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Ireland's former Round the World race Green Dragon will start as favourite in this weekend's 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race. Run in association with the International Maxi Association, the race is scheduled to start from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote on January 9th, 2021. Ten teams have sailed from European destinations to take part in the 2,735-mile race across the Atlantic Ocean. Due to travel restrictions from the UK, the Royal Ocean Racing Club is operating remotely, relying on the expert abilities of the Calero Marinas’ team and the race officers of Real Club Náutico de Arrecife in Lanzarote.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Ireland's Volvo 70 finished fifth out of seven entries in the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race. Attempts to sell her Green Dragon for two million euros in 2009 after the race did not materialise. She then spent some time in dry dock in Galway, rendered obsolete because her hull was heavier and keel lighter than her rivals.

In spite of the disappointing performance, the boat was welcomed into Galway after the 2009 Transatlantic leg by a huge crowd and a week-long celebration that subsequently set the bar for all other stopover ports in subsequent races. 

RORC Transatlantic Race

The RORC Transatlantic Race is a World Sailing Category 1 offshore event with RORC Prescriptions. All competing boats will undergo compliance checks and, in addition, all crew will be required to produce a negative test result for COVID-19 prior to departure.

The monohull line honours favourite is Johannes Schwarz’s Volvo 70 Green Dragon, whilst the multihull line honours will be contested by just one entry, Oren Nataf’s Multi50 Rayon Vert, skippered by Alex Pella. The overall victory under IRC for the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy is difficult to predict. However, Stefan Jentzsch’s new Botin 56 Black Pearl, skippered by Marc Lagesse, will be difficult to beat. Three teams will contest the IMA Trophy for Maxi Yacht line honours: Green Dragon, Richard Tolkien’s IMOCA 60 Rosalba and Open60 Somewhere London, skippered by Gunther de Ceulaerde. An exciting duel is expected between two of the latest Class 40s from the design board of Sam Manuard; Antoine Carpentier’s Redman and Olivier Magré’s Palanad 3.

Corinthian teams racing under IRC include Benedikt Clauberg’s First 47.7 Kali, which will be talking part in their third RORC Transatlantic Race. Two other teams will be taking on the race Two-handed: Tim & Mayumi Knight’s Pogo 12.50 Kai and Sébastien Saulnier & Christophe Affolter’s Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi.

After lengthy consultation with Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada Tourism and the competing teams, it was agreed that the safest option was to move the 2021 RORC Transatlantic Race finish to Antigua. It remains the intention of the RORC to finish the 2022 edition in Grenada, as it has done since the first race in 2014.

Published in Offshore
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The 2020 RORC Yacht of the Year, winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy is the British JPK 10.10 Jangada, owned by Richard Palmer. Racing with Jeremy Waitt as crew, Jangada was the overall winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race and winner of the Two-Handed Class for the RORC Caribbean 600.

Only two other Two-Handed teams have won the award before; Shaun Murphy with Slingshot in 2006 and Nick Martin with Diablo-J in 2012.

For the first time in the history of the club, the RORC Season's Points Championship had to be cancelled. Health restrictions made it impossible to run overnight races for all IRC classes. Whilst Richard Palmer was recovering from a knee operation, Jangada was raced Two-Handed by Jeremy Waitt and Shirley Robertson, winning the newly organised Two-Handed Autumn Series.

Since 1965, the Somerset Memorial Trophy has been awarded for outstanding racing achievement by a RORC Member. Despite most of the 2020 season being cancelled, the RORC Committee thought it appropriate to continue with the history of the trophy in highlighting the outstanding racing achievement of Jangada in 2020.

Jangada is planning to come back racing next year in the 2021 RORC Season's Points Championship, including the Rolex Fastnet Race.

RORC Yacht of the Year 2009-2020 winners - Somerset Memorial Trophy

  • 2020 - Jangada, JPK 10.10, Richard Palmer
  • 2019 - Wizard, Volvo 70, Peter and David Askew
  • 2018 - Ichi Ban, TP52, Matt Allen
  • 2017 - Lisa, First 44.7, Nick & Suzi Jones (skippered by Michael Boyd)
  • 2016 - Teasing Machine, A13, Eric de Turckheim
  • 2015 - Azzam, Volvo Ocean 65, skippered by Ian Walker (Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team)
  • 2014 - Antix, Ker 39, Anthony O'Leary
  • 2013 - Courrier Vintage, MC34 Patton, Sam Marsaudon & Gery Trentesaux
  • 2012 - Diablo-J, J/105, Nick Martin
  • 2011 - RAN, JV 72, Niklas Zennstrom
  • 2010 - Tonnerre de Breskens 3, Ker 46, Piet Vroon
  • 2009 - Puma Logic, Reflex 38, (skippered by Philippe Falle)
Published in RORC
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IRC specialist and Olympic helmsman Mark Mansfield analyses the rating rule changes agreed for next season.

