Displaying items by tag: Royal Ocean Racing Club
Michael Boyd, the Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and current holder of the Commodore’s Cup, will return to compete in the 2016 Volvo Round Ireland race, marking the 20th anniversary of his win, with many of the same crew from his 1996 winning yacht, Big Ears.
The 18th Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race is set to be one of the most heated editions in the race’s history say organisers with a number of prestigious international sailing champions announcing they will contest this year’s edition.
Michael Boyd's choice of a J/35 as his first serious offshore racer was a shrewd decision 20 years ago. He won the Round Ireland in style with Big Ears and more recently the J/35 model has been one of the few exceptional boats to be inducted into American Sailing's Hall of Fame. In the 1996 race Boyd and his crew, minus one removed to hospital off Kerry with fractured ribs, played every tiny gain to beat Roy, Dickson's Beaumont Spirit on Channel handicap, the deciding system for determining the overall race winner.
Twenty years later, the race received a major boost before Christmas with Volvo Cars Ireland coming on board as title sponsor this year after four years without sponsorship.
Phillip Johnston has also confirmed that he will be entering the impressive Open 60 Artemis-Team Endeavour, the current holder of the Round Great Britain and Ireland Race, under skipper Michael Ferguson.
The current holder of the Fastnet Race's Roger Justice trophy Rónán Ó Siochrú has also confirmed that he will be back to contest the Round Ireland for the fourth time.
At the end of 2015 internationally renowned sailor and US businessman, George David also announced his intention to enter his yacht Rambler 88 into the 2016 race. The canting keel maxi yacht would be a strong contender to break the Volvo Round Ireland Race record of 2 days 17 hours 48 minutes 47 seconds which is held by Mike Slade in ICAP Leopard 3 achieved in 2008.
Meanwhile, following the announcement that 2016 will be the first time that multihulls will be invited to compete, Team Concise have already indicated their intention to enter their world-class fleet. Ned Collier Wakefield, Team Director and Skipper for Team Concise, has indicated that they intend entering their 3 boats into the 2016 Volvo Round Ireland – the MOD 70 and their 2 Class 40 boats.
The Race only officially opens for entries next Monday (18th January 2016), however with the quality of entries already at such competitive levels, Race organisers expect the 2016 Volvo Round Ireland to be one of the most competitive and exciting races ever, attracting serious quality sailors and some of the finest yachts from across the world.
Race organiser Theo Phelan:
“We have further expressions of interest from some really exciting names that we hope to be in a position to announce in the coming weeks. Already the competition is heating up and we expect many previous race entrants to return to contest what is set to be one of the most exciting races ever.”
“The new Volvo Cars title sponsorship is a paramount development in the expansion of the race, which allows us to plan ahead for the significant growth of the race in the coming years.”
The 2016 Volvo Round Ireland departs Wicklow Bay on Saturday 18th June 2016 with the first start at 13.00 hours.
Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, this year's RORC Annual Dinner & Prize Giving will take place later this month in the spectacular setting of the Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London. Prize winners, competitors, crews, members and guests will be out of their foul weather gear, spruced up for the black tie dinner and awards ceremony.
The 2015 RORC Season's Points Championship is the world's largest and arguably most competitive offshore yacht racing series. Over nine months, 13 races have been organised for 579 yachts with over 3,000 miles of racing in European and Caribbean locations. The RORC Annual Dinner & Prize Giving is the 'Oscars Ceremony' of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The sailors, the setting and the occasion will make for a truly memorable evening.
RORC Yacht of the Year
Ian Walker, the first British skipper to win the Volvo Ocean Race will be presenting the prizes, bar one. The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team's Volvo Ocean 65, Azzam, skippered by Walker, has been awarded the RORC Yacht of the Year. Winning the Volvo Ocean Race in a one-design boat, competing against equally experienced sailors over nine gruelling legs with conditions ranging from calm to storm force, has been recognised by the RORC Committee as a truly outstanding achievement and a worthy winner of the Somerset Memorial Trophy
RORC Season's Points Championship Winner
Géry Trentesaux, campaigning his latest Courrier, a brand new JPK 10.80, Courrier Du Leon has also had an astounding year, culminating in winning one of the most sought after trophies in offshore yacht racing: The Fastnet Challenge Cup for the outright winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race. For his achievements this year Trentesaux will add a further seven trophies to the bulging cabinet which includes the Jazz Trophy for best yacht in IRC Overall, the Grenade Goblet as winner of IRC Three and the Corinthian Meritorious Award.
