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Displaying items by tag: Royal Ocean Racing Club

#rorc – Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the De Guingand Bowl Race was the fifth race of the RORC Season's Points Championship and featured teams from five different European nations: Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands writes Louay Habib. Starting and finishing in the Solent, the flexi-course used virtual marks in the English Channel to produce a course that tested the tactical awareness of the fleet, especially in the light airs close to dusk on the south side of the Isle of Wight.

While Piet Vroon's Dutch Lutra 56, Formidable 3, took line honours for the race and IRC Zero it was three British yachts racing in IRC One who dominated the podium for the overall result. Cracklin' Rosie, Steven Anderson's Corby 40, was the winner overall and in IRC One, and the Solent based team was delighted with their second win of the season. RORC Commodore Mike Greville racing his Ker 39, Erivale III, was second overall and Mark Emerson's Rodman 42, Phosphorus, third.

"We want to keep the same team together for the season, which is important in the build up to our main event, the RORC Transatlantic Race," commented Steven Anderson. "The crew put a lot of effort into preparation before the season started, the hull is in the best state it has ever been and Cracklin' Rosie is now dry sailed. We had another great battle with Erivale but to be honest, the lighter conditions we have experienced were in our favour, the competition would prefer more wind which we are bound to get at some stage over the next few months. However, the first three races have been a great boost to our confidence and we were highly motivated going into the De Guingand Bowl Race. This helped our concentration throughout the race, which was a very important factor."

In IRC Two the J/122 Relentless on Jellyfish, raced by James George, was the winner, followed into a well-deserved second place by Robin Elsey and Will Harris who were racing Two-Handed on their Figaro II, Artemis 43. Sailing Logic's First 40, skippered by Nick Martin, Arthur Logic, placed third in class.

Tom Gadsden, navigator for Relentless on Jellyfish, gave an insight into the decisive part of the battle for class honours. "It was very interesting on the south side of the Isle of Wight. We were short tacking around St.Cat's, right up the shore, tacking the boat every five minutes to stay in the shallows and out of the current. It was late afternoon and the sea breeze was fading and the big decision was whether to stay inshore out of the current or go offshore in search of more wind. We left it a little late, fell into a hole and only just managed to escape by the skin of our teeth but several others remained there for several hours."

Ten yachts were racing in the popular Two-Handed Class and all enjoyed an extremely competitive race between themselves and the rest of their respective classes. Five teams finished in the top ten overall and took podium places from fully crewed yachts in the top three of every class they competed in. Taking first place in the Two-Handed Class, as well as winning IRC Four, was the highly experienced multihull and shorthanded sailor from Le Havre, Renaud Courbon, who was racing his First Class 10, Shortgood.

It was a photo finish for second place in the Two-Handed Class, the stakes raised as the two British yachts were also vying for first place in IRC Three. After 24 hours of racing it was Mike Moxley's HOD 35, Malice, who snatched the IRC Three win, and second place in the Two-Handed Class, by just 13 seconds from the J/105, Diablo-J, skippered by Nick Martin. Kevin Armstrong's fully crewed Jazzy Jellyfish won its own battle of the J/109s and came in to claim third in class.

"Not bad for an old boat! But that was very tiring," laughed Mike Moxley after the race. "The course legs were all less than two hours, which meant neither of us got any sleep at all. We did a great job at St.Cat's, where we spotted a breeze line offshore and decided to go for it, whilst Diablo-J seemed to stall inshore. Later in the race, we ran out of wind off Poole and the competition came back with the breeze to cancel out our gain and the last leg was a real fight to the finish. Nick (Diablo-J) was catching us in better breeze and nearly pipped us at the line. Great race, great win - what more can I say."

In IRC Four Noel Racine's JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew, came second to the Two-Handed Renaud Courbon on Shortgood, while fellow Two-Handed entry, David Mossman and Blair Forsyth's J/97, High Jinks, was third.

"It was not a good race for us," admitted Noel Racine. "We had some problems with the engine, which we use to charge the batteries and while I was working on it, I didn't spot a wind hole. We sailed right into it and lost a lot of time because of that - but that is yacht racing. The weather was very nice but there were very light winds and with the mistakes we made I was not very happy! Foggy Dew will be racing again with the RORC for the Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race, a race that I always look forward to."

