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Displaying items by tag: Royal Ocean Racing Club

Racing across the Atlantic evokes the primal desires of any offshore sailor and the Grenada-bound RORC Transatlantic Race, departing from Calero Marinas Marina Arrecife, Lanzarote on Saturday 26th November, has attracted a highly diverse range of boats and crews to compete in the third edition. 

Whilst the Atlantic is only half the size of the Pacific, Mid-Atlantic is as far away from land as possible, save Point Nemo in the depths of the Southern Ocean and Mike Slade's 100ft canting keel maxi, Leopard 3 is no stranger to the Atlantic. Leopard has accomplished five separate Transatlantic records over the last nine years and has crossed the Atlantic 12 times, with this race being Boat Captain, Chris Sherlock's 30th crossing. Leopard 3 is very capable of breaking the current monohull record for the RORC Transatlantic Race, set by Jean-Paul Riviere's Finot 100, Nomad IV in the last race in 10 days 07 hours 06 mins 59 secs.

"The RORC record is the one we have not had and we want to add this to our list of achievements," commented Leopard's Chris Sherlock. "We are close to finalising the crew which will include regular Leopard crew with Olympic, Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup experience as well as eight guests who have a lot of racing experience and a big desire to race across the Atlantic. This combination works really well as it makes for a fantastic atmosphere on board.

"After a highly successful inshore season, winning at the Maxi Worlds and St. Tropez, Leopard is being put into offshore mode for the RORC Transatlantic Race. Transforming Leopard for the race is a big task and Lanzarote has everything we need for the preparation. The installation of all the safety equipment is mandatory and on top of that we have a different sail wardrobe and take spares and the tools to fix just about anything on board. Once we have started the race, the crew is on its own and we have to account for any eventuality. All of our guests are attending a sea survival course which is invaluable as well as a great way for the two groups of friends to bond together."

Maserati, synonymous with Italian flair and style, will be represented in this year's RORC Transatlantic by Giovanni Soldini's foiling MOD70. Maserati will be literally flying off the start line! This will be the first time the multihull in its new foiling set up has raced across the Atlantic, and it is something of a test bed for the international team.

Soldini has over 25 years of ocean racing experience and is probably the most decorated Italian offshore sailor of all time winning the Around Alone, Québec-Saint Malo, OSTAR and Transat Jacques Vabre. Soldini has completed over 40 oceanic crossings and since 2011 has been the skipper of the VOR70 Maserati, setting records for the Cadiz-San Salvador route and the New York-San Francisco Gold Route. However, the MOD70 Maserati is a new project only conceived this year.

"We are studying how this new concept will work and we have made some progress, but we are in research mode." explained Giovanni Soldini. "Our goal will be to try to fly as much as possible, but there are some conditions where it will be impossible. We went around the world nearly two times with the VOR70 but it was time to change and to do something different. Personally for me, this is a bigger challenge and foiling in the middle of the Atlantic is certainly challenging. This race presents a great opportunity to try to understand more about the concept.

"On the tiller, when Maserati is flying, is just fantastic. It is very fast but you feel safe and in control and it is something very new; to fly with a big boat is something that is very special. During the race we will be studying and trying many different solutions to see where our performance is good or not so good, but it is not always black and white. This year we will be investing in the concept for the future. Our first step will be to achieve stable flight in the open sea with waves, so that will be a big job."

Innovative foiling flyer
Infiniti 46 Maverick, skippered by Oliver Cotterell will be one of the smallest yachts in the race, but her innovative design means that Maverick is capable of tremendous speed. DSS foils, like short airplane wings protrude from the side of the hull, producing both righting moment and lift. Maverick also has a canting keel and the combination of these allow the boat to sail faster than the wind speed, in certain conditions.

"I have been watching the RORC Transatlantic Race since its inception. I think it's a brilliant ocean race that's been growing year on year. I have heard great things about its implementation, organisation and the back-up RORC provides for the teams involved," commented Skipper, Oliver Cotterell. "Maverick has been entered for the RORC Transatlantic Race because it is designed for performance racing vessels. Just looking at the entries and the interest so far shows that this is a serious race with some serious teams. We want to compete against high performance elite racing yachts and the best teams on the circuit.

"The speeds we are maintaining whilst foiling on Maverick are unprecedented for a 46ft monohull, but it is actually a very stable feeling. The DSS foils mean she not only stays flat, but she also lifts her bow so that as we navigate through Atlantic swells, the boat should remain surprisingly dry. Maverick was always designed with long distance competitive offshore racing in mind. Preparation for CAT.1 racing was incorporated in the design from the very beginning. The boat has watertight bulkheads and has been built with the required inventory since her inception."

Published in RORC

Despite three more inshore races being held on day five of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews, France Blue leads with a similar 11.5 point margin to yesterday, but Flanders North Sea is now the team that has relieved France White of second place overall.

Today racing returned to the central-eastern Solent with two windward-leeward races and one round the cans course. The day started in July-like sunshine and a light southwesterly, but the arrival of an occluding front early afternoon brought cloud, light rain and an ultra-shifty breeze and fog thick enough to make spotting marks hard - more October-like conditions.