IRC Canting Keel
Mikey Ferguson's Open 60, Artemis Ocean Racing has had a tremendous season battling mainly with another Open 60, Rosalba. With five race wins and line honours achievements in many of the races, Mikey and crew romped home to win IRC Canting Keel.
Piet Vroon's Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 and Windward Sailing's Farr 60, Venomous dominated IRC Zero. Tonnerre 4's outstanding performance to take second place in class for the heavily weighted Rolex Fastnet Race being the difference. Piet and the team will be awarded the Europeans Cup for the best yacht in IRC Zero.
In IRC One it came down to the Cherbourg Race, the last of the domestic season to decide the winner of the championship. After a top ten class result in his 17th Fastnet Race, past RORC Commodore, Mike Greville will collect the Trenchemer Cup for Ker 39, Erivale III, the best yacht out of 118 entries in IRC One, narrowly beating Vice Commodore, Steven Anderson sailing his Corby 40, Cracklin Rosie into second place.
Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout's MC34, Azawakh will lift the Emily Verger Plate as winners of IRC Two, which was one of the most competitive classes racing in the championship. Azawakh only managed one race victory all season, but their consistent performance and a second in class for the Rolex Fastnet Race secured her class victory ahead of three boats that all finished within a point of one another: Patrick Ponchelet in Eception with 471 points, Peter Newlands in Anticipation with 470.8 points and RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine in La Réponse with 470 points.
IRC Three was dominated not only by the new JPK designs, but also the French, with the top four being based just across the English Channel. Géry Trentesaux's Courrier Du Leon was victorious in class, followed by her sister ship, Arnaud Delamere and Eric Mordret's Dream Pearls. Third place went to 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race winner, Pascal Loison in his JPK 10.10, Night and Day and fourth, the very well travelled JPK10.10, Raging Bee. Louis-Marie Dussere followed up the Transquadra in January with the RORC Caribbean 600 in February, before returning to show very well in IRC Three and win the IRC Two-Handed Division for a second successive year.
In IRC Four, Noel Racine's JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew made the podium on five occasions, winning three races in class to win the Cowland Trophy for the third consecutive year. Noel and his team were pushed hard all the way by Jonathan Rolls in his Swan SR 38, Xara (top Swan in the championship winning the Arambalza Swan Cup) and the 1934 S & S classic yawl, Stormy Weather of Cowes owned by Christopher Spray. Christopher wins the Freddie Morgan Trophy for top Classic Yacht in IRC for boats built before 1974.
Over 100 yachts raced Two-Handed in the 2015 RORC Season's Points Championship and Louis-Marie Dussere's JPK 10.10, Raging Bee won the class despite being beaten in IRC Three by Pascal Loison's Night and Day, fellow Cherbourg-based Two-Handers. Raging Bee triumphed in the Two-Handed division due to competitors being spread across the classes.
The MOCRA Multihull Class has produced some fantastic competition across a number of the races and despite being slightly smaller, heavier and some might say more comfortable than some of her rivals, Peter Aschenbrenner's Nigel Irens 63ft Trimaran, Paradox has won the class from Lloyd Thornburg's record breaking MOD 70, Phaedo3 and Tony Lawson's MOD 70, Concise 10 skippered by Ned Collier-Wakefield.
Also from Tony Lawson's Team Concise came the top two boats in the Class40 Division. Concise 8, skippered by Jack Trigger narrowly beating Concise 2 skippered by Phillippa Hutton-Squire.
This year's winning teams come from six different countries; Belgium; France; Great Britain; The Netherlands; United Arab Emirates and USA. 19 yachts will be awarded with trophies, including the Dennis P Miller Memorial Trophy for outstanding performance by a British Yacht Overseas; this year awarded to the J24, Il Riccio for winning the J24 World Championship. Other trophies reward consistent high performance, youth in offshore racing, seamanship and assistance rendered to other vessels during racing.
The penultimate race of the RORC Season's Points championship produced a dramatic finale to the club's domestic season. Whilst the overall and class winners will not be finalised until after next month's Rolex Middle Sea Race, the Cherbourg race all but sealed victory for the seven classes racing under IRC for the season. Géry Trentesaux's JPK 10.80, Courrier Du Leon is the overall leader with just one race to go.
