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The RORC Nelson’s Cup Series ahead of the Caribbean 600 Race got underway on time in spectacular conditions off the south coast of Antigua. With tropical heat, 16 knots from the east and a significant swell, the south coast of Antigua produced awe-inspiring racing. 

In IRC Two, Antiguan Farr 65 Spirit of Juno skippered by Dublin Bay's David Hanks scored a memorable victory in the first race, taking class line honours and the win after IRC time correction by just over two minutes from Marie Tabarly’s 73ft ketch Pen Duick VI (FRA). Szymon Kuczynski’s Figaro Hultaj (POL) was third. 

In the second race, Spirit of Juno scored their second bullet of the RORC Nelson’s Cup Series, with Pen Duick VI second by just three minutes after IRC time correction.

“We have a charter crew on board, with myself and Verity Rouse as permanent crew, and it was a no-brainer to enter the RORC Nelson’s Cup,” commented Spirit of Juno skipper David Hanks. “When the race series was announced, we were delighted because it was the best way to train for the RORC Caribbean 600; train hard - fight easy. Today, we had two starts, loads of hoists and drops and mark roundings, which was a great way to get the teamwork going for the big race.”

Spirit of Juno skipper David Hanks invited Emily Gaillard on board who is just 15 and the Antiguan Optimist champion. “Emily was a natural on the helm and fitted straight in with the team. We are looking forward to having Emily on board Spirit of Juno for the rest of the series including the Caribbean 600,” commented Hanks. 

OnDeck’s Farr 65 Spirit of Juno skippered by Davis Hanks of Ireland Photo Tim WrightOnDeck’s Farr 65 Spirit of Juno skippered by Davis Hanks of Ireland Photo Tim Wright

The daily prize giving for the RORC Nelson’s Cup Series was held at the Antigua Yacht Club with English Harbour Rum honouring the lucky winners and the amazing volunteers from the Antigua sailing community, plus Axxess Marine providing complimentary cold beers.

Published in Caribbean 600
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A flotilla of spectator boats and a huge crowd in Marina Lanzarote witnessed the start of the 2023 RORC Transatlantic Race on Sunday, 9th January. In glorious conditions, the fleet got away to a clean downwind start, a mile from Marina Lanzarote. The RORC fleet were in full view of spectators along the seafront of Arrecife, Lanzarote’s capital. As the boats rounded the turning mark outside Puerto Calero, well-wishes shouted encouragement from a pack of ribs and an armada of cruising boats.

After passing under the volcanic mountains of the Los Ajaches National Park, the fleet raced through the narrow Strait of Bocaina, which divides Lanzarote from Fuerteventura. The RORC fleet must leave Tenerife to port, before heading into the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. The next mark of the course is 3,000 miles away across the Atlantic at Glover Island.

Frank Slootman’s MOD70 Snowflake (USA), skippered by Gavin Brady Photo: James MitchellFrank Slootman’s MOD70 Snowflake (USA), skippered by Gavin Brady Photo: James Mitchell

Vincent Willemart’s TS42 Banzai (BEL) Photo: James TomlinsonVincent Willemart’s TS42 Banzai (BEL) Photo: James Tomlinson

Multihull Class

Three powerful 70ft trimarans approached the line on port, but undoubtedly the smallest multihull in the race won the start. Vincent Willemart’s TS42 Banzai (BEL) approached the line on starboard, and with right of way, the trimarans respectfully gave way. Frank Slootman’s MOD70 Snowflake (USA), skippered by Gavin Brady, and MOD70 Zoulou (FRA), with Erik Maris at the helm, soon powered up. However, Giovanni Soldini’s Maserati Multi70 (ITA) was not the quickest in light airs, with its four foils more a hindrance in low wind speed. At 17:15 UTC Snowflake was achieving 18 knots of boat speed, a mile ahead of Zoulou, with Maserati four miles astern.

