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Last year's Round Ireland Race Champion winning yacht, the Ker 43 Baraka GP (skippered then by Niall Dowling of the Royal Irish Yacht Club) has this weekend won the 2019 Royal Ocean Racing Club's North Sea Race sailed by Harmen De Graaf (NED). However, victory in the 180nm race from Harwich UK to Scheveningen Netherlands was mighty close. Ker 46 Van Uden, sailed by Wouter Verbaak, was under two minutes behind after IRC time correction. Ker 51 Oystercatcher XXXIII sailed by Richard Matthews (GBR) took Line Honours and corrected out to finish third overall.

Overall winner of the 2019 North Sea Race was Baraka GP skippered by Harmen De Graaf with crew: Lennard Bal, Douwe Broekens, Olivier De Graaf, Dirk De Graaf, Amy Prime, Piers Tyler, Arianne van de Loosdrecht, Bart Van Pelt, Steve Aiken, Mees De Graaf, and Lily Lower.

Fine weather and solid breeze provided fast downwind and reaching conditions for the fifth race of the RORC Season's Points Championship. The Baraka GP team, containing four members of the De Graaf family, celebrated in style in Scheveningen.

“My father has been racing in the North Sea since he was a teenager, and we were all brought up racing from a very young age,” commented Dirk De Graaf, one of three brothers on board Baraka GP. “Our plan at the start of the North Sea Race was to try and keep in touch downwind with the bigger boats in our class, and then set our fractional zero (Fr0) when we went onto the reach. This meant that the whole team was hiking hard as we were very high with the Fr0. Baraka GP has some very talented young sailors on board, and this dynamic has had a very positive effect on how hard we can push the boat. The big race for us is the Rolex Fastnet Race, and our ultimate goal is to join the small number of Dutch boats that have won the Fastnet Trophy over the years.”

In IRC One, Grand Soleil 43 Il Corvo, sailed by Astrid De Vin (NED), won class for the second year in a row. A13 Phosphorus II, sailed by Mark Emerson (GBR), with a crew all in their twenties, was runner-up. ILC 40 Visione sailed by Nikolaus Knoflacher (AUT), completed the podium, by under a minute after time correction from Corby 38 Double Edge, sailed by Chris Schram (NED).

IRC Two and IRC Double Handed was won by J/122 Ajeto, sailed by Robin Verhoef (NED) & John Van Der Starre (NED). The Dutch duo scored a memorable victory in IRC Two ahead of JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommande, sailed by Gery Trentesaux (FRA), and J/122 Junique Raymarine Sailing Team, also sailed Two-Handed by Chris Revelman (NED) & Pascal Bakker (NED). Ajeto also scored a notable win over one of the Netherland's top short handed sailors Erik van Vuuren (NED) racing W36 Hubo.

“Gert Trentesaux and Erik van Vuuren are two of the world's best but they are getting used to new boats and we know all about that. However that will not stop me telling my grandchildren about this victory!” smiled Ajeto's John Van Der Starre. “As always, we pushed Ajeto really hard together. It is wonderful to race with Robin, the atmosphere when we sail together is just fantastic. We will be racing in our fifth Fastnet later this year. It will be a really tough competition, but win or lose I know we will both enjoy the challenge.”

In IRC Three, W36 Hubo was the winner, Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, sailed Two-Handed by Rob Craigie (GBR) and Deb Fish (GBR) was second. Third was Sunfast 3600 Black Sheep, sailed by Trevor Middleton (GBR) and skippered by Jake Carter (GBR). Black Sheep have now extended their lead in the overall ranking for the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship.

In IRC Four, the podium was all teams from the Netherlands, X-362 Extra Djinn, sailed by Michel Dorsman, took class line honours and was the winner after IRC time correction. Standfast 43 Blue June, sailed by Henk Zomer was second, which will be encouraging for their Rolex Fastnet campaign. Varianta 37 Sailselect, sailed by Jeroen Koninkx, completed the podium.

The 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship continues Saturday 8th June with the De Guingand Bowl Race. Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, rounding marks and waypoints, and taking in the headlands of the central English Channel, before returning to the Solent to finish

Full results here

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Myth of Malham Race, with 138 boats competing, produced a thrilling finish for overall victory. Botin IRC52 Tala took up the early running, but having led for much of the race on corrected time, the breeze picked up for the chasing pack, turning the advantage towards two FAST40+ yachts. Redshift and Ino XXX, both based in Cowes, battled throughout the 230 nautical mile race with no clear advantage between the two. In the second half of the 30-hour race, having rounded the Eddystone Lighthouse off Plymouth, a high-speed duel developed on the run back to The Solent. In strong downwind conditions, the two teams resorted to hand-to-hand combat to decide the bout, knowing that the winner of the duel would most likely win the race overall. Executing numerous gybes to gain the upper-hand, at times with over 20 knots of boat speed, and just inches apart, the battle was won by Redshift, crossing the finish line just 20 seconds ahead of Ino XXX.

