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More than 5,000 sailors from around the world, racing in a dazzling variety of 570 yachts, took part in the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship. The world's largest offshore racing series comprised 14 testing races and every race had its own coveted prize for the overall winner and for IRC class honours. The 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship destinations included the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Grenada, and the Spanish island of Lanzarote. There were six European destinations: France, Great Britain, Belgium, Ireland, Malta, and the Netherlands.

The 2019 Royal Ocean Racing Club Annual Dinner and Prize Giving was held in the Grand Connaught Rooms with 250 guests attending the spectacular black tie event. Prize winners, competitors, crews, RORC members and guests celebrated the year's achievements with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

A champagne reception was followed by dinner and the prize giving in the Grand Connaught Rooms. Dating back to 1775, with its grand Georgian architecture and art-deco interiors, the historic building has hosted some of the world's leading politicians, royalty and celebrities. There was a huge ovation for the overall winner of the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship, Black Sheep, and for the RORC Yacht of the Year, Wizard.

Winning the Jazz Trophy for first overall in IRC was Trevor Middleton's Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep. Skippered by Jake Carter, the team collected five more awards: Jacob Carter was awarded the Keith Ludlow Trophy for the Navigator on the yacht that is First in IRC Overall, and the Duncan Munro Kerr Youth Challenge Trophy. Black Sheep also won the Grenade Goblet for first in IRC Three, the Serendip Trophy for Best Series Produced Yacht, and the Alan Paul Trophy for Consistent High Performance.

Sunfast3600 crewTrevor Middleton and team on Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep collect the overall winners trophy, along with a hoard of silverware at the RORC Season's Points Championship © Sportography.tv
Black Sheep was crewed by friends who met during the Clipper Round the World Race and their debut race for the RORC season was the RORC Transatlantic Race. Black Sheep was the smallest yacht in the race, taking just under 17 days, and after IRC time correction, was second overall. During the season, Black Sheep's main rival for IRC Three, and for the overall season win, was another British Sun Fast 3600, Bellino. Bellino was raced Two-Handed by Rob Craigie and Deb Fish. Bellino beat Black Sheep by one place in the Rolex Fastnet Race, to set up a winner take-all final encounter in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Black Sheep won the duel, winning the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship overall and IRC Three by a small margin; just 2.2 points.

"We set out to win the Championship, but it was not until halfway through the season that you realise how big a commitment it is," commented Trevor Middleton. "Black Sheep has done close to 10,000 miles of racing and deliveries. The team come from the Clipper Race and this has been a fantastic, yet different experience. Whilst the RORC races are shorter, the Clipper experience made us stronger for the longer races. A big thank you to the RORC, their organisation is excellent, their entry system and race procedures are second to none. Also, when you get to places like Lanzarote, Grenada and Antigua, the shoreside logistics and parties are so very well done."

The 2019 RORC Yacht of the Year, winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy was Peter and David Askew's Volvo Open 70 Wizard, which is the first American yacht to win the accolade for over 20 years. Wizard's overall win in the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Rolex Fastnet Race in the same season is unprecedented. This double victory has never been achieved before by any other yacht.

Wizard volvo 70Wizard, Peter & David Askew's Volvo Open 70 - RORC Yacht of the Year Photo: Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

"The Fastnet Challenge Cup is now at the New York Yacht Club - being able to display the Cup at the NYYC is really special. At the NYYC annual awards last weekend we got a chance to study the inscribed names of the previous winners. It was an "oh my" moment to see the name Wizard in close proximity to names like "Imp" and "Tenacious", boats of immense historical importance," commented David and Peter Askew. "When Peter and I were young boys we idolized these boats and the sailors that crewed them and dreamed of having our own success someday. We think a real measure of success is to earn the recognition of your peers. To be recognized by a group of peers on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean is a true honour! To be awarded the Somerset Memorial Trophy is something we will always be very proud of.

"Peter and I have always operated on the principle to have the best tool possible for the job. That being said, everything else counts too, plus a little luck. We had the perfect storm of all of the above. We set out to win the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series and we felt the VO 70 would be the best platform. Charlie Enright, Mark Towill, Will Oxley and the rest of the guys did the real work. All said and done, we think our success is proof that our process works.
"We are disappointed to not be able to personally accept the Somerset Memorial Trophy. Peter has foot surgery some days prior and I must remain in the States to receive an award from my local Yacht Club (Annapolis Yacht Club) that same night. We will have a crew member, Roy Disney in attendance to accept on behalf of the entire Wizard team."

After the prize-giving, guests partied until the early hours with a live set from Brando, courtesy of RORC partner Sevenstar Yacht Transport. Fastnet Marine Insurance also supported the event, as they have done for the last 11 years, along with William Grant & Sons Distillers and Ocean Safety.

The 21st edition of the RORC Season's Points Championship will start on 23rd November 2019 with the RORC Transatlantic Race.

List of 2019 RORC Season's Points Trophy Winners 

Season's Points Championship Overall Winner - Jazz Trophy for 1st in IRC Overall: Sun Fast 3600, Trevor Middleton with Black Sheep

Also winning: Keith Ludlow Trophy for the Navigator on the yacht that is First in IRC Overall: Duncan Munro Kerr Youth Challenge Trophy - Jacob Carter from Black Sheep, 1st in IRC Three winning the Grenade Goblet, Serendip Trophy for Best Series Produced Yacht, Alan Paul Trophy for Consistent High Performance,

The 2019 Yacht of the Year winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy: Wizard, Volvo Open 70, David & Peter Askew

2019 Class winners:
Multihull: Buzz, Seacart 30, Ross Hobson
Class40: Eärendil, Catherine Pourre
IRC Zero: Tala, Botin IRC 52, David Collins
IRC One: Ino XXX, HH42, James Neville
IRC Two: Courrier Recommandé, JPK 1180, Gery Trentesaux
IRC Three: Black Sheep, Sun Fast 3600, Trevor Middleton
IRC Four: Foggy Dew, JPK 10.10, Noel Racine
IRC Two-Handed: Bellino, Sun Fast 3600, Rob Craigie & Deb Fish

Special Trophies:
Seamanship Trophy for an Outstanding Act of Seamanship: Roy Disney with Pyewacket

Meritorious Award for outstanding keelboat performance by a RORC member:
Grant Gordon, Louise Racing (Dragon) - 1st King Juan Carlos Trophy, 2nd Dragon World Championship, 5th Dragon Gold Cup

Arambalza Swan Cup for the Best Swan: Swan 38, Jonathan Rolls, with Xara
Beken Trophy for Concours d'Elegance: Fred Shepherd Yawl from 1939 Paul Moxon with Amokura