The largest boat in the fleet - Swan 115 Jasi Photo: James TomlinsonThe largest boat in the fleet - Swan 115 Jasi Photo: James Tomlinson

 Volvo 70 Green Dragon, skippered by Cathal Mahon Photo: James TomlinsonVolvo 70 Green Dragon, skippered by Cathal Mahon Photo: James Tomlinson

IRC Super Zero

Volvo 70 Green Dragon, skippered by Cathal Mahon of Galway Bay got a cracking start near the pin end, but Volvo 70 I Love Poland, skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski was soon up-to-speed. Swan 115 Jasi (SWE) was a magnificent sight and was the first in class to pass the mark at Puerto Calero. At 17:15 UTC Jasi was through the Strait of Bocaina, three miles ahead of I Love Poland (POL). IMOCA 60 Canada Ocean Racing (CAN), co-skippered by Scott Shawyer & Alan Roberts was third.

 Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), sailed by Stefan Jentzsch Photo: James MitchellBotin 56 Black Pearl (GER), sailed by Stefan Jentzsch Photo: James Mitchell

Henri de Bokay’s Elliott 52 Rafale Photo: James MitchellHenri de Bokay’s Elliott 52 Rafale Photo: James Mitchell

IRC Zero

Botin 56 Black Pearl (GER), sailed by Stefan Jentzsch, pulled off a stunning start at the pin end and immediately unfurled an enormous gennaker to take the lead on the water. By contrast, Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD Teasing Machine (FRA) chose the inshore end of the line. As the class leaders approached the turning mark at Puerto Calero, Black Pearl was clear away. Henri de Bokay’s Elliott 52 Rafale and Arto Linnervuo’s Infiniti 52 Tulikettu were in the chasing pack with Teasing Machine. A difference in tactics through the Strait of Bocaina saw Black Pearl go to the Fuerteventura coast along with Tulikettu and Teasing Machine. However, Rafale has split gybes heading north of the rhumb line, it will be interesting to see if their different approach pays off.

Pata Negra at sunset Photo: Chris JacksonPata Negra at sunset Photo: Chris Jackson 

Laurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza (FRA), skippered by Philippe Falle Photo: James MitchellLaurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza (FRA), skippered by Philippe Falle Photo: James Mitchell


At 17:15 UTC, Laurent Courbin’s First 53 Yagiza (FRA), skippered by Philippe Falle leads on the water from Andrew & Sam Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra (GBR). Lionel Regnier’s Briand 58 L’Esprit D'Equipe was third.

Chris Jackson on board Pata Negra blogged as the sun set on the first day: “Great to start the race and be on our way. All settling in well on Pata Negra. The breeze is a little lighter than we hoped for, but there’s plenty of days to come for that to change. All happy aboard!”

IRC Two-Handed competitors in this year’s race are Kate Cope & Claire Dresser racing Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist (GBR), and Peter & Duncan Bacon racing Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear (GBR). Both teams have made a great start, with Sea Bear just ahead on the water, but Purple Mist leading after IRC time correction.

Peter & Duncan Bacon racing Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear (GBR) Photo: James Tomlinson Peter & Duncan Bacon racing Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear (GBR) Photo: James Tomlinson  

RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton watched the start from the water and spotted a fantastic moment when two historic round the world racing yachts were close-racing as they approached the Puerto Calero mark: “We have some great stories in this race,” commented Jeremy Wilton. “Penduick VI skippered by Marie Tabarly has been beautifully restored, which her father Eric would have been so proud of, and L’Esprit D'Equipe, winner of the ’85 Whitbread is a part of sailing history. The RORC want to attract the high performance boats like the MOD70s, Volvo 70s and the Supermaxi Swan 115 Jasi, but we also want the Corinthians as well. We want diversity and that is really evident in this fleet, with classic yachts and passionate two-handed teams like Kate and Claire on Purple Mist and Peter and Duncan on Sea Bear.”

“It’s fantastic to see the fleet start the race,” commented RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole. “In the build-up, we have had really good communication with the competitors who have given us all the information required in good time. This has allowed us to concentrate on other aspects of the race such as safety inspections. There have been a few tiny things that needed some attention, but all of the boats are well-prepared to cross the Atlantic. We now move to the next phase; monitoring the race 24 hours a day. We wish all of the boats fair winds and we look forward to seeing the competitors in Grenada.

Track the fleet below

Published in RORC Transatlantic
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Near perfect, record conditions are forecast for the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race, the International Maxi Association and the Yacht Club de France. The international fleet is set to depart Marina Lanzarote on Sunday, 8th January.