Red shift crewThe overall winner of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Myth of Malham Race was Farr 42 Redshift raced by Ed Fishwick (GBR) and crew: Quentin Bes-Green (GBR), Hugh Brayshaw (GBR), John Coffey (IRL), Hannah Diamond (GBR), Henry Foster (GBR), Donal Ryan (IRL), George Thompson (GBR), Arianne van de Loosdrecht (NED), Mason Woodworth (USA) Photo: Alexia Fishwick

“An amazing race and an awesome feeling to have won it,” commented Redshift's Ed Fishwick. “The Redshift crew were unbelievable, just sensational! It was a long battle just to get to the lighthouse. We made a good rounding and could see Ino, from then on we were gybing across each other all the way down the track. By Christchurch Bay we were a boat length apart. Ino made a great call going all the way into the bay and pulled away. We went into low mode across the bay and eventually made it back. The last ten minutes were crazy, a match race, just inches apart.”

HH42 Ino XXX raced by James Neville (GBR) was second by just four minutes on corrected time. Ker 40 Keronimo raced by Lars & Birgitta Elfverson (SWE) with Dublin Bay sailors Kenny Rumball and Barry Hurley on board was third. Monohull Line Honours was won by Botin IRC52 Tala, skippered by Robbie Southwell (GBR). The overall winner of the Multihull Class after MOCRA time correction was Dazcat Slinky Malinki raced by James Holder (GBR). Multihull Line Honours was won by Shuttle 39 Morpheus raced by Andrew Fennell (GBR).

In IRC Two, JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommande sailed by Gery Trentesaux (FRA) started their 2019 Rolex Fastnet Campaign with a class win by nine minutes after IRC time correction. J/133 Pintia, sailed by Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine (FRA) was second. J/122 Juno, sailed by Christopher Daniel (GBR) was third.

In IRC Three, the podium was made up of yachts racing Two-Handed. JPK 10.80 Timeline, sailed by Marc Alperovitch (FRA) was the winner. Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, sailed by Rob Craigie (GBR) was second by just under 22 minutes after IRC time correction. JPK 10.80 Shaitan, sailed by Jean-Eudes Renier (FRA) was third.

Marc Alperovitch has won class in many high profile races fully crewed including the Rolex Fastnet Race. However, this is Marc's first Two-Handed campaign with Jerome Huillard D'Aignaux. “I suppose you could say this was first time lucky!” smiled Marc. “I decided to make a fresh start with a new boat and the new dynamic of racing two-handed. We had a few problems with gear, which really takes it out of you. Off Portland Bill our headsail became detached in rough seas and it was sometime before we fixed the problem. As we are a new team, we had no pressure to win, but to come out on top in our first race has certainly brought the pressure on!”

In IRC Four, JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew, sailed by Noel Racine (FRA) was the winner by just over 30 minutes after time correction with 41 yachts in class. Emmanuel Pinteaux (FRA) racing JPK 10.10 Gioia was second and Chris Choules (GBR) racing Sigma 38 With Alacrity was third.

Noel Racine's winning streak with Foggy Dew as IRC Four champion dates back to 2013. So what is the secret to Foggy Dew's success? “It is not a secret,” smiled Racine. “You need a good boat, a good crew and you need to make less mistakes than the others. We made a mistake at the beginning of this race when we ran out of wind and watched the fleet sail away. However, we kept focused, kept our concentration, and one by one we caught the competition and passed them to win the class.”

The Myth of Malham Race was the fourth of the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship. Second overall in the RORC Transatlantic Race, Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep, sailed by Trevor Middleton (GBR) is the overall leader for the series. After winning the last two races overall Redshift moves up to second for the championship. Cookson 50 Kuka 3 sailed by Franco Niggeler (SUI) is now third. The fifth race of the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship will be the North Sea Race starting from Harwich on Friday 31 May bound for Scheveningen, Netherlands.

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This UK bank holiday weekend, 140 yachts, with over 900 crew from all over the world, will be competing in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Myth of Malham Race. A huge variety of yachts will be taking part including; hi-tech racing yachts and multihulls, performance cruising yachts and classic designs. World Class professional sailors and passionate Corinthians will be taking part, and 36 teams will be taking on the offshore race Two-Handed.

A notable entry for the Myth of Malham Race is the 53ft ketch Gipsy Moth IV, which will be raced by Ricky Chalmers. In 1966-67, Sir Francis Chichester circumnavigated with Gipsy Moth IV in 274 days, setting the fastest voyage around the world by any small vessel. Aptly for the Myth of Malham Race, Gipsy Moth IV was co-designed by John Illingworth, who commissioned the Laurent Giles 37'6” sloop Myth of Malham, winning the Fastnet Race in 1947 and 1949, and in 1957 was part of the winning team for the first Admiral's Cup.

2017 IRC Zero winner, Windward Sailing's CM60 Venomous, will once again be sailed by Derek Saunders. In IRC One, the 2017 overall race winner James Neville's FAST40+ Ino XXX will be racing, and will have strong opposition from 2018 overall race runner-up, Edward Broadway's Ker 40 Hooligan VII and this year’s Cervantes Trophy race winner Ed Fishwick's Redshift. Botin IRC 52 Tala was second overall in this year's RORC Caribbean 600, and will make their UK debut in the Myth of Malham, skippered by Robbie Southwell.

