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RORC's Vice Admiral's Cup Produces the Goods on the Solent

22nd May 2021
Olivia Dowling's Quarter Tonner Catch enjoyed a great day back on the Solent
Olivia Dowling's Quarter Tonner Catch enjoyed a great day back on the Solent Credit: Rick Tomlinson

Racing got underway at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Vice Admiral’s Cup on Saturday 22nd May with four highly competitive races for all eight classes. The gale that had blown through the Solent the previous day had passed, but there was a moody sky as the 55-strong fleet headed out to the combat zone. A gentle breeze from the southwest, oscillated during the day providing shifty conditions. The wind speed varied under a pewter sky with glimpses of sunshine breaking through.

Over 20 knots blasted in from the Western Solent for the final race of the day to create a thrilling, full-on foam up finale.

Quarter Tonner Class
Sam Laidlaw’s BLT leads the class having claimed two race wins today. Olivia Dowling’s Catch won the last two races to finish the day in second place. Julian Metherell’s Bullit is third. Stories resonate throughout the fleet, but one that really tells the tale behind the return to racing after lockdown, is from the Quarter Tonner Class.

Olivia Dowling’s Catch is a beautifully prepared yacht, but due to family commitments, she has not had the time to sail her for a while. Racing in the highly competitive fleet, Olivia was especially keen to get the better of her husband Niall Dowling (Royal Irish Yacht Club), racing Per Elisa in the same class.

Niall commented after racing: “I made the mistake of tacking on Olivia in the first race and that obviously got her going, because it was the last time we got anywhere near her for the rest of the day! I have to say a big ‘thank you’ to the RORC Race Team that produced a really professional performance in difficult conditions. 

Cork Harbour sailmaker Tom McWilliam (black hat, centre) on board Niklas Zennstrom's Rán. One point separates the top three in the FAST40+ fleet, with Rán holding onto top place after one day of racing Photo: Rick TomlinsonCork Harbour sailmaker Tom McWilliam (black hat, centre) on board Niklas Zennstrom's Rán. One point separates the top three in the FAST40+ fleet, with Rán holding onto top place after one day of racing Photo: Rick Tomlinson

FAST40+ Class
Niklas Zennström’s Rán won two of today’s races to finish the day top of the leaderboard. Peter Morton’s Jean Genie is in second place, no doubt enjoying his first race victory in his new boat, beating Rán by just over a minute in Race 3. Christian Hamilton & Guy Gillon’s Fast40+ Khumbu got off to a great start, taking line honours and the corrected time win in Race 1. Khumbu finished the day in third place, just two points ahead of Ino XXX, with RORC Commodore James Neville at the helm.

Performance 40 Class
Rob Bottomley’s Mills 42 Sailplane 3 had a spectacular day, scoring three bullets to top the class after four races. Michael Blair & Stevie Beckett’s King 40 Cobra is second having scored all podium finishes. David Cummins’ Ker 39 Rumbleflurg is third having scored a win in Race 2 by just nine seconds after IRC time correction. Andrew McIrvine’s Ker 39 La Réponse is just a point off the podium.

J/111 Class
Tony Mack's McFly leads the class by just one point from Cornel Riklin's Jitterbug with both boats scoring a pair of wins each. Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s Journeymaker II had a very consistent day to finish the day in third place.“We knew where we wanted to go on the racecourse and getting a good start in a one design fleet meant we didn’t have a bigger boat taking our lane,” explained Jitterbug’s Ritchie Hinde-Smith. Full credit to the race team for laying excellent windward-leeward courses which gave us all thrilling racing where you had to be at the top of your game. This is our fourth outing as a team this year and it all clicked together, plus our new North 1.5 headsail was really fast straight out of the bag.”

J/109 Class
David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish leads the J/109 class after four races, finishing the day in style by winning the final two races. Christopher Burleigh’s Jybe Talkin' scored a second place in the final race to move up to second for the class. Mike Yates’ Jago was scoring well but had to retire before the start of the final race with a minor crew injury. Jago is third on countback from Mojo Risin' skippered by Rob Cotterill.

Cape31 Class
Russell Peters’ Squirt had a perfect start to the Cape 31 UK season winning all of today’s races. Lance Adams’ Katabatic came within 20 seconds of winning Race 2 and finished the day in second place. Simon Perry’s Jiraffe is third on countback from Tor McLaren’s Gallivanter III.

HP30 Class
Glyn Locke’s Toucan opened their defence of their Vice Admiral’s Cup title with three straight bullets. In the final race, a real ripper, with the HP30s planing at terrific speed. Jerry Hill & Richard Faulkner’s Farr 280 Moral Compass took the win to finish the day in second place. Three boats are within a point of each other for third. Jamie Rankin’s Farr 280 Pandemonium scored a third in the final race to place just a point ahead in the series from Lucian Stone’s Fareast 28 Vendetta and Jonathan Powell’s Farr 280 Peggy.

SB20 Class
The SB20 Class was an awesome sight today, especially in the final race, scorching downwind in a ball of spray. Stephen Procter’s Xcellent scored three race wins, but a seventh place in Race 3 means that Xcellent only leads the class on countback from Tom Neilson’s team. Richard McAdam’s Breaking Bod is third.

After racing, a dinner was held at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Cowes Clubhouse with social distanced dining for over 70 competitors, members and guests. The RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup will conclude on Sunday 23rd May.

Published in RORC
Louay Habib

About The Author

Louay Habib

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Louay Habib is a Maritime Journalist & Broadcaster based in Hamble, United Kingdom

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THE RORC:

  • Established in 1925, The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) became famous for the biennial Fastnet Race and the international team event, the Admiral's Cup. It organises an annual series of domestic offshore races from its base in Cowes as well as inshore regattas including the RORC Easter Challenge and the IRC European Championship (includes the Commodores' Cup) in the Solent
  • The RORC works with other yacht clubs to promote their offshore races and provides marketing and organisational support. The RORC Caribbean 600, based in Antigua and the first offshore race in the Caribbean, has been an instant success. The 10th edition took place in February 2018. The RORC extended its organisational expertise by creating the RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote to Grenada, the first of which was in November 2014
  • The club is based in St James' Place, London, but after a merger with The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes now boasts a superb clubhouse facility at the entrance to Cowes Harbour and a membership of over 4,000

At A Glance – RORC 

RORC Race Enquiries:

Royal Ocean Racing Club T: +44 (0) 1983 295144 E: [email protected] W: http://www.rorc.org/

Royal Ocean Racing Club:

20 St James's Place, London SW1A 1NN, Tel: 020 7493 2248 E: [email protected] 

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