The first race saw a pair of wins for GBR Red: The Henning family's Mumm 36, Alice, won in Class 1 and the J/35, Bengal Magic, claimed the small boat race - the first bullets for both boats.

For Alice, it was well timed. This was after a recent fight with a pontoon in Cork that required intense repair work only completed last Friday, and followed a grounding on the Hampshire shore yesterday and another long night in the shed.

"It hasn't been great this last couple of weeks," admitted Simon Henning. As to today's race win: "The wind was right for us - nice and light on the first beat. We had a good start and went left, where the tide was better."

The lighter, flatter water first race favoured the 20+ year old designs, Bengal Magic skipper James Chalmers agreed: "The wind was a bit lighter and everything just seemed a lot easier. We had to spin around the back because we were over early, but we knew the direction we wanted to go in and give that a push." They too benefitted from hitting the left.

However GBR Red has 184.5 points, just 4.5 away from the podium, but is struggling for consistency. La Réponse's normally immaculate starting left them today - in all three races they were over early. "The team thing is great," continued Chalmers. "You have good days and you have bad days. In the last race, we went the wrong way up the first beat and paid for it. In this event you get punished for the slightest mistake."

Today's top scoring boat was Noel Racine's JPK 1010 Foggy Dew, the 'small' boat in France White with a 5-1-1. Their team mate, the First 40.7, Pen Koent of Emmanuel le Men, is the top scoring 'big' boat, however their performance is offset by Didier Gaudoux's JND 39, Lann Ael 2, which scored three of today's biggest results. Mention should be made of Andrew Hurst's sistership, Stamina, which had her best day finishing third the two final races.

Race two saw a win for GBR Blue's and the Blair family's King 40, Cobra, but they sandwiched this between an 10th and an 8th. Spokesman and mastman, Richard Moxey, described their winning race: "We nailed the start and the first beat, going left. We made smooth manoeuvres, no muck-ups. Then we hoisted and did a quick gybe and had clear wind for the run."

In the Israeli team, placed fifth overall, it was the turn of the JPK 1010, Carlton, Tel Aviv, to perform best, posting a 2-7-5.

Omer Brand, upwind trimmer and Team Israel manager commented: "All in all, I think we are doing well for our first attempt bearing in mind that most of the guys [and girls] have never sailed on these types of boats nor done a serious regatta before. They are loving it and are never giving up."

Once again France Blue was the star performer, but even they are having a mixed set of results, as yacht designer Daniel Andrieu, skipper of their 'small' boat, Cifraline 4, explained: "Yesterday we had a very, very poor day with bad starts, laylines and spinnaker sets - everything was bad. Yesterday night we had a big meeting - we didn't change anything, but we decided how to improve everything. This morning we went out early and did a lot of manoeuvres with spinnakers, gybes, tacks, laylines, etc and after that we were better prepared."

Cifraline's seven crew, five of whom, Andrieu admits, are closer to 70 than 60 years old, also preferred being back in the central eastern Solent, even though conditions were still tricky. "The wind is more shifty. You get a lake of wind and then a shift of 20°. It is great fun!"

Racing continues tomorrow with the traditional race around the Isle of Wight which will score with a 1.5x co-efficient.

Published in Commodores Cup

The third edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's RORC Transatlantic Race will start on Saturday 26 November 2016 and the line-up will include MOD70s and Maxi yachts vying for the prestigious IMA Transatlantic Trophy awarded to the line honours monohull winner. The usual diverse range of highly competitive, experienced offshore RORC racers will also be on the start line. Their focus will be competing for the RORC Transatlantic Race antique silver trophy and the new RORC Caribbean Series Trophy for the best combined result in the RORC Transatlantic Race and 2017 RORC Caribbean 600.

The 2,995 nm RORC Transatlantic Race will be welcomed back to Marina Lanzarote, situated in Arrecife where the 'lunar-like' volcanic mountains provide a spectacular backdrop to the start of the race from the most easterly Canary Island. Race hosts are the well-known Calero family who are no strangers to race boats and major regattas. They have organised a full week of hospitality and parties before the start of the race which will keep the race crews fully entertained.

Grenada welcomes back competitors
The highlight for most crews is the arrival and warm welcome received in Grenada, where Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina will be hosting the fleet once more, along with the continued support of the Grenada Tourism Authority. The beautiful tropical spice island is also famed for its dive sites, including the world's first underwater sculpture gallery at Molinere Bay. The prizegiving will be held on Friday 16th December, giving crews enough time to enjoy everything the island has to offer before Christmas, or to join in the Caribbean regatta season on their way to the RORC Caribbean 600 in February 2017.

Super-Maxis return
Several yachts have expressed their interest in the race and intend to compete in the 2016 edition. Returning for the third consecutive race will be the Southern Wind 90, Windfall and Jean-Paul Riviere's 100ft Finot-Conq, Nomad IV who won IRC overall in the 2015 race, along with the IMA Trophy for monohull line honours. Nomad IV also set a new monohull record for the RORC Transatlantic Race in the same year.