Piet Vroon's Ker 53, Tonnerre 4 scored a hatrick of victories in the Cherbourg Race, taking just 6 hours 18 minutes and 20 seconds to complete the 75 nautical mile course, Tonnerre 4 took Line Honours, the overall win under IRC and IRC Zero. The flying Dutchman was over the moon about the victory, which confirmed Tonnerre 4 as the class winner for IRC Zero for the championship.
“She went like a rocket!” exclaimed Piet Vroon, “We realised that there was still pressure ahead of us and we went for speed early on to try to catch it. We passed Géry (Trentesaux) at the Needles Fairway Buoy. He is an excellent sailor and a great friend but I was very happy to beat him! The boat speed went up to 16 knots and we were flying the A2, nearly the whole way. The crew work was excellent, they know exactly how to get the most out of the boat and even though they push it, we hardly ever break anything. The Cherbourg Race has been a lucky one for us in the past and we definitely got the wind that the boats behind did not. Artemis went to the west, whilst we went straight on and that is how we also took line honours, which was a very satisfying way to finish the season. We plan to race Tonnerre in the RORC Caribbean 600, which will be our first offshore race of next year.”
Mikey Ferguson's IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing was seven minutes behind Tonnerre 4 on the water, to claim second overall under IRC and first in IRC Canting Keel. Edward Broadway's Ker 40, Hooligan VII was third overall and the winner in IRC One. Mike Greville's British Ker 39, Erivale III was second in class one for the Cherbourg Race, giving the past RORC Commodore enough points to retain the class lead for the season.
In IRC Two, British Artemis Offshore Academy sailor, Andrew Baker scored a notable victory, taking Line Honours and the class win. Round the world sailor, Mike Golding was part of the crew. RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine’s racing First 40, La Réponse, skippered by Tristan Nelson was second in class with Patrick Ponchelet's French X-40, Exception third. Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout's MC34, Azawakh was fifth after time correction, giving the Belgian team enough points to take the class lead for the season.
There was an astonishing race in IRC 3, with the entire season of racing being decided by just sixteen seconds. Louis-Marie Dussere's JPK 10.10, Raging Bee, racing two handed with Bruno James, was the class winner. The victory has all but assured Raging Bee of the IRC Two Handed Class for the RORC Season's Points Championship.
Alex Adams' J/105, Voadar was just 16 seconds behind Raging Bee on the water and after time correction with Pascal Loison's JPK 10.10, Night and Day, racing Two Handed, in third, if Night and Day had come second, the French team would have been top of the Two Handed class for the season. Similarly, if Raging Bee had come second, Night and Day would be the Two Handed class leader for the season. Both Louis-Marie Dussere and Bruno James are long standing members of the Yacht Club de Cherbourg and the duo were celebrating in style.
“We knew we had to have a boat between us and Night and Day” commented Louis-Marie Dussere. “As we approached the finish, Voadar was 20 metres ahead of us and we knew we had to pass them. It was very hard but by the finish we were 20 metres in front of them and we were so very very pleased. The atmosphere in the club was fantastic, with so many friends to welcome us and after the Prizegiving we filled the trophy with champagne to toast the victory.”
Six yachts contested the Cherbourg race in the Class40 division; all finishing within an hour of each other, Forty Shades of Grey, skippered by David Pearce was the winner. Concise 2, skippered by Phillippa Hutton-Squire was second and Thibault Hector's Creno Moustache Solidaire was third. During the RORC Season's Points Championship, 28 Class40s have been in action. Tony Lawson's stable of young sailors have had an impressive season with Concise8, skippered by Jack Trigger, and crewed by a team all under 25, with an unassailable lead for the season and Concise 2, crewed predominately by an all girls team, in second. Bertrand Gregory's Rififi is third.
In IRC Four, Christopher Spray's S&S 53 Yawl, Stormy Weather of Cowes was the winner by less than two minutes after time correction from Jonathan Rolls' Swan 38, Xara. Renaud Courbon's First Class 10, Shortgood, racing Two Handed, was third. The classic yachts from the design board of Olin Stephens have enjoyed a highly successful season racing with the RORC. Stormy Weather of Cowes victory in Cherbourg has lifted the team up to third in class for the season. Jonathan Rolls' Swan 38, Xara, also designed by Olin Stephens is second in class for the championship. Noel Racine's JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew retains the lead in IRC Four.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club Season Points Championship will come to a conclusion next month with the Rolex Middle Sea Race. The 606 nautical mile race, starting and finishing in Malta, is expected to attract over 100 yachts from over 20 countries and starts on the 17th October.