Despite Noel Racine's reservations, after the conclusion of the De Guingand Bowl Race Foggy Dew has emerged as the new leader of the RORC Season's Points Championship, followed closely by Louis-Marie Dussere's Raging Bee which is four points behind. With a mere 0.1 difference between them are Steven Anderson's Cracklin' Rosie, in third, and Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout's MC34 Patton, Azawakh, in fourth. This weekend, the Royal Ocean Racing Club switches focus to the inshore discipline with the IRC National Championship, held in the Solent. The RORC Season's Points Championship will continue with the sixth race of the series; the Morgan Cup Race from Cowes to Dartmouth, starting on the Friday 27th June.

For full results and more information: www.rorc.org

Published in RORC

#rorc – The domestic season for the RORC Season's Points Championship kicked off with a test of tactics and endurance for the international fleet of yachts racing from Cowes to Le Havre for the Cervantes Trophy writes Louay Habib. The main tactical conundrum was a windless area in the middle of the Channel. After over 24 hours of racing, a large number of the fleet were compressed in a tight pack, flying spinnakers into the finish line with many yachts finishing within minutes of each other. The Last boat home finished within three hours of the leader.

Gaetan Bourdeaux's team racing French Sunfast 32, Callipyge was one of the last yachts to finish but after time correction was declared the overall winner of the race and lifted the Cervantes Trophy for the first time. Gaetan is from Brittany and bases the yacht in Deauville, Normandy. Callipyge is a family boat, and although Gaetan and his brother have sailed the boat since 2002, it is the first time they have competed it in a major offshore race.

"Are you serious?" responded Gaetan when he heard of the victory. "That is hard to believe but great news! We are a team of four, I sail with my younger brother Gabriel and two friends. This is our first proper offshore race but we race Dragons, which is a good school to learn how to sail. Everbody took the helm and we all slept enough, so we were not too tired and as we are all back to work tomorrow, that is a good thing! I think our tactic to keep up the best boat speed worked well for us. On the water, we were behind everybody and we knew that we would be one of the last to finish but we knew that if we could stay near the other boats we would do well. Also we had the fortune of a favourable current towards the finish, whilst other yachts had current against them. We will definitely be celebrating with a good meal and fine wine tonight!"

Line Honours went to to Rob Lutener's, Ker 40, Cutting Edge withEd Broadway's Hooligan VII just behind as the pair finished the race locked in a duel for the line. Cutting Edge put in a text book light airs gybe to make the finish line first by just 20 seconds. However after time correction, Hooligan VII beat Cutting Edge by just over 4 minutes. Both of these yachts are vying for a place to represent England in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. If the opening encounter is anything to go by, these two yachts will have a phenomenal battle during the remainder of the trials.

In IRC One, Steven Anderson's Cracklin' Rosie was the winner, beating a field of very slippery boats including the two Ker 40s, Mills 39, Zero II and King 40, Cobra. Cracklin' Rosie's big race this season will be the RORC Transatlantic Race and the majority of the crew are planning to take part.

"Especially around Bembridge and in the middle of the Channel, we were a good sign post for holes in the wind!" exclaimed Steven. "But it was an interesting race, there were plenty of decisions to be made and we were very pleased that we managed to get the boat going so well and stay in touch with the yachts in our class, as we are rated the slowest yacht in IRC 1. It was very rewarding to get good boat speed, we got passed a lot of the competition using our very small VMG kite, which we only took at the last minute. It kept us going, keeping its shape in the light airs and we sailed the shifts well after Cussy Buoy. We are really pleased, it is a great way to start the season and thank you to the yacht club in Le Havre for a warm welcome and an excellent seafood lunch!"

In IRC Two, Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout racing Belgian MC34, Azawakh were the winners. Jim Dobie racing Sailing Logic's British First 40, Lancelot was second with Richard Patrick's First 40, Dusty P third.

"This is our first race and to win IRC 2 is great news!" commented Eric Van Campenhout. "Vincent and myself bought the MC34 almost by chance, we were on the ferry after last year's Cherbourg Race and spoke with Sam Marsaudon the builder of the boat and I knew that this was the boat for me. Vincent Willemart and myself have raced against each other for many years and we decided to unify our teams together and start a new campaign on Azawakh. In October, to get ready for a new RORC campaign, we sailed the boat to Belgium and started our winter training.

The Cervantes Trophy Race was very light at the start and the tactic we used to make an advantage was to take a trajectory that was not in a straight line but to the east, curving below the other boats. We knew that our Code Zero is an excellent sail and this line would allow us to use it. Also, with this position on the course, the predicted loss of wind mid-Channel would probably fill in from the east first and we would be closer to the new wind than the other boats. The Code Zero proved to be an excellent weapon and we took the advantage in the middle of the Channel."