Assuage Tankard for 1st Overall in the Morgan Cup Race and Winning the J/109 RORC Trophy J/109: David McGough with Just So
Assuage Tankard for 1st Overall in the Myth of Malham Race and 1st Overall in the Cervantes Trophy Race: Farr GP42, Ed Fishwick with Redshift
David Fayle Memorial Cup for Best Sailing School Yacht: First 40, Yuri Fadeev of Capstan Sailing School with Skylander

Haylock Cup for Best British Service Yacht: X-41, Army Sailing Association with British Soldier

Multihull (26 boats):
1st Multihull: Seacart 30, Ross Hobson, with Buzz
2nd Multihull: Normanni 34, Joel Malardel, with Tancrède
3rd Multihull: Dazcat 1295, James Holder, with Slinky Malinki
4th Multihull: Trimaran, Andrew Fennell, with Morpheus
5th Multihull : Ts42, Christian Guyader, with Guyader Gastronomie
Class40 (29 boats):
Concise Trophy for 1st Class40: Catherine Pourre with Eärendil
2nd Class40: Ian Hoddle with Manic
3rd Class40: Luke Berry, with Lamotte - Module Création
4th Class40: Renaud Courbon, with Boogie Down
5th Class40: Henrik Bergesen, with Hydra

IRC Zero (65 boats):
Europeans Cup for 1st in IRC Zero: Botin IRC 52, David Collins, with Tala
2nd in IRC Zero: Cookson 50, Franco Niggeler, with Kuka 3
3rd in IRC Zero and Winning the Highwayman Cup for best elapsed time of an IRC yacht in the Cervantes Trophy, Morgan Cup, Cowes Dinard St Malo and Cherbourg races:Volvo Open 70, Lance Shepherd, with Telefonica Black

4th in IRC Zero: Carroll Marine 60, Derek Saunders - Windward Sailing, with Venomous

5th in IRC Zero: Ker 46, Van Uden Holding B.V. with Van Uden

IRC One (124 boats):
Trenchemer Cup for 1st in IRC One: HH42, Rear Commodore, James Neville with
Ino XXX

2nd in IRC One, 4th in IRC Overall and also winning the Peter Harrison Youth Trophy for a yacht racing under IRC with a minimum of 33% of the crew under 25, and winning an Assuage Tankard for 1st Overall in the Cherbourg Race: A13, Mark Emerson, with Phosphorus II

3rd in IRC One: Ker 40, Lars & Birgitta Elfverson , with Keronimo

4th in IRC One: XP 44, Arto Linnervuo, with Xtra Staerk
5th in IRC One: JND 39, Didier Gaudoux, with Lann Ael 2

IRC Two (97 boats):
Winning the Emily Verger Plate for 1st in IRC Two and Winning the Stradivarius Trophy for the Best Overseas Yacht and also Winning a medallion for 5th in IRC Overall:
JPK 1180, Gery Trentesaux, with Courrier Recommandé

2nd in IRC Two and 3rd in IRC Overall: JPK 1180, Tom Kneen with Sunrise

3rd in IRC Two and winning the Dillon Perpetual Ladies' Trophy: J/133, Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine, with Pintia

4th in IRC Two and Winning an Assuage Tankard for 1st Overall in the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race: Oyster 48, Ross Applebey, with Scarlet Oyster
5th in IRC Two and 4th in IRC Two-Handed: Sun Fast 3600, Gavin Howe, with Tigris

IRC Three (147 boats):
1st in IRC Three winning the Grenade Goblet (+ overall winner of 2019 and other trophies - see above): Sun Fast 3600, Trevor Middleton with Black Sheep
2nd in IRC Three and 2nd in IRC Overall, plus 1st in IRC Two-Handed, winning the Psipsina Trophy and also Winning the Boyd Trophy for 1st in the Mixed Two-Handed Division: Sun Fast 3600, Rob Craigie & Deborah Fish, with Bellino
3rd in IRC Three and 3rd in IRC Two-Handed: JPK 1080, Louis-Marie Dussere, with Raging-bee²

4th in IRC Three and 5th in IRC Two-Handed: Sun Fast 3600, Vice Commodore, Nick Martin, with Diablo

5th in IRC Three: A35, Richard Elliott, with Eaujet

IRC Four (141 boats):
Winning the Assuage Trophy for RORC Members and Winning the Cowland Trophy for 1st in IRC Four: JPK 10.10, Noel Racine, with Foggy Dew
2nd in IRC Four: JPK10.10, Emmanuel Pinteaux, with Gioia
3rd in IRC Four and 2nd in IRC Two-Handed: Sun Fast 3200, Nigel Goodhew, with Cora

4th in IRC Four and Winning the Freddie Morgan Trophy for a Classic Yacht in IRC: S&S 41, Harry Heijst, with Winsome

5th IRC Four and Winning the Oldland/Watts Aquadanca Trophy for the Sigma 38 with the highest Season's Points: Sigma 38, Chris Choules, With Alacrity

Published in Scottish Waters

Dublin Bay sailors Michael Boyd of the Royal Irish Yacht Club and Kenneth Rumball of the Irish National Sailing School were fêted in Whitehall, London last night by the Royal Ocean Racing Club for their recovery of a man overboard in July's Round Ireland race in horrendous conditions.

The award for the Irish duo on the J109 Jedi was made at the 2018 Royal Ocean Racing Club Annual Dinner and Prize Giving at the Royal Horseguards Hotel, with over 200 guests attending the spectacular black-tie event and where prize winners, competitors, crews, RORC members and guests celebrated the year's achievements with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

Boyd and Rumball received the club's Seamanship Trophy following the rescue that was completed in the dark with very big seas when they recovered the man safely within a couple of minutes.  The citation read it was 'Very impressive; the outcome could easily have been very different'. 

Boyd RumballMichael Boyd (left) Jane Anderson, the RORC Commodore’s wife, and Kenny Rumball at the RORC London prizegiving Photo: Mags Hudgell/RORC

After a champagne reception, the dinner and prize giving were held in the theatre-style Gladstone Library. The Grade I listed hotel overlooking the Thames has strong links to the British Military and Gladstone has a fortuitous link to the 2018 Yacht of the Year. Every prize winner was roundly applauded as they took centre stage at the glamorous event. There was a huge ovation for the overall winner of the 2018 RORC Season's Points Championship, British Soldier, and for the RORC Yacht of the Year, Ichi Ban.