The 2019 Myth of Malham Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line on Saturday 25 May 0800 BST. Spectators can watch the spectacle from the Cowes Parade and The Green, and fans can also follow the progress of the fleet via YB Tracking on the RORC website.

“The forecasts for the Myth of Malham Race are predicting light winds at the start,” commented RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. “Unfortunately, the tidal conditions may favour the faster boats out of the Solent, but without starting the race at 5 a.m. that cannot be avoided. The forecasts are suggesting that the wind will go to the west later in the race and strengthen, which should give some good results in the small to medium size and boats and good conditions for the sail back from the Eddystone Light.”

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Kenneth Rumball and John White are taking the Irish National Sailing and Powerboat School’s popular ‘man overboard’ lecture to the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s London clubhouse this evening (Thursday 16 May).

On 29 June 2018, the J109 yacht Jedi started the Round Ireland Yacht Race — but little did her crew of eight know that just says later, at 1am on 2 July, crew member John White would be swept overboard south-west of the Blasket Islands.

After well received talks at Wicklow Sailing Club in January and the Royal Irish Yacht Club in February, Rumball and White are in London to tell the story of how Jedi’s crew dealt with the situation — and what lessons were learnt from the incident.

Tonight’s RORC talk from 7pm is free for members and £10 for non-members, with booking available online HERE. For dinner reservations following the presentation email [email protected] or call +44 (0)207 493 2248.

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Dun Laoghaire's Kenny Rumball was the helmsman of the Swedish Ker 40 Keronimo that was second overall in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Cervantes Trophy Race at Cowes at the weekend.

The offshore race provided a challenging start to the European season for the RORC Season's Points Championship. A bitter northerly wind, with squalls gusting over 30 knots, produced a challenging race for the impressive fleet of 108–boats. Starting from the Squadron Line, the fleet headed east out of the Solent passing No Man's Land Fort and into the open waters of the English Channel. After passing south of the Nab Channel, the fleet headed east, blast reaching to Owers, followed by an upwind leg to Littlehampton Outfall. Cracking sheets and hoisting downwind sails, the fleet headed south for a 77-mile dead-run across the English Channel. An energy-sapping upwind leg of over 20 miles, from Cussy Buoy to the A5 Buoy, further tested the fleet, before a downwind section to the finish.

Ed Fishwick's maiden offshore race in British FAST40+ Redshift winning the 2019 RORC Cervantes Trophy Race. With a top class crew including Hannah Diamond and Dave Swete from the Volvo Ocean Race, along with Figaro skipper Nick Cherry. Redshift completed the 160nm course in just under 15 hours taking Line Honours and the overall win after IRC time correction. Lars & Birgitta Elfverson's Swedish Ker 40 Keronimo was second overall with Kenny Rumball and Cork Harbour sailor Barry Hurley both onboard. Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by Gerd-Jan Poortman, was third.

“It was amazing - an awesome experience!” enthused Redshift's owner Ed Fishwick. “It was very wet, we had to bail out the boat constantly. We started late and sailed on our own down the Solent but we caught the back of the fleet at the Forts. We hoisted a fractional Code Zero, and by the time we got to the Nab, we were in the top three on the water. We already had a reef in the main for the beat up to Littlehampton, then turned downwind for an 85-mile sensational downwind ride across The Channel. We were doing 18-22 knots all the way, a complete blast but we were taking on a lot of water, bailing like mad. We were swapping out trimmers and drivers regularly, and talking through the gybes well in advance. The beat up to A5 was really tough, gusty with a cross-sea, and then up with the A3 to the finish. The crew work was brilliant, especially from the experienced professionals, but also the rest of the crew, who are all amateurs and many of whom are great young talents. The overall strategy was about keeping focused, changing people around before they started getting tired.”

33 teams started the race in IRC Two-Handed, and two thirds of the fleet completed a tough test of shorthanded boat handling and tenacity. Louis-Marie Dussere's French JPK 10.80 Raging-bee² took class line honours in just under 20 hours, and was the winner after IRC time correction. Deb Fish & Will Taylor racing Sun Fast 3600 Bellino was second in class, and Julien Lebas' French A31 Gaya was third.

Louis-Marie Dussere, was racing Two-Handed with Eric Leroi, Vice President Yacht Club de Cherbourg.“We are proud to win IRC3 and Two-Handed!” smiled Dussere. “We had a perfect start, reaching down the Solent. After a good Spinnaker choice (A3) at No Man’s Land Fort, we got away from the class. It was lots of fun with big surfs (16kn top speed)! Waves, sun and big wind; just like trade winds single handed in the Transquadra! Upwind from Cussy to A5 was very hard; it was cold and we were tired. A bad spinnaker choice near the end was a problem, in 25 knots we struggled to keep the boat under control.”

