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Displaying items by tag: Royal Yacht Squadron

At just before 2 a.m. this morning, The British Keelboat Academy's TP52, John Merricks II crossed the Royal Yacht Squadron Line to finish the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race. The 14 young crew on board should have taken a bow, but instead they were organising packing up the boat and plan to be back competing in the RORC offshore race to Cherbourg on Friday. Completing this tough and challenging yacht race in a boat that was not constructed for that purpose is some achievement and the John Merricks II crew should be highly regarded for their impeccable boat handling.

"This has been and always was going to be the highlight of our season. It is what we have all been building up for," commented skipper, Luke McCarthy." The crew all performed magnificently and have taken a big step-up in terms of their capabilities and skill levels. Beating up the North Sea was very hard on the crew and the boat, but apart from a few bumps and bruises, the crew and the boat are in good shape. We made a few mistakes which cost us, but the important thing is that we have made leaps and bounds as a crew and we intend to go on from here. I have no doubt that some of the crew will go on to compete at the highest level in offshore racing and I would not be surprised to see some taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race next year."

John Merricks II is second in IRC Super Zero and currently fourth in IRC overall. Crew members Sally Olsen from Devon and Becky Scott from Scotland are the first two girls to complete thisyears race.

Less than two hours later than John Merricks II, Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens came through the line at pace under spinnaker. In a great show of sportsmanship, John Merricks II cheered Tonnerre de Breskens in. On board were many of their friends and seven of the 11 crew racing Tonnerre de Breskens are under 28 years of age. On the other hand, Piet Vroon is now in his 81st year. Vroon is a previous winner of this race and a veteran of more than 25 Fastnet Races as well as countless RORC offshore races. He has more experience in yacht racing than anyone in the entire fleet. Dockside, Piet Vroon commented:

"Obviously it is disappointing not to win, but we can do nothing about the wind, no-one can. It is has been a fantastic race. I will always remember flying down the west coast of Ireland under spinnaker for a whole day and a whole night. We had our problems, just like everyone else did, but when we had no gas to cook with, we still had food and cold coffee. We didn't go hungry and when the motion of the boat was so bad that we couldn't stand up, we still did our jobs. Everybody has problems, they are not the concern, solving them is. This race is a long one, but once you have spent a few days at sea, a few more doesn't matter so much. I have to say, when we were passing Aberdeen beating up the North Sea, I did think about the nice office I have there and the coffee machine! But, I can only remember retiring from two races; once for my mother's funeral and the second, a Fastnet race when we were dismasted."

Piet Vroon is obviously a man who doesn't give up.

This race has been full of record breakers and the next yacht to finish the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race should be Tony Lawson's Class 40, Concise skippered by Tom Gall. At 1000 BST, Concise were 114 miles out and expected to finish tomorrow morning. They are currently experiencing very unusual light easterly winds but there will be a big celebration for the young crew. They should be well inside, Michel Kleinjans' Roaring Forty, whose record time of 11 Days 12 hours 26 minutes and 12 seconds has stood for six years.

At 1000 BST, Eike Holst's Andrews 56, Norddeutsche Vermögen Hamburg had 151 miles to go. The German yacht should finish tomorrow assuming that the light winds hold out. As a result of the high-pressure system that is situated over central England, the remainder of the fleet is a substantial distance further back on the race course.

In IRC One, Steven Anderson's First 40.7 Encore, has a substantial lead. In IRC Two, Winsome still hold the advantage over close rival Selene. However Selene has made a move to the west of the rhumb line which will be interesting to see how they fare. It will be a long haul for the boats at the back of the fleet. At 1000 BST, The Army Sailing Association's A 40, British Soldier was off the Tearaght Islands on the stunningly beautiful south west coast of Ireland. British Soldier had 457 miles to go but they obviously haven't lost their sense of humour. As skipper, Tim Hill explains in his blog:

"Life remains on board relatively sane. No major concerns with regards to rations, gas or water, although some interesting combinations are beginning to appear which weren't listed on the original victualling plan. We're out of Tabasco (although Paul, the 1st Mate keeps producing his own reserve which looks decidedly like our missing spare bottle); coffee has been rationed to the over 28s (that's the skipper and 1st mate only) and if we don't get in before Friday, then it's Vesta curry for breakfast, lunch and supper on Sat and Sun - nice!

Jonny Malbon's IMOCA 60 Artemis Ocean Racing is still leading the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland overall under IRC.

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland

At last night's Skipper's Briefing for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) announced a dramatic change to the race. Part of the reason for the change is being blamed on a lack of shelter for boats in trouble on the Irish West coast. There are no Irish entries in this year's race.

Due to a severe weather forecast for the west coast of Ireland for Thursday 26th August, the RORC have decided to reverse the course so that the fleet will race anti-clockwise around Britain and Ireland. The start remains unchanged from the Royal Yacht Squadron line to the east at 14.00. This should give the fleet a fast running start towards the forts in the Solent.

Andrew McIrvine, Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club explains why the club took the decision:

"The reason for changing the course is consideration for all the competitors. We have been monitoring the weather models for the last few days and they are all in agreement that a deep depression will be arriving to the west of Ireland at the same time as most of the fleet will be there. The RORC weather advisor Mike Broughton, believes that this will bring wind speeds of at least 40 knots, possibly as much as 50 knots on the nose. Worse than that, as the wind direction changes over 180º as the low passes through the sea state becomes very confused. Although the boats are very well prepared, these conditions could cause damage and retirements and the west coast of Ireland has very few places offering shelter. By going east about, the boats will avoid the worst of the depression and the confused sea state and will have far more shelter opportunities as there will be several ports that the boats can go into should they decide to do so."

The Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race starts tomorrow at 1400 from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.

For more information and to follow the fleet via the race trackers go to: http://sevenstar.rorc.org/

Published in Rd Britain & Ireland
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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