Following the IRC Congress earlier this month, chaired by Ireland's Michael Boyd, changes were agreed for the 2021 season. The two main areas of change deal with Spinnaker Pole/Sprit lengths and Flying Jibs. 

Bowsprit/Spinnaker Pole IRC changes for 2021

Whisker poles

In late 2019 IRC came up with a new method of dealing with Whisker poles which were becoming more common, especially on larger Offshore boats, where the offwind sails like Code 0s and Flying Jibs could be sheeted further outboard on the whisker pole outriggers.

Some confusion arose around the 2020 revalidation form and options that were offered to owners who did not have a whisker pole but did have both a sprit and also used a spinnaker pole for Symmetrical Spinnakers. It appears some of these boats may have been over-penalised in 2020.

For 2021, a new definition of what is a whisker pole has been agreed by World Sailing and an individual question will now be asked in the 2021 revalidation to determine if a boat is carrying one.

It means the options for owners who have both a bowsprit and also use a spinnaker pole become simpler.

Pole/Sprit sizing

Up to now, it appears that your STL (from front of the mast to end of Sprit or end of pole) was the only figure that was taken to cover both your pole length and how far your Sprit extended. So if you added a sprit to your bow and this came out further than your pole, then it cost nothing in rating to extend your pole to that same length. However, many owners did not go to the bother or expense of splitting their pole and extending it. 

For 2021, it now appears that if your pole is not as long as your Sprit, you may, in some circumstances, get a better rating for having the shorter pole. Both the sprit length (STL) and the pole length (SPL) can and should now be provided in your 2021 revalidation. This may also mean that owners adding a sprit might opt for a longer sprit compared to the very stubby Sprit we have seen recently, and not incur the same penal penalty. Trial certs should be looked at to confirm this.

The text from the IRC rating office is below:

To fully benefit from the changes owners are asked to confirm the pole configuration of their boat, and SPL as well as STL if applicable when applying for a certificate. For revalidation, SPL should be supplied if it is different from the previous rated STL. If SPL is not supplied then STL will automatically be used for spinnaker pole length if applicable, which may result in a higher TCC. Boats may see a change in their TCC for 2021 and the rating effect will depend on the specific configuration of the boat.

Flying Jibs—IRC Changes

The way IRC handles Flying Jibs is changing as is their definition.

History—Flying Jibs

Flying Jibs became popular due to a change in the IRC rules back in 2017 when it became legal for a headsail to be tacked forward of the forestay onto a sprit. This allowed a Headsail to be designed with a high clew which was the same size as the boats Jib, and so no extra rating penalty as only the largest is rated. These Flying Jibs could then be used with another jib or staysail inside them. Effectively it was a small flat code 0, normally on a furler, which was very efficient when power reaching in more wind than a code 0 could take. Code 0's were rated as spinnakers and so had to be designed wide in the middle to meet the 75% mid girth IRC requirement. However, the flying jib had no such restriction and could be designed to be quite flat.

Not too many of these sails have turned up in Ireland so far, but internationally you could see them become popular especially on larger offshore boats that often set 2 or 3 headsails forward of the mast.

A Flying Jib used with headsail. This will still be allowed in 2021 but the Flying jib like this will continue as a headsailA Flying Jib used with headsail. This will still be allowed in 2021 but the Flying jib like this will continue as a headsail

Changes for 2021—Flying Jibs

The new 2021 rule now has come up with a new definition of what exactly is a flying jib and requires any boat carrying one or more of these to report them on their 2021 revalidation and they will be included in their new Cert, and a likely penalty will be incurred.
A headsail design that is the same size or smaller than a boats max size headsail can still be set on a boats sprit, so what was referred to as a flying jib over the last few years continues, per IRC, now defined as a headsail. These sails do not need to be reported as a Flying jib.