Congratulations to other class winners; John Allison's J/109 Jumbuck was the victor in IRC Three, beating fellow British J/109 Diamond Jem, skippered by Robert Stiles by just 7 minutes on corrected time. Louis-Marie Dussere's JPK 10.10 was third in class, racing Two Handed.

In the 15-strong Two Handed Class three French yachts made up the podium, Jean-Louis Stalain's First 31.7, Max was the victorious, Philippe Auber's JPK 9.60 was second, whilst Pierre Viard & Nicolas Siloret's Prism 28, Adrenaline was third.

"The Société des Régates du Havre have been tremendous hosts." commented RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. "The club was willing to keep the bar open all last night and was open at 5 a.m. for breakfast, even though we didn't get any finishers until midday. Their enthusiasm was terrific. Yachts were finishing so close together, you could see them from the balcony, a mass of spinnakers on the horizon descending on the Committee Boat. Well done to everyone who completed a light, challenging and tactical race. It was fantastic to see the persistence of the fleet with very few retirements and lots of boat on boat action. The RORC have received very positive feedback, the Cervantes Trophy Race has been a great start to the domestic season and the warm and sunny weather has definitely helped."

A prize giving for the Cervantes Trophy Race will be held at the London Clubhouse of the Royal Ocean racing Club on Thursday 5th June, all competitors will be welcome. The next race in the RORC Season's Points Championship will be the points weighted Myth of Malham Race, starting on Saturday 24th May from Cowes around the Eddystone Lighthouse.

For more details and full results from the Cervantes Trophy Race go to: www.rorc.org

Published in RORC

#rorc – Ireland's Commodore's Cup team captain Anthony O'Leary and his experienced team on Royal Cork's Ker 39, Antix, is leading IRC One at RORC's Easter Challenge off Cowes, but is just 1.5 points clear of Christopher Opielok's Corby 38, Rockall IV, on which Ben Ainslie's former coach David Howlett is sailing. The lead three boats in IRC One each won races today with James Gair's Cowes Race School team on their Mills 39, Zero II, claiming the third in heroic fashion.

As Gair proudly described it: "We port tacked the whole fleet despite being the lowest handicapped boat... The boys were going 'are you serious?' And I said 'we are going for it!' So we crossed the fleet, led them into the beach where there was less tide and more pressure. We ended up going around the windward mark on Tokoloshe's stern and winning the race."

Otherwise Gair described today's conditions as being like snakes and ladders, and it being vital to get the best start. His crew has made use of the free coaching laid on by the RORC at this regatta. "They have been looking at our headsail trim and getting our crew weight in the right place for our fore and aft trim, which is hard to do without having someone in a RIB. Jim [Saltonstall] came past and said we were looking 'like a good bunch of ferrets...'"

From the Netherlands, the de Graaf family on Baraka GP are using the regatta as a chance to get back in the groove after a six month break from racing their Ker 40.

"Our boat handling went well today, but our tactics were a bit off," admitted Mees de Graaf, nodding towards his eldest brother with a grin. "And our speed when it got light was a bit slow," he added, referring to today's last race.

The Baraka team hasn't been making use of Jim Saltonstall's coaching as, for this, they have their own secret weapon..."our mother!" Mees explains. "She is in the RIB and takes all the photos of us and gives us a 'nice' opinion about why we are behind. She is the boss and we have to win..."

In IRC Two, the results are tight with Guernsey's Simon Henning and his crew on the Mumm 36, Alice, one point ahead of James Neville's smart-looking Corby 36 Ino in second, after the latter scored two bullets in today's first races.

Three boats are currently tied on 11 points at the top of IRC Three with David Franks' former IRC Nationals winning JPK 10.10, Strait Dealer, tied with Mark Devereux's Ker 32, Raygun, and Dunkerque Plaisance-Gill Racing Team, the French A-35 of Benoit D'Halluin.

The Raygun crew have previously sailed Devereux' Swan 42 Brevity, and swapped across to their new boat after they acquired her over the winter. "We thought we'd get something to have a bit more fun in," explains helmsman James Anderson. "There are a few good boats at the top of our fleet and without a discard it is about getting good consistent finishes. We want to be on the podium at the end of tomorrow so that we can win a few Easter eggs!"

The runaway train of this year's RORC Easter Challenge remains Louise Morton's all-female crew on her highly successful Quarter Tonner, Espada. Their 3-1-1 scoreline today leaves them 12 points clear of the nearest competition, another Quarter Tonner, Sam Laidlaw's Aguila.