In IRC Zero,Van Uden was the class winner, Windward Sailing's British CM60 Venomous, sailed by Derek Saunders was second, and Lance Shepherd's Volvo 70 Telefonica Black third. In IRC One Redshift, and Keronimo took the top two places, Mark Emerson's British A13 Phosphorus II was third.

In IRC Two, Thomas Kneen's British JPK 11.80 took Line Honours for the class, and after time correction won the class, also placing fourth overall. In IRC Three, Raging-bee² was the class winner. Peter Butters' British JPK 10.10 Joy, sailed by Dave Butters, was third.

Noel Racine's JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew made a great start to their defence of their IRC Four win last year, taking Class Line Honours and the win on IRC corrected time. Emmanuel Pinteaux's JPK 10.10 Giola was second and Chris Choules Sigma 38 With Alacrity completed the podium, after winning a great duel with Harry Heijst's S&S 41 Winsome. With Alacrity was third by less than six minutes after nearly 23 hours of racing.

 
In the Multihull Class, two teams racing 30-something footers completed a tough challenge. Joel Malardel's French Normanni 34 Tancrède took Line Honours and the win after time correction. 2018 Multihull champion, Ross Hobson's Seacart 30 Buzz, was second.

RORC Transatlantic and RORC Caribbean 600 Champion, Catherine Pourre's Eärendil, was the winner in the Class40 Division, beating Christophe Coatnoan's Partouche.

“The direct route to Le Havre would have been a fast one-sided reach across the Channel, the course provided was much tougher,” commented RORC Deputy Racing Manager, Tim Thubron on duty in Le Havre. “As a Rolex Fastnet Race qualifier, the RORC had an opportunity to give the fleet a test of their skill and equipment in a challenging scenario. Many thanks to the warm welcome and first class assistance from the Société des Regates du Havre, especially President Hélène Taconet and Commission Voile Christophe Lachèvre. Well done to all of the class winners in the race, a special mention to the young team racing Scaramouche, owned by the Greig City Academy which had crew as young as 13 on board, and finished the race sixth.”

The fourth race of the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship is the Myth of Malham Race, starting from the RYS Line on Saturday 25 May (0800 BST). The 256nm course mirrors the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, as far as the Eddystone Lighthouse, followed by a return leg to a Solent finish. A substantial international fleet is expected.

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Ten IRC Championships are held all around the British coast from Scotland to the Channel Islands as well as a specific event for two-handed crews, is providing a large variety of venues, racing conditions and social events to be enjoyed both on and off the water. While most events are held over a weekend, some are spread over several weeks or incorporate separate events. The Solent Championship consists of four events organised by separate clubs, while RORC’s Two-Handed National Championship comprises both inshore and offshore racing and the Inshore Championship on Lake Windermere runs through the winter. 2019 also sees the return of the GBR IRC National Championship organised by RORC from Cowes, after a break last year when RORC organised the IRC European Championship.

The Scottish Series is also a major event for the RC35 class which was developed for close racing within a tight IRC rating band, and along with the Welsh National IRC Championship is part of the Celtic Cup incorporating events in Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Two of the first clubs to use the RORC Rating Office’s Advocate Scheme to successfully start using IRC for their club racing in are hosting IRC Championships this year – the Southern Championship at Weymouth Sailing Club, and the South West Championship which includes the Royal Dart YC as organisers. Reflecting increasing participation in two-handed racing, the Two-Handed Championship returns in September, organised by RORC Cowes.

The 2019 GBR IRC Championships programme is as follows:

  • Solent – 4 events (May-Sept)
  • Scottish – Scottish Series (May)
  • Southern – Weymouth & Portland (May)
  • National – RORC Cowes (July)
  • East Coast – Ramsgate Week (July)
  • Welsh National – Cardigan Bay (August)
  • South West – Dartmouth (August)
  • Two-Handed - Cowes (September)
  • Channel Islands - Jersey (September)
  • Inland – Windermere (November-March)
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World Sailing's landmark decision to select a Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat event for the 2024 Olympics and the recent announcement to hold an Offshore World Championship for mixed double-handed sailing in October 2020 has encouraged the RYA and Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) to combine their efforts to develop double-handed offshore sailing in the UK.

Double-handed entries for RORC's iconic Rolex Fastnet Race have increased from 36 boats in 2017 to over 90 entries in 2019, with 63 of those entries racing under IRC rating system, demonstrating a strong desire by people to sail double-handed offshore.

Initial indications from World Sailing is that for the Olympics they will not be selecting one particular class of boat until late in the Olympic cycle and that the intention is to focus on the discipline rather than the equipment. The RORC's Season Points Championship provides the perfect playground to develop the skills required to sail double-handed in existing boats of approximately 10m LOA. All of the RORC races have double-handed divisions and an overall series prize in addition to the IRC Two-Handed National Championship in September which consists of the Cherbourg Race one weekend followed by a weekend of inshore racing. There will also be awards for the top mixed double-handed team to encourage mixed entries.

RYA Director of Racing and former Volvo Ocean Race skipper Ian Walker is excited at the prospect.

