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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.

Published in INSS

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.

Published in RORC
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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)
Published in ICRA
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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."

Published in Offshore
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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.

Published in RORC
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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."

Published in RORC
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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.

Published in RORC
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Once again the Rolex Fastnet Race has confirmed itself to be by far the world's largest offshore yacht race. After the entry for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event was opened at 1200 UTC, the 340 available places for boats in the IRC fleet were all taken within just four minutes and 37 seconds. This was just 13 seconds outside the record time recorded in 2017.

The first entry to sign up on the RORC's Sailgate online entry system for the biennial 605-mile race from Cowes to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland, was regular competitor Derek Saunders and his Farr 60 Venomous. He narrowly beat the German Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt club's Judel Vrolijk 52 Haspa Hamburg and Tom Kneen's JPK 11.80 Sunrise who were next fastest.

After the first two minutes, 180 boats had already been entered successfully. After the first frenetic four minutes and 37 seconds when the maximum entry limit was reached, subsequent requests were filtered through to the reserve list. Ultimately after the deluge subsided 440 boats had entered in total.

Yachts from 25 countries are due to take part this year: The bulk of these are from the UK, from where 201 boats were registered, followed by the dominant French (winners of the last three editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race) with 81 and the Netherlands with 33.

The entry includes a strong contingent of 16 boats from the USA, many making the passage across to the UK in the Transatlantic Race 2019. This leaves Newport, RI on 25 June bound for Cowes via the Lizard and is organised by the RORC in conjunction with the New York Yacht Club, Royal Yacht Squadron and Storm Trysail Club. Entries from further afield have been received from Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Turkey, Hong Kong and Korea among others.

This strong entry shows that the change of date has made little impression on the desire to do the Rolex Fastnet Race: The start date was moved to Saturday, 3 August and for the first time it will be setting off before Lendy Cowes Week (rather than on the traditional Sunday immediately after it).

For the RORC's Australian Racing Manager Chris Stone this is his first Rolex Fastnet entry day experience since taking up his position in Cowes a year ago: "It has been unbelievably busy. Before 1200 we had about 500 people who were all on stand-by, logged into their accounts, which was a good indicator about how busy it was going to be. Then we went straight to 340 and on to 440, including the waiting list."

Among the entries is at least one 100ft maxi while Stone reckons that one of the top fights in the race will potentially be between the six Cookson 50s.

It should be noted that with the Rolex Fastnet Race the RORC has led the way among the organisers of the world's classic 600 milers in inviting other grand prix racing yacht classes to compete outside of the main IRC fleet. This has led to the race featuring some of the very best offshore racing hardware from yachts competing in the Volvo Ocean Race to the giant 100ft long French Ultime multihulls and the IMOCA 60s of the Vendée Globe. For 2019, an especially strong line-up of Class 40s is anticipated. "We are expecting around another 50 boats - thirty Class 40s and twenty IMOCA boats," forecasts Stone.

Meanwhile, for the fleet, there remains the qualification process that will take place over the course of the 2019 season, with teams required to gain adequate miles and experience in order to meet the Rolex Fastnet Race's stringent entry requirements. Competing yachts must complete more than 300 race miles with at least 50% of their Rolex Fastnet Race crew on board.

"I never thought it would so easy to have 400 boats appear on your desk in one day! I am really impressed by the numbers. I have never experienced anything like this," concludes Stone.

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Early entries for the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 reveal a stunning fleet of famous professional teams taking part alongside passionate Corinthian crews. Famed for spectacular sailing conditions on an intricate and mesmerizing course, the 11th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 is set to be an absolute cracker.

Two months before the start of the race 50 teams have thrown down the gauntlet; over 10% more than the same time prior to the record entry of 88 yachts in 2018. The race is a truly international affair with teams from all over the Caribbean Islands, Canada, Chile, Great Britain, Finland, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

For the first time in the history of the race, three ocean-going trimarans in the shape of Jason Carroll's Argo, Giovanni Soldini's Maserati and Peter Cunningham's PowerPlay will be battling for multihull line honours and the race record, set in 2016 by Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3 in 31 hours, 59 minutes, 4 seconds.

The IRC fleet racing for the overall win and the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, boasts three magnificent yachts; the 203ft (62m) schooner Athos, skippered by Tony Brookes, the 115ft (35m) sloop Nikata, skippered by Tom Brewer, and the 96ft (30m) sloop Sorceress, sailed by Will Apold.