For full results of the RORC Cherbourg Race here
#rorc – The RORC Season's Points Championship continues this weekend with the highly popular Cowes Dinard-St Malo Race. With 173 entries, the 151 nautical mile race will feature the largest RORC fleet since the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race. For spectators, there will be good views of the start from Cowes Parade on the Isle of Wight. The fastest yachts will reach Hurst Castle early on Friday morning, by midday the majority of the fleet should pass this vantage point on the mainland shore.
In IRC Canting Keel, Mikey Ferguson's British IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing, is the class leader for the season, taking line honours in every race sailed. However for the race to St Malo, Artemis Ocean Racing is up against stiff opposition. Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn's British Volvo 70, Monster Project, returns to RORC racing, as does the 2013 St Malo Race overall winner and race record holder Mike Slade's British Farr 100, Leopard. For this year's race Leopard's crew includes: Boat Captain Chris Sherlock, Navigator Hugh Agnew, Gian Ahluwalia, Paul Standbridge, Guy Salter and Guillermo Altadil. In 2008, Leopard set the race record with an elapsed time of 14 hours, 7 minutes and 42 seconds.
"We are very much looking forward to the St Malo race with most of our Fastnet crew, barring a few of the guys who did the last Volvo Ocean Race. The weather is interesting and with the forecast wind being south to start then going south east, the record could possibly be within our grasp – otherwise we are shooting for line honours and to be in St Malo for a good lunch on Saturday". Commented Mike Slade.
Tony Lawson's ballistic MOD 70, Concise 10, will be taking part in its first RORC race. "We don't officially have the boat until the day before the race but we have had an extended hand-over, which means we have had several months getting to know her. We will be looking to get Concise 10 to St Malo as safely and as quickly as possible." commented skipper, Ned Collier Wakefield.
Some of the previous Foncia crew will be on board Concise 10, Ned Collier Wakefield is also joined by navigator, Wouter Verbraak, who has been helping out with weather analysis for the Concise Team for some time. More experience comes in the shape of Andy Meiklejohn and Johnny Malbon and talented youth in Jack Bouttell and Tom Dawson.
In IRC Zero, Piet Vroon's Dutch Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 will be racing and hoping to follow on from the overall victory in last month's Morgan Cup Race. Tonnerre 4 is currently leading the class for the season, with Windward Sailing's British CM60, Venomous in second place. Venomous, skippered by Derek Saunders, will be racing this weekend, as will Philip Rann's British Frers 93 Bristolian, class winner for last month's De Guingand Bowl Race.
In IRC One, 20 yachts will be competing including some electric downwind flyers; Stewart Whitehead & Jeff Blue's all-carbon Carkeek 40, Rebellion, makes its RORC debut, and on paper, is the fastest yacht in the class. A clutch of Class40s racing under IRC and Edward Broadway's British Ker 40, Hooligan VII will be close competition, a high speed pursuit is expected. Several larger displacement yachts will be racing in IRC One including, Richard Loftus' British Swan 65, Desperado of Cowes, which has been RORC racing for decades and Belgian Michel Lebrun's Route du Rhum legend, Kriter V. IRC One Class leader, Steven Anderson's British Corby 40, Cracklin Rosie will be competing.
"So far this has been a fantastic RORC season with both quality and quantity of entries. Also the timing of the races has meant that we are arriving at the finish at a good time to stay over and socialise at the yacht club, it is great to meet other competitors after the races. We are delighted we are doing so well but we are also aware that there is more to come out of Cracklin Rosie." commented Steven Anderson.
In IRC Two, 39 yachts will be racing including last year's overall winner for the race; Eric Gicquel's J/133, Black Jack, which is from St Malo. Peter Newland's British First 40.7, Anticipation is the class leader for the season and will be hoping to repeat the class win in last month's Morgan Cup Race. RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd and former Commodore, Peter Rutter will be racing Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, which is the scratch boat for the class. British Reflex 38, Sirens' Tigress with an all-girl crew, skippered by Susan Glenny, continues their Rolex Fastnet Race preparations with their fourth RORC race of the season.
IRC Three represents the largest class racing with 48 yachts expected to cross the start line this Friday, including 11 yachts racing in the Two Handed Class. Louis-Marie Dussere's French JPK 10.10, Raging Bee has been in spectacular form this season and leads both the Two Handed Class and IRC Three. Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret French JPK 10.80, Dream Pearls, will be racing, and was in fine form for the Morgan Cup Race, winning the class and placing third overall. However the return of Géry Trentesaux's French JPK 10.8, Courrier Du Leon has not gone unnoticed. Courrier Du Leon has already won three races overall this season and will be a firm favourite for the Cowes Dinard-St Malo Race.
