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RORC Transatlantic Race navigators are studying the latest weather models and the data is predicting a fast, potentially record-breaking race for the 8th edition from Lanzarote to Grenada.

The record RORC fleet is in Puerto Calero and Marina Lanzarote and crews are making final preparations for the 3,000-mile race. Race navigators are studying the latest weather models and the data is predicting a fast, potentially record-breaking race to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada. Four days before the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race, three top navigators express their predictions.

RORC Transatlantic Race navigators are studying the latest weather models and the data is predicting a fast, potentially record-breaking race for the 8th edition from Lanzarote to Grenada © YB TrackingRORC Transatlantic Race navigators are studying the latest weather models and the data is predicting a fast, potentially record-breaking race for the 8th edition from Lanzarote to Grenada Photo YB Tracking

Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club de France. The eighth edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race will start from Lanzarote on Saturday 8th of January 2022.

The favourite for the IMA Trophy is the 100ft Maxi Comanche, skippered by Mitch Booth. Comanche is very capable of breaking the Monohull Race Record, set by Pier Luigi Loro Piana's Supermaxi My Song in 2018 of 10 days 05 hrs 47 mins 11 secs. Comanche’s Australian navigator Will Oxley has racked up 300,000 ocean miles, including three editions of The Ocean Race.

Will Oxley - Comanche: “It is still too far out, but at the moment there's a suggestion that the southern route is not so good in terms of the trade winds. A couple of low-pressure systems are disrupting the Atlantic, so possibly a more northern route will be quicker. Around start time we should get away in good pressure, but there's a big low building up off Nova Scotia and it’s moving very fast. So, when we get closer to the race start, factors like sea state will influence our decisions. Potentially Comanche will rotate up into the front, which will be windy and unpleasant. Comanche is a big strong boat and after negotiating the front we can reach away and tackle the next high pressure. Alternatively, if Comanche went to the southern route, there is potential for very light winds. Comanche is a big flat-bottomed boat; it is difficult to get to our polar speed in light conditions, especially upwind.”

Will Oxley, navigator on the 100ft Maxi ComancheWill Oxley, navigator on the 100ft Maxi Comanche Photo: Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica/Volvo AB

British navigator Miles Seddon will be racing for Peter Cunningham’s team on MOD70 PowerPlay. Hot competition for Multihull Line Honours will be Jason Carroll’s Argo, Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati and Antoine Rabaste’s Ultim'Emotion 2. Seddon is no stranger to the race having been navigator on MOD70 Phaedo3, setting the Multihull Race Record in 2015 of 5 days 22 hrs 46 mins 03 secs.

Miles Seddon - PowerPlay: “If this were a holiday brochure there would be no question, head south until the butter melts. At the moment the middle road doesn’t appear to be an option due to light winds. Given a free rein, the routing software favours the northerly option for best pressure for the longest period of time, but when you start to dig into the wave direction and sea state, it is less appealing. Further along the northerly route the models develop a strong cold front pushing down from the north, with 30-40kn winds forecasted and temperatures in the low to mid-teens behind the front. It certainly has some warning bells attached to it at the moment.”

British navigator Miles Seddon will be racing for Peter Cunningham’s team on MOD70 PowerPlay British navigator Miles Seddon will be racing for Peter Cunningham’s team on MOD70 PowerPlay Photo: Joaquim Vera

Miles Seddon was navigator on the MOD70 Phaedo3 which set the Multihull Race Record in 2015 of 5 days 22 hrs 46 mins 03 secsMiles Seddon was navigator on the MOD70 Phaedo3 which set the Multihull Race Record in 2015 of 5 days 22 hrs 46 mins 03 secs

America’s Cup and 52 Super Series navigator Marc Lagesse is racing on German Botin 56 Black Pearl with Stefan Jentzsch at the helm. The crew are highly experienced with over 40 Atlantic races between them. Black Pearl is one of a trio of Botin designs that are expected to have a rare and exceptional battle across the Atlantic. Maximilian Klink’s Swiss Botin 52 Caro, David Collins’ British Botin 52 Tala, and Black Pearl is a contest to savour.