Effectively the new Flying jibs are a flat, perhaps slightly smaller Code 0. From the graph below, you will see that they can be quite costly on rating so a prolonged period of use in their perfect conditions would be needed to justify this rating increase.

Owners declaring a Flying Headsail within the IRC definition will see a change in rating for 2021. Some representative examples are shown below; these are for guidance only as the rating effect will depend upon the rig configuration and many other boat factors.Owners declaring a Flying Headsail within the IRC definition will see a change in rating for 2021. Some representative examples are shown above these are for guidance only as the rating effect will depend upon the rig configuration and many other boat factors. Source IRC

The J/99 Juggerknot at the start of Fastnet 450 race with flying jib and headsail set Photo: AfloatThe J/99 Juggerknot at the start of Fastnet 450 race on Dublin Bay with flying jib and headsail set Photo: Afloat

The definition of what is a Flying Jib is twofold.

  1. It must have a mid-girth of at least 62.5% of its foot. This will force sail designers to design these sails much fuller than they would normally want to do. This is to stop these sails effectively been used upwind as large jibs.
  2. IRC has put a minimum foot length of these sails to stop very small Flying Jibs being designed. There is a formula for this.

The full details and formulas can be found here

The Rating Office has provided the above graph of what penalties will likely be incurred by boats that use certain sized Flying jibs going forward. These are based on sail sizes that might be efficient to design. It is unlikely that the penalty will prove attractive to take for IRC boats that do not do long offshore races. 

Other IRC changes

There have been some other clarifications mainly around wording, age dates, series dates and the use of foils. These are all covered in the IRC changes link given above.

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The Offshore Racing Congress (ORC), the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) are pleased to announce the next biennial ORC/IRC World Championship will be held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy. Dates for the event are to be 18-26 June 2022.

The event will be the second World Championship held using both of these two World Sailing-recognised international rating systems since this year’s event planned to be in the USA at New York Yacht Club had to be cancelled due to pandemic restrictions. The first combined ORC/IRC Worlds was held in 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands and attracted 85 yachts from 15 nations.

The choice of YCCS has been accepted and approved by the ORC Offshore Classes and Events Committee and the IRC Board, so now the planning of details may begin on the format, scoring and other topics once a Working Party is formed from members representing ORC, IRC, and YCCS.

As in previous planning for the combined Worlds, three full-crew classes segregated by size and speed will be competing for three World Champion titles. A Notice of Race is expected to be issued in mid-2021, about one year in advance of the start of racing.

Michael Illbruck, Commodore of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, said “We are extremely pleased and honoured to have been appointed to organize the 2022 ORC/IRC World Championship. We will use the two years at our disposal to work on all the details of the event, on both the sporting and social fronts. Watching this impressive and varied fleet competing on the waters of Sardinia will be thrilling!”

“We are looking forward to bringing a World Championship to the Mediterranean region after a 3-year absence,” said ORC Chairman Bruno Finzi. “We expect this to be a very popular regatta, with many participating teams not only from this region but also from around the world because Porto Cervo is widely recognized as being one of the world’s greatest sailing venues.”

“The RORC and our partners in IRC, Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), are delighted that the second joint ORC/IRC World Championship is being held in the Mediterranean and being run by the YCCS,” said RORC Commodore Steven Anderson. “The YCCS has an excellent reputation for its management of yachting events and this championship will attract a world-class fleet of boats.”

Published in RORC
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The Royal Ocean Racing Club in London has released a special edition of its Time Over Distance video series with Louay Habib talking to Alex Thomson just days before Alex and HUGO BOSS started the 2020 Vendee Globe.

This is Alex Thomson's fifth race and having come second last time, Hugo Boss is one of the favourites.

The interview was recorded live with Alex exploring the physical and mental strength required for the race, plus details of the radical IMOCA 60 design and the cutting-edge technology on board.

Published in Vendee Globe

Representatives of the International Rating Certificate (IRC) from around the world met at the beginning of October for the annual IRC Congress to discuss the past IRC season and future developments. This year the planned gathering in London was not possible due to Coronavirus so the meeting was held online with delegates joining the meeting from varied time zones as far apart as the East Coast USA and Japan. One IRC representative joined the meeting from aboard his boat in autumnal Finland.

Irish interests at Congress were represented by Richard Colwell from ICRA, Mark Mills representing Irish Owners and Liz Hall from the ISA.