"There is a complex weather picture, so it is difficult to predict anything." commented Géry Trentesaux. "As always, our goal this season remains the same, the Rolex Fastnet Race, and the race to St Malo will be very much part of that preparation. I would also like to inform all competitors that there will be a party on Saturday evening organised by Jean-Louis Fabri to celebrate the 90th birthday of the RORC and the bicentenary for the Royal Yacht Squadron, competitors from all yachts will be very welcome."
Coinciding with the the French National Day celebrations, the ancient walled city of St Malo will already have a party atmosphere, which will be bolstered by in excess of 1500 sailors, racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
#rorc – A good mix of 89 British and French yachts started the Royal Ocean Racing Club's De Guingand Bowl Race on Friday evening, heading (eventually) to a sunny Cherbourg writes Race Reporter Louay Habib. Racing under the IRC rating system, the French JPK 10.80 'Courrier du Leon' sailed by Géry Trentesaux was the overall winner. This was his third win in the RORC Season's Points Championship, and he retains the overall lead for the 13 race series.
"It was a great race with a beautiful start, we were under spinnaker all the way to Brighton." commented Géry Trentesaux. "We had a good upwind course around the Isle of Wight to the Needles, I think that we did very well upwind. Courrier Du Leon is a good offshore boat, not especially fast in the light downwind but upwind the boat has good performance. I have been sailing with good crew for 20 years and we have three Figaro sailors on board for this championship, who are great all-round sailors and comfortable in a smaller boat. This race did suit the smaller yachts, as we arrived in Cherbourg at maximum speed with the tide; but judging the tide in the Channel is very difficult as the wind can vary so much. The course was excellent for this race, perfect for the conditions."
Le Havre skipper Noel Racine, racing JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew, was the winner of IRC Four and second overall. Louis-Marie Dussere, also from Normandy, racing JPK 10.10, Raging Bee, was the winner of the IRC Two Handed Class. Raging Bee now has a commanding lead in the two handed division for the season. Michel Peretie's French A40, Stamina III, was the winner of IRC Two, taking line honours for the class.
British success in the De Guingand Bowl Race came for Nick Jones from Chichester, Sussex, racing First 44.7, Lisa. Nick and his team won IRC One and was placed third overall. Two British yachts returning to RORC racing this season were also victorious. Philip Rann's Frers 92, Bristolian, skippered by John Burnie, was the winner of IRC Zero and placed fourth overall. Tony Lawson's Concise8, skippered by Jack Trigger, won the Class40 division, and Hampshire skipper John Allinson, racing J/109 Jumbuck, was third in IRC Three, beating seven other J/109s to Cherbourg.
The race committee led by RORC Racing Manager Nick Elliott, set a 146-mile course for the De Guingand Bowl Race. Starting between two committee boats, east of Cowes, the fleet headed east out of the Solent past No Man's Land Fort, Owers and Rampion Met Mast before returning to Owers then past St.Catherine's Point. Along the south side of the Isle of Wight the fleet encountered a variety of wind conditions, on their way to the Needles Fairway Buoy, before heading south to cross the English Channel. IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing, skippered by Mikey Ferguson, took line honours for the race, completing the course in under 13 hours. Most of the fleet took 20 hours or more to complete the race.
Nick Jones', skipper of Lisa, winner of IRC One and third overall had good reason to finish the race quickly. "When you have Géry Trentesaux closing in from behind in a little boat and the Maxi Bristolian long disappeared over the horizon, you don't really expect to come third overall, so it was a bit of a surprise to get on the podium. Judging the tide across the channel was key, we have done it so many times before but you have to factor in the wind strength. We had about 12 knots at a 50 degree wind angle and we were confident that this was stable, but we hedged our bets a little earlier on. But hour by hour we changed our tactics and eventually put the bow down and went for it. As I say, a bit of a surprise to do so well overall but I personally I had another incentive, my wife Suzie couldn't be with us as she is about to give birth to our first child but I have managed to make it home before the arrival.
After the race, an informal Prize Giving was held at the Yacht Club de Cherbourg attended by over 200 sailors. Bottles of Champagne were given to prize winners by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd. Racing for the RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the East Coast Race from Burnham to Ostend on the 12th June.