"We do not yet know the exact format or equipment for Paris 2024 but that doesn't mean we cannot get afloat and start improving our double handed offshore skills," said Walker. "I hope that this will create an opportunity for some younger sailors to team up with boat owners or to represent their clubs and we will be watching these events and seeing what talent is out there. Britain boasts some exceptional offshore sailors, both men and women, competing at the highest level, but we are kidding ourselves if we think we are even close to the depth of the French offshore shorthanded sailing scene."

RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen is also very keen to see double-handed sailing grow within their existing events:

"The RORC's Season Points Championships has seen consistent growth in double-handed sailing and we have prizes for both open and mixed double-handed teams. This year we have included a double-handed division in our 'coaching whilst racing' RORC Easter Challenge which, with the RYA's support, we will be providing specific double-handed coaching and advice from Nikki Curwen."

The RYA currently support keelboat activity through support of the British Keelboat League in addition to the National Match Racing Series and the British Keelboat Academy. Keelboat Manager, Jack Fenwick is looking into how to further support double-handed offshore sailing in the UK:

"The first World Sailing Offshore World Championship is going to be held in 2020. I am sure there will be tough competition between nations to qualify for this event and just as tough a battle to represent Great Britain. We will be keeping a close eye on those British sailors participating in the RORC Two-Handed series as well as any British teams competing in overseas events. Our first priority is to see how we can support anyone looking to get into double-handed sailing with some coaching clinics."

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You can pay for new sails. You can pay for keel fairing and a good bottom job. You can pay a specialist to try and optimise your IRC rating. Any of the above will help you to get around the race track faster in a more successful manner. But none address the real issue - that boat speed gains, ultimately translating into performance on the race course, can come just as readily if you spend time not money. You can change the set-up and trim of your boat, and spend time on the water testing that while practising to improve your crew's skill-sets, boat handling and techniques. The fast track way to do this is by employing a coach - the reason why Olympic sailors and America's Cup teams have them full time. However competitors at the RORC Easter Challenge (Friday 19th-Sunday 21st April) - be they RORC members or not - can receive coaching for FREE from some top names.
This coaching is laid on by the Royal Ocean Racing Club to improve general sailing skills, and thus the tightness of the racing, both in its own fleets and more broadly. As a result it attracts crews from the continent too, notably this year the de Graaf family's Baraka GP from the Netherlands and the Goubau's First 47.7 Moana from Belgium.
Many crews use the event effectively to kick start their new season, to make both themselves and their boat race-ready after the winter break.

While the coaching may be FREE, it comes from some top names, notably 'the guru' Jim Saltonstall whose influence helped drive many of the top names in British yacht racing, like Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy and Chris Draper, on their way to their present success. Another integral part of the coaching effort is Eddie Warden Owen. He may spend more time in a suit these days as the RORC CEO, but he has been one of the UK's top sailors and also has a long CV coaching, including America's Cup teams such as Team New Zealand and Desafio Espanol. They are assisted by professional keelboat coach Mason King.

Once again North Sails is a partner of the RORC Easter Challenge and various sailmakers from the Gosport loft will be both helping with the on-the-water coaching, while others will be sailing on key boats in the fleet.

"For RORC Easter Challenge competitors, the coaching is optional," says RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. "You can just pitch up and treat it as a normal yacht race. Or you can ask the coaches to come over and look at something when you're out on the water. But better still, before the event let us know if there is anything specific you'd like the coaches to look at." This is could be seeing how well a change in trim is working or a new technique for manoeuvres, or checking new sails.

For those unfamiliar with the event, the coaching comes in two significant parts. On the water, the event is almost unique in having RRS 41 'Outside Help' relaxed. This permits coaches can climb on board to demonstrate something and/or crew can step off on to a coaching RIB to check trim... mid-race.

Post racing on the Friday and Saturday nights at the RORC's Cowes Clubhouse, the coaching team will examine lessons learned during the day, backed up with video from the race course. New for 2019 is that due to the breadth of the fleet and the introduction of a doublehanded class, the debrief session for the whole group will be followed by sessions for smaller groups, with, for example, Nikki Curwen leading the one for doublehanders.

The coaching is geared up for the complete range of experience. For example, the classic 1939 Laurent Giles sloop is skippered by Giovanni Belgrano, head of PURE Design & Engineering, one of the most respected marine structural engineering companies. As a two time, IRC Nationals winner Whooper's crew is one of the more experienced taking part.
"We will be going through the pain of trying to manoeuvre round the tight short courses to shake-off the rust, aiming to define our routines, and refine the settings to get up to pace for the season - always looking to improve. Coaching provides crucial feedback, and shared in an event is practical and efficient," explains Belgrano.

A repeat visitor is the J/109 Mojo Risin', campaigned by Rob Cotterill with a crew, largely from London Business School Sailing Club. The boat is heavily campaigned and she managed to finish 16th among almost 400 boats in last year's RORC Season's Points Championship.

"It is a great regatta," says Cotterill of the RORC Easter Challenge. "We treat it like a mini Cowes Week and spend a lot of time on the debriefs, which are really useful. We'll also be trying to get attention from the coaching boats. Last year they were able to compare how we were sailing against another J/109, Jubilee, looking at the trim differences, etc. which was really useful. We are all amateur sailors and this helps us to learn fast. The more help we can get, the better."