Other notable Maxi's include the largest on the entry list, Peter Harrison's Farr 115ft (35m) ketch, Sojana, and current holder of 5 World Speed Sailing records and 7 course records, Mike Slade's 100ft Farr (30m), Leopard:

"Full congratulations to the RORC for promoting an east to west transatlantic race which has proved a success in the last two years. Leopard is hoping to compete in the event and would be keen to attack the record set last year by Nomad IV of 10 days 07 hours 06 minutes and 59 seconds to add to our other Atlantic records," exclaims Slade.

Multihull battle for line honours
The on-the-water MOD70 battle looks set to continue between Lloyd Thornburg's unstoppable Phaedo3 and Tony Lawson's Concise 10, skippered for the past eight years by 28-year old Ned Collier-Wakefield of Team Concise. Both record-breaking crews have registered their intent to repeat the MOD70 duel after match racing across the Atlantic in last year's race.

Hotting things up is the possibility of Sidney Gavignet's Musandam-Oman Sail joining the race. Oman Sail's flying machine recently claimed multihull line honours, taking over 2 hours off their existing record and setting a new world record for the fastest-ever sail round Ireland in the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race - with Phaedo3 and Concise 10 minutes behind them!

Following the recent launch of Giovanni Soldini's newly refitted semi-foiling MOD70, Maserati, the Milanese navigator seems to also have his sights set on smashing records such as the RORC Transatlantic Race in a bid to continue his record breaking campaign. Watch this space, as it will be huge battle by the four MOD 70's for the first to arrive in Grenada.

Diverse fleet
It's not all about super-maxis and trimarans though, as the last two editions of the race have attracted highly competitive boats from the smaller end of the fleet, such as Class40s and several Two Handed teams. This third edition is set to follow in the same mode.

The first boat to enter the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race was James Heald's Swan 45, Nemesis and he will have good competition from Ossie Stewart's Dufour 45, Island Girl. Veteran Olympic sailing medallist, Stewart last crossed the Atlantic in 2014 with the ARC. This time they are hoping to cross with the RORC Transatlantic Race and have big aspirations of a podium position before taking on another season of racing in the Caribbean. Rónán Ó Siochrú's Sun Fast 37, Desert Star is also hoping to be on the start line and the Principal at Irish Offshore Sailing has a wealth of offshore experience.

Two new boats to watch out for will be the DSS equipped Infinity 46, Maverick and a brand new Marc Lombard designed IRC 46, Pata Negra for Giles Redpath. Redpath is planning a full RORC Offshore Championship season and the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race will be the first event of his 2017 campaign.

Published in RORC

French teams dominated the 2016 RORC Cowes Dinard St Malo Race, with seven classes and the overall win going to French teams. Ironically it was the multihull class, for many years dominated by the French, that Great Britain had its only victory.Tony Lawson's British MOD70 Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield took multihull line honours in an elapsed time of 10 hours 32 minutes 50 seconds and was the winner after time correction.

Lionel Péan's Volvo 70, Sfs II took monohull line honours, in an elapsed time of 14 hours 33 minutes 03 seconds and after time correction was declared the overall winner. Although he grew up in La Rochelle, St Malo was home when Péan skippered L'Esprit d’Equipe to victory in the 1985 Whitbread Round the World Race.

“It is normal for us to take line honours, as we are the fastest boat but to win overall is very special for me and the crew” commented Lionel Péan. “It was a beat all the way to Guernsey with the wind getting up to about 20 knots and then the wind just died at the moment we needed to tack around the islands, so that was frustrating. However, the wind came back up to about 10 knots which was enough for us to finish at a good speed. It was great to be back in St Malo, with all the classic boats I remember from years ago. 30 years ago, almost to the day, we sailed into St Malo as winners of the Whitbread. For this race, Eric Sendra was on board, as he was for the Whitbread 30 years ago and Sébastien Audigan, who is incredible. However, most of the team are young and we are looking to build up a team for the 2020 Volvo Ocean Race.”

In IRC One, Jacques Pelletier's Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon was the winner, ahead of former RORC Commodore, Mike Greville, racing Ker 39, Erivale III. Alan Hannon's RP45 Katsu was third in class, putting his team up to second overall for the RORC Season's Points Championship. Nick Jones’s First 44.7 Lisa was fifth in class and still leads the series overall. The RORC Team of Katsu and Lisa also walked away with the John West Trophy for the best 2 boats from a club in IRC Overall.

In IRC Two, Gilles Fournier's J/133 Pintia, enjoyed their fourth class win of the season. Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster, returning to RORC action for the first time since the RORC Caribbean 600, finished just under two minutes behind Pintia after time correction to hold on to second. Herve Benic's French First 40 Iritis was third.

In IRC Three, Marc Alperovitch's JPK 10.80 Timeline, which will be representing France in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, was the victor. Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordret's JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls was second but still retains the class lead for the championship.