Marc Lagesse – Black Pearl: “The short answer right now is north, but two days ago it was south. Yesterday it was 50/50 and now it’s north. The situation is very fluid and changing daily. North will be punchy, uncomfortable and cold. So, I am not too keen on that decision (he jokes). We are in a dog fight with Caro; she is very similar to Black Pearl in design, also with water-ballast and sailed by a crack crew. Tala will be very well sailed too. On the water we are bigger and should have an advantage, however they rate very well. The same goes for Tala in terms of size and rating. To a large degree we will not let other boats influence us, but once we get out there and the race develops, the scenario may change that strategy. The calibre of the competition means that if they do something different, we will need to understand why.”

America’s Cup and 52 Super Series navigator Marc Lagesse is racing on German Botin 56 Black Pearl with Stefan Jentzsch at the helmAmerica’s Cup and 52 Super Series navigator Marc Lagesse is racing on German Botin 56 Black Pearl with Stefan Jentzsch at the helm

Black Pearl at the start of the 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race © James Mitchell/RORCBlack Pearl at the start of the 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race © James Mitchell/RORC

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London's Royal Ocean Racing Club, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club de France are making final preparations for the 2022 RORC Transatlantic Race starting on Saturday 8th January 2022. The longest race in the RORC Season’s Points Championship has attracted a record 30-boat entry in the epic 3,000nm race across the Atlantic Ocean and battles are predicted throughout the fleet. Starting from Lanzarote, the teams will be based at two Calero Marinas - Puerto Calero and Marina Lanzarote, and are racing to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada.

The Magnificent Seven – MOCRA Class

Competing for line honours and one of seven magnificent entries in the MOCRA class - Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA)Competing for line honours and one of seven magnificent entries in the MOCRA class - Jason Carroll’s MOD70 Argo (USA) © Arthur Daniel

Seven multihulls are entered, with a scintillating four-way battle for Multihull Line Honours expected. Jason Carroll’s Argo (USA), Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati (ITA), Peter Cunningham’s PowerPlay (CAY) and Antoine Rabaste’s Ultim'Emotion 2 (FRA) are all favourites to be the first to finish the race. The RORC Transatlantic Race Multihull Record is 5 days 22 hrs 46 mins 03 secs (2015 - Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo 3, skippered by Brian Thompson).

Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald are racing on the new Gunboat 68 ToscaAlex Thomson and Neal McDonald are racing on the new Gunboat 68 Tosca

The overall multihull winner is decided after MOCRA time correction, bringing three super-charged teams into the mix. Two French ORC50s have their own line honours duel and the chance of taking victory for the MOCRA Class. Halvard Mabire & Miranda Merron will race Two-Handed with GDD against Quentin le Nabour’s fully crewed Club 5 Oceans. The latest entry for the MOCRA Class is a brand-new British Gunboat 68 Tosca, which includes Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald on the team sheet.

Favourite for Monohull line honours - 100ft Maxi Comanche © ELWJ PhotographyFavourite for Monohull line honours - 100ft Maxi Comanche © ELWJ Photography

Volvo 70 L4 Trifork with Dutchman Bouwe Bekking at the helm © ELWJ PhotographyVolvo 70 L4 Trifork with Dutchman Bouwe Bekking at the helm © ELWJ Photography

The firm favourite for 2022 Monohull line honours and the IMA Trophy is the 100ft Maxi Comanche, skippered by Mitch Booth. With solid trade winds and no major equipment failures, Comanche has the potential to smash the race record. The RORC Transatlantic Race Monohull Record is 10 days 05 hrs 47 mins 11 secs (2018 - Pier Luigi Loro Piana's 130ft Supermaxi My Song).