Two Maxi 72s will be locking horns; previous winner George Sakellaris' Proteus and the brand new Bella Mente sailed by Hap Fauth. American Volvo Ocean Race skipper Charlie Enright will be hoping for victory with the American Volvo 70 Wizard. In two previous editions, the race has been won overall by a Cookson 50. This year, two new teams will be hoping to increase the statistic. Franco Niggeler's Kuka3 is on a high from their overall win in the RORC Transatlantic Race and the highly experienced team racing Triple Lindy will be led by Joseph Mele.A record entry of Class40s is also expected to compete in the race. The 2018 Route du Rhum featured 53 of these pocket rockets, bound for Antigua's neighbour island of Guadeloupe. With another transatlantic race organised in March, 10 or more Class40 are likely to take part in the RORC Caribbean 600. Among the early entries is Catherine Pourre's Eärendil which set a new Class40 record for the race last year (2 days 13 hours and 15 seconds).

"We are delighted to be heading back to Antigua for the 11th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600," commented RORC Racing Manager, Chris Stone. "This coming year we are anticipating close to 100 boats from all over the world who will be coming to Antigua to enjoy the challenging racing and amazing weather. We are expecting an extremely good mix from within the fleet, seeing our smallest competitors tussling with the larger race machines for the prestigious IRC overall trophy. As usual, there will be a great welcome party and prizegiving event, plus every yacht will be met dockside with cold beers and a warm welcome from our wonderful team of volunteers."

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Two of this Summer's Scandinavian entries in the Round Ireland Race are set for the RORC Transatlantic Race next month. Henrik Bergesen's Norwegian Class40 Hydra plus the class one Round Ireland winner, Arto Linnervuo's Xp-44 Xtra Staerk, the all-Finnish eight-man crew.

Crew from all over the world will be competing in the 2018 RORC Transatlantic Race which sets off from Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife on Saturday, November 24th. The 3,000 nautical mile-long race to Grenada is the final challenge in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's 2018 calendar and is an ideal way to bond a team together for the RORC Caribbean 600 in February 2019.

Franco Niggeler's Swiss Cookson 50 Kuka 3 is one of the favourites for the overall win decided by yachts racing under the IRC Rating Rule for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy.

"This will be my first Atlantic crossing and the first part of a project including the RORC Caribbean 600, the Transpac and the Rolex Sydney Hobart," commented Kuka 3's owner Niggeler. "The first few days will be very important with difficult tactical choices which could decide the outcome of the race. Our aim is to do as well as possible as we have a competitive boat and it is up to us to get the best out of it."

Kuka 3 has a highly experienced crew, including Italian navigator Andrea Caracci (11 Mini-Transats) and Spanish Watch Captain Gonzalo Araujo (Volvo Ocean Race and TP52). Kuka 3 will be skippered by Spain's Roberto 'Chuny' Bermudez de Castro who has raced 500,000 nautical miles, including seven round the world races, winning the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

Teams from Scandinavia will also be racing in the 2018 RORC Transatlantic Race, including Henrik Bergesen's Norwegian Class40 Hydra (Oslo) and Arto Linnervuo's Finnish Xp-44 Xtra Staerk (Espoo).

Hydra is one of the latest generation Class40 designed by Owen Clarke. Launched in 2017, Bergesen's Hydra was 7th in the 26-strong Class40 fleet racing Two-Handed in the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race. For the 2018 RORC Transatlantic Race, two British Class40 experts will be on board; Paul Peggs and Pip Hare. Skipper Tristan Kinloch, with plenty of big boat experience, will lead the Hydra crew.

Arto Linnervuo's Xp-44 Xtra Staerk has an all-Finnish eight man crew who have been sailing together since 2016. The overall goal of the team is to promote Finnish offshore racing by attracting more teams from Finland to race with the RORC. The team have even released a Spotify single - Olen Suomalainen (meaning 'I'm Finnish') - which was professionally produced in a Helsinki studio! Xtra Staerk bowman Tuomas is on lead vocals, skipper Arto is the chorus! https://open.spotify.com/track/5E3NL2CD53BvlVWMwrIuEk

"We won IRC One in our first race in the 2018 Volvo Round Ireland Race," commented Linnervuo. "We aim to race across the Atlantic fast, but safely. When racing, we always want to win, but also have fun, paying attention to keeping a good atmosphere on board. We expect tight competition offered by the great teams participating in the race. After the RORC Transatlantic Race the team is planning to participate in the RORC Caribbean 600, Rolex Fastnet Race and Rolex Middle Sea Race."

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