Jean-Eudes Renier's JPK 10.80 Shaitan was third in IRC Three and the winner of IRC Two Handed Class after a terrific battle with Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies J/120 Nunatak. The British pair crossed the finish line just in front of Shaitan but after time correction, the class win went to Jean-Eudes Renier's team. Chris Schram's J/120 Maverick was third having led both Shaitan and Nunatak for most of the race but sailed into a wind hole near |Les |Minquiers and watched the others sail around them.

In IRC Four, Noel Racine JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew was the runaway winner, taking line honours for the class and the corrected time win by several hours. Racine was very pleased with the win which he put down to their negotiation of the tricky tidal conditions at Les Casquets, wriggling through just before the wind dropped. Cooper & England's Dehler 38 Longue Pierre was second with Jonathan Rolls' Swan 38 Xara. Foggy Dew now leads IRC Four for the season.

Halvard Mabire's Class 40 Campagne De France completed the rout for France winning the Class 40 division. Adriaan van Oord Dutch team racing Moonpalace was second with Christophe Coatnoan's Partouche is third.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the Channel Race starting on the 30th July from Cowes around marks with a Solent finish, the race will be between 100-140 miles.

Published in RORC

With the deadline for entries into the 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup now passed, eight three boat teams are set to contest the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial championship for Corinthian crews, taking place out of Cowes over 23-30th July.

Teams for the 13th Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, comprise three from Team France, two from Team GBR and others from Flanders North Sea and, for the first time, Israel. The last to raise its head above the parapet is the Celtic Team, comprising two boats from Scotland and one from France.

The Celtic Team has been masterminded by Scottish adventurer, Jock Wishart, who is campaigning Jean-Eudes Renier's JPK 10.80, Shaitan. Shaitan is joined by the Corby 37, Aurora, which co-owners Roderick Stuart and Bill Ram's raced in the Scottish team in 2014 and originally, when new was Eamonn Rohan's Blondie III and competed for Ireland in 2006. The Celtic team's small boat is a new JPK 10.10, Space Oddity, campaigned by St Malo-based sailmaker, Marc Noël.

Once upon a time a grinder on Lionheart in the  America's Cup, Wishart is best known for his epic expeditions. Way too numerous to list in full, these have included rowing across the Atlantic, the fastest circumnavigation of the globe in a powered vessel (Cable & Wireless Adventurer), rowing to the geomagnetic North Pole, various other expeditions to the North Pole, including, last year, the Arctic Rugby Challenge, a trek there to play the 'most northerly rugby match in history'.

Wishart has previously crewed in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, but this is the first campaign of his own. He admits: "It has always been one of those things that I've always wanted to do. Everything came together - I haven't got a big expedition on this year, so it was time to do a bit of sailing."

He took delivery of Shaitan just four weeks ago and, after two training weekends, has taken to the race course and in the recent RORC IRC Nationals, finishing ninth in the 19-boat IRC Two class. 

As to this year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, Wishart observes: "There are no weak teams - they're all strong. It is going to be very, very competitive and that is good for the event."

Shaitan RTJPK 10.80, Shaitan in the recent RORC IRC Nationals Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

According to Aurora's Rod Stuart, their aim had been to field another Scottish team as in 2014, but they were unable to muster a small boat. He is pleased with the new arrangement: "Scots and French sailing together, it's an old alliance and should be a lot of fun. I don't think it will be as 'stiff upper lip' as being part of GBR!"

In his youth, Stuart raced a 30ft trimaran solo the 'wrong way' across the North Atlantic in the 1988 OSTAR, convincingly winning his class ahead of a young Royal Marine called Pete Goss.

His present campaign began six years ago aboard an Elan 410, EOS. "In the front of the boat were all young Laser sailors in their late teens from the RYA centre at Cumbrae," Stuart recounts. "We started pretty awfully, but four years later we were on the podium in the Scottish Series and in Dun Laoghaire, etc." 

They also raced numerous offshores such as Round Ireland, the Rolex Fastnet Race and the 2013 Middle Sea Race, in which they finished second in a 30-strong IRC Two. They acquired Aurora for the 2014 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup and have been 'learning the boat' ever since.

Stuart is a big fan of the Brewin Dolpin Commodores' Cup: "There are lots of special things about it - it is very intense and very tiring and you are sailing against a selection of the best boats from all these different countries."

The team aspect is also interesting. With Scotland two years ago "we all lived together, had our own briefings and our own weather guy and that made a big difference. We are planning to do the same again.

"For us this is a continuation of our learning process. We finished two years ago feeling that we could do better. On the way back home we decided we were going to come back again."

 However as Stuart observes: "Since the boat's called Space Oddity, he [Marc Noël] is clearly a Bowie fan, so he's got to be alright..."

AuroraRoderick Stuart and Bill Ram's Corby 37, Aurora competed as part of the Scottish team in the 2014 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

 Eddie Warden Owen, CEO of the RORC welcomed the eighth team: "As a Welshman I am delighted to see a Celtic team, which is the initiative of my good friend Jock Wishart. There is a good mix of teams this year; the standard is high and there's no stand-out team, so predicting a winner is impossible which is very good for the teams and the event. For sure I'll be rooting for the Celts."