Weather forecasts are predicting five days or more of 20 knot plus north-easterlies; a perfect angle for a high-speed 3,000-mile race across the Atlantic Ocean.

The overall winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race is decided by IRC time correction; the glittering prize is the antique sterling silver RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy.

The multihull fleet will race under the MOCRA Rule and for Multihull Line Honours.

The monohull fleet are divided into three IRC Classes with prize winners for each class, including a special prize for the best Two-Handed team.

Multihull race record beckons within the high-performance multihull division Photo: James Mitchell/RORCMultihull race record beckons within the high-performance multihull division Photo: James Mitchell/RORC

Multihull - Race Record beckons

Teams from Belgium, France, Italy and the United States make up the high-performance multihull division. Three of this year’s multihull alumni are turbo-charged MOD70s that are capable of eclipsing the Multihull Race Record (2015, Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 Phaedo3, 5 days 22 hrs 46 mins 03 secs).

Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) is competing for the fourth time and is the reigning multihull race champion, having taken line honours in a photo-finish last year. MOD70 Zoulou (FRA), formerly Powerplay, is sailed by Erik Maris and has a stellar crew, including highly experienced MOD70 driver Ned Collier Wakefield and the enigmatic Loick Peyron. Frank Slootman’s American MOD70 Snowflake is skippered by US-based Kiwi Gavin Brady. Snowflake was formerly race-record holder Phaedo3 and record-holding skipper Brian Thompson is back on board for this year’s race.

Vincent Willemart’s TS42 Banzai is the fourth multihull in the division and while the Belgium team will not be as quick as the 70-foot trimarans, the class winner is decided by MOCRA time correction. Banzai’s crew includes one of Belgium’s most decorated sailors, Michel Kleinjans; winner of the Global Ocean Race and class winner for the Route du Rhum.

Racing in IRC Super Zero - Johannes Schwarz's Volvo 70 Green Dragon Photo: Tim WrightRacing in IRC Super Zero - Johannes Schwarz's Volvo 70 Green Dragon Photo: Tim Wright

IRC Super Zero - Maxi Showdown

Four Maxis racing in IRC Super Zero are favourites to take Monohull Line Honours and lift the IMA Transatlantic Race Trophy. The largest boat competing in this year’s race is the Supermaxi Swan 115 Jasi, skippered by Toby Clarke. The 21-strong crew includes top professionals; Ken Read, Paul Wilcox, Mark Sadler, Andy Meiklejohn and Mike Pammenter.

Two Volvo 70s will be racing; the Polish National Foundation’s Volvo 70 I Love Poland is skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski, with Konrad Lipski as navigator. Johannes Schwarz's Volvo 70 Green Dragon has the youngest skipper in the race: Ireland’s 23-year-old Cathal Mahon from Galway.

Scott Shawyer’s IMOCA 60 Canada Ocean Racing will be racing two-handed with Alan Roberts. 

The dock talk among the Maxis is that weather routing software is predicting as quick as eight days, which would threaten the Monohull Race Record (2022, Supermaxi Comanche skippered by Mitch Booth, 7 Days 22 hrs 01 mins 04 secs).

Competing in IRC Zero - Arto Linnervuo’s all-Finnish team on Infiniti 52 Tulikettu Photo: Patrick CondyCompeting in IRC Zero - Arto Linnervuo’s all-Finnish team on Infiniti 52 Tulikettu Photo: Patrick Condy

IRC Zero – Packed with cutting edge 50-footers

The highest rated boat in IRC Zero is the water-ballast Botin 56 Black Pearl with Stefan Jentzsch at the helm. Black Pearl’s crew, which includes Marc Lagesse, Paul Standbridge, Mitch Booth and Peter van Niekerk are hoping it will be third time lucky for Black Pearl. A broken bowsprit and then a dismasting scuppered the boat’s chances in the last two editions. 