IRC Congress 2020 was chaired for the second year by Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor Michael Boyd, supported by Vice-Chairman Carl Sabbe of Belgium. Congress was sorry to hear that after 12 years of service Malcolm Runnalls has stepped down as IRC International Owners’ Representative and IRC Committee Vice Chairman. Malcolm has been involved in IRC from the point of view of a sailor, measurer and independent representative for many years and was instrumental in the introduction of IRC into Australia; his insights and wisdom will be missed. Stepping into Malcolm’s shoes is Simon James, another long time user and supporter of IRC, owners’ representative in South East Asia and a well-known Principal Race Officer across Asia.

Delegates gathered from across Europe, Scandinavia, Brazil, Japan and the USA; and from organisations including RORC, UNCL, the Royal Yachting Association and the International Maxi Association. Due to the online format and time zone constraints this year’s conference lacked the usual informal discussions enjoyed by delegates to share experiences and ideas from different perspectives and racing cultures, but more informal online meetings and discussions are expected to take place during the next year.

A number of technical developments were proposed by the IRC Technical Committee for 2021 and agreed by Congress. These include the addition of ‘flying headsails’ to the IRC sail inventory; more equitable treatment of spinnaker and whisker poles; and recognition that it is not currently possible to rate fully foiling boats fairly within the existing IRC fleet, although the Technical Committee will be exploring ways to rate these exciting, fully foiling boats in the future.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and l’Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), joint owners of IRC, work closely together on a day-to-day basis through their respective rating offices with both offices accessing the IRC software on the same server, on research and technical development and on overall governance of the rule. This relationship has been further strengthened over the last year with a new collaborative agreement that will come into effect on 1 January 2021. This will result in integration of the teams based in UK and France, both employees and volunteers in one single structure, although geographical location of individuals will be maintained. We will continue to use online communication tools to manage this international team. This consolidation will enhance IRC’s operations, development and research of IRC with the the aim of delivering the best service to sailors and race organisers. RORC and UNCL look forward to the continued success of IRC racing.

Fastnet Race 2021

Some exciting events are scheduled for 2021 including the IRC European Championship to be held in Hyeres, France in June; and the Rolex Fastnet Race in August which will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin for the first time. The joint IRC/ORC World Championship due to be held in Newport, RI in September 2020, unfortunately, fell victim to Coronavirus with overseas entrants unable to travel to join the event. The next World Championship is expected to be held in 2022.

The Congress Minutes, IRC 2021 rule changes and other associated documents are online here

Published in RORC
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Clubs running yacht racing using the International Rating Certificate (IRC) rating rule can find a myriad of useful resources on the IRC website, including the Race Management Guidelines which have recently been updated with some useful tips picked up from clubs running racing during the Coronavirus pandemic. These updates include ideas for reducing crew numbers and highlighting the benefits for club racing.

Race format suggestions have been added that can reduce the number of race support personnel required. There is also an additional section on ways of encouraging youth and mixed-gender to IRC racing using the crew number limits.

The Race Management Guidelines range from the basics of how to invoke IRC rules to advice for clubs who would like to tailor the rules in more detail in their Notice of Race, where permitted. Subjects include class split ideas, rating change deadlines, crew limits, endorsed certificates, non-spinnaker and short-handed racing, protests, and safety and stability screening. There are also recommendations on course setting, dual scoring with performance handicap, policing and equipment inspection.

A very useful tool for clubs is the online list of boats holding a current IRC certificate; boats must hold a current certificate to race and these expire on 31st December (or 31st May in some countries) each year. The online list is updated every evening and has a search facility as well as the option to download the full list.

As part of its Racing Rules Guidance the Royal Yachting Association in the UK publishes guidance on protests concerning alleged breaches of IRC rules and these can also be found on the IRC website.

To access all this information see the IRC Racing section here

Published in RORC
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Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada, raced by Jeremy Waitt and Shirley Robertson, won the final race of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 2-H Autumn Series to take overall victory in the three-race series. Rob Craigie & Deb Fish’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino was series and race runner-up. In third place for the series was Daniel Jones’ Sun Fast 3300 Wild Pilgrim. In third place for the final race was Nigel Goodhew’s Sun Fast 3200 Cora, sailed by Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews.