Published in Commodores Cup

Royal Cork's Antix (Anthony O'Leary) is sailing in the Fast 40 class and Jump Juice (Conor Phelan) is sailing in Class 1of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's IRC National Championship on the Solent. After race six, Jump is lying sixth and Antix is lying eighth. Results on RORC's facebook page are here.

With micro-storms, intense, frequent deluges, thunder and lightning, conditions for day two of the IRC Nationals resembled an episode from the Old Testament; the Great Flood perhaps.

This made for a "very testing day," recounted Race Officer, Stuart Childerley. "It looked really good for half an hour, but then very quickly, shower cells developed, creating havoc."

The 61 strong fleet was initially packed off on a windward-leeward course. However, as Childerley explained: "For those, you expect half decent conditions to make it fair, while we were seeing a number of shifts and the wind was up and down. Then the wind just dropped out completely. So the decision-making process wasn't in their hands and I abandoned that one."

Unfortunately from then on, conditions turned 'biblical' as a stream of storms cells rolled across the Solent, causing the wind range to span nothing to 20 knots, with giant shifts.

During a momentary break, one round the cans race, where the wind direction was less critical, was successfully completed, albeit with a few stop-starts. While the intention was to hold three races, in fact after some patient waiting by increasingly soggy crew, the decision was made to send the fleet in, after the conditions failed to stabilise.

Today's race was special as its winners, across each of the five classes, were awarded a 'Tiny Mitchell trophy' named after the founder of the club that is now RORC Cowes.

In the FAST40+ class, Peter Morton's Carkeek 40 Mk3, Girls On Film, scored her third bullet today and now holds a four point lead over Sir Keith Mills' Invictus. Coming second today, and now third overall, is South African Mike Bartholomew's GP42, Tokoloshe II.

"We had a lucky break," admitted Bartholomew. "The wind was all over the place and positions were changing frequently." Tokoloshe was OCS and then found the wrong end of a shift on the first beat. "But then we were in the right place at the right time on the last leg and got a private little breeze in the middle and pulled away as it shut down behind us, Bartholomew continued. "It was as simple as that."

In IRC One, Rod Stuart, skipper of the Scottish Corby 37, Aurora, was delighted to have won today's race, as he thought they had been fourth. This leaves Aurora second overall, tied with Seb Blair's King 40, Cobra.

As to how he found today, Stuart said: "It is just like sailing in Scotland - wet, wet, wet! There were a lot of different conditions all of the time and the thunder and lightning added a different dimension to it, as did the frequently diminished visibility!"

In IRC Two, the largest class at the IRC Nationals, today's surprise winner was Andy Theobald's J/122, R&W, which in yesterday's four races had been unable to finish a race better than 13th. However today they were on fire, winning the race and the Tiny Mitchell trophy.

Adam Gosling's JPK 10.80+ Yes!, finished third to retain the lead overall in IRC Two, three points ahead of the Dutch team on Frans Rodenburg's Elke, the highest rated of five First 40s competing.

Rodenburg said he is enjoying the high level of racing at the IRC Nationals, especially among the First 40s and in particular against La Réponse, of RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine.

"In the Netherlands there are less racing boats, so we come here to find competition. We are pleased to be doing so well," said Rodenburg.

In the abandoned race, the Dutch team had been out in front and were confident they were winning before the plug was pulled on it. Finishing second in the race that was then completed, came as compensation. "I think overall we made good calls," explained Rodenburg. "We had to decide which sail to use - we were thinking 'Code 0', but we used a jib, which was good and we gained some distance upwind. On the last leg we tried to overtake R&W, but they kept covering us and we couldn't pass them."

Another Dutch team won today in IRC Three: In the five races held to date, Willem Schopman's Bashford Howison 36, Intention, has yet to finish off the podium. Yet they remain third overall, behind Benoit D'halluin's A35, Dunkerque-Les Dunes de Flandre, and the British J/35, Bengal Magic, with two bullets apiece.

Finally in the five boat HP30 class, today's winner was Malcolm Wootton's Farr 30, Pegasus, leaving her second overall to John Reivers' Melges 32, Drop Bear M32.

To make up for today's lost races, the aim is to start half an hour earlier for tomorrow, the final day of competition, with a warning signal at 0955. The intention is to run two windward-leewards and one round the cans race. The forecast is for 8-12 knots from the southwest.

Published in RORC

Following on from last week's Irish IRC Nationals at Howth, the cream of the British IRC fleet, from both the UK and abroad, will include several brand new race boats going head to head over 24-26th June at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's IRC National Championship.

The three day long regatta will include a mix of windward-leeward and round the cans courses on the Solent to determine the 2016 IRC National Champion.

At the regatta, attention will be particularly on the two new IRC-based box rule classes making their debut this year: the Fast 40+ and the HP30.

Leading the charge will be the ten Fast 40+ yachts. This new breed is already providing some of the most competitive home-grown grand prix-level handicap keelboat racing the UK has seen since the height of the Admiral's Cup - but this time at high speed.