In late June, one of sailing's most celebrated yachts will attempt to retrace the steps of her first, and most significant, victory. The 52-foot yawl Dorade, owned by Pam Levy and Matt Brooks (Tiburon, Calif.), will join 40 other boats competing in the Transatlantic Race 2015, which starts off Newport, R.I., and finishes off the southwestern coast of England. The race is organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.
Dorade, the seventh design from the Sparkman & Stephens design shop, was barely a year old when Olin and Rod Stephens and a crew of five sailors, including their father, started the 1931 Transatlantic Race off Newport, R.I., bound for Plymouth, England, 2,800 miles away. The trip took just over 17 days. Dorade was the first boat to finish and the race's overall champion on corrected time.
For the Stephens brothers, it was a transformative moment: in the coming years, they would each take on primary roles in the development of the sport. Dorade would make her own wake as well, stringing together an impressive, unparalleled for the time, series of victories on the East and West Coasts of the United States and in Europe.
After a series of significant re-fits, the boat was returned to original condition a few years ago by Levy and Brooks. Perfect for installation in a museum, many said, or for civilized day racing on the classic yacht circuit. But Levy and Brooks had other plans, namely to take the grand dame of ocean racing and repeat all of the races it won in the 1930s, including the Transatlantic Race, Newport Bermuda, Transpac and Rolex Fastnet.
"Everyone said we were proposing something that wasn't even in the realm of possibility," says Brooks of Dorade's four-race "Return to Blue Water" campaign. "Now we're coming up to the last two races—the Transatlantic Race 2015 and the Rolex Fastnet Race—and no one is questioning that the boat can do this." (Two years ago, Dorade won overall, corrected-time honors in the Transpac Race, beating a host of the latest carbon-fiber rockets; in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race, she took first in her class under IRC.)
"Olin and Rod designed one hell of a boat," says Brooks. "I haven't met anyone who has sailed on her who doesn't learn to love her and trust her. She's very strong, very dependable; she just needs to be treated right. With wood boats, you're always in refit mode. But we're racing and sailing this boat 10,000 miles a year and she absolutely responds to that."
Winning silver with this historic yacht requires a comprehensive commitment. Brooks, Levy and their team are constantly maintaining and refining the yacht. This past winter, says Brooks, getting the bottom as smooth as possible and improving sail design were two areas of focus. Sailing the boat also requires a specific touch.
"If you are trying to muscle the boat into submission at the helm it is never going to happen," says Levy. "It will win. Having a balanced helm is critical."
For the Transatlantic Race 2015, Brooks and Levy have set as their first goal to beat the 17 days, one hour and 14 minutes it took Dorade to sail the course in 1931. Modern technology, including synthetic sail fabric, should give this year's team an edge; however, the course in 2015 is likely to be quite a bit longer than it was in 1931 due to an extreme number of icebergs in the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The fleet will be required to sail east for a while before turning north for the Great Circle Route, which takes advantage of the earth's slightly oval shape to shave critical miles off the passage between the United States and Europe.
Whether or not they can match the boat's pace in 1931, Brooks and Levy couldn't be more excited about the prospect of this legendary yacht coming full circle to its first significant accomplishment.
"Of all the races we've done, the Transatlantic Race is the one that makes our heart go pitter patter, because it was Olin and Rod's first big victory, and it's what launched them in business in yacht design," says Levy. "We know from talking to Olin's family and from what he has written that he had a real affection for the boat. It gives us a lot of pleasure to do well with her."
#rorcfastnet – While it may not be the event's ultimate prize, the monohull battle for line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race is always hotly contested, coming with considerable bragging rights. This year's race from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the event's organiser, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, will see the world's two very newest maxis jockeying for this prize. Both belong to American captains of industry and both were launched last autumn.
While it may not be the event's ultimate prize, the monohull battle for line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race is always hotly contested, coming with considerable bragging rights. This year's race from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock, coinciding with the 90th anniversary of the event's organiser, the Royal Ocean Racing Club, will see the world's two very newest maxis jockeying for this prize. Both belong to American captains of industry and both were launched last autumn.
Favourite is the 100ft long Comanche owned by Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark. Clark, the Silicon Graphics and Netscape founder, has owned several high profile superyachts and the magnificent J-Class yacht, Hanuman, but his latest craft is a state of the art ocean racer designed by VPLP-Verdier, best known for their IMOCA 60 designs. In fact Comanche strongly resembles a scaled-up version of MACIF, winner of the last Vendee Globe, with a powerful hull, canting keel, twin daggerboards and rudders and numerous other go-faster features.
