#yachtoftheyear – The RORC Yacht of the Year, recipient of the Somerset Memorial Trophy for outstanding racing achievement by a RORC Member, has been awarded to Royal Cork's Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix, for 2014.
Anthony O'Leary did not enter any offshore races this year but his exceptional season in Antix, winning class in the RORC Easter Challenge, the IRC National Championship overall and being part of the winning Irish team in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, was recognised by the RORC Committee as an outstanding achievement. O'Leary was disappointed not to be able to defend the Commodores' Cup victory of 2010 in 2012 but avowed to come back in 2014 with a competitive team and, by enlisting the support of Marc Glimcher's Ker 40, Catapult, and Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling who chartered Quokka 8, O'Leary crowned an already successful season with a consistent performance in Antix to win the Commodores' Cup.
Anthony O'Leary was thrilled with the news: "I must confess to complete surprise - and absolute delight for my crew!"
Read the full story about how Ireland won the Commodore's Cup in WM Nixon's interview with Anthony O'Leary.
The RORC Season's Points Championship consists of a selection of races, both UK and abroad, that test the skill and endurance of offshore sailors. In addition to the domestic season of 10 races, including the record-breaking Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, there were three races based overseas in 2014: the RORC Caribbean 600, Round Ireland Yacht Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Whilst these longer races carry the highest points factor for the Championship, boats that do not travel outside of the domestic season still have a chance to win their class as only one high points factored race can count for the class trophies, with all other completed high points factor races reduced to a normal factor of 1.0. With this in place it is notable that this season the boats who successfully campaigned to win their class only competed in races with a points factor of 1.0 or 1.2.
Highlight of the domestic offshore season was the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, a truly record-breaking race with five World and Race Records set in what transpired to be a challenging test of endurance in difficult conditions.
In total 360 boats competed in the RORC Season's Points Championship, a strong testament to the allure of offshore racing even in a year without the RORC's flagship offshore event, the Rolex Fastnet Race.