The class Fast 40+ made its formal debut at the RORC Easter Challenge, which was won by American William Coates' Ker 43 Outra Vez. Since then Peter Morton's Carkeek 40 Mk3 Girls on Film has claimed the Vice Admiral's Cup and appears the campaign to beat.

Making her debut in the class at the IRC Nationals is Andrew Pearce's Magnum 4 - a Ker 40+ and near sistership to Sir Keith Mills' Invictus.

Pearce is the only 'second generation' owner to date in the FAST40+ class. His highly successful Magnum III was the older version of the Ker 40, in which he won the Morgan Cup in 2012 and finished third overall in the RORC's 2013 Season's Points Championship, including being top British boat in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Pearce is very much looking forward to taking his new speedster out at the IRC Nationals: "This is everything we didn't have when I had the last Ker 40." When he was campaigning Magnum III, the FAST40+ class was proposed, but it only gained traction last year. The new class, and the prospect of ten or more similar high performance boats competing, is what prompted Pearce to commission his latest Magnum.

Having first sailed her last weekend, Pearce says Magnum 4 is already proving lightning fast: "She does slip along beautifully. On Saturday, it was very light, but we were moving along at 5 knots in 5 knots of wind speed. On Sunday, there was 18 knots of breeze and kite up downwind, she was doing 21.5 knots. In the old boat, if we hit 18 knots we were thrilled. So first weekend out and we've already hit 20 knots with no fuss, no bother."

So early on, Pearce warns that his expectations for the IRC Nationals aren't high - he would be happy finishing in the top half of the fleet.

If the FAST40+ class was created to satisfy an appetite among owners to race fast boats, the same is also true, albeit at a lower price point, of the even newer HP30.

The HP30 is defined as having a minimum IRC Time Correction Coefficient of 1.030, must be 5-9.15m long, have a displacement length ratio (DLR) of 100 and maximum weight of 2000kg, although pre-September 2015 boats can be up to 9.7m, with a DLR of <118 and maximum weight of 2135kg. It varies from the FAST 40+ rule in that asymmetric spinnakers are compulsory and boats must be 'production', ie coming from a series of three or more, carrying a Craft Identification Number in compliance with the EU Recreational Craft Directive. This latter feature, for cost containment, aims at preventing modifications of any of a boat's major features, such as hull, rig, keel, etc.

Integral in setting up the class has been 'Boatspeed Doctor' Jochem Visser who says that it came about after lengthy discussions with the RORC Rating Office examining why small fast boats were leaving IRC: "People's attitudes are changing - they like boats that are easy to use, they like small crews, straightforward logistics, so they can park it away. Also the faster sportsboats were having a hard time under handicap racing. So the only way forward was to put them all together - not based on a size of boat, but on a type."

Having lined up for the very first time at last month's Vice Admiral's Cup, the IRC Nationals will be the HP30's second event. Competing are two Farr 280s, including Fomo, campaigned by American Lloyd Thornburg, owner of MOD 70 Phaedo. There is a Melges 32, John Reivers' Drop Bear M32, at the top end of the rating spectrum and the Farr 30, Malcolm Wootton's Pegasus, at the bottom.

Visser helps campaign Dane Thorkild Juncker's Cool Runnings, an Open 7.50 with IMOCA 60 lineage, featuring a rotating wingmast and twin rudders. Cool Runnings finished the Vice Admirals' Cup second behind Fomo.



Published in RORC

Past RORC Commodore, Mile Greville racing his British Ker 39 Erivale III, is the overall winner of the 2016 Morgan Cup Race after IRC time correction. Erivale III put in a superb performance in IRC One, finishing the 108 mile race over an hour ahead of any boat in their class after time correction. This year's race was a light air reach across the English Channel, with patchy breeze and numerous wind shifts, to test the teams.

“This is the first time I have won the Morgan Cup, it is now ticked off the list.” smiled Mike Greville. “We came in with the girls on the Class40, so we knew we had done well but we really made a big gain in the last five miles. After we finished, the breeze seemed to die out for a stack of boats behind us. To get into that position the boys did really well,especially during the night when the breeze was really patchy and shifting up to 50 degrees. The team were changing headsails every 20 minutes or so, we had everything up from the spinnaker, the Code Zero and the jib. There were two big wind shifts and we got on the right side of both, which really worked out for us, as we pulled away from the pack. It all fell into place, as it does sometimes.”

Tony Lawson's MOD70 Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, took Multihull Line Honours for the Morgan Cup, enjoying light reaching conditions across the English Channel to Dieppe, Completing the race in under ten hours at an average speed of over 10 knots, Concise 10 was travelling at twice the wind speed. Concise 10s next race in the RORC Season's Points Championship will be the Volvo Round Ireland Race, where the British flyer will take on two MOD70s, Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3 and Oman Sail's Musandam-Oman Sail.