Arto Linnervuo’s all-Finnish team will be racing Infiniti 52 Tulikettu. Linnervuo completed the race in 2018 with his Xp-44 Xtra Staerk, but Tulikettu is on a totally different level. Weighing less than 7000kg and built with DSS side-foils, Tulikettu is capable of adrenaline-pumping speed. Henri de Bokay’s Elliott 52 Rafale sports a canting keel, but still rates lower under IRC than Black Pearl and Tulikettu. Skippered by Philipp Kadelbach, Rafale‘s crew is mainly from Germany and amongst their recent successes includes Line Honours for the Aegean 600. Eric de Turckheim’s NMYD 54 Teasing Machine was the overall winner of the race in 2017. Since the French team’s victory, Teasing Machine has undergone a series of modifications and was in fine form, winning the 2022 Rolex Middle Sea Race. The Teasing Machine crew includes Volvo Ocean Race winner Laurent Pages and Aymeric Chappellier, who finished on the Class40 podium for the 2019 Transat Jacques Vabre.

With a crew from Czechia and Slovakia, Miroslav Jakubcik and Marek Culen will race the smallest boat in IRC Zero; Class40 Sabre II. The co-skippers have raced against each other since childhood but have joined forces to make their first transatlantic race. The largest boat in the class is Marie Tabarly’s 73ft ketch Pen Duick VI, which is also the oldest boat in the race. Originally built for Marie’s father Eric Tabarly for the 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race, Pen Duick VI has a great history of Transatlantic racing, including Eric winning the solo 1976 OSTAR.

Racing in IRC One - Andrew Hall’s British Lombard 46 Pata Negra Photo: Tim WrightRacing in IRC One - Andrew Hall’s British Lombard 46 Pata Negra Photo: Tim Wright

Eclectic Mix - IRC One

The most wide-ranging class in the RORC Transatlantic Race features six totally different designs racing under the IRC Rating Rule. Lionel Regnier’s 58ft Philippe Briand-designed L'Esprit D'Equipe, winner of the 1985 Whitbread Round the World Race, is the largest boat. The smallest is Kate Cope’s Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist, which will be raced Two-Handed with Claire Dresser, hoping to become the first all-women Two-Handed team to finish the RORC Transatlantic Race. Purple Mist’s immediate competition will come from Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear, which will be raced Two-Handed by Peter and Duncan Bacon. 

Andrew Hall’s British Lombard 46 Pata Negra will be taking part in its fourth RORC Transatlantic Race. Andrew Hall’s son Sam is part of an experienced crew, including Boat Captain Chris Jackson, who confirmed that Pata Negra has reduced her sail area to be more competitive under IRC. Pata Negra’s closest rival on IRC Rating is Laurent Courbin’s French First 53 Yagiza skippered by Philippe Falle. Global Yacht Racing’s British First 47.7 EH01 has been racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club for many years, but this will be the first RORC Transatlantic Race. EH01’s Irish skipper is Neil Maher, with an international crew from Canada, Germany, Great Britain and the United States. EH01 may not be the fastest boat in her class but has a symmetrical downwind sail plan, giving the tactical advantage of being able to sail a shorter distance to the finish in Grenada.

Racing IRC One - Peter Bacon's Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear Photo: Paul WyethRacing IRC One - Peter Bacon's Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear Photo: Paul Wyeth

In the build-up to the race start on Sunday January 8th, sailors taking part in the RORC Transatlantic Race will enjoy a full social programme starting with a Welcome Cocktail Party at the Real Club Náutico De Arrecife. With fascinating battles right through the fleet, race fans can follow the RORC Transatlantic Race as it unfolds. Every boat will be fitted with a satellite tracker and all teams are encouraged to send in their stories from the racecourse.

Published in RORC
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The Royal Ocean Racing Club has announced the appointment of Steve Cole as the new Racing Manager from 1st January 2023, succeeding Chris Stone, who will continue as a consultant to the Race Management team for the new Nelson’s Cup series in Antigua and the 50th edition of the Fastnet Race.

Steve is from Gurnard on the Isle of Wight and has huge experience having been a senior member of the RORC Racing team for the last five years. Prior to joining RORC, Steve was Managing Director of Cowes Yacht Haven for six years and was joint owner of a boatyard in East Cowes.

As a National Race Officer, he has also previously helped RORC in a voluntary role, including 10 Rolex Fastnet Race starts.

Steve was in charge of the 2022 Round Britain & Ireland Race which was voted Event of the Year at the prestigious British Yachting Awards. He is also the Principal Race Officer for Cowes Week.