British soldier round Ireland 4103Army Sailing Association's X-41 British Soldier competing off Wicklow in the Round Ireland race Photo: Afloat.ie

Winning the Jazz Trophy for first overall in IRC was the Army Sailing Association's X-41 British Soldier, the first Armed Services team to win the championship since it was established in 1999. British Soldier took part in 11 races, winning the championship in the very last race, with crew members ranging from Private soldiers, through Sergeants, right up to Colonel. Five different skippers were in charge during the campaign: Andrew Britton, Will Naylor, Phil Caswell, Paul Macro and Donal Ryan.

Andrew Britton commented: "It's been a fantastic privilege to run the Army's campaign for the last two years and we've really seen our team go from strength to strength in that time. Our X-41 has surpassed our high expectations and we have got her going pretty well now. Our people are our greatest asset though, and the team spirit, commitment and resilience has been amazing. We wanted to really go for it this year and worked hard to achieve a consistent series of podium finishes. I knew we had a chance overall with the Middle Sea Race and am thrilled it went to the wire like that. This win means so much, not just for the team, but for sport in the Services as a whole."

The 2018 RORC Yacht of the Year, winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy was Matt Allen's Ichi Ban. Matt's Australian team won the Brisbane to Gladstone Race, the Rolex Sydney Hobart, and the Sydney Gold Coast Race. Ichi Ban's series of results, in the three major Ocean races in Australia, has never been matched. Howth Yacht Club ex-pat Gordon Maguire is a key member of Ichi Ban's crew.

"On behalf of the whole crew of Ichi Ban, we are absolutely thrilled to win RORC Yacht of the Year," commented Matt Allen. "It is a great thrill for us, especially from the other side of the world. I really want to thank the panel for voting for us and thank you to the RORC for thinking so internationally, as you have always done over many decades. The RORC boat Rani was the instigator of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race back in 1945."

After the Prize Giving, guests partied until the early hours with a live set from the Milo Max Band courtesy of RORC partner Sevenstar Yacht Transport. Fastnet Marine Insurance also supported the event, as they have done for the last 10 years, and this year William Grant & Sons Distillers continued to provide every guest with gifts on the night.

The 20th edition of the RORC Season's Points Championship will start on 24th November 2018 with the RORC Transatlantic Race. The 2019 championship will consist of 14 races including the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event, the Rolex Fastnet Race, starting on 3rd August 2019. For more information: www.rorc.org

RORC Race Results for the 2018 season HERE 

RORC SEASON'S POINTS CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS 2018

British Soldier, X-41, Army Sailing Association -IRC Overall & Best Series produced yacht & Best British Service Yacht - Jazz Trophy/Serendip Trophy/Haylock Cup 


Ichi Ban, TP52, Matt Allen - Yacht of the Year
Winner of the 2017 Brisbane to Gladstone Race, the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, the 2018 Brisbane Gladstone Race and 2nd in the 2018 Sydney Gold Coast Race. This series of results in the three major Ocean races in Australia has never been matched - Somerset Memorial Trophy

Lady Mariposa, Ker 46, Dan Hardy, Lady Mariposa Racing Inc - IRC Zero & Best Yacht on IRC Overall Points for this race & Best Yacht on IRC Overall Points for this race
Europeans Cup/Assuage Tankard - Myth of Malham Race/Assuage Tankard - Cherbourg Race

Hooligan VII, Ker 40, Ed Broadway - IRC One & Best Elapsed time of an IRC yacht in Cervantes, Morgan Cup, St Malo and Cherbourg & Highest points score from any 3 offshore Races where at least 33% of crew were under 25 on 1st Jan 2018
Trenchemer Cup/Highwayman Cup/Highwayman Cup/Peter Harrison Youth Trophy

Scarlet Oyster, Oyster 48, Ross Applebey - IRC Two, Emily Verger Plate

Game On, Sun Fast 3600, Ian Hoddle - IRC Three & Two-Handed Class & RORC member
Best IRC overall from Cherbourg + 3 from Cervantes, Morgan Cup, Myth of Malham and St Malo - Grenade Goblet/Psipsina Trophy/Assuage Trophy for RORC Members
Foggy Dew, JPK 10.10, Noel Racine - IRC Four & Best Overseas Yacht, Cowland Trophy/Stradivarius Trophy

Arthur Logic, First 40, Sailing Logic - Best Sailing School Yacht
David Fayle Memorial Cup

Arthur Logic, First 40, Jonathan Tyrrell - 3,101nm completed as Skipper; Cervantes Trophy, Myth of Malham, Volvo Round Ireland, Channel, Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland, Cherbourg (Also started St Malo). Between 15 & 25 on 1st Jan 2018 with most RORC miles in current season and yacht is in top three of class, Duncan Munro Kerr Youth Challenge Trophy
Bellino, Sun Fast 3600, Rob Craigie & Deb Fish - Mixed Two-Handed Division,
The Boyd Trophy

Buzz, Seacart 30, Ross Hobson - 1st Multihull, RORC Decanter

Concise 8, Class40, Tony Lawson, Sailed by Jack Trigger - 1st Class40, Concise Trophy

Imerys Clean Energy, Class40, Phil Sharp - Best British Yacht Overseas
1st Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland, 1st Class40 European Trophy, 1st Normandy Channel Race, 2nd Dhream Cup, Dennis P Miller Memorial Trophy

Jangada, JPK 10.10, Richard Palmer - Consistent High Performance
Alan Paul Trophy

Jedi, J/109, Michael Boyd/Kenneth (Kenny) Rumball - Outstanding act of seamanship:
Michael Boyd / Kenneth Rumball with the J/109 Jedi which did an incredible job in recovering a man overboard in Round Ireland in horrendous conditions. It was dark with very big seas and they recovered the man safely within a couple of minutes. Very impressive; the outcome could easily have been very different. Seamanship Trophy

Louise Racing, Dragon, Grant Gordon - Outstanding Keelboat Performance by a RORC Member - 3rd Edinburgh Cup, 2nd Hans-Dietmar Wagner Cup, 4th Paul & Shark San Remo Dragon Grand Prix. Meritorious Award

Lyra of London, Swan 431, Miles Delap - Best Swan, Arambalza Swan Cup
Major Will Naylor & Major Phil Caswell, Army Sailing Association - Navigator of the IRC Overall Yacht, Keith Ludlow Trophy

Philosophie IV, First 40.7, Nicolas Gaumont-Prat - BestYacht on IRC Overall Points for this race. Assuage Tankard - Morgan Cup Race

Pintia, J/133, Gilles Fournier - Best Yacht on IRC Overall Points for this race, Assuage Tankard - Cervantes Trophy Race

Spirit, Sigma 38, Paul Scott - For the Sigma 38 with the highest Season's Points, Oldland/Watts Aquadanca Trophy

