Compared to Argo and PowerPlay our best wind angle is downwind above 16 knots when we are very quick, but on a tight reach, the competition can be just as fast. For Maserati the best performance will come if we stay in pressure and make good manoeuvres. We have a plan for rounding every island, but that can change in a moment depending on the situation of other boats and if the wind direction changes. I am sure it will be a fantastic race!”

This year’s race has attracted a fascinating entry of multihulls, all of which are very capable of winning the MOCRA Class. With 10 teams entered, this is the second-largest entry for multihulls in the 14-year history of the RORC Caribbean 600.

Christian Guyader’s Saveol (FRA) skippered by Gwen Chapalain, and Club 5 Oceans (FRA) sailed by Quentin le Nabour are both ORC50s; a new class for the 2022 Route du Rhum. Light-weight, with a huge sail area and rotating mast, Guyader Saveol and Club 5 Oceans are capable of finishing the race in under 48 hours. Club 5 Oceans put in a great performance for the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race, finishing the 3,000-mile course in under 12 days. For the RORC Caribbean 600, Club 5 Oceans will race with 10 crew, mainly from Russia. Christian Guyader racing Guyader Saveol is taking part in his second RORC Caribbean 600 and has an all-French crew of six. This year’s race is very much unfinished business for Guyader, having failed to complete the course in 2018.

Vincent Willemart’s TS42 Banzai (BEL) will race with just four on board, all from Belgium. Banzai was third in the MOCRA Class for the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, beating Argo and Maserati after time correction. Vincent Willemart has a formidable track record racing with the RORC, winning the 2014 RORC Season’s Points Championship overall with his MC34 Azawakh.

Gilles Lamire’s Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires (FRA) is a proven winner; the Ocean Fifty (ex Multi50) won class in the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabres, racing two-handed with Antoine Carpentier. Groupe GCA is all-carbon, flying on foils and capable of 40 knots of boat speed! Lamire is taking part in his second RORC Caribbean 600 having podiumed in 2018 with French Tech Caraîbos.

Selika, skippered by Andrew Bland, is a new concept from the drawing board of Frers Yacht Design. The bluewater performance catamaran has the latest foiling package and will have an international crew of eight. With a full interior and a powerful sail configuration, Selika will revel in big airs and sea state. Aldo Fumagalli’s Neel 47 Minimole (ITA) is a Marc Lombard design. The smallest multihull in the race, with a full interior weighing in at just over 10,000 kg, Minimole has little chance of keeping up with the sporty larger multis, but has a significantly lower MOCRA rating than the entire 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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