The final race of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 2-H Autumn Series was a 103nm overnight race. Starting from the Squadron Line, the fleet headed east out of the Solent on a fast reaching angle to a virtual waypoint off Worthing. A return leg followed with a beat to Winner Buoy and then around the South of the Isle of Wight passed St Catherine’s Point. Close-hauled in big breeze it was a bumpy ride up to The Needles Fairway Buoy. The fleet came off the breeze, to race through Hurst Narrows, and onto the finish off the RORC buoy in the Central Solent.

“With Richard (Palmer) having a knee operation and the COVID situation, this year looked like it was going to be a write-off, “commented Jangada’s Jeremy Waitt. ” However, to win this series was great, and to race with Shirley Robertson was just fantastic. Shirley is very skilled at getting the best speed out of the boat and also has incredible endurance. Last night we were beating into 27 knots, it was on the nose and very lumpy, but she just dug in and we got the win.”

“It has been great fun racing with Jeremy (Waitt) and a big thank you to Richard Palmer for letting us race Jangada,” commented Shirley Robertson. “Jeremy has done so much two-handed racing, he is a really wise head on the boat. I have learnt a lot about the importance of risk management, including concentrating on the important decisions to come. I have to say a massive thanks to RORC. The double-handed class have had the best racing out of anyone; the racing has been really varied. Well done to the RORC for giving us a great summer, the enthusiasm from the club and the sailors has been exceptional.”

RORC Racing Manager, Chris Stone commented: “For the first time in the history of the club the RORC Season’s Points Championship had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. However, the appetite for racing was still there and we have had great feedback from the competitors in both the Summer Series and the 2-H Autumn Series. We have so much to look forward to, especially the highlight of 2021, the Rolex Fastnet Race.”

For full results here

Published in RORC
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James Harayda & Dee Caffari, racing Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo, have won the second race of the RORC IRC Two-Handed Autumn Series. Gentoo took line honours in the 128nm race as well as the win on IRC corrected time. Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada, raced by Jeremy Waitt and Shirley Robertson, was second, less than five minutes ahead of Sun Fast 3200 Cora, raced by Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews.

The overnight race was held in blustery conditions with about 25 knots from the north to north-west. The RORC Race Committee set a course taking in all points of sail and requiring strategic decisions, especially with regards to tidal current and also for wind shadow on the southside of the Isle of Wight.

Undoubtedly the best start was made by Nicola Simper’s S&S 34 Blueberry, starting the race at full pace at the Squadron Line. The RORC fleet headed as far west as East Shambles buoy with Outer Nab 2 forming the most easterly point of the course. After a night of hard racing south of the island, the fleet hankered down for a beat back into the Eastern Solent to finish in the early hours of the morning.

James Harayda is just 22-year-old and racing Gentoo with Dee Caffari who has sailed around the world six times. Dee is the first woman to have sailed single-handed and non-stop around the world in both directions. Harayda & Caffari have their sights set on representing Great Britain in the Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.

“You forget who you're sailing with very quickly, Dee doesn't come with an ego despite having achieved such amazing things,” commented James Harayda. “It's a really nice dynamic on board, Dee brings a huge amount of experience that I haven't had, I think our skills complement each other quite nicely.”

Listen to the full interview with James Harayda

The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Two-Handed Autumn Series comes to a conclusion with the last race scheduled to start on Saturday 10th October. Jangada leads the series, followed by Daniel Jones’ Sun Fast 3300 Wild Pilgrim. Rob Craigie & Deb Fish’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino is third.

Published in RORC
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Moving to Cherbourg for the finish of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's premier event, the Rolex Fastnet Race next year will see navigators and crews facing a few significant new challenges writes James Boyd

Firstly the new course is 90 miles (or 15%) longer, making it 695 miles, based on the shortest route. Of this the first 500 miles (or 72%) of the course remains unchanged - setting off from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on Sunday 8 August 2021; heading southwest down the English south coast, negotiating Anvil Point, Portland Bill, Start Point and the Lizard en route, before the vital decision over which side to pass the Traffic Separation Scheme exclusion zone off Land's End. Then there are the open ocean crossings to the Fastnet Rock and back to Bishop Rock, southwest of the Scilly Isles.

The long final leg to Cherbourg adds 90 miles to the course and is more open, but concluded with the crossing of the Alderney RaceThe long final leg to Cherbourg adds 90 miles to the course and is more open, but concluded with the crossing of the Alderney Race. Credit: Expedition Navigation Software & thanks to Ian Moore

From here the course changes marginally. From Bishop Rock, it is possible to lay directly Cape de la Hague, the northwesternmost headland of the Cotentin Peninsula, before making the final slight starboard turn for the last 10 miles to the finish line within Cherbourg's harbour. The new course from Bishop Rock is 91°M, compared to 83° to the Lizard, however, the added distance to Cherbourg may affect the make-up of the race overall.