A keen sailor himself, Steve has raced inshore and offshore for many years. His first offshore race was in 1978, racing a J/24 to Deauville, and he also competed in the 1992 Round Britain and Ireland Race as boat captain on past RORC Admiral Donald Parr’s Quailo. He has also been involved with Gurnard Sailing Club for many years and will use those skills to assist the Cowes Clubhouse when needed. 

Steve will direct the Race Management Team based in Cowes, Isle of Wight, who work year-round on the RORC Season’s Point Championship; a much-coveted series of offshore races running from January to October. The 2023 RORC Season includes the 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Transatlantic Race and RORC Caribbean 600. Steve will also oversee the programme of inshore events, including the RORC Easter Challenge, Vice-Admiral’s Cup and IRC National Championship.

‘’It is a fantastic opportunity for me to become RORC Racing Manager and I hope to continue the good work already started. Whilst the big boats bring the glamour and prestige to our flagship events, we recognise and appreciate the commitment of our members and competitors who race with us regularly in the smaller boat classes. Hopefully we can continue to expand and improve our programme to suit everyone.’’

Published in RORC
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The New Year heralds a big season for the Royal Ocean Racing Club, including the 14th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race. The longest race in the 2023 RORC Season’s Points Championship starts from Marina Lanzarote on January 8th.

The RORC Transatlantic Race is once again supported by Calero Marinas, the International Maxi Association and the Yacht Club de France. The destination is Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada, 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, who provide 48hrs of free berthing when competitors arrive.

Twenty-one entries racing under the IRC and MOCRA Rating Rules are confirmed for the RORC Transatlantic Race. Three 70ft trimarans: Maserati, Snowflake and Zoulou will be gunning for the outright race record and Multihull Line Honours. Three fully-crewed Maxi yachts can be counted as favourites for the IMA Transatlantic Trophy for Monohull Line Honours; Swan 115 Jasi and two Volvo 70s, I Love Poland and Green Dragon. At the other end of the spectrum, three teams will be racing with the added challenge of competing in IRC Two-Handed.

American Ken Read - one of the most respected names in the sport will be racing on Jasi. The offshore veteran and President of North Sails has helmed two America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, US Sailor of the Year (twice) and has a trophy cabinet stacked with National and World Championship wins © Amory Ross / Puma Ocean Racing / Volvo Ocean Race

An impressive list of the world's most accomplished and celebrated sailors includes American Ken Read, who will be racing on the Swan 115 Jasi, skippered by Toby Clarke. Read will be taking part in his 12th transatlantic, in an illustrious career which includes three round the world races.

“The key goal for Jasi is that the owner and several of his friends are doing the RORC Transat as a bucket-list race. They've never done anything like this before, so we will make sure it stays safe and that they have a blast,” commented Ken Read. “We have a great crew with a lot of experience and it’s going to be fun for us to show them the ropes. Jasi has a great twin-rudder steering system and a big sail-plan, but we have to be smart and slowly work ourselves into fifth gear.” 

A twist of fate pits Swan 115 Jasi against a boat that Read knows very well. The Polish National Foundation’s Volvo Open 70 I Love Poland, was originally PUMA’s Mar Mostro, skippered by Read in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race. Mar Mostro was also based in Lanzarote prior to the round the world race.

“I can't wait to meet these guys, (I Love Poland),” continued Ken Read. “I've seen the boat a couple times from afar, but I haven't given her a hug, so to speak. You know you get attached to a boat that kind of saved your life from time to time. It would be an honour to get back on the old girl; maybe they can show me a few tricks on how to sail her! Ten years ago, Mar Mostro was based in Puerto Calero and the Calero family looked after us and instantly became part of the family, so I have a lot of familiarity with the superb sailing conditions and the warm welcome. I am sure the Calero family take very good care of this race.”

I Love Poland has an all-Polish team, many of which are under 30 years of age and are participants of a training programme on the Volvo Open 70. I Love Poland has taken Monohull Line Honours in the Rolex Middle Sea Race and Roschier Baltic Sea Race. “For the 2023 edition, we will do our best to sail faster than in 2022,” commented I Love Poland’s navigator, 27-year-old Konrad Lipski. I Love Poland’s elapsed time for the last edition was 10 days 11 hrs 12 mins 50 secs.