As usual the RORC Easter Challenge will conclude with a prizegiving mid-afternoon on Easter Sunday, where chocolate eggs in extreme quantities will be given out among the prizes.

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The 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 kicked off in spectacular conditions off the south coast of Antigua with the magnificent fleet starting the 600–mile non-stop offshore race in bright sunshine, full-on gusting tradewinds and two-metre high waves.

The 11th edition of the race featured 76 starting yachts from 20 different countries, none from Ireland this year but with at least three Irish sailors participating. As Afloat.ie reported last week, a young Irish trio comprising of the National Yacht Club's Will Byrne (25) and Chris Raymond (24) are competing with Kevin McLaughlin from Newport RI on his X-55 for a third year in a row. The Irish/American team will be hoping for further success this year after a third place in the C600 and a class win in the Newport to Bermuda race in 2018.They are currently 13th in IRC 1. Elsewhere in the fleet, Cliodhna Connolly (24) from Baltimore SC will be racing with White Rhino 2 the Carkeek 47 (lying ninth in IRC overall). Race tracker here

Aerial footage and spectacular shots from all the action on the water:

The 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 kicked off in spectacular conditions off the south coast of Antigua with the magnificent fleet starting the 600 mile non-stop offshore race in bright sunshine, full-on gusting tradewinds and two-metre high waves. The 11th edition of the race featured 76 starting yachts from 20 different countries. The Caribbean Classic made headline news before the start; MOD 70 Argo flipped during practice on Friday, but miraculously made the start line just three days later. The majority of the fleet are racing under IRC for the overall win and the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, plus a record Class40 Division and one of the finest multihull fleets ever assembled for the race. Early in the race for the overall win, Volvo 70 Wizard, TP52 Tala, and Botin 65 Caro are estimated to be the top three after IRC time correction. Bella Mente was the shock early retirement.

"Bella Mente was the shock early retirement"

In IRC Zero, Volvo 70 Wizard owned by David and Peter Askew (USA) got a great start and powered up the beat to be the first in class to Green Island. Fully launched downwind in a show of immense power, Wizard pulled out a substantial lead on superyacht JV115 Nikata. Wizard was caught on the YB Tracker speed camera doing well over 20 knots on a screaming reach. Hap Fauth's Maxi72 Bella Mente (USA) was a shock early retirement, pulling up just after passing Willoughby Bay to return to Antigua. In the big sea state, the new design showed phenomenal speed, but the pounding proved too much, and having shipped a ton or more of water down below, turned for home. All of the Bella Mente crew are safe and well.

Showing enormous respect for their opposition, Giovanni Soldini's Maserati Multi70 (ITA) agreed to a delay to the race by just two hours to allow Jason Carroll's Argo (USA) just enough time to finish repairs to their MOD 70. The match race kicked off two hours after the rest of the fleet. At the start, Argo got away well, but Maserati was soon snapping at their rivals, playing the bays along the coast of Antigua. Snarling into an epic duel with the gloves full off. At Green Island, Maserati hit the after-burners, aided by their fully-foiling set up, screeching away at over 30 knots of boat speed. Maserati made Barbuda in 107 minutes, averaging an astonishing 26 knots.

The Multihull Class racing under the MOCRA Rule got away well with the two Gunboats, Chim Chim, owned by John Gallagher (USA), and Arethusa owned by Phil Lotz (USA) hitting the line with pace. Beiker 53 Fujin, owned by Greg Slyngstad (USA) showed the fleet the way and at Green Island, Fujin was substantially ahead, unfurling downwind sails to blast towards Barbuda at over 20 knots of boat speed. Falcon skippered by Shannon Falcone (ANT) was in the mix at Green Island, having overhauled the two Gunboats on the water.

In the ten-strong Class40 Division, four French teams dominated the start. Catherine Pourre's Eärendil and Halvard Mabire's Campagne de France, skippered by Miranda Merron started on port. Smashing to windward in a ball of spray, Eärendil nearly cleared the fleet on port but had to bear away as Luke Berry's Lamotte - Module Création's red-hot hull headed them off. Berry and his team made a cracking start and was ahead of the two port flyers at Green Island. The chasing peloton includes Aymeric Chappellier's Aïna Enfance Et Avenir.

In IRC Two, after a text book start controlling the fleet inshore, Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) revelled in the upwind conditions and was the first to Green Island. Pamala Baldwin's Antiguan based J/122 Liquid skippered by Julian White (GBR) was going well. Performance Yacht Racing's Grand Soleil 43 Quokka, skippered by Christian Reynolds (GBR) was third to the first corner of the course.

In IRC Three, Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep owned by Trevor Middleton (GBR) nailed a very crowded pin end, but the lightweight flyer could not hold on upwind to Jonty and Vicki Layfield's Swan 48 Sleeper (GBR), blasting upwind to make Green Island first in class. Andy Schell and Mia Karlsson (USA) racing Swan 48 Isbjorn was third on the water.

