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RORC Report 90 Boat Fleet for Morgan Cup Race From Cowes to Dartmouth

11th June 2023
Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorus II (GBR) has the lowest IRC rating in IRC Zero for RORC's Morgan Cup Race
Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorus II (GBR) has the lowest IRC rating in IRC Zero for RORC's Morgan Cup Race Credit: James Mitchell

Starting on the 16th June, over 90 boats are set for the Morgan Cup Race from Cowes, IOW to Dartmouth, Devon.

The Morgan Cup is the tenth race of the RORC Season’s Points Championship, the largest racing series in the world of offshore racing.

The impressive RORC fleet will gather off Cowes IOW about an hour before the first start at 1800 on June 16th. Race fans will get a superb view of all three starts from Cowes Parade.

Close to 500 sailors will be taking part from Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Morgan Cup Race Entry List

Cowes resident Peter Morton will be racing his Maxi 72 Notorious, which took Line Honours in this month’s De Guingand Bowl Race. Notorious will be favourite to be the first monohull to finish. James Harayda’s IMOCA Gentoo will be racing with a crew of seven and poses the biggest threat to Notorious.

Two Multihulls will be in action, James Holder’s Dazcat 1295 Slinky Malinki and the Roger Hill designed Nica, skippered by Gorm Gondesen.

Full Speed in RORC's IRC Zero

Niklas Zennstrom’s Carkeek CF 52O Rán (SWE) returns to RORC racing and carries one of the highest ratings in IRC Zero along with Ross Hobson’s Open 50 Pegasus of Northumberland (GBR). (who is also planning a round Ireland speed record bid). Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorus II (GBR) has the lowest IRC rating in IRC Zero and could go second in class for 2023 with a good race to Dartmouth. The de Graff family racing Ker 43 Baraka GP (NED) are hoping for a top result to put the team into the top three in class for the season. RORC Commodore James Neville will be taking part in his second race with his Carkeek 45 Ino Noir (GBR).

Iceni 39 Andrasta Photo: Paul WyethIceni 39 Andrasta Photo: Paul Wyeth

Making their IRC debut for the season will be Henry Bateson’s Iceni 39 Andrasta, skippered by Bill Edgerton with the RORC Griffin Team.

JPK 1180 Sunrise Photo: Rick TomlinsonJPK 1180 Sunrise Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Hot Racing in IRC One

The Morgan Cup is the first event in the newly established Performance 40 offshore programme, Twenty-six boats are entered in IRC One. The race sees the rekindling of the rivalry between the 2021 Rolex Fastnet champion, Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise (GBR), and Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader (GBR). High performers for the season racing to Dartmouth include Michael O’Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood (IRL), Derek Shakespeare’s J/122 Bulldog (GBR), and Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia (FRA). Bruce Huber & Hugh Doherty’s JND 39 Xanaboo (GBR) will be on the start line. Five Beneteau First 40s will be in action; Susan Glenny’s Olympia’s Tigress (GBR) is currently top First 40 for the RORC Season’s Points Championship by a slender margin from Richard Powell’s Rogan Josh (GBR).

Sun Fast 3600 Tigris Photo: James TomlinsonSun Fast 3600 Tigris Photo: James Tomlinson

Eight of the top boats for the season in IRC Two are racing Two-Handed, bucking the trend is Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR), which is second in class for the season. Scarlet Oyster is no stranger to the Morgan Cup, winning it in 2011. A notable fully crewed dual in IRC Two is between the Army and the Navy. The British Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier (GBR) is skippered by Lt Col Will Taylor, while the Royal Navy Association will be competing in their newly purchased Sun Fast 3600 Yoyo (GBR), skippered by Vincent Pietersz. The Britannia Royal Naval College has been in Dartmouth since 1863. To say there will be a rivalry to be first to finish between the Army and the Navy would be a colossal understatement!

RORC Fleet Photo: Paul WyethThe RORC Fleet Photo: Paul Wyeth

The many flavours of IRC Three

With at least 12 different designs racing in IRC Three, the class is the most diverse in the race. Rob Cotterill’s J/109 Mojo Risin’ has a chance to move up to second in class for the season with a good Morgan Cup result. The Morgan Cup will be the first RORC race of the season for Johnathan Wade’s X-362 Xocet (GBR), which is the lowest IRC rated boat in the class. The Xocet team are from the Royal Dart Yacht Club and purchased the boat last year for a 2023 Rolex Fastnet Campaign. One of the most experienced skippers in the race is Neal Brewer, who has been racing offshore for forty years, including 20 Fastnet Races. Neal Brewer will skipper Modified Humphreys 30 Bespoke (GBR) in the Morgan Cup, racing with Andrew Baker, Bespoke is the smallest boat in the race.

Sun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper Photo: Rick TomlinsonSun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Tilting at Dartmouth in IRC Two-Handed

Jim & Ellie Driver racing Sun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper will be defending the Morgan Cup, won by just 35 seconds after IRC time correction last year. Chilli Pepper is one of five British Sun Fast 3300 in the Morgan Cup Race. Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing with Deb Fish, is leading the double-handed class for the 2023 season, and is one of 21 teams racing with two crew in the Morgan Cup Race. Gavin Howe’s Sun Fast 3600 Tigris is second for the season, just ahead of third place Sun Fast 3200 Cora, raced by Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews.

Dehler 33 Sunhill III Photo: Rick TomlinsonDehler 33 Sunhill III Photo: Rick Tomlinson

IRC Four passion and diversity

Samuel Duménil’s JPK 960 Casamyas (FRA), racing with Ludovic Bernard, leads IRC Four for the season after placing third in class for the Myth of Malham Race. Francois Charles Dehler 33 Sunhill III (FRA) will be taking part in their first RORC race of the season, Sunhill III will be defending their win in IRC Four for the 2022 Morgan Cup Race.

While over half the boats racing double-handed to Dartmouth are from the Sun Fast design board, there are unique entries racing two up in IRC Four. Joph Carter & Robbie Southwell will be racing Peter Morton’s 1968 Swan 36 Scherzo of Cowes (GBR), the lowest rated boat in the class. George Isted’s Westerly Sealord 39 Liberta (GBR), racing with Jamie Stott, has the second lowest IRC rating of the double-handers. George Isted describes Liberta as a ‘floating bungalow’ but he has completed two Atlantic crossings in the Ed Dubois design, and under IRC, Liberta has an equal chance of winning the race.

Royal Dart Yacht Club in Devon Photo: Neal TheasbyRoyal Dart Yacht Club in Devon Photo: Neal Theasby

A warm welcome awaits the RORC fleet at the Royal Dart Yacht Club. Founded in 1866, the Royal Dart Clubhouse is located in Kingswear on the banks of the River Dart. Competitors are welcome to the club bar and dining area with a riverside terrace. The overall winner after IRC time correction will be awarded The Morgan Cup at the Royal Thames Prizegiving Dinner. The sterling silver trophy dates back to 1929 and was donated to the Royal Thames Yacht Club by the JP Morgan family. The Morgan Cup Race first appeared in the RORC programme in 1958.

Carkeek CF 52O Rán © Tim Wright/RORCCarkeek CF 52O Rán Photo: Tim Wright

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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  • 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