The Ultimate Prize - RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy

Twenty-three teams, including Comanche, have the opportunity to take the ultimate prize for the best corrected time under IRC and to lift the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy. Three Volvo 70s will be racing: L4 Trifork with Dutchman Bouwe Bekking at the helm, HYPR with German skipper Jens Lindner, and I Love Poland skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski. The Austrian Ocean Race Project’s VO65 Sisi, skippered by Gerwin Jansen, makes up a quartet of teams that have the potential to match race across the Atlantic.

One of many races within the race will be fought between high-performance 50-footers. A fascinating encounter is expected between Maximilian Klink’s Swiss Botin 52 Caro, David Collins’ British Botin 52 Tala, and the German Carkeek 56 Black Pearl, skippered by Stefan Jentzsch. Three 60-footers should enjoy a close battle; British Open 60 Rosalba, skippered by Richard Tolkien, French Volvo 60 Challenge Ocean, skippered by Valdo Dhoyer, and Jean Pierre Dreau’s French Mylius 60 Lady First 3.

The latest entries for the race include Shahid Hamid’s British Swan 58 OMII, a brand-new Juan Kouyoumdjian design, and the Hinckley Sou'wester 52 Diana with Dutch skipper Carlo Vroon.

James Mitchell German Carkeek 56 Black Pearl, skippered by Stefan Jentzsch © James Mitchell/RORCJames Mitchell German Carkeek 56 Black Pearl, skippered by Stefan Jentzsch © James Mitchell/RORC

A family affair - Christopher Daniel’s British J/121 Juno competing in IRC Two © James TomlinsonA family affair - Christopher Daniel’s British J/121 Juno competing in IRC Two © James Tomlinson

Remy Gerin’s 65ft Spirit of Tradition-designed sloop Faïaoahé is racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France © Rolex/Carlo BorlenghiRemy Gerin’s 65ft Spirit of Tradition-designed sloop Faïaoahé is racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Mark Emerson’s British A13 Phosphorus II in the hotly contested IRC One classMark Emerson’s British A13 Phosphorus II in the hotly contested IRC One class © Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo

Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen is the highest rated entry in IRC One and is one of four highly optimised 40-footers in the class. A full-on contest is expected between Mark Emerson’s British A13 Phosphorus II, Jacques Pelletier’s French Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon, and Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra; overall runner-up in the 2019 race.

In IRC Two, Ross Applebey’s highly successful British Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster is making a RORC Transatlantic Race debut. Another debutant, Christopher Daniel’s British J/121 Juno will be close competition. Juno is very much a family boat, with a young crew. Daughter Poppy will helm, son Jack is on the bow and five of the Juno crew are in their twenties.

“For me it is an enormous privilege to have a similar sporting passion with my son and daughter; it is a huge opportunity,” commented Christopher Daniel. “Racing across the Atlantic focuses you on the risks, but that shouldn’t stop you from doing it. Before the start, top of the wish-list is a crew that is free of Covid. The original plan was to race with seven, but the team has been increased to eight, so if a crew member cannot race, we will still have a full complement.”

Three classic designs will be racing under IRC for the Classic Trophy. Henry Cochin’s 1968 Philip Rhodes 71ft ketch Eugenia V, skippered by Baptiste Garnier; Martin Westcott’s Chilean 1978 S&S Swan 57 Equinoccio, and Remy Gerin’s 65ft Spirit of Tradition designed sloop Faïaoahé.

Faïaoahé will be racing Two-Handed with Bernard Jeanne-Beylot against the smallest entry in the RORC Transatlantic Race, Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada. Also racing Two-Handed with Jeremy Waitt, Jangada can punch well above her weight having won the race overall in 2019.

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With the preliminary design study phase drawing to a close, the ground is now being prepared for the construction of the first Class 30 a joint yacht design project between the RORC in London and UNCL in France, with the next phase of the project underway, which is the development of the detailed construction plans. These will be completed by the end of March 2022.

The new Class 30 design will offer two different specifications; a Club and One Design version, with the Club offering being seen as a tool for training, learning about and competing on the offshore racing circuit. This new boat is the fruits of an international architecture competition organised by France’s National Offshore Racing Union (UNCL) in partnership with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), in the UK and the Storm Trysail Club in America. With the constant involvement of the competition winners, the VPLP naval architecture firm and the Multiplast yard.