Ster Wenn 5, X-442, Pierre Sallenave - Best Yacht on IRC Overall Points for this race, Assuage Tankard - Cowes Dinard St Malo Race

Varuna, Ker 56, Jens Kellinghusen - Giving Redress - For rendering assistance to Fujin during the RORC Caribbean 600 Race - The Pera Awards

Winsome, S&S 41, Harry Heijst - Classic Yacht in IRC (defined as 40 years old) & Concours d'Élegance in RORC Race - meticulously maintained S&S41 from 1972, Freddie Morgan Trophy/Beken Trophy

Published in RORC

As dawn broke on the third day of the RORC Transatlantic Race, the northerly route across the Atlantic looks to be the favourite for many of the 23 teams taking part in the race. Jens Kellinghusen's German Ker 56 Varuna leads the charge towards the low pressure system which has attracted the fleet to this route. The low has moved further north east than predicted allowing the fleet to take a more direct heading across the Atlantic. To the south, the convergence zone, acting as a barrier to the tradewinds, is the focus of attention for Ludde Ingvall's Australian Maxi CQS – with Royal Cork's David Kenefick and Royal Ulster's James Espey onboard – which has chosen the southerly route.

After beating into big seas for most of the second day, CQS tacked south at around midnight last night. To reach the tradewinds, CQS need to cross a convergence zone, an area of scarce wind approximately 100 miles across. The Australian Maxi has pointed their bow towards the coast of Senegal, West Africa and will be hoping to have picked the narrowest gap. By sharp contrast, Roman Guerra's Volvo 70 Monster Project is 370 nautical miles (682 km) north of CQS, blasting along on a tight reach into the low pressure system and experiencing close to gale force conditions.

Varuna has been the fastest yacht in the fleet, racing close to 300 miles in the last 24 hours, and of the yachts north of the rhumb line, Varuna is closest to the finish. Amongst the Maxi Yachts, Canadian Southern Wind 96 Sorceress, skippered by Daniel Stump has passed Jochen Bovenkamp's Marten 72 Aragon and pulled out a six mile lead. However, Eric de Turckheim's French Nivelt -Muratet 54 Teasing Machine continues to impress, as does Bo Teichmann & Thomas Jungblut's German Elliott 52 Outsider. The two smaller yachts have covered a similar distance as the two Maxis in the last 24 hours.

In the Class40s, Mathias Mueller von Blumencron's Red has covered 200 miles in the last 24 hours, to pull out a 30 mile lead on Berthold and Tobias Brinkmann's MarieJo. Gerald Bibot's Belgian 42ft Catamaran Zed 6 is north of the Class40s and is now clear of the wind shadow of the Canary Islands.

In IRC Zero, two young German teams are locked in a close battle. JV52 Haspa Hamburg, skippered by 21 year-old Max Gaertner, and JV53 Bank Von Bremen skippered, by Alexander Beilken. In IRC One, Bjoerne Woge's Andrews 56 Broader View Hamburg has raced 176 miles in the last 24 hours, more than any other team in the class.

Friedrich Boehnert's Xp-50 Lunatix, and Chris Stanmore-Major's Whitbread 60 Challenger have for now chosen to race the rhumb line towards Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada. Arno Boehnert aboard Lunatix is already looking forward to the spice of Grenada.

"It's all good on board Lunatix, but we are bashing upwind at the moment," reported Arno Boehnert in a race blog. "Tonight we are eating our delicious freeze-dried food with hot sauce, which you never want to forget when you are racing the Atlantic! Rounding the (Canary) Islands we had a pretty tough day with everything from light winds to strong gusts, so we really needed to stay focused. Earlier we had a great battle with Broader View Hamburg, but now no other boats are in sight. We are on our own."

Tracker here

Published in RORC

Over 500 boats took part in the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship, with teams flying the flags of 30 different nations from Canada to Russia and Chile to New Zealand. Well over 4,000 sailors took part, and whilst the majority of the races were in the English Channel, the Championship included the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the Celtic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea. The 13-race series, which this year included the Fastnet Race, is truly international and it is the largest offshore series by participation, anywhere in the world. For the serious offshore sailor, winning the championship is a real challenge.

Lisa - Overall winner - 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship 
The overall winner of the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship is Nick & Suzi Jones' British First 44.7 Lisa, skippered by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd. The corinthian team retained the title from 2016; the only yacht to achieve the double since Piet Vroon's Dutch Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens (2011-12). Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine's J/133 Pintia was second overall and Thomas Kneen's JPK 1080 Sunrise was third.

Lisa - 2017 RORC Yacht of the Year 

Lisa has also been awarded the RORC Yacht of the Year, winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy for an outstanding racing achievement by a yacht owned or sailed by a RORC member, as voted for by the RORC Committee.

"This has been a tough season, winning the championship in a Fastnet year makes it even more of a challenge," commented Lisa's Nick Jones. "Our goal was to defend our win in 2016 and to be awarded RORC Yacht of the Year is beyond our dreams. Michael (Boyd) has been an inspiration, especially to the young crew, whose energy and tenacity has been fundamental to our success. The youth sailors at the RORC are the future of offshore sailing and we will be using our contacts and experience to help them. Lisa will not be racing next year so it is great to finish the adventure on such a high. Next season, Suzi and I will spend our time with our children; Charlie, Freddie and Toby, teaching them the joys of sailing in Chichester Harbour."

Lisa PW The future of RORC offshore sailing: Tom Needham wins the Duncan Munro Kerr Youth Challenge Trophy and both he and Neil Morton win the Keith Ludlow Trophy for best Navigator of the IRC Overall Yacht, Lisa Photo: Paul Wyeth

The impressive fleet for the RORC Season's Points Championship is separated into six classes racing under IRC, a Class40 Division and a Multihull Class. Two outstanding results from this year's Championship were in IRC Two Handed and IRC Four.

Bellino - IRC Two Handed & Mixed Two Handed

Rob Craigie's racing Sun Fast 3600 Bellino with Deb Fish, was the winner of the IRC Two Handed Class. Racing in a fleet of 78 teams, Bellino fended off a strong challenge from Ian Hoddle's Game On, and Ed Fishwick's Redshift Reloaded.

"Game On and Redshift were always at our heels; we couldn't relax at any moment, in any race," commented Craigie. "Whilst all three boats are Sun Fast 3600s, there are different keels and rigs, so we all have strengths and weaknesses in different conditions. Deb Fish has been my sailing partner all season. She is very good at the analysis, whilst I am the more experienced seaman, and in terms of boat speed, we are an equal match, so it is a great synergy."