The Southworth family's Quarter Tonner,Whiskers, is currently in lowly eighth, thanks to scoring an OCS in today's second race. They are at the RORC Easter Challenge with an all-star cast on board, but this is the first regatta of their season and they have made substantial changes to their boat over the winter, including a new rig.

"It's been pretty challenging on the brain with very very shifty conditions," admitted helmswoman Liz Rushell. "But it's a training regatta which has been perfect for us as we've been trying a few things out across the range of conditions."

Tomorrow is the last day of the RORC Easter Challenge and brisker conditions are forecast with 20+ knot gusts expected. "It will be a big day tomorrow, but we'll get as much racing in as we can," says PRO Childerley.

Published in RORC

#rorc – In another indication of the potency of this Summer's Irish Commodore's Cup team, the latest signing Quokka 8 skippered by Michael Boyd of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, has finished second overall in IRC2 at last week's RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. Results here.

Last month, Irish team mates on the American Ker 40, Catapult, skippered by Peter O'Leary, achieved third overall in Key West regatta in Florida, leading Irish Commodore's Cup officials to conclude that Ireland has a winning combination for the Solent this Summer. 

In a month of building excitement for ICRA and its Cup plans, it was finally announced an American and a British yacht would join Royal Cork's Antix to form the 'Green Team' for Ireland

Although Afloat.ie accurately predicted the team line up some week's beforehand, refering to the team as 'Irish sailing's worst kept secret', such predictions were dismissed by ICRA Commodore Nobby Reilly as 'rumour'. Reilly took to Afloat.ie's popular comment section: 'Worst kept secret? The contracts have only just been signed so Afloat's original report was just a rumour. Fact is ICRA had 4 very competitive boats to choose from', he wrote.

The three boat team is Catapult, a Ker 40 owned by Mark Glimcher of the United States; Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix from Royal Cork; and the RORC Yacht Quokka, a Grand Soleil 43, being chartered by Royal Irish sailors Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling.

Although there will be a strong Irish crew involvement on all three boats comprising of sailors who first won the Cup for Ireland in 2010. Crew list announcements are awaited.

Meanwhile in Antiqua, Wwith all 60 yachts accounted for, the Royal Ocean Racing Club announced that the winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the best yacht, overall in IRC on corrected time, was George Sakellaris' RP72, Shockwave. The trophy was presented to the Shockwave crew at  a Prize Giving held at the Antigua Yacht Club.

"I have a great crew and it was an excellent race, lots of wind and the racing was very close," commented Shockwave's owner/driver George Sakellaris, shortly after finishing the race. "I have done many offshore races but this is the first time I have raced this one and it was against tough opposition. I think the winds were favourable to us and the Shockwave team used that to our advantage. At the end of the day, winning yacht races is all about the team performance more than anything else."

"That is what ocean racing should be all about," commented Shockwave tactician, Robbie Doyle. "Beautiful racing between three very tough competitors, all fighting it out the whole way. A heavy-weight battle without a doubt - no question. I have had great moments in sail boats, but that was as much fun as I can remember. For 600 miles we were always in touch with each other, either up a few minutes or down a few minutes, and it all came down to the last beat to finish. It was like an epic tennis match. Every sail change was race critical. Bella Mente is a magic bullet when power reaching; we knew that before the start, so we set about minimising the time lost."

Robbie Doyle continued, "Bella Mente did a nice job getting through the lee of Guadeloupe by going inshore and at that time she had her time on us. All we tried to do was to stay in touch with her because we knew the race wasn't over. The critical point in the race happened just after Barbuda when Bella Mente got under a cloud and literally stopped and we sailed right up to them. After that we knew that if we just stayed in touch, the win would go to Shockwave - that's yacht racing for you, but what a fantastic experience."

"With all of the yachts now accounted for, the racing team can join the competitors at tonight's Prize Giving for a memorable occasion," commented RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. "There have been some retirements, but we are delighted that there has been only minor damage to yachts. Apart from the expected knocks and bruises for a 600 mile race, everyone is safely ashore and looking forward to a great party."

Published in RORC

#rorcrc600 – High above the Pillars of Hercules, the magnificent international fleet of yachts enjoyed a sparkling start of warm trade winds, Caribbean swell and brilliant sunshine. Ahead of the yachts lies a breath-taking course around 11 islands with more twists and turns than the Monte Carlo race track.