“Perfect conditions would be 20+ kts of reaching from start to finish, but that is never a reality,” continued Lipski. “We will analyse the weather in the following days and create a plan. Goal No.1, as always, is to sail safely and finish the race. Anybody who has sailed this kind of boat knows the amount of water that runs down the deck. So, for us, safety has a top priority; we never forget that.”

Of the three teams racing in IRC Two-Handed, the largest is IMOCA 60 Canada Ocean Racing skippered by Canadian Scott Shawyer. British solo-sailor Alan Roberts, winner of the VIVI Trophy for top International in the Figaro class, completes the crew. The RORC Transatlantic Race will be the first double-handed race for the team. For Ontarian Shawyer, the race is a big step towards his ambition to compete in the 2028 Vendee Globe.

Published in RORC
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The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) has launched a new race entry system SailRaceHQ, replacing the old Sailgate system with immediate effect.

'Following a three-year study and build programme, SailRaceHQ is a totally new system that has many advantages and user-friendly features', say RORC

  • Simpler entry process
  • Online completion of OSR checklists
  • Online declarations
  • Ability to load a profile of you and your yacht
  • Online record of miles sailed
  • Real time race results
  • Automated notifications of outstanding requirements
  • Updated payment system
  • Crew Match section
  • Race documents all in one location

If you intend to enter any RORC race from the 2023 RORC Caribbean 600 and beyond, including the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race, you must register with SailRaceHQ.

RORC has also issued an apology to those who have already entered under the old system, as it is necessary for them re-register at SailRaceHQ

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London's Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) has announced the 2023 IRC European Championship will be sailed in Cannes.

The event will be organised by the Yacht Club de Cannes, with the partnership of UNCL - Pôle Course du Yacht Club de France from Monday, 29th May to 4th June.

The rating bands will be as shown in the Règlement du Championnat Méditerranée IRC en Equipage 2023 and the event will be open to boats with a valid IRC ENDORSED certificate.

The Notice of Race will be published at the beginning of 2023 and the entry portal will be open in the website of the Yacht Club de Cannes. There will be an early bird discount for entries registered and paid in advance.

The programme will consist of two days dedicated to confirmation of registrations, IRC measurements and safety checks, then five days of races with various types of race courses (windward-leeward, coastal races and a long coastal race).

Alternately organised in the North (Channel) and South (Mediterranean Sea), the IRC European Championship is a key event of the IRC 2023 season and it aims to bring together more than 60 boats. As an ideal playground of our Championship, the bay of Cannes and its surroundings offer wide options in terms of race courses.

As a tourist hotspot of international renown, the Cannes region offers all the facilities for reception and logistics, both for the boats and their crews. All maritime and port services and infrastructures are available on site and such as to meet the expectations of the most demanding crews.

Published in RORC
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1200 UTC 11th January 2023: RORC says this time should be double underlined in the calendar of those wishing to enter next year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, as it will be the moment when registration officially opens for the 50th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s flagship event. Just like Glastonbury tickets when they go on sale, registration opening prior to recent editions of the Rolex Fastnet Race have seen available places snapped up within just a few minutes.

In the last pre-pandemic edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race in 2019, the entry capacity was reached in just four minutes and 37 seconds - 13 seconds outside the record time set two years earlier.

With next year’s edition of the world’s largest offshore yacht race marking a special anniversary, demand is expected to be higher than ever, with more than 450 expected on the start line, ranging from maxi monohulls and multis to 30ft club racers and cruisers and everything in between.

Entries are available on a ‘first come-first served’ basis and any latecomers beyond the RORC’s limit will be placed on a waiting list.

An impressive sight as the massive Fastnet Race fleet heads up the Solent Photo: Carlo BorlenghiAn impressive sight as the massive Fastnet Race fleet heads up the Solent Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

Will the sign-up record be broken for this special edition? CEO the RORC, Jeremy Wilton advises: “The message is: Get your entry in immediately after registration opens; otherwise, you will end up on the waiting list. If the Rolex Fastnet Race is going to be the highlight of your 2023 season, why take the risk that you might not get in at this first stage?” 