BellinoRob Craigie and Deb Fish win the IRC Two Handed Class and the Boyd Trophy for Mixed Two Handed Division in their Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, seen here rounding the Fastnet Rock Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

 

Foggy Dew - IRC Four

Noel Racine's French JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew has been in scintillating form, securing the class win in IRC Four in a fleet of 116 boats, with two races to spare. Foggy Dew's winning streak in the Championship dates back to 2013.

"Every year we have to start as new; we have changes to the crew and the competitors are different," commented Racine. "Winning is not about doing one thing well, it is about attention to detail. Preparing the boat, the sails and the equipment, and reacting to changes on the race course. In IRC Four, we race against all different types of boat, but I believe that Foggy Dew is a good all-round performer."

The Annual Dinner and Prize Giving for the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship is a spectacular event where prize winners, competitors, crews, RORC members and guests will celebrate the achievements of 2017. 

The full list of 2017 winners can be found below or HERE 

Results can be found here

Published in RORC

The RORC Cherbourg Race is the penultimate race of the RORC Season's Points Championship, between the record breaking entry for the Fastnet Race, and the highly acclaimed Middle Sea Race. The 75 nautical mile race from Cowes to Cherbourg is the last of the UK-based races for the RORC Season’s Points Championship, and for many teams this will be the swan song for their 2017 racing season.

In IRC Two, Gilles Fournier's French J/133 Pintia, has secured class victory for the season, which is decided by the best five results. Nick & Suzi Jones' First 44.7 Lisa, is second in class, but leading the RORC Season's Points Championship overall, which counts all races. Lisa won the championship last year, and has once again been chartered to RORC Commodore Michael Boyd of Dublin's Royal Irish Yacht Club. 

“We are in a great position to win overall for the second year, but we must finish the Cherbourg Race, and even then, it depends on the results from the Rolex Middle Sea Race” commented Michael Boyd. “It has been a thoroughly enjoyable season, made all the more so by the close competition with Pintia. We have barely been out of sight of each other, and ashore we have become close friends. Gilles Fournier, his charming daughter, his grandson, and all of the Pintia crew, are wonderful people. Neither Lisa nor Pintia are stripped out racing boats, and I believe it says a lot about racing with the RORC, that anyone is capable of winning the championship. Nick and Suzi Jones have been fantastic to sail with, and Lisa is very well prepared, a big part of the reason for our success.”

Gilles Fournier is also full of praise for their rivals: “Having such close racing with Lisa, has definitely improved our performance, and we have enjoyed every battle in every race. After the Fastnet, we met for lunch, and we both worked out the same mathematics. Pintia wins the class, and Lisa wins overall. So we will have a race of honour to Cherbourg - the final decider!”

In IRC Zero, the class leader for the season is Windward Sailing's, CM 60 Venomous, skippered by Derek Saunders. For the Cherbourg Race that lead will be under pressure from Ker 46 Lady Mariposa, skippered by Daniel Hardy. In IRC One, the class leader is Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra, which will be under similar pressure from James Neville's HH42 Ino XXX.

In IRC Three, the season's leader, Delamare & Mordret's fully crewed French JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls, will have one last match with a trio of Two Handed teams. Three British Sunfast 3600s that have provided close competition all year, Rob Craigie's Bellino, Ian Hoddle's Game On, and Ed Fishwick's Redshift Reloaded. Bellino leads the IRC Two Handed Class for the season. Nick Martin's British J/105 Diablo-j will also be racing Two Handed to Cherbourg, and will be looking to better their 2016 Cherbourg Race result; second in class.

In IRC Four, Noel Racine's French JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew, has been in scintillating form all season, and has secured the class win with two races to spare. However for the Cherbourg Race, two yachts are vying for a podium finish for the season; French Norlin 37 China Girl, skippered by Marc Noel, and Paul Kavanagh's Swan 44 Pomeroy Swan.

62 yachts are expected to start the race, and as with all RORC offshore races, the participants are an eclectic mix of professionals, experienced Corinthian sailors, and newcomers to the sport. Thus far, 438 yachts have competed in the RORC Season's Points Championship.

Published in RORC

The final results of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 show that Kenneth Rumball with the Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi has won in IRC 3B, where third place has been taken by ISORA’s J/109 Mojito. And RORC Commodore Michael Boyd has been second in IRC 2 with the First 44.7 Lisa.

Clearly, the Irish contingent in this great classic have had a successful time of it despite some extraordinary fluctuations of fortune. But how are such twists of fate to be explained? The Rolex Fastnet Race of modern times can be analysed by the latest technology in so many different ways that, even with the best computers, it can sometimes take much longer to deduce what precisely happened than it took in real time out at sea. So perhaps if we just select a few salient facts, we might be able to get a better overall picture. W M Nixon gives it a try.

If the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017 had finished at the Fastnet Rock itself, with the fleet adjourning into Baltimore and Schull to have a party or three, there would have been much for the builders of the successful JPK range to celebrate. And several crews with strong Irish connections would have been quite right in partying to beat the band as well.

nikata at fastnet2Glad morning again….the biggest boat in the race, the JV 115 Nikata (Tom Brewer) rounds the Fastnet Rock at 7 o’clock on Tuesday morning. Photo Rolex

For after an increasingly rugged windward slug the whole way from the start, the overall leader at the Rock was 2013’s winner, the French JPK 10.10 Night & Day, whose achievement was further heightened by the fact that she was being sailed two-handed by father-and-son crew Pascal and Alexis Loison.

And second overall was another seasoned French campaigner, Noel Racine with his JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew. But it’s when we get to third slot that Irish eyes light up, as it was comfortably held by our own Paul Kavanagh’s Swan 44 Pomeroy Swan. She was all of 11 minutes ahead of yet another French boat, Giles Fournier’s J/133 Pintia, which was fourth overall at the Fastnet.

But close behind in sixth overall was the classic S&S 41 Winsome (Harry Hiejst) helmed by Laura Dillon, Irish Champion Helm in 1996. Winsome had experienced her ups and downs since the start, but when it comes to grown-up windward work, there are still very few boats that can do it like the best 1972 Sparkman & Stephens design, and Winsome had been making hay since Land’s End, marching her way up through the fleet.