Two hours into the race and the entire fleet have passed Green Island and are now cracking sheets for the sleigh ride to Barbuda with Hap Fauth's JV72, Bella Mente leading the charge, pulling the trigger, spearing through Atlantic waves at 18 knots towards the only mark of the course.

CSA, Multihull and Class40
Nine boats were in the first start of the race and virtually the entire fleet chose to start at the outer distance mark. Gonzalo Botin's Spanish Class40, Tales II, with highly experienced navigator Nacho Postigo on board, got away to a cracking start followed by Derek Hatfield's Canadian Volvo 60, Spirit of Adventure.

IRC Two & Three
With 18 yachts, this was the biggest start of the race; Bernie Evan Wong's Trustmarque Quokka 8 and Lt Col Paul Macro's Royal Armoured Corps Yacht Club, on Southern Child, had a very close battle for the line, which resulted in Quokka being over and having to return to the line. Lancelot II, EH01 and Ballytrim were in the front row of the starting grid.

IRC One
Despite sharing breakfast this morning, Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens III, and Colin Buffin's Swan 62, Uxorious IV, were both in an aggressive mood before the starting gun, engaging in a game of cat and mouse at the pre-start. However David Southwell's Morris 486, Kismet, had a perfect timed run and led the class at the start.

IRC Zero & IRC Canting Keel
Even before the start the expected battle of the Mini Maxis was on with Shockwave hunting Bella Mente. Shockwave, Bella Mente and George David's RP90, Rambler, were all in a perfect line hitting the start line at max speed with the Botin ITC 65, Caro; also a fast starter to leeward of this group. Johnny Vincent's TP52, Pace, was also a front runner looking to get inshore and stay out of the way and out of trouble.

Superyacht
The last start of the day produced the hair-raising sight of two enormous schooners match racing each other in the last few minutes to the start, bearing down towards the Pillars of Hercules at full speed, only a boat length apart. The 182ft Adela called for water from 203ft Athos, which duly obliged, putting in a smart tack, and all 300 tons of her went through the wind. The spritely 200 ton Adela smoked through the line with height and pace to effectively win the start -magnificent!

RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen was on the start line watching avidly: "This was amazing to watch, just incredible. The way they all have been pushing for the line. Especially Athos and Adela; with only a minute to go to the start, they were only a boat length apart. It is so impressive to see these two beautiful boats in these conditions: 18-20 knots of wind, big seas, crashing through the waves - it's spectacular.

The Class Zero start was unbelievable as well - they were really close, going all the way into the cliffs, calling water on each other. We could hear the screaming from the above the cliffs so there was a lot of adrenalin going on, a lot of aggression too. With the quality of this fleet it is exactly what we expected at the start; a top fleet and they're off, in some fabulous conditions. We wish them good sailing, and good luck."

Eddie Warden Owen continued, "This race has grown in stature and it is not just the boats but the number of professional sailors that are here. This gives you an idea of how important it is to win this race. However we've now got more local boats, more boats crossing the Atlantic from Europe and yachts coming down from America. 60 yachts starting the RORC Caribbean 600 - that's pretty impressive for a race that's only six years old."

Published in RORC

#rorc – This weekend over 170 yachts from six different nations will race across the English Channel to the famous walled port city of St Malo in Brittany, France. The 170-mile race pre-dates the Royal Ocean Racing Club by almost 20 years, with the overall winner taking the impressive gold plated King Edward VII Cup, presented by the British Monarch to the Club Nautique de la Rance at Dinard in 1906.The Cowes Dinard St Malo Race is the ninth race of the 13 race series for the RORC Season's Points Championship and bar next month's Rolex Fastnet Race, is likely to have the largest entry of the RORC season.

Four multihulls will be racing to St Malo including two French Multi 50s: Etienne Hochede's Pir² Port De Fécamp is a vintage trimaran built in 1983 but the hot favourite to take line honours in St Malo will be Loic Fequet's Maitre Jacques, which has finished in the top three in class for both the Route du Rhum and Transat Jacques Vabre. The Multihull record has stood since 2002, an extraordinary time of 5 hours 23 min 33 seconds was set by Maxi Catamaran Maiden 2 and Maitre Jacques is unlikely to beat that.

Mike Slade's ICAP Leopard returns to RORC racing for the first time since taking line honours in February's RORC Caribbean 600. ICAP Leopard set the monohull record for the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race in 2008, averaging 11.61 knots, and the 100ft canting keel maxi is very capable of improving on that. ICAP Leopard's current form in both the RORC Caribbean 600 and last month's record run in the JP Morgan Round the Island Race has them averaging over 13 knots.

