#rorc – For the second year running Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix, has finished runner up at the IRC British Nationals in Cowes. Royal Cork's O'Leary sailed consistently well all weekend and were desperately close to winning but the IRC One title went to Andrew Pearce's Ker 40, Magnum III, beating Antix by a single point in the seven race series.
In Class four another Cork Harbour helmsman George Kenefick (Afloat's sailor the year for 2011) on the tiller of Michael Kershaw's Chimp finished third beating Nigel Bigg's Checkmate XV, the recent winner of the BMW ICRA Class two championships in Howth.
Glorious sunshine and a moderate south-westerly breeze was a welcome change after two days of kite shredding conditions at the RORC IRC National Championship.
The RORC Race Committee snapped off three tight windward leeward races in the eastern and central Solent, stress levels were high with several general recalls adding to the drama. The closely bunched fleet caused a heavy traffic zone, where small errors meant leaking precious points towards the championship.
In IRC Three with a perfect seven wins, David Franks' JPK 1010, Strait Dealer, won class and was declared the overall champion for the RORC IRC National Championship: "It really hasn't sunk in yet," admitted Franks. "I understand that we are the smallest yacht ever to win this prestigious trophy and I will get to keep it for a whole year! It might seem like this was an easy win but far from it, we just made fewer mistakes than any one else. This has been a highly competitive and thoroughly enjoyable event and one that I will savour for years to come, but I am delighted for the whole team, which has sailed so well every race to pull off such a great win."
There was heartache for some in IRC One with a massive swing on the leaderboard. The overnight leader, Tonnerre de Breskens, had a torrid time, scoring a 9th and a 13th in the first two races. Tonnerre came back to win the last race of the day but the damage was done and the Dutch yacht dropped from 1st to 5th in Class. François Goubau's First 47.7, Moana, came right into the running with a win in the first race of the day but the Belgian team was early at the pin end of the last race and failed to return, scoring an OCS when class victory was in sight. Anthony O'Leary's Irish Ker 39, Antix, has sailed consistently well all weekend and were desperately close to winning the big boat class, but for the second year running Antix was runner up. The IRC One title went to Andrew Pearce's Ker 40, Magnum III, beating Antix by a single point in the seven race series.
'Fantastic, just elated!" exclaimed Andrew Pearce. "We have put in six months of dedication and hard work to improve the team's ability and to become national champions is such a joy. In the team brief this morning, our tactician Andy Beadsworth said not to worry about the points but to just sail as best as we could. Today wasn't perfect but we sailed so much better today. It is a great feeling to win, I can safely say this is the biggest win I have ever had in the sport."
In IRC Two Jim Macgregor's Elan 410, Premier Flair, scored two seconds and a third today to wrap off the division title. Andrew McIrvine's First 40, La Réponse, is in the same team as Premier Flair for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup and had a very good day on the water with three podium places, including a win in Race 6 to take second in Class. Sailing Logic's Reflex 38, Visit Malta Puma skippered by Tim Thubron, were pushing hard today, but had to settle for third in a very competitive class.
"I think that the results speak for themselves, we have had three days of incredibly close racing," commented Premier Flair's skipper, Jim Macgregor. "I have to take my hat off to the RORC for organising such a well organised and enjoyable regatta under difficult conditions. It was great to see La Réponse scoring so well, which bodes well for our chances in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup."
In IRC Four Grant Gordon's J/97, Fever, scored three bullets today to stamp their authority on the class to win overall by a significant margin from Mike and Jamie Holmes' J/97, Jika Jika. Michael Kershaw's Chimp defeated Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XV in all three races today to win the battle of the Half Tonners.
At the official Prizegiving, RORC Commodore Mike Greville, who has been racing all weekend on Ker 39, Erivale III, thanked the Race Committee and all of the volunteers who have given up their time to put on the event and especially thanked all of the competitors who came from overseas (Ireland, France, Belgium, and Holland) for the event.
RORC IRC National Championship Winner (Jackdaw Trophy)
Strait Dealer, JPK 1010, David Franks (+ Winner of IRC Three)
1. Magnum III, Ker 40, Andrew Pearce (GBR)
2. Antix, Ker 39, Anthony O'Leary (IRL)
3. Moana, First 47.7, François Goubau (BEL)
1. Premier Flair, Elan 410, Jim Macgregor (GBR)
2. La Réponse , First 40, Andrew McIrvine (GBR)
3. Visit Malta Puma, Reflex 38, Sailing Logic, Tim Thubron (GBR)
1. Strait Dealer, JPK 1010, David Franks (GBR)
2. Elaine, Elan 37, Mike Bridges (GBR)
3. Salvo, Corby 33, Peter Morton (GBR)
1. Fever, J/97, Grant Gordon (GBR)
2. Jika Jika, J/97, Mike and Jamie Holmes (GBR)
3. Chimp, Half Tonner, Michael Kershaw (GBR)