As in 2019, next year’s Rolex Fastnet Race is an ‘early one’. Setting sail on 22nd July (chosen because of availability in the Cowes marinas, as it is outside of Cowes Week and favourable tides on this date), this Saturday start will enable the fleet to complete the 695 mile course, rounding the Fastnet Rock and finishing, once again, in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France in ample time to return to the Solent for Cowes Week.

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The inaugural IRC Two-Handed European Championship will take place at the beginning of July 2023. The combined results from two races will decide the Championship: La Trinité – Cowes (350nm) starting on the 2nd July, and Cowes - Dinard - St Malo (150nm), starting on the 7th July.

“The IRC Two-Handed European Championship results will be extracted from the two races with no additional entry fee,” commented RORC PRO Steve Cole. “The IRC rating band has been chosen to include similar boats racing in IRC Two-Handed. There will be a Prize Giving at the RORC Clubhouse following the La Trinité - Cowes Race, and the European Championship Trophy will be awarded after the St Malo Race. The attraction of the Fastnet Race, starting on the 22nd July, means we are expecting a big fleet for the IRC Two-Handed European Championship.”

Legendary French skipper Géry Trentesaux Photo: Paul WyethLegendary French skipper Géry Trentesaux Photo: Paul Wyeth 

Legendary French skipper Géry Trentesaux is one of the driving forces behind the new IRC Two-Handed European Championship. After the merger of UNCL and the Yacht Club de France (YCF) in September 2022, Géry is the YCF Vice President and Racing President.

“With so many teams now racing IRC Two-Handed in France and the UK, it seems very natural to have a European Championship,” commented Géry Trentesaux. “La Trinité – Cowes is a 350-mile race connecting two famous offshore racing ports. Teams will have to manage Atlantic Ocean currents and land effects at the start, then there is the possibility of a fast reach across the Channel for a spectacular Solent finish in Cowes. The 150-mile Cowes Dinard St Malo race dates back over a century. Personally, I love the race and the finish in St Malo. I have won four times, as many as former British Prime minister Edward Heath!”

A Prize Giving will be held at the RORC Cowes after the La Trinité - Cowes Race Photo: Paul WyethA Prize Giving will be held at the RORC Cowes after the La Trinité - Cowes Race Photo: Paul Wyeth

The IRC Two-Handed European Championship is part of the RORC Season’s Points Championship.

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The inaugural Royal Ocean Racing Club IRC Middle East Championship, organised by the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will be held from 17-18 December 2022

IRC Rating is strong in the Middle East with the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC) supporting the rating system and attracting competitors from across the region, including the popular annual Dubai to Muscat Race. Through this continued development and recognising their support DOSC have been awarded the inaugural IRC Middle East Championship.

The Dubai Offshore Sailing Club Photo: Pia Torelli photographyThe Dubai Offshore Sailing Club Photo: Pia Torelli photography

Over 40 boats are expected for the AGMC IRC Middle East Championship organised by the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club from 17-18 December 2022. Four IRC Classes are expected with three IRC Racing Classes and an IRC Cruiser Class.

Five races are scheduled over two days with three inshore races on December 17th followed by an inshore race and a double point scoring Coastal Race on December 18th.

“In recognition of the continued growth in IRC keelboat racing both in Dubai and throughout the Middle East, The Royal Ocean Racing Club and the IRC Board have great pleasure in granting the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club rights to hold the IRC Middle East Championships in 2022,” commented Dr Jason Smithwick, Director of Rating. “This event will be a significant addition to IRC events around the world and we believe this is a good opportunity to mutually promote Dubai as the regional centre for the sport of modern keelboat sailing. We wish the club, and all competitors, the best for the event.”

“We are very excited to be hosting the first IRC Middle East Championships and look forward to this growing in the years to come,” commented DOSC Rear Commodore Ed Shiffner. “We would like to recognise AGMC BMW for supporting the event, as well as the dedicated team at DOSC who are committed to hosting an enjoyable and successful Championship.”

DOSC was established in 1974 through the generosity of His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al Maktoum, who granted land along the coastline for the purpose of sailing. The impressive DOSC facility is in Central Dubai with a 150-berth marina on the Arabian Gulf. The renowned DOSC Clubhouse Restaurant is open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. An impressive turnout is expected from members of the host club. However, the AGMC IRC Middle East Championship is an open event, all teams are invited to contact DOSC for details.

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