“We had a very pleasant race across to Dieppe, it was a pity that we were on our own and I have to say I felt very sorry for the boats that we passed on the delivery home, who were struggling to make the finish. We had a few of the younger less experienced members of the team on board, which is a great way to give them miles to build up their abilities. We didn't have any time to call into Dieppe as we have lots to do before the Volvo Round Ireland Race, including getting Concise 10 across the Celtic Sea. The next race will see three MOD70s line up and we are all pretty evenly matched, so it should be a cracking race.”

In the IRC Canting Keel Class, IMOCA 60 Artemis Ocean Racing, skippered by Mikey Ferguson, took Monohull Line Honours for the Morgan Cup in an elapsed time of 18 hours 32 mins 06 seconds. In IRC One, Erivale III was the winner, Steven Anderson's British Corby 40, Cracklin Rosie was second and Michel Peretie's French JND 39 Stamina was third.

In IRC Two, Gilles Fournier's French J/133 continued their impressive form for the season by winning class for a third race in a row and placing third overall for the Morgan Cup Race. Christopher Daniel's British J/122e Juno was second in class, with Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster returning to RORC racing, and the podium for the class with third place.

In IRC Three, Arnaud Delamare and Eric Mordre's JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls was the victor, taking their third class win of the season and placing second overall for the Morgan Cup Race. RORC Commodore Michael Boyd, racing his JPK 10.80, Audrey was second in class, just under half an hour behind Dream Pearls on corrected time. Audrey was also fourth overall, in an unusual tie after time correction, with Noel Racine's French JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew. Noel Racine's Foggy Dew was the class winner for IRC Four, ahead of Rob Nelson's J/105 Bigfoot and Harry Heijst's Dutch S&S 41, Winsome.

In the special classes, nine yachts competed in the IRC Two-Handed Class. Jean-Eudes Renier's French JPK 10.80 Shaitan scored their second class win of the season just ahead of Louis-Marie Dussere's French JPK 10.10 Raging Bee. Ian Hoddle's British Sun Fast 3600 Game On scored their third podium finish of the season, in third place for the class in the Morgan Cup Race. A close battle in the Class40 Division was won by Tony Lawson's Concise 2. The all girls team, skippered by Joy Fitzgerald, won the class from Christophe Coatnoan's Partouche by just over ten minutes.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues with Volvo Round Ireland Race, which starts on Saturday 18 June. Organised by Wicklow Sailing Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

Published in RORC

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship continues this weekend with the Morgan Cup Race, which will finish in Dieppe for the first time since 2013. The 130-150 mile race marks the half-way stage in the championship. Dieppe is the mostly easterly destination of any of the RORC races starting from Cowes, with stronger tides adding an additional flavour to the strategic mix. Highly changeable weather is forecast for the early part of the race, with a fresh westerly breeze anticipated in the latter. Competitors can expect a warm welcome at the Cercle de la Voile de Dieppe (CVD) and Dieppe is also well known for its superb seafood restaurants and the 17th century Chateau de Dieppe, now a museum with a strong maritime collection.

Racing under the IRC Rating System, a wide variety of yachts will be racing from Great Britain, France and the Netherlands. IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing, skippered by Mikey Ferguson is the hot favourite for Line Honours. In IRC One, Edward Broadway's Ker 40, Hooligan VII is the fastest yacht on IRC rating. RORC Committee member, Michel Peretie, will be racing his new French JND39, Stamina while RORC Vice Commodore Steven Anderson, racing Corby 40 Cracklin Rosie, is relishing the prospect of resuming the battle with past RORC Commodore Mike Greville, racing his Ker 39 Erivale III.

“When the sun comes up on Saturday morning, I hope that Erivale will be in sight!” enthused Steven Anderson. “We are just a fraction of a point ahead of Mike and his team for the championship and we have enjoyed the friendly rivalry over several seasons. Unfortunately through illness, we have had a late start to the season and whilst winning the championship maybe beyond our capabilities, we will focus on winning against boats around us. Cracklin Rosie and Erivale are very well matched. The highlight of the season for Cracklin Rosie will definitely be the 400-mile Île d'Ouessant Race. It is a fantastic race course that we have not done before.”

In IRC Two, three of the top four yachts are in action. The Army Sailing Association's J/111 British Soldier has a slender lead for the class from Sailing Logic's First 40, Rocket Dog II. Gilles Fournier's French J/133 Pintia is also competing and will be hoping to follow up on their overall victories in last month's Cervantes Trophy Race and Myth of Malham Race.

In IRC Three, Delamare & Mordret's French JPK 10.80 leads the class by less than a point from Louis-Marie Dussere's Raging Bee. RORC Rear Commodore Nick Martin, racing British J/105 Diablo-J is third for the season and Jean-Eudes Renier's French JPK 10.80, Shaitan is fourth. This group of boats have been enjoying a tremendous battle in the first half of the season, as Eric Modret from Dream Pearls explains.

“We are enjoying some great racing as we have always done with the RORC, Dream Pearls is based in Hamble because the championship is the best racing for us by far. The competition with the other boats in our class is very tough and sometimes the weather can be as well. For the Myth of Malham Race, we were leading the class at Eddystone and then we lost the breeze and watched as so many boats went past us. It is a little too early to look at the weather for the Morgan Cup but it could be another light race. However, the weather is changing a lot this weekend, so who knows, we might just get the first windy race of the season. After the Morgan Cup, Dream Pearls will sail to Wicklow for the Round Ireland Race and then onto Cork Week for the IRC European Championship.”