One of the objectives of the project is for the Class 30 Club boat, to have a competitive ready to sail price tag of under €100,000.

"The new Class 30 design will offer two different specifications; a Club and One Design version"

pre-booking process

At this early stage of the programme, the project has been very well received with over thirty reservations of production boat numbers recorded on the UNCL – Yacht Club de France stand at the Nautic boat show in Paris, where the launch process began in earnest together with the presentation of the model.

The registration protocol is both simple and safe. You need to send an email to [email protected] where all requests are received; in return a booking contract will be sent along with a short presentation on the boat. To secure the reservation a €2,500 deposit needs to be paid to a locked escrow account (all details in the information you receive), managed by a sworn lawyer. Once funds are received, the lawyer sends a booking number in chronological order to applicants. This booking number is non-transferable and you can cancel your reservation at any time and receive a full refund.

Production set to commence from January 2023

With regards to the build schedule, the study phase has been extended to finalise the tooling and moulds so that construction of the production boats can commence at the beginning of 2023, with the aim of having a few of the boats competing that Easter, either at the Spi Ouest France or the SNIM, or at RORC races in UK.

Depending how the order book evolves, promoters of the production boat will consider in due course whether or not to put in place an additional mould to increase production capacity in France, whilst evaluating the development of a licence programme overseas.

A boat designed to be container-shipped

In addition to the very contemporary lines and a series of simple and inexpensive solutions, what has come off the drawing board of competition winner VPLP-Multiplast is a truly stellar logistical feat. Indeed, through the possibility of fitting the whole boat and its rig into a 40-foot container was not a prerequisite of the initial specifications, it was quickly viewed as a major benefit in ensuring the best possible distribution of the one-design via both road and sea transport. The design of a transport cradle is also envisaged with this in mind. In line with the wishes of the project’s stakeholders, particular attention has gone into the pre-manufacture studies of the first prototype to ensure the best possible control of the budget for the production boats, which is a key aspect of the project.

Class 30 One Design - A light, effective and accessible deck layout to prioritise dynamic trimming and favour learning within crewed sailingClass 30 One Design - A light, effective and accessible deck layout to prioritise dynamic trimming and favour learning within crewed sailing

A circuit for the Class 30 One Design™

The main aim of the class is to set up a sports programme enabling sailors – owners and clubs – to get out racing at the highest level as soon as possible on a variety of course types and stretches of water. To this end, the one-design is intended to provide an optimised response to the IRC measurement criteria. This option will pave the way for an extensive one-design race programme both in France, UK and overseas, around the cans and offshore. UNCL and RORC are also very keen to quickly schedule in a ‘Class 30 Tour’, an event which will serve as a reminder of the project’s suitability and ambition for training and replenishing a whole generation of offshore racing crew and skippers of renown. This Class 30 Tour could travel with crews going back and forth between the English and French coasts.

Class Management

It is the intention to set-up class associations for both the Club and One Design to develop and manage the Class 30 (rules and racing programme), as well as being a forum for sharing ideas, training initiatives and managing and dealing with any issues that are relevant to the class.

Quotes:

James Neville, Commodore of the RORC
“Beyond the political wrangling, we’re here to prove that in the sailing world, we know how to support joint projects and get the French and the English working together as one!”

Géry Trentesaux, new President of the UNCL
“We are extremely pleased with the progress of the Class 30 One Design™ project. One of our priorities is to ensure its success, and we are particularly happy with the involvement and motivation of the team formed by the naval architect firm/yard. As Yves Ginoux said, we’ve successfully rounded the first upwind mark and we’re now focused on running before the wind, ready to make the most of the favourable gusts.”

Simon Watin, VPLP design
“Managing to combine performance, simplicity and fun with this boat, which aims to connect dinghy sailing and offshore racing, is an extremely motivating challenge for our whole team. Following on from our fine experience on the Figaro 3, it’s another step forward into the world of production monohulls for us.”