"ICAP Leopard was built to set records and take line honours, but to do that we need the yacht in good condition, a top class crew and the right weather. Leopard is in great shape and the crew for the race is very capable, so we just need the third part of the recipe. At the moment, our weather routing is showing a slow start but we could see much more favourable conditions as the race develops, so record pace is a possibility." Mike Slade, ICAP Leopard.

There are 20 yachts racing to St Malo in IRC One including Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3, and Edward Broadway's Ker 40, Hooligan VII, which are currently placed first and second overall for the 2013 season.

With 49 yachts entered, IRC Two is the largest class racing and Géry Trentesaux's MC34 Patton, Courrier Vintage, has been in superb form this season. Courrier Vintage was runner up last year by just seven minutes on corrected time and will undoubtedly feature in the race. Nine First 40.7s and seven First 40s will also feature in IRC Two enjoying a close battle within the class.

Chris Jackson, boat captain for First 40, Lancelot II Logic, spoke about their season. "Stacy Vickers and a number of his friends have chartered the yacht for a Fastnet campaign. Over half the crew have done the Fastnet before and we have high ambitions for the race. It is great to see seven First 40s racing to St Malo, I have never seen that many racing offshore before and the racing is incredibly close; we managed to get the better of La Réponse in the last offshore race by just nine seconds and it is really exciting to have so many boats around you. That pressure really raises the game. The St Malo race will be our last RORC race before the Fastnet and we are determined to get a good result."

In 2012 French yachts dominated the race winning four IRC Classes with Olivier Pesci and his crew on Grand Soleil 40, Beelzebuth 3, overjoyed to win the King Edward VII Cup for the best corrected time overall.

"It was a difficult race to win and we were all very tired but there were important decisions that needed to be made and we got our tactics right at key moments," commented Olivier Pesci "For a crew who come from Brittany, it was a fantastic experience to win the race. Although the firework display at St.Malo was to celebrate our national day, we enjoyed it even more because we were celebrating our victory in the St.Malo Race! For a Breton to win the King Edward VII Cup is a dream come true."

The race to St. Malo from Cowes is one of the oldest yacht races in the world and has always been a popular event with competitors racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The timing of the race coincides with the celebration of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, a symbol of the uprising of the modern French nation. Bastille Day is one of the biggest celebrations throughout France and the fortress village of St Malo will be a hive of festivities and cultural celebrations culminating in an impressive firework display.

Published in RORC

#RORC - The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Rating Office is launching an international competition next week to select the photograph that will grace the front cover of the 2014 edition of the RORC IRC Yearbook, published by Yachting World.

Entry to the 2014 Yearbook Competition, which kicks off on 15 July, is restricted to two submissions per person to be submitted by 30 August 2013.

A shortlist selected from all the entries will then be judged by Yachting World's racing and technical editor Matthew Sheahan, RORC's technical director Mike Urwin, award-winning photographer Ian Roman and marine leisure PR consultant Peta Stuart-Hunt.

The judges will be looking for an exciting image that reflects the club racing ethos of IRC rating. This may be round-the-mark action from one of your local club weekend races, a fleet shot from a weekday 'twilight' race, or perhaps a lucky catch from one of the offshore classics.

They will not be looking for the 'glamour shot' of a exotic, high-tech racing boat so much as something that encompasses everything IRC stands for - competitive racing for all.

The winner will be notified by 30 September 2013 and will receive a certificate, and have their photo featured on the cover of the 2014 RORC IRC Yearbook, with appropriate credit as agreed with the winner. There is no monetary prize.

The competition rules are available on the RORC Rating Office website HERE.

Published in RORC

#rorc – With many of the UK's top IRC boats signed up to compete over three days at the popular RORC Easter Challenge (Good Friday 29 March to Easter Sunday 31 March 2013), the regatta is turning into a practice session for the highly competitive IRC Nationals taking place later this summer.

But for the top boats, its also a serious event and with the likes of RORC Vice Commodore, Anthony O'Leary bringing his Antix team from Cork and Niklas Zennström taking a break from the TP52 Super Series to race Rán, his Farr 45, the racing is all about winning:

"Whilst it's the first event of the season for us and we look forward to the input provided by the like's of Jim (Saltonstall) and Eddie (Warden Owen), we will be doing our best to win the event. There's some serious competition from the Ker 40's and from the South African Tokoloshe whose boat is very similar to ours. It's a brilliant format, great value and a well run event with nine races over the weekend," says O'Leary.