While the race requires an all-round boat, the new course remains predominantly windward-leeward, albeit more downwind. Credit: Ian MooreWhile the race requires an all-round boat, the new course remains predominantly windward-leeward, albeit more downwind. Credit: Ian Moore

More significant will be the final roll of the dice: how best to tackle one of Europe most powerful tidal gates - the Alderney Race, between Alderney and Cape de la Hague. "This is now the biggest tidal gate of the race," states Moore. "It is strongest off Cape de la Hague, through the Swinge (between Alderney and Burhou, northwest of Alderney) and off the eastern Alderney shore. The tidal effect also covers a much larger area than it does off Portland Bill. There will be winners and losers here and it will be hard to get right."

The Alderney Race’s effect will also be increased after start day’s new moon, with finishers into Cherbourg expecting during a period with a very high tidal coefficient (86-89). The good news is that the Alderney Race runs slightly faster in the fair northerly-northeasterly direction than it does when it is foul. Moore says that navigators will be keenly anticipating their arrival time at the Alderney Race. If it is when it is unfavourable then they try to gain tidal relief by leaving Alderney to port or, more dramatic still, sidestepping the Alderney Race altogether by approaching Cherbourg from the north. This latter route is made less attractive due to the location of the Casquets TSS exclusion zone that forces boats to stay south, unless they wish to round its north side, requiring them to sail 11 additional miles.

Those lucky enough to arrive at the Alderney Race in fair tide can expect a 4-6 knot boost to their speed. Credit: Expedition Navigation Software & thanks to Ian MooreThose lucky enough to arrive at the Alderney Race in fair tide can expect a 4-6 knot boost to their speed. Credit: Expedition Navigation Software & thanks to Ian Moore

UK-based Kiwi navigator Campbell Field was part of the overall winning crew on the 2003 Rolex Fastnet Race on Charles Dunstone’s maxi Nokia and last year was on the top British finisher under IRC, David Collins’ modified TP52 Tala.

His assessment of the new course is similar to that of Ian Moore: “If you look at the prevailing conditions you could expect on an average year with southwesterlies, it will shift the proportions of the race – if it was predominantly upwind and tight reaching and around one third was broad reaching and running - it will flip those proportions. So there will be more open angle sailing. Also the majority of the race will now be post-Fastnet Rock rather than before it. With more downwind, it could well favour the broad reaching/downwind machines that can plane.”

As to the new long final leg between Bishop Rock to the finish, Field observes that while the old course used to be mostly a coastal race, the route to Cherbourg is much more open. “That’s good because there will be weather changes over that period.”

As to the Alderney Race, Field adds: “It is just another obstacle to negotiate, no different to the other tidal gates, but it is something that’ll have to be analysed coming back from the Fastnet. It will be time dependent and if your timing is stacking up to be an hour before or after the tidal gate, that could have a major impact on your race whereas if you get there in the middle of the flow, your strategy is pretty much dictated to you: Get in it and crack on or avoid it! It just adds another interesting navigational dynamic, a new dimension, to the race. I enjoy doing races like the Fastnet because you have constant stimulation...”

 Cherbourg will host the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race for the first time next August. Online entries open in January 2021. © Marc Lerouge Cherbourg will host the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race for the first time next August. Online entries open in January 2021. © Marc Lerouge

The new finish in Cherbourg is due to the joint co-operation of the City of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, the Communauté d’agglomération du Cotentin, the Conseil départemental de la Manche and Région Normandie with the RORC. While French boats have dominated recent editions of Rolex Fastnet Race, good knowledge especially of the Alderney Race (or Raz Blanchard as it is known locally) is certain to benefit local residents. One is the 2013 winner, Alexis Loisin, who warns: “Raz Blanchard - there is a lot of current there and maybe the gate there will be open or closed, so you will certainly be able to win or lose the race in the last hours. Your timing must be good – so it is good to have Rolex as a sponsor!”

As Afloat reported previously, Carrickfergus navigator Ian Moore gave an overview of the new course on youtube here

Published in Fastnet
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Page 3 of 41

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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