"The Rolex Fastnet Race is one of the goals for Comanche as one of the 'Great Races' around the globe," Clark explains. "Comanche was built to do two things: Win line honours and, if Mother Nature cooperates, try to break records. Let's hope that we succeed with both, but I know there will be lots of very strong competition!"
If Comanche is to break the Rolex Fastnet Race monohull race record, she will have to complete the 603 mile long course in less than 1 day 18 hours and 39 minutes - the time set by the Ian Walker-skippered VO70 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in 2011.
On paper, Comanche should have a clear run at the line honours title as she's 12ft longer than George David's latest maxi - Rambler 88, designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian. David observes: "No doubt Comanche is the bigger boat and rates accordingly. We're a little off Comanche's speed through the water, but it's too soon to tell after only four day races together." To date the boats have only lined up at Les Voiles de St Barts, but in July they will compete in the Transatlantic Race 2015, between Newport and the Lizard.
David is a great fan of the Rolex Fastnet Race: "It's a great blue water race - full of tradition and with a great turning mark at Fastnet Rock. We have done the race twice before and are delighted to be coming back." And this is despite his close shave with death during the 2011 race when the keel fell off his Rambler 100, leaving him and a group swimming in the Celtic Sea. Did he think twice about returning? "It's like being chucked off a horse. You get back on," David retorts.
In terms of their performance, America's Cup legend Brad Butterworth, who is sailing master and tactician on board, reckons Rambler's strengths versus Comanche are upwind and VMG downwind. This could bode well for the Rolex Fastnet Race's typically large windward-leeward course.
But to help her prospects, Rambler 88 is currently being fitted with a secret weapon in a Dynamic Stability Systems-style lifting foil. This retractable lateral foil, is deployed on the leeward side of the boat below the waterline (like a wing), to provide lift to leeward and a gain in righting moment, like having extra crew on the weather rail. This 'turbo charger' could reduce any deficit they might have against Comanche.
"They look pretty cool," says Butterworth. "I think that any time we are over 14 knots reaching they should make a difference. It might light the thing up. The boat certainly has a lot of sail area. It will be interesting."
While all eyes will be on the latest hardware, also in the mix will be Mike Slade's Farr 100, Leopard, the maxi which claimed line honours in the 2007 and 2009 Rolex Fastnet Races.
"It is an amazing fleet with Comanche and Rambler and a few Mini Maxis," observes Leopard's skipper Chris Sherlock. "It will be very tough to get on the podium - the best we can hope for against those two new boats will be third."
Owner Mike Slade intends to run a 'corinthian' campaign this season and will not be chartering the boat for the Rolex Fastnet Race. However on board will be the usual all-star cast, led by veteran America's Cup and round the world sailor, Paul Standbridge.
At present Leopard is in refit in Hamble Yacht Services. Among her upgrades for 2015 is a modernisation of her rig including the fitting of a deflector backstay arrangement in place of her multiple backstays and checkstays.
#rorc – The 2014 RORC Season's Points Champion, Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout's Belgian MC34, Azawakh, was the overall winner of the 2015 North Sea Race, scoring the best corrected time under IRC, for the 182-mile race from Harwich to Scheveningen. Willem Schopman's Dutch Bashford Howison 36, Intention was second, just over a minute ahead, after time correction from Frans Rodenburg's Dutch First 40, Elke. Jan-friso Blacquiere's Maxfun 35, Blacq Magic was the overall winner of the ORC Class. Marcel Schuttelaar Dutch Maxi 1300, Ijsvogel was second and Willem de Jonge van Ellemeet's Dutch Dufour 40, Flying Dolphin was third in ORC overall.
74 yachts entered the 2015 North Sea Race, which was blessed with bright sunshine at the start. The Two-Handed fleet having been considerably swelled by the race being part of the inaugural Dutch Two-Handed National Championships. A moderate ten knots of breeze from the north provided a tactical beat against the tide up to Cork Sand Yacht Beacon via Outer Ridge before a gentle reach to the South Galloper Buoy. At dusk the wind speed reduced, providing very light and shifty conditions through the night. In the early hours of Saturday morning the leaders had made it to the most northerly part of the course, Smith's Knoll Buoy, and the wind started to fill in from the south west, giving exciting reaching conditions. As the fleet cracked sheets and hoisted downwind sails for a reaching across the North Sea, the final day of the offshore race provided fast thrilling racing for the fleet.