"I am impressed with the quality of the early entries to our training weekend at Easter which starts on Good Friday, 29th April," comments Royal Ocean Racing Club's Racing Manager, Nick Elliott.

"These are the top race boats in the UK and include teams from the Solent, the East Coast and West Country, as well as teams from as far away as France, Ireland and even South Africa. This is a great endorsement for the event which is designed as a training weekend for those keen to improve their overall performance."

In a unique initiative and as the first Solent-based event in the Club's racing calendar, RORC relax the rules on outside assistance and invite coaching guru, Jim Saltonstall and a team of expert coaches - including past Olympian Barry Dunning - to actively participate and provide helpful tips to improve sail trim and boat handling whilst the boats are racing. The coaching team has also been boosted this year by the addition of sailmakers who will provide sail trim and rig set up tips.

"It's the only event of its kind in the UK and I've not seen it done anywhere else in the world," comments RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen who is also one of Saltonstall's coaching team.

"Even the top teams with pro sailors on board are keen to get the view we have from the outside. It can be extremely effective, especially for the less experienced crew who often see an immediate improvement during the race," continues Warden Owen.

After racing, Saltonstall de-briefs crews using video evidence to back up his thoughts. These sessions held after racing in the Event Centre at Cowes Yacht Haven are always packed out.

Last year the RORC introduced a second race course for the smaller boats and One Design classes such as J80's and RORC have the intention to do the same if there is sufficient demand.

Racing for all classes starts on Good Friday 29th April and runs through to Sunday 31st April. Entries close for the RORC Easter Challenge on 14th March; interested owners can find the details and enter online at www.rorc.org.

Published in RORC

#RORC – Round Ireland double winner Piet Vroon still has a chance of retaining the RORCs 2012 points series but as Louay Habib reports after the weekend's Channel Race it is going to be close.

Philippe Falle sailing Peter Rutter's Grand Soleil 46, Trustmarque Quokka 8, won the 2012 Channel Race overall finishing the 145-mile in course in just over 26 hours. However a number of boats have requested redress as the mark, (CH1) off the coast near Cherbourg was not in place and some boats spent time looking for the mark before rounding its GPS co-ordinates and proceeding back to Cowes.

One of those who looked for the mark was Piet Vroon with his Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, who still has a fighting chance of retaining the title of RORC Season's Points Championship winner. He will have a fight on his hands and with one more race to go, the Cherbourg Race at the end of August looks set to be an absolute cracker. Laurent Gouy's French Ker 39, Inis Mor, has the upper hand but Nick Martin's British J/105, Diablo-J, racing Two-Handed is right in the mix.

Trustmarque Quokka's win in the 2012 Channel Race was the first outing for Philippe Falle's newly formed Deep Blue Racing Team and as such Quokka is not a contender for the championship but Falle has been RORC racing for ten years and knows just how tough it is to win the RORC Season's Points Championship.

"I have come very close to winning the championship but I haven't won it yet," said Philippe Falle. "It is an extremely tough series to win and takes a lot of dedication and determination over an 8 month period, I think it is probably the hardest sailing series to win anywhere. For the team on Quokka is was very satisfying to win the Channel Race as this was the first outing for a group of good amateur sailors that want to take their racing to another level. We will be competing in the Cherbourg Race before taking Quokka down to Malta for the Rolex Middle Sea Race, where we hope to challenge for class honours. Next year, we plan to kick off a full campaign with the RORC Caribbean 600 and of course the RORC Season's Points Championship. To start off our campaign with a win was fantastic."

Line Honours in the Channel Race went to Harm Prins' Volvo 60, Pleomax, sealing the Dutch team's class win in IRC Zero for the season. Inis Mor was the winner in IRC One and came 3rd overall to extend their lead for the series. Nick Martin's 5th overall for the Channel Race has moved the Two-Handed team up to second overall, whilst Piet Vroon's Tonnerre de Breskens could only manage a 13th overall.

In IRC Three and the Two-Handed class, Nick Martin's Diablo-J came out on top but it was far from easy. An excellent performance by another two-handed sailor pushed Diablo-J all the way. Flic Gabbay's Elan 380, Elixir, took line honours for both classes by just nine minutes but Diablo-J won after time correction. Nick Martin's win secured the Two-Handed Class for the season and also puts Diablo-J up to second place overall in the Season's Points Championship. Mike Moxley's HOD 35, Malice, was third in both classes moving the Hampshire sailor up to third overall for the season.

