The majority of the fleet completed the 125-mile course in less than 20 hours. Gray and Laidlaw's Farr 52, Bob, took line honours by nearly three hours and won the Cervantes Trophy for best yacht overall on corrected time.
"We had a great Cervantes," explained Bob's trimmer and driver, John Brinkers. "The blast reach in fresh conditions was very exciting. We had 29 knots of breeze at one stage, blasting along under jib top and genoa staysail on the leg from Nab Tower to the buoy off Le Havre. As we came off one big wave, the boat accelerated to just under 22 knots with big whoops from the crew. All credit to skipper Brett Aarons and the Bob team for impressive crew work. They did a great job."
Charles Ivill's Grand Soleil 54, John B corrected out as winner of IRC One. Two First 44.7s had a close battle for second in class. John Stapleton's Vespucci's Black Sheep eventually took the runner up spot in IRC One. Andrew Arthur's Koko Kai was third. The class also contained four identical Challenge 72s competing for the Tall Ships Youth Trust. Stephen Durkin's Challenger 4 was first home in an elapsed time of just over 18 hours. The Tall Ships Youth Trust is dedicated to the development of training young people through sailing and the Cervantes Trophy Race was part of their preparation for the Rolex Fastnet Race later this year.
RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine scored his first win of the season, taking IRC Two in his First 40, La Réponse. Neil Kipling's J 122, Joopster enjoyed the fresh conditions to claim second place in class but by less than two minutes on corrected time from X 40, Exception, owned by Frenchman Patrick Ponchelet.
Noel Racine's JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew, won class in the Cervantes Trophy for the second year running. Enjoying the big breeze, the Le Havre based yacht was the first boat home in IRC Three and class winner on corrected time. William Hutchinson's Dutch Ff110, Fandango, had a high-speed surfing duel with David Aisher's J/109, Yeoman of Wight, crewed by the British Keelboat Academy. Fandango took second place by just 23 seconds on corrected time.
IRC Four was decided by just 30 seconds on corrected time with two French yachts battling it out. Philippe Rios' Dufour 34, Gwaihir Ventur won the class with Frederic Waniart's Aphrodite 101, Vim, second. Dorset-based Ian Braham, at the helm of his MG 346, Enigma, was third.
19 yachts raced to Le Havre Two-Handed, nearly double the amount from last year's Cervantes Trophy Race. Vim scored a memorable win, beating Rolex Fastnet winner, the X 35 Exile/Mirabaud, skippered by Nicolas de la Fourniere. Peter Olden's A 35, Solan Goose of Hamble, was third.
After enjoying the warm hospitality of Le Havre, competitors returning to Cowes enjoyed a race back across The English Channel. The Trophée Guillaume Le Conquérant is organised by the Société des Régates du Havre in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Island Sailing Club.
Racing resumes for the RORC Season's Points Championship on the 14th May with the De Guingand Bowl Race.
1. Bob, Farr 52, R Gray & S Laidlaw
2. John B, Grand Soleil 54, Charles Ivill
3. La Réponse, First 40, Andrew McIrvine
1. Bob, Farr 52, R Gray & S Laidlaw
1. John B, Grand Soleil 54, Charles Ivill
2. Vespucci's Black Sheep, First 44.7, John Stapleton
3. Koko Kai, First 44.7, Andrew Arthur
4. Challenger 4, Challenge 72, Tall Ships/Stephen Durkin
1. La Réponse, First 40, Andrew McIrvine
2. Joopster, J 122, Neil Kipling
3. Exception, X 40, Patrick Ponchelet
4. Arabella ,J 111, Niall Dowling
1. Foggy Dew, JPK 10.10, Noel Racine
2. Fandango, Ff110, William Hutchinson
3. Yeoman of Wight, J 109, David Aisher/British Keelboat Academy
1. Gwaihir Venturi, Dufour 34, Philippe Rios
2. Vim, Aphrodite 101, Frederic Waniart
3. Enigma, MG 346, Ian Braham
1. Vim, Aphrodite 101, Frederic Waniart
2. Exile/Mirabaud, X 34, Nicolas de la Fourniere
3. Solan Goose of Hamble, A 35, Peter Olden
1. MAXVMG, Class 40, Mark Denton
2. Partouche, Class 40, Christophe Coatnoan