Dominique Dubois, Multiplast Groupe Carboman
“We’re very proud to have been selected to build this new one-design. For Multiplast, the race is already on and we’re investing a great deal of energy into this project to ensure the boat is accessible and easy to maintain, whilst also being quick and fun. It’s an ambitious challenge and just the kind of project we love taking on.”

Reminder

Class 30 Club: a basic version that is simplified yet high-performance, for training offshore racing crew and one-design racing at a particularly competitive ready-to-sail introductory price enabling it to be purchased by as many people as possible.

Class 30 One Design™: Club version to which kit integrating various fit-out modules has been added (electronics, navigation and galley modules, ballast tanks...), designed to expand its scope of use and performance for offshore racing. The Class 30 One Design version enables a duo or crew to race in a one-design class as well as be competitive in IRC.

Key points of the Class 30 One Design™ project:

  • A boat that is great to sail: seated comfortably at the helm or out on the rail, on a hull which is not too wet, with a large cockpit for carrying out manoeuvres in crewed format
  • A design that keeps a tight rein on cost
  • Simple forms with minimally developed surface area
  • A structure and assembly geared around the production of a one-design series
  • A pared-back deck layout and rig
  • Significant focus on eco-design, with the overall consideration of the construction as well as the uses and manner of sailing
  • A powerful and versatile hull for a boat that is evolutionary on every point of sail
  • A light, effective and accessible deck layout to prioritise dynamic trimming and favour learning within crewed sailing.
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With less than a month to the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race, well over half of the record international fleet has arrived in Calero Marinas Puerto Calero in Lanzarote for the start of the 3,000 nautical mile race to Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada. Over 200 sailors from at least 22 different nations will be competing. The eclectic mix includes professional sailors from the Olympics, America’s Cup, Vendée Globe, and The Ocean Race, however, the vast majority are passionate corinthians.

Latest Entry List here

Double Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott will be part of Peter Cunningham’s crew racing his MOD70 PowerPlay. This will be Scott’s first-ever transatlantic, but he has a wealth of multihull experience as tactician for INEOS TEAM UK’s America's Cup campaign.

“The only offshore I have done previously was the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race on the same boat when it was Concise, so this is a bit new for me,” admitted Scott. “I am used to the speed that we will achieve, but clearly this will be very different; we are racing across the Atlantic and there are going to be some big waves. Hopefully, we will get good trade winds and it will be 3,000-miles downwind, which will be nice!”

Going offshore and looking forward to his first Atlantic race - Giles Scott will be on board Peter Cunningham's MOD70 PowerPlay in the RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote to Grenada in January 2022 © Cameron Gregory/ INOES TEAM UKGoing offshore and looking forward to his first Atlantic race - Giles Scott will be on board Peter Cunningham's MOD70 PowerPlay in the RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote to Grenada in January 2022 © Cameron Gregory/ INOES TEAM UK

The major difference for Scott will be racing offshore for a number of days and nights, something that he has not experienced in the Finn or the AC75. “I am fully into the unknowns here; it is a first step up into this world. I am looking forward to it, but I am nowhere near being an expert. I will be following the lead of the guys around me. I really don’t know what to expect in the middle of the Atlantic and this is almost a different sport. I hope I can perform to a high standard for the team. This is out of my comfort zone and that is why I want to do it. It will be an experience with a great set of guys and I am sure I will learn a lot,” concluded Scott.

With echoes of the Prada Cup in New Zealand earlier this year between INEOS, American Magic and Luna Rossa, the RORC Transatlantic Race features PowerPlay with a majority British crew, Argo from the United States, and Maserati from Italy.

“I am not sure about that analogy!” smiled Scott. “This race should be a real tussle; all three boats are set up differently. I am sure I can bring some experience to the team from the ‘Cup but I am not going to revolutionise anything. It doesn’t really matter what type of sailing you do, there is always parallel learning and this is a new area for me and why I am so keen to do it. My INEOS commitments don’t ramp up for a few months and since I stopped Olympic sailing, getting into offshore racing has been of real interest.”