In IRC Four Harry Heijst's S&S 41, Winsome, took a second class win of the season. The Dutch team now have an unassailable lead in IRC Four. Pierre Viard and Nicolas Siloret's Prism 28, Adrenaline, was the smallest yacht in the Channel Race. However, the French crew scored a second place moving the team up from 16th in class to 5th. Adrenaline is now very much in contention for the remaining two podium places in IRC Four, along with Kirsteen Donaldson's Pyxis, Jean Yves Chateau's Iromiguy and Paul Jackson's Wild Spirit.

The last race of the RORC Season's Points Championship will take place on Friday the 31st August with a sprint across The English Channel for the Cherbourg Race.

Published in RORC

#rorc –Fresh from success at last month's ICRA Nationals at Howth YC both the Irish Class zero and class two champions head for Cowes this weekend for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) British IRC Championships writes Louay Habib.

Anthony O'Leary's Zero champion, the Ker 39 Antix and the Class two champion Nigel Bigg's Checkmate IV will be looking for a British title too when well over 400 sailors from all over Europe gather in Cowes this weekend for the annual three day event on tight Solent courses. Close encounters are expected for four classes under tight rating bands.

Since the first edition in 2000, the annual RORC inshore championship has always attracted a highly competitive fleet and this year is no exception.

Also competing in Cowes is Round Ireland champion Piet Vroon from Holland who is heading back to defend his offshore crown in Wicklow in two weeks time.

The sizeable fleet boasts close to 20 yachts that are past or present competitors for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. Winning class at the RORC IRC National Championship is extremely tough and class victors will savour that moment for years to come.

IRC One has produced one of the most impressive fleets for many years. Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, should be the fastest boat around the track but there will be four Ker 40s nipping at the Dutch flyer's heels. Nigel Passmore's Apollo will be highly motivated to take a national title back to Plymouth. Whilst Andrew Pearce's Magnum III and Harmen de Graaf's Baraka GP will be racing each other for the first time, prior to representing Benelux and Great Britain in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. However, the depth of talent in this class is quite remarkable, including some notable proven winners: O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix, Michael Bartholomew's King 40, Tokoloshe, Andrew Williams' Mills 39, Dignity, and RORC Commodore, Mike Greville's Ker 39, Erivale III.

"We expect some very challenging racing, which is exactly what is required if we are to continue to improve our performance," commentedMagnum III skipper, Andrew Pearce. "The championship will have some of the best competition from the South Coast and beyond, it will be a thorough test for all of us."

In IRC Two the UNCL President, Marc de Saint Denis, will be racing MC34 Courrier Vintage in good company. No doubt, former RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine, will give the Frenchman a warm welcome to Cowes but no quarter once they are out on the racecourse. McIrvine has been in fine form offshore this season but the class has many well-honed adversaries. Kirsty and David Apthorp's J/111 J-Dream came within a whisker of winning Spi Ouest this Easter and Nicolas Gaumont-Prat's First 40.7, Philosophie IV, and Jim Macgregor's Elan 410, Premier Flair, will both be representing Great Britain in next month's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. Philosophie IV was runner up in IRC Two last year and will be looking to go one better in 2012.

In IRC Three, Mike Bridges' Elan 37, Elaine, is back to defend their title but the class also boasts two teams representing Britain in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup: Peter Morton's Corby 33, Salvo, and the British Keelboat Academy's J/109, Yeoman of Wight, will both be looking to impress. From overseas, Philippe Bourgeois' A35, Dunkerque Plaisance is in fine form, having won their class earlier this month at Normandy Sailing Week and Dutch J/109, Captain Jack, skippered by Round the World racer Bert Visser, is relishing the event. "We cannot get this standard of competition in Holland," admits Visser. "It is well worth the effort to come over for the championship. It is an important event for us and we expect some very good racing."

In IRC Four, Nigel Biggs is a veteran of the championship and will be looking to come out on top with the beautifully prepared vintage Half Tonner, Checkmate XV. The small boat class also has a number of well-sailed modern bowsprit boats. Father and son team, Mike and Jamie Holmes racing J/97 Jika Jika, entered months ago, having identified the championship as a key event of their season.

'It will be a testing event for us," predicted Jamie Holmes. "We are expecting some extremely close racing, I think that key reasons for the popularity of the event are that there is usually a good range of conditions and the races are always well run, which attracts impressive opposition. The IRC National Championship is an excellent event to hone our skills for the J/97 UK Nationals in Guernsey this summer."

Published in RORC
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