In IRC Four, nine teams will be competing, including second overall for the RORC Season's Points Championship, Rob Nelson's British J/105, Bigfoot and third overall, Noel Racine's French JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew. RORC Committee member, Stuart Greenfield's Half Tonner Silver Shamrock will be hoping to make it two class wins in a row, after last month's victory in the Myth of Malham. Ten yachts racing in IRC 3 & IRC 4 will be racing Two-Handed.

Published in RORC

Two MOD70 trimarans that compete in next month's Round Ireland Race will be locking horns for the 250–mile race around the Eddystone Lighthouse this weekend as the the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship continues this UK Bank Holiday Weekend with the Myth of Malham Race. 

Tony Lawson's Concise 10, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield, will be taking on Oman Sail's Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Frenchman, Sidney Gavignet. Two of the world's fastest offshore racing teams could finish the 250 nautical mile race in under 24 hours.

Musandam-Oman Sail left L'Orient on Wednesday 25th May to sail the MOD70 to the start, skipper Sidney Gavignet explains the importance of the Myth of Malham Race in the build up to their season.

“It is an English classic so we are looking forward to it and would love to win it. We will be up against Team Concise which is the main reason why we are doing it but it will be a challenge because they have done a lot of sailing over the last few months and I think they are favourites for this race. The Quebec-St. Malo is a big adventure, but we are sailing against Spindrift, which is much bigger and faster than us. For the Myth of Malham and the Round Ireland, we will be racing against other MOD70s. So we will have a real race against equal competition.”

Gavignet confirmed that there will be a total crew of six on board Musandam-Oman Sail for the Myth of Malham. Damian Foxall, Jean-Luc Nélias, Fahad Alhasni, Sami Al Shukaili and Yasir Al Rahbi. Five of the crew were on board for the record breaking 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race. Jean-Luc Nélias was navigator for Groupama for the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race win and for Team Mapfre in the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race.

Ned Collier Wakefield, skipper of Concise 10, is relishing the prospect of taking on Musandam-Oman Sail. The British MOD 70 will be returning to RORC racing after a spectacular duel with Phaedo3 in the RORC Transatlantic Race and the RORC Caribbean 600.

“Oman Sail has been the scratch boat for the MOD70s for a long time and it will be interesting to line up against them” commented Ned Collier Wakefield. “ We have huge respect for them, in what they have achieved. We found over the winter, the more we lined up against Phaedo, the more we learnt and the more we achieved. By the end of the winter, I think it was fair to say, the level between us was quite well balanced. So it will be interesting to see where that has got us to, when we take on Oman Sail.”

Ned Collier Wakefield confirmed a total of seven regular crew for Concise 10. Joining Collier Wakefield will be; Tom Dawson, Paul Larsen, Jonny Malbon, Jeff Mearing, Jackson Boutelle and race-rookie John Hamilton.

Over 50 yachts are expected on the start line this Saturday for the 250 mile race along the southwest coast of England. As with the start of the Rolex Fastnet, managing the tides along the headlands is an additional component to staying in favourable wind conditions. Weather forecast produce a complex picture for the weekend with a week low pressure system from the east disintegrating with a northeasterly gradient breeze developing along the course.

IMOCA 60, Artemis Ocean Racing, skippered by Mikey Ferguson, will be the scratch boat for the monohulls but as the British team found out in the last race Avenarius & Gondesen's German Ker 46, Shakti is capable of taking line honours and Piet Vroon's Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 is likely to pose an even greater threat. The flying Dutchman returns to RORC Racing after competing in the RORC Caribbean 600 and is defending their IRC Zero win in the Myth Malham from last year.

In IRC One, Nick Jones' First 44.7 leads the class for the championship and will be looking to score better than Robert Nelson's J/105 Bigfoot, which currently leads the RORC Season's Points Championship overall, as well as IRC Two Handed and IRC Four. RORC Vice Commodore, Steven Anderson will be racing his Corby 40, Cracklin' Rosie and hoping to win the class, having been runner up in the 2015 Myth of Malham.

In IRC Two, The Army Sailing Association's J/111 British Soldier and Sailing Logic's First 40 Rocket Dog II will both be competing this weekend and either team could take the class lead for the season with a good result in the Myth of Malham Race.

In IRC Three, two French Two-Handed teams have the opportunity of taking the lead in IRC Three ; Jean-Eudes Renier's JPK 10.80 Shaitan and Louis-Marie Dussere JPK 10.10 Raging Bee are both racing whilst Delamare & Mordret's JPK 10.80, Dream Pearls is not on the entry list. In IRC Four Noel Racine's JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew will be hoping to retain the class title for the Myth of Malham.

The RORC Myth of Malham Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line from 1000 BST (GMT+1) on Saturday 28th May.

Published in RORC
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