However, before we move on to see how these leaders-at-the-Rock finally ended in the rankings in Plymouth, casting an eye further down the Fastnet times continues to be rewarding, as we find that the hot ISORA J/109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox) was lying 9th overall as she made the turn on Wednesday morning at 7 o’clock, and Kenneth Rumball in command of the Irish National Sailing School’s J/109 Jedi was only a quarter of an hour later, correcting into 11th overall, which put him one place ahead of our RORC Commodore Michael Boyd in the First 44.7 Lisa.

jedi fastnet3Cheerful times aboard Jedi after rounding the Fastnet, where she’d been placed 11th overall of the entire 312-strong IRC fleet. Photo INSS

nikata volvo65s4Nikata at the start with three of the Volvo 65s. The new Volvo boats had a very close Fastnet Race, with Dongfeng winning by 54 seconds from Mapfre. And they’re being kept busy – on Thursday they raced away from Plymouth, bound for St Malo and Lisbon

Yet of the boats which are now figuring at the top twelve of the overall leaderboard in Plymouth, only Pintia, Lisa and the Grand Soleil 43 Codiam were in the top twelve at the rock. The JNA 39 Lann Ael 2 (Didier Gaudoux), which seemed to come out of nowhere at the finish to snatch the overall lead from Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer, was only 29th at the Fastnet Rock.

As for Privateer, she was well back, in 40th. Yet the way the winds, weather and tides developed for the final 247 miles from Fastnet to finish meant the placings continued to be shaken up until the very end, and it looked for long enough as though Privateer has the big prize until Lann Ael 2 came out of the dark in the small hours of Thursday morning, and took it.

lann ael5The JDA 39 Lann Ael making knots on the way to Plymouth

lann ael6The look of a winner. Lann Ael was not showing up on the Race Tracker for some tehnical reason, but she was very definitely right there, zooming past the Isles of Scilly on her way to the overall win

This means that for the third time in a row, the overall Rolex Fastnet Race winner is French. There’s no doubt about it, but La belle France is on a roll on the offshore scene these days, for if they aren’t themselves actually sailing the winning French-built boats, the chances are they were the designers and builders.

This is an impression which is reinforced by going into the class details, and particularly among the smaller boats. In IRC 3 it’s French-produced boats dominant, with two JPK 10.80s – Dream Pearls and Timeline - separated by just two minutes on corrected time, with Timeline having finished first, but losing through a higher rating.

It’s not until we got down to 9th place in IRC 3 that we break the French stream, and even here the 9th placed Irish J/109 Jedi – which wins IRC 3B - may have been designed in America by the Johnstone team, but I’ve a feeling she was built in France.

The placing means that Jedi got through Mojito in the sometimes wild romp back from the Rock, but all around them positions were changing, and the solid Sparkman & Stephens veterans such as Pomeroy Swan and Winsome, which had shown so well on the dead beat, were losing time all the way while the loghter boats were surfing.

However, while the two overall leaders at the Fastnet, Night & Day and Foggy Dew, slipped down the overall rankings, they maintained their class leads in IRC 4, and let it be noted that Poweroy Swan wasn’t entirely out of the hunt, as she is 4th in IRC 4. But Winsome slipped back to 12th in class.

It’s ironic that of the two former Champion Helms of Ireland whom we know to have been doing the Rolex Fastnet Race 2017, one of them – Laura Dillon – was in a boat which went superbly to windward but wasn’t so competitive downwind, while the other. Nin O’Leary, was in a boat which seemed woeful to windward, but was fastest of the lot as soon as she bore off at the rock.

hugo boss at fastnet7Hugo Boss finally reaches the Fastnet Rock at 3.0pm on Tuesday. Within minutes, she was speeding downwind, up on her foils and making 22 knots
Quite why Nin’s co-skippered IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss was just so poor to windward, even by comparison with other IMOCA 60s, is something for further study. But she’s very much a boat for the wide open spaces, and the relatively short 247 miles from the Fastnet to Plymouth wasn’t nearly long enough for her foils to pick her up properly, and let the big black boat really go like the wind.

It was clearly a race of horses for courses, and while it might be going too far to describe Hugo Boss as a one trick pony, in a complex race like this there were some superb all-round boats which gave a master-class in successfully dealing with a wide variety of conditions and finishing with a mileage which suggested that some other boats were sailing a different race entirely.

malizia racing8The Yacht Club de Monaco’s IMOCA 60 Malizia placed third in class

To re-phrase the great Damon Runyon, the race may not always be to those who sail the shortest distance, but that’s the way the smart money bets. However, the smart money isn’t always completely right. The Fastnet Race course is somewhere between 603 and 608 miles (those pesky Traffic Separation Zones must have changed the classic distance), and it’s of interest to note that the boat which was recorded as sailing the fewest miles, the Italian Mylius 15E25 Ars Una which placed 11th overall, got round in just 655 miles.

pintia start9The French J/133 Pintia (Gilles Fournier) at the start. One of the most consistent boats in the fleet, she was well placed overall at the Fastnet, and went on to win Class 2 while placing fourth overall at the finish

But Winsome, back in 75th overall after being so handsomely placed at the rock, got round in only 656 miles. She pointed higher than most other boats, and made the right tactical choices on the open water outward bound windward leg. But coming back on the fast run, her classic hull shape militated against her no matter how neat a course they sailed.

The detailed results are here

As for the winner Lann Ael 2, she sailed 662 miles, but for the Fastnet-Plymouth stages she had conditions which clearly suited her perfectly, while the Cookson 50 Privateer sailed all of 687 miles, but she sailed them so well she retained second overall. And the great pioneer, the pathfinder in the lead on the water and testing condtions for all those astern, was George David’s Rambler 88. She may have taken line honours in convincing style, but she sailed an astonishing 730 miles to do so, and slipped back to 65th overall when the basic sums were done.

These sums will be re-worked for a long time yet, for this was one very special Rolex Fastnet Race. Our own Michael Boyd captured it so perfectly in his role as Commodore RORC, shortly after he had finished to take second in class, that it’s worth re-running the vid we posted last night, for he did us proud.

Read all of Afloat.ie's 2017 Fastnet Race coverage here 

Published in W M Nixon

The Royal Ocean Racing Club is inviting applications from suitable candidates for the post of Racing Manager to direct a small but energetic race management team based in Cowes.

The RORC is an international members' club with clubhouses in London and Cowes. It has a very busy race programme organising up to 20 races per season in the UK and abroad. RORC's signature event is the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race which has over 300 boats taking part and the RORC Season Points Championship is a much-coveted series of offshore races running at regular intervals from February to November. RORC also runs a series of inshore events including the RORC Easter Challenge, Vice Admirals Cup, IRC National Championships and Commodores' Cup. Recent expansions of the annual programme include European and World championships

The successful candidate will have first-hand experience of yacht and keelboat racing both inshore and offshore and a network of contacts within the professional yacht racing community. A proven record of managing people, projects and budgets is essential plus good communication and interpersonal skills. An understanding of commercial sponsorship and experience in marketing and communications would be valuable to the role.