"The RORC Race Team realise the great importance of professional race management and it was fantastic to see all of the fleet get away to a clean start," commented RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. "Up at Fort Charlotte the line was set for a 090 wind direction, and although we saw a shift during the sequence of about 10 degrees, the team did a good job, providing a good line with fair starts. The breeze was a little up on forecast with about 18-22 knots of wind. We will be tracking the fleet 24-7 via the YB Tracker and wish them all a safe and memorable race."

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Irish sailors are competing among the seventy-eight yachts have entered the eleventh edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, wherein an excess of 700 sailors from six continents and yachts from over 20 nations will compete in the thrilling race around 11 Caribbean islands starting on Monday 18th February.

A young Irish contingent will be making the trip to Antigua this year. The National Yacht Club's Will Byrne (25) and Chris Raymond (24) will be competing with Kevin McLaughlin from Newport RI on his X-55 for a third year in a row. The Irish/American team will be hoping for further success this year after a third place in the C600 and a class win in the Newport to Bermuda race in 2018. Elsewhere in the fleet, Cliodhna Connolly (24) from Baltimore SC will be racing with White Rhino 2 the Carkeek 47.

Howth Yacht Club's Conor Fogerty, who has sailed to so much success in former editions of the race, is not competing in 2019 as he prepares for challenges closer to home this season.

 

Other Irish crews from both the south and east coasts are competing and Afloat.ie is currently compiling an Irish crew listing for future publication. Any details to [email protected] are appreciated.

Winners from the Olympic Games, America's Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and multiple world champions have gathered in Antigua and will be competing alongside passionate Corinthian sailors, both young and old.

X55 RyeDun Laoghaire's Will Byrne and Chris Raymond are competing on Kevin McLaughlin X55 Rye

Ten multihulls will be racing, boasting phenomenal talent among the crews. Jason Carroll (USA) will be racing MOD70 Argo with Francois Gabart, winner of the 2012-13 Vendée Globe, and Jules Verne winner Brian Thompson (GBR). Giovanni Soldini's (ITA) Multi70 Maserati has been in fine form taking line honours in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and the RORC Transatlantic Race. The 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 is the first time that Maserati and Argo have lined up. If the conditions are right, both teams are capable of eclipsing the Multihull Race Record set by Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3 in 2016 (31 hours, 59 minutes, 04 seconds).

White Rhino 2	Carkeek 47Cliodhna Connolly from Baltimore is sailing on the Carkeek 47 White Rhino 2
Shannon Falcone (ANT), a two-time winner of the America's Cup is racing his foiling F4 catamaran Falcon, and back after last year's capsize is Greg Synstad's Fujin (USA) with America's Cup winner Peter Isler and Olympic Gold medallist Jonathan McKee on board. Two American Gunboats are likely to have a close battle; John Gallagher's Gunboat 62 Chim Chim and the Gunboat 60 Arethusa of Phil Lotz; the latter having the combined talents of Paul Larsen (AUS) and Jeff Mearing (GBR) on board.

IRC Zero is the largest class competing this year with 15 teams. The quest for Monohull Line Honours is wide open. A trio of Maxi72s are likely contenders to be first home and to win the race overall. Hap Fauth, two-time winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 (2015 and 2017) is racing the brand new Bella Mente (USA) with a stellar crew including; Terry Hutchinson (USA) skipper for American Magic in the 36th America's Cup. The formidable afterguard includes two-time Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper, Mike Sanderson (NZL), three-time round the world winner Brad Jackson, and Adrian Stead (GBR) who has been on winning teams for the '600 more than any other sailor.

George Sakellaris (USA) racing Maxi 72 Proteus in his fifth RORC Caribbean 600 has also won overall on two previous occasions (2014 and 2016). Proteus' crew includes Curtis Blewett (CAN) an America's Cup and round the world race winner, plus multiple Star Sailors League winner Mark Mendelblatt (USA), Volvo Ocean Race winner Dirk De Ridder (NED), and multiple world champion Andy Hemmings (GBR).

Peter Harrison's British Maxi 72 Sorcha will be lining up for the first time this season against the other Maxis and it will also be their first time in the race. The crew includes numerous past winners of the RORC Caribbean 600: Willy Beavis (GBR), Mo Gray (GBR), Steve Hayles (GBR), Andy Meiklejohn (NZL), Tim Powell (GBR), Freddy Shanks (GBR) and Niklas Zennstrom (SWE).

David and Peter Askew (USA) racing Volvo 70 Wizard will be skippered by Charlie Enright (USA) and three past winners of the Volvo Ocean Race: Simon Fisher (GBR), Phil Harmer (AUS) and Daryl Wislang (NZL).

The two largest yachts in the race; JV 115 Nikata and Will Apold's Canadian Southern Wind 96 Sorceress will be hoping for full-on conditions. Nikata and Sorceress are expected to have a magnificent superyacht battle around the 600-mile course.