One of several yachts racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France will be Jacques Pelletier’s Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon which is competing in the race for the first time © Paul Wyeth

The 2022 edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race has been organised in association with the Yacht Club de France and nine of the competing teams will be flying the French tricolour. French teams have lifted the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy on three occasions: Jean-Paul Riviere’s Nomad IV (2015) Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine (2017) and Olivier Magre’s Palanad 3 (2021).

Two stand out teams racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France will be Jacques Pelletier’s L'Ange De Milon and Remy Gerin’s Faiaoahe. Jacques Pelletier has lost count of the number of Fastnet Races he has competed in, including winning class in 2019, but this will be his first RORC Transatlantic Race with his Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon. Having suffered mast problems in the heavy weather at the start of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, it is wonderful to see L’Ange De Milon has been repaired and is ready and waiting in Lanzarote. Designed by Jacques Valer of JPK fame, and with a highly experienced French crew, L'Ange De Milon will be a force to reckon with.

One to watch in the RORC Transatlantic Race - Tonnerre de Glen, Dominique Tian's Ker 46 One to watch in the RORC Transatlantic Race - Tonnerre de Glen, Dominique Tian's Ker 46 © Antoine Beysens

Dominique Tian loves ocean racing and his Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen is also one of the hot prospects from France. This will be the first RORC Transatlantic Race for the boat which has been meticulously prepared for the race. The team is full of experience, including navigator Oliver Kraus, who came second in the Multi 50 Class in both the TJV and the Québec St Malo:

“I am enthusiastic about my first Transat in this boat,” commented Dominique Tian. “It is one of the goals for 2022; the other being the RORC Caribbean 600. To finish with the crew and boat in good shape is always the most important thing. If we can also perform well, then we will achieve the best outcome possible.”

Taking on the RORC Transatlantic Race Two-Handed in his spirt of tradition classic - Remy Gerin's Faiaoahe, racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France © ROLEXTaking on the RORC Transatlantic Race Two-Handed in his spirt of tradition classic - Remy Gerin's Faiaoahe, racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de France © ROLEX

Remy Gerin’s Faiaoahe is a spirit of tradition classic, built-in 2006 to sail around the world. The 65ft (19.8m) cutter-rigged sloop will be raced in the IRC Two-Handed class by skippers Remy Gerin and Bernard Jeanne-Beylot. Faiaoahe will dwarf another IRC Two-Handed competitor; Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada (overall winner in 2019), which is almost half the same length.

“Faiaoahe has been raced and cruised numerous times in the Pacific and Atlantic, including twice around Cape Horn, but this will be the first time we have raced her Two-Handed across the Atlantic,” explained Gerin. “Our first goal is to complete the race and then we are looking forward to welcoming our friends and family who will join us in the Caribbean.”

On the Volvo 70 HYPR - Gap year student fulfills his dream of racing across the Atlantic on the ocean racer On the Volvo 70 HYPR - Gap year student fulfills his dream of racing across the Atlantic on the ocean racer © Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

For centuries, racing across the Atlantic Ocean has always been the centre of fascination for ocean racers, the opportunities to take part in an all-out race across the world's second-largest ocean is rare, especially for corinthian sailors. Of the 27 confirmed entries for the 8th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, the youngest crew member on file is just 18 years old. Swedish sailor Filip Henriksson will be competing on the Volvo 70 HYPR skippered by Jens Lindner, which is one of 11 Maxis eligible for the IMA Trophy. Filip learnt to sail big boats with his family in the Gothenburg archipelago:

“My dream is to race across the Atlantic,” commented Filip. “2022 is my gap year and I saw HYPR when I searched the internet and I thought if I am going to do it, I may as well do it big. I am so excited to have got a position on board. I will be turning 19 during the race and my parents will be flying to Grenada to celebrate with me and have a holiday to explore the island.”

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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 RORC Transatlantic

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
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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… 

Published in W M Nixon

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.

Published in RORC
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