The role will involve travelling to events within Europe, America and the Caribbean and weekend work for which time off in lieu will be given.

Salary is negotiable according to experience but a range of benefits include a pension scheme, life and travel insurance and 25 days' annual leave. An annual performance bonus may be awarded.

A full job description can be sent upon application. Closing date for applications is Thursday 1st June 2017.

Send covering letter and CV's by post to:
Royal Ocean Racing Club
20 St James' Place
London SW1A 1NN

Published in RORC

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's offshore racing season continues this weekend with the 4th race of the RORC Season's Points Championship. Over 80 yachts are expected to take part with the vast majority of the crews made up of passionate Corinthian sailors with their own set of goals.

Designed to last 24-36 hours, the De Guingand Bowl Race starts and finishes in the Solent and is a flexi-course allowing the Royal Ocean Racing Club to design a bespoke course.

"Without the constraint of finishing the race in a totally different location, we concentrate on the weather and tidal conditions to decide the course," explains RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. "We try to get all of the fleet to finish the first beat in the same tidal vector, so as to avoid a tidal gate early in the race.”

In IRC Zero, Daniel Hardy's Ker 46 Lady Mariposa is the fastest yacht rated under the IRC rating system. However, several yachts in IRC One could challenge Lady Mariposa for Line Honours including Alan Hannon's RP45 Katsu, Edward Broadway's Ker 40 Hooligan VII, and Tor McLaren's MAT 1180 Gallivanter.

In IRC Two, Richard Neocleous' Ocean 55 Julia returns after its debut in last season's championship. The crew come from Hertfordshire and 18 year old Louie Neocleous will skipper Julia as he did last year.

“2016 was a great opportunity to put the team together and we all learnt a huge amount throughout the season.” commented Louie. “This year we are back to race much more competitively, we have a permanent race crew of 8. The remaining 6 crew are all friends, the boat's mate, Simon Jackson and I have crossed the Atlantic together and built a great relationship for the races. Last year, we were just beginners in terms of racing, our best result was 25th out of 86 boats in the Cervantes Trophy. This year, we hope to achieve better results on a consistent basis.”

In IRC Three, Trevor Sainty and Simon Forbes Jelenko is one of many J/109s that will be racing with the RORC this season. The crew have been together for about ten years and did their first Rolex Fastnet with Jelenko in 2015. The De Guingand Bowl Race is part of the teams programme for another crack at the Rolex Fastnet.

“All amateurs and we are all friends, most of the time.” smiled Trevor. “I am a veterinary surgeon working with horses, Simon works in the City, and the rest of the group are from the South of England and London, working in banking and IT. Our aim is to be top J/109 this season and improve our Fastnet finishing position by winning it of course. This will be my eighth consecutive Fastnet and last! - I said that last time.”

In IRC Four Dave Cooper & Paul England will be racing their Dehler 38 Longue Pierre. This will be their first RORC race this season, as part of their 2017 RORC Season’s Points Championship campaign.

“2017 is the 10th anniversary of us having won the great bowl overall.” commented Dave Cooper. This race will continue our rivalry with the Swan Xara. In 2016, we finished on equal points in JOG and the rivalry continues in both JOG and RORC this year. Longue Pierre is approaching her 30th birthday and has spent all of the last 30 years RORC racing.”

The 2017 De Guingand Bowl Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes on Saturday 13th May

Published in RORC

August's Rolex Fastnet Race remains on track for a record-sized fleet. Currently 390 boats are entered: 338 competing for the main IRC handicap prize; the remainder racing for their own trophies in the Class40, IMOCA 60, Volvo Ocean 65 and Multihull grand prix classes.

This line-up makes the race the world's largest offshore race in terms of competitor numbers. Its entries are the most diverse, ranging from maxi-multihulls to the world's fastest monohulls, including those that compete in the fully crewed and singlehanded round the world races, to the racer cruisers and cruiser racers that form the majority of the IRC classes.

The fleet is also the most international. At the present tally, boats from 25 nations will be heading west down the Solent from Cowes on start day, Sunday 6th August.

As expected, the largest entry is from the UK with 58% of the fleet, but this means that 42%, or a whopping 164 boats, will have come from overseas.

France has dominated Rolex Fastnet Race results in both the IRC and non-IRC fleets in recent years and once again is back with a vengeance with the second largest entry, representing 13% of the fleet, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Ireland with 7, 5 and 4% respectively.

Several teams will be making the journey from the furthest corners of the globe especially for the Rolex Fastnet Race. One of the most impressive efforts is from the Australian trio. This includes Finnish former Whitbread Round the World Race skipper Ludde Ingvall with his heavily remodelled Rolex Sydney Hobart Race line honours-winning maxi, CQS (ex-Nicorette). In her latest incarnation, this boat has been lengthened to 100ft and is futuristic-looking with a low volume reverse sheer bow, deck wings to increase her shroud base and a Dynamic Stability Systems lateral foil arrangement.

Also from down under, Rupert Henry's Judel-Vrolijk 62, Chinese Whisper will be back on familiar waters: She was previously Sir Peter Ogden's all-black 62ft Mini Maxi, Jethou. She is joined one of the most famous 'classic' maxis, Kialoa II, the elegant 73ft aluminium S&S design, enthusiastically raced by American Jim Kilroy from 1963-1973, when she won both the Transpac and Sydney Hobart races. She is now campaigned by Patrick Broughton.

As usual there are strong entries from the USA led by George David's Rambler 88 and Privateer, Ron O'Hanley's Cookson 50 competing a decade on from when Ger O'Rourke's sistership, Chieftain, won overall.

This year's race has its largest ever Asian entry with boats coming from Korea, Japan and China.

In the Class40, Japan's Hiroshi Kitada returns to the UK with his Pogo40 S3, Kiho, having competed in the Transat bakerly and Quebec-St Malo races last year.

From China is Ark323, skippered by Li Yun. This Botin & Carkeek-designed TP52 (ex-Sled/Warpath), in 2015 became mainland China's first entry with an all-Chinese crew in the Rolex Sydney Hobart. The boat is now making the long haul to the UK to compete in another of the internationally renowned 'classic 600 milers'.

Korea's first entry in the Rolex Fastnet Race comes in the form of the GP42 Sonic. Campaigned by Andrew Rho, Sonic has been one of the most competitive teams in Korea's burgeoning big boat racing scene.