British yacht Tala is vying to be the first TP52 to win the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. The relative minnows of IRC Zero include several yachts 50ft or less. Cookson 50s have won the race overall on two occasions and this year two will be battling for glory: Joseph Mele's American Triple Lindy and Franco Niggeler's Swiss Kuka 3, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race winner Chuny Bermudez (ESP). Carkeek 47 White Rhino 2, owned by Stuart Todd (USA) and British-based Ker 46 Lady Mariposa, sailed by Nigel King (GBR) are the smallest yachts in the big boat class.


The RORC Caribbean 600 is part of the Class40 2019 Championship and a record 10 pocket rockets will be on the start line. Catherine Pourre's Eärendil set the race record last year (2 days 13 hours and 15 seconds) and Louis Burton's BHB was runner-up in 2018. Three stand-out new French entrants are: Luke Berry's Lamotte - Module Création, third in the 2018 Class40 Championship, Aïna Enfance Et Avenir, skippered by Aymeric Chappellier who was runner-up in the 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre and 2018 Route du Rhum. Kito de Pavant, skipper of Made in Midi is a former Figaro winner and Vendée Globe competitor.

IRC One has entries from seven different nations; Gibb Kane's Swan 66 Bounty (USA) is the largest yacht in the class and the crew includes round the world sailor Mike Joubert (RSA). The fastest team on IRC rating is Godspeed 52 owned by Christian Kargl (SUI). Marten 49 Summer Storm, owned by Andrew Berdon (USA) includes Stu Bannatyne (NZL) who is the only sailor to have won the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race four times. Two Antiguan boats will also be competing in this class: Bernie Evan-Wong will be taking charge of his RP37 Taz and competing in his 11th edition of the race as skipper, and OnDeck's Farr 65 Spirit of Juno, skippered by Paul Jackson. Finnish hopes lie with the Swan 57 Lintu owned by Jyrki Maeki and Xp44 Xtra Staerk owned by Arto Linnervuo. Second in class last year, Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra will be raced by a team from Lake Constance, Germany.

IRC Two could be described as the clash of the British-based charter boats. Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster will be taking part in their 7th race, winning class on six occasions. Performance Yacht Racing based in Cowes, Isle of Wight has three entries; Grand Soleil 43s Quokka and Jua Kali, plus Beneteau First 47.7 EH01. Two Beneteau First 40s from Hamble, Hampshire will have their own private battle: Yuri Fadeev's Optimus Prime and Sailing Logic's Rocket Dog 2, and Pamala Baldwin (USA) racing the Antiguan-based J/122 Liquid is back in action after completing last year's exceptionally windy race.

Three vintage Swans will be racing in IRC Three: Swan 441 Charisma will be sailed by Constantin Claviez (GER) who will be taking on two S&S Swan 48s; Isbjorn, skippered by Andy Schell (USA) and Sleeper X owned by Antiguan residents Jonty and Vicki Layfield (GBR). Also in class is Richard Oswald's British Elan 450 Emily of Cowes and Trevor Middleton's Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep (GBR) who was overall runner-up in the 2018 RORC Transatlantic Race.

Miramar Sailing's Grand Soleil 46.3 Phoenix, skippered by Antiguan-resident Pippa Turton (GBR) will be racing with an all-women crew from five different nations.

Three teams will be racing in the Two Handed class; Hanse 430 Avanti skippered by Jeremi Jablonski (USA) will race with Marek Mirota (POL). Swan 45 Nemesis skippered by James Heald (GBR) will race with Peter Doggart (USA). The smallest yacht in the race, Olson 35 Cabbyl Vane will be crewed by two brothers from the Netherlands, Johannes and Jankorf Gerssen.

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Page 13 of 45

RORC Fastnet Race

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge.

For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.

The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish for 2021 is in Cherbourg via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Cherbourg.

Fastnet Race - FAQs

The 49th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, UK on Sunday 8th August 2021.

The next two editions of the race in 2021 and 2023 will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin at the head of the Normandy peninsula, France

Over 300. A record fleet is once again anticipated for the world's largest offshore yacht race.

The international fleet attracts both enthusiastic amateur, the seasoned offshore racer, as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world.

Boats of all shapes, sizes and age take part in this historic race, from 9m-34m (30-110ft) – and everything in between.

The Fastnet Race multihull course record is: 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds (2019, Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier)

The Fastnet Race monohull course record is: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing).

David and Peter Askew's American VO70 Wizard won the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, claiming the Fastnet Challenge Cup for 1st in IRC Overall.

Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001.

The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

The winner of the first Fastnet Race was the former pilot cutter Jolie Brise, a boat that is still sailing today.

Cork sailor Henry P F Donegan (1870-1940), who gave his total support for the Fastnet Race from its inception in 1925 and competed in the inaugural race in his 43ft cutter Gull from Cork.

Ireland has won the Fastnet Race twice. In 1987 the Dubois 40 Irish Independent won the Fastnet Race overall for the first time and then in 2007 – all of twenty years after Irish Independent’s win – Ireland secured the overall win again this time thanks to Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland in Kilrush.

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Fastnet Race 2023 Date

The 2023 50th Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Saturday, 22nd July 2023

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At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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