"We were very pleased to win and it was unexpected, the fleet was very strong." commented Eric Van Campenhout racing the overall winner, Azawakh. " The race had many different conditions, which suited us as we have good speed at many different wind strengths and wind directions. After last season, we felt that we needed to improve our performance in light winds and our experience with the boat and some modifications are definitely paying off. As we are Belgian it is nice to finish a race close to home and the North Sea Race has a beautiful start in the river and the course is very interesting with many different conditions and points of sail. We will be sailing the boat to Cowes this week to take part in the Myth of Malham, which is another great course and it is good practice for the start of the Fastnet.
John van der Starre & Robin Verhoef's Dutch J/111 Xcentric Ripper was the winner of the 18-strong IRC Two-Handed Class and winner of the ORC Two-Handed Class. This was the tenth North Sea Race for John van der Starre and by far the closest finish. After time correction, Xcentric Ripper won the class by four seconds from Erik Mayer-Martenson's Sun Fast 3200, Blizzard of Uz. Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600, Bellino was third.
" It was a tough but very nice race for us, with lots of reaching, perfect for a J/111, and winning the Two Handed Class, against very good opposition, was very satisfying." commented John van der Starre. "These days with AIS it is possible to see how well you are doing but you don't know how the weather will change for the boats behind you. In the delivery race to Harwich, Vuurschepen Race, the wind held up for the boats behind us but for the North Sea Race, that didn't happen. Myself and Robin have been racing together on the boat for four years, so we know our strengths and weaknesses. From the weather forecast we knew that we would have a point where there would be totally no wind on that first night but we know that would give us a good opportunity to gain on the opponents, we decided to stay more to the west, while our opposition went more to the east. The tactic really worked well for us with some good shifts. The wind was picking up, we were planing with about 12 knots of boat speed, it was fantastic but we did have one scary moment, as there were some large navigation marks which were not lit and we passed one by just 30 metres. When we got to Smith's Knoll Buoy we knew we were in a strong position but to win by just 4 seconds! One little mistake and we would have been second, the Two Handed Class at the Rolex Fastnet Race is going to be incredible but having won the class for the North Sea Race, 2015 is already a success for us."
The RORC Season's Points Championship continues Saturday 23 May with the Myth of Malham Race. The Bank Holiday Weekend race is 230 nautical miles from Cowes around the Eddystone Lighthouse and back to the Solent. Well over 100 yachts are expected to take part.
#comodorescup – Irish defending champions of the Commodore's Cup will face a new format event next year following new rules unveiled this morning by London organisers, the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews. The international offshore regatta comprises a tough mix of inshore and offshore racing and is an intense seven-day programme that pits three-boat teams against one another to accrue overall team points.
For the next edition, The RORC Committee have agreed to a number of changes that will have a positive impact on the number of teams taking part in the event held at Cowes, Isle of Wight between 23 and 30 July 2016.
The first is the requirement of every team to have a small boat with a rating between 1.000 and 1.049. "Many teams in the last event believed that it was hard to be competitive without having three boats that were close to the top of the allowable rating band, as was the case of last year's winning Irish team," commented RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen.
"Lowering the rating band to 1.000 will make it easier for J109s to enter, to include boats like the JPK10.10, A35 and the new Sunfast 3200, and reduce the cost of competing. This group of boats will have their own starts, but if a team has more than one boat within this rating band, and it is possible to have three 'small' boats, it will have to nominate which boat will compete in this division. The maximum rating is still 1.230 and there has been no change to the rule that only allows one boat in each team with a rating between 1.150 and 1.230," continues Warden Owen.
The second change is the addition of an extra professional sailor to each team but without stipulation which boats they shall sail on. The exact wording is as follows: The crew of each three-boat team shall include no more than 6 Group 3 Sailors. These Group 3 sailors may sail on any boat or boats in the three-boat team however crews cannot change after the Final Crew List has been submitted except as stated in NOR1.7.2.
"The thought was that many boats who have aspirations to compete in such an event, race with people who work in the marine industry and by virtue of their job, are regarded under the ISAF eligibility rules as Group 3 professionals. Whilst it should reduce the need for owners to make wholesale changes to their crew just to fit in with the event rules, it will give teams the opportunity to use the professional sailors to enhance weaknesses in the team overall. In theory you could load your weakest boat with six professionals if it was thought that this would strengthen the team as a whole," explains Warden Owen.
The other significant change is the removal of crew weight from the rules so that the boat sails with the crew number as shown on the certificate.