Russia is becoming an increasingly major player in international yacht racing and will be fielding at least three entries including Pjotr Lezhnin Racing in the Class40, while in the IRC fleet is Sergei Zhedik's Sunfast 3600 Voyager and Igor Rytov's JPK 10.80 Bogatyr. Rytov competed in the last Rolex Fastnet Race as a crewman and, according to the Bogatyr team's Ivan Sharapov "he thought there was room for improvement, so he is doing it again on his own terms with a crew he's selected." Rytov acquired a JPK 10.80 following the victory of Géry Trentesaux's sistership Courrier Du Leon, in the last Rolex Fastnet Race.

Following on from its MOD70 entry in previous years, Oman Sail returns to the Rolex Fastnet Race this time in the Class40 fleet. Once again the crew will be led by French round the world sailor Sidney Gavignet who is spending this season coaching up top Omani sailor Fahad al Hasni in shorthanded offshore racing.

From the eastern Mediterranean, the race has a Turkish entry in Yigit Eroglu's First 35 F35 Express, while following the successful debut with Team Israel in last year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, Omer Brand is returning with another Israeli crew, this time aboard Richard Loftus' Swan 65 and long serving competitor, Desperado. Brand and his crew will have to get used to some ancient Desperado traditions such as the black tie dinner at the Fastnet Rock not to mention the team's pet gorilla, Joe Powder.

"It is brilliant to see such a diverse fleet with huge international representation," says RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen."The Rolex Fastnet race is recognised worldwide as one of the most challenging 600 mile offshore races. It combines the tidal challenges of the Channel, with headlands to negotiate on the English South Coast, with open ocean racing in the Celtic Sea going to and from that iconic landmark, the Fastnet lighthouse off southern Ireland. Add to these navigational challenges typically unpredictable English weather which tests the seamanship and stamina of all the crew. This is why serious offshore sailors from all over the world want to take part."

Published in Fastnet

Over 500 yachts are taking part in the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship. Over 5000 sailors from all over the world will race in the biggest offshore sailing competition in the world. While this year the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race is the showcase event, there are fourteen testing races that make up the championship, and every race has its own coveted prize for the overall winner and for class honours. For 2019 a second Irish race is hoping to be added to the series.

The 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship destinations include the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Virgin Gorda, plus the Spanish island of Lanzarote. There are seven European destinations: Belgium, France, Great Britain, Guernsey, Ireland, Malta, and the Netherlands. Five races are to count for Class Honours and the highest total score will designate the winner Overall racing under IRC.

RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd from Dublin's Royal Irish Yacht Club will be racing Lisa, in IRC One. Owned by Suzi and Nick Jones, the British Bénéteau 47.7 was last year's overall winner with Michael Boyd taking part in a number of races, including the Round Ireland, with the team.

"The RORC Season Points Championship is seriously difficult to win especially in a Rolex Fastnet year when there are many boats and the competition is tough. This year, I have chartered Nick and Suzi Jones’ Lisa and we have put a squad together to take up the challenge and it is going to be hard to win again.” commented Michael Boyd. “This will also be my last season as Commodore of the RORC and I wish to pass on the honour with the club in good health. One of my key goals is to increase the activities of the club internationally. Over a third of our club members are from overseas and we have yachts racing under the club's IRC rating rule all over the world. The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the great races to win but to win any of the RORC races throughout the championship will a moment to savour.”

Cervantes Trophy Race
Start: 29th April, 2017
Course: Squadron Line, Cowes – Le Havre
Distance: 110-160 miles (Channel Marks may be included).

The first European race of the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship will be the Cervantes Trophy Race, 100 yachts are expected to start from the Yacht Squadron Line.

Dutch Grand Master, Piet Vroon is back, as skipper of Ker 51, Tonnerre 4, taking another tilt at the championship in IRC Zero. In IRC One, Alan Hannon's RP45, last year's Best Overseas Yacht will be racing. In IRC Two, Michael Boyd's Lisa is the highest rated boat, and sees Gilles Fournier's French J/133 Pintia as one of the teams to beat.

“The Cervantes Trophy is our first race of the season and we will discover how good the competition is.” Commented Gilles Fournier. “We aim to do well in our class, as for the overall, luck is always an important factor. The Rolex Fastnet is attracting a big fleet, so winning our class as we did the last two years will not be easy.”

In IRC Three, a huge variety of yachts will be competing from elegant Swans to lightweight JPKs. With such a diversity in the fleet, the weather will play a crucial part in favouring races for displacement yachts such as Ben Morris's Swan 55 yawl, Lulotte and light weight flyers like Richard Palmer's JPK 10.10 Jangada. The armed forces will do battle in J/109s, the Royal Armoured Corps’ Ajax and the Royal Navy Sailing Association's Jolly Jack Tar are bound to have a close conflict.

Frers 45, Scaramouche will be sailed by the Greig City Academy, to kick off their Rolex Fastnet campaign The school from Harringay, London will become the first State School to enter the Rolex Fastnet Race, if they complete their qualification requirements. Four Sixth Formers have received their RYA Day Skipper qualification and the rest of the crew will be selected after taking their RYA Day Skipper Course. Half of the crew must now race 300 miles to qualify and there are First Aid and Offshore Special Regs Requirements.

Gregg School pupil, Shabazz Patterson, is excited about the chance to race in the Rolex Fastnet:
“It’s a big challenge for us. You have to be alert all the time on deck, everything can be still with no other boats in sight and then there will be a sudden change in the direction of the wind and it all becomes very intense as you tack to change course. We’ll be working in shifts over the four days. You think you won’t sleep between shifts, especially if it’s choppy, but as soon as you get into the berth you fall asleep because you’re just so physically tired.”

Seven Class40s will be racing to Le Havre, including RORC Transatlantic Race winners, Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron in Campagne de France. (Arthur Daniels/RORC)
IRC Four is expected to be the largest class racing for the Cervantes Trophy, last year's class winner Noel Racine's French JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew has the highest rating in the class for the Cervantes Trophy. Previous Cervantes Trophy winner, Winsome skippered by Harry Heijst, will be hoping for suitable heavy weather to challenge the lighter displacement yachts. 20 teams will be racing in the gutsy IRC Two Handed Class with a fleet of seven short handed Class40s also entered, including RORC Transatlantic Race winners, Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron in Campagne de France.

Speaking on behalf of the Société des Regates du Havre, Christophe La Chevre promises a warm welcome in Le Havre for the finishing teams. “All competing sailors will be very welcome with free dockage for 24 hours. The club will stay open all night on Saturday. I recommend booking a table for Sunday lunch (+33 235 412100 email: [email protected]). The restaurant has a very beautiful view. It is also the 500th birthday of Le Havre City, so there are many things to explore.”

Published in RORC
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