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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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The London Headquartered Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) are looking to appoint a full-time racing co-ordinator to join their race team based in Cowes, Isle of Wight.

The offshore racing club says it is 'seeking a self-motivated, team player to assist with all aspects of a busy race season both in the UK and abroad'.

For an informal chat or to obtain the full job and personal specifications call 019832295144 or email [email protected]

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The 2022 Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Annual Dinner and Prize Giving was held in the Ballroom of the InterContinental London Park Lane.

Celebrating an impressive season of RORC racing, over 200 guests enjoyed a cocktail reception and gourmet dinner at the luxury five-star hotel. Sailors came from all over Europe and further afield for a night of festivities with the RORC. A glittering array of prestigious prizes were presented to the season’s winners. With trophies dating back over a century, the RORC Season’s Points Championship is part of yacht racing history; it is the largest yacht racing series anywhere in the world.

The 2022 RORC Season’s Points Championship featured 16 offshore races held in nine different countries. The exciting programme included: the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the RORC Transatlantic Race, the RORC Caribbean 600, the SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race, the inaugural Roschier Baltic Sea Race, and the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race.

For 10 months, over 400 boats and 5000 sailors raced an astounding variety of offshore certified keelboats. Ranked under the IRC Rating Rule, jointly administered by the RORC and the UNCL, competition was thrilling and close, right through the classes. The RORC Season’s Points Championship also awards prizes to Multihulls and Class40s.

The 2022 Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Annual Dinner and Prize Giving was held in the Ballroom of the InterContinental London Park Lane. Photo: Rich Bowen The 2022 Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Annual Dinner and Prize Giving was held in the Ballroom of the InterContinental London Park Lane. Photo: Rich Bowen 

2022 RORC Yacht of the Year + Season's Points Championship winner

Richard Palmer's JPK 1010 Jangada - racing Two-Handed with co-skippers Jeremy Waitt/Rupert Holmes:

Winning the RORC Season’s Points Championship is an achievement desired by any serious offshore sailor. The Overall winner of the 2022 championship, lifting the Jazz Trophy was Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, which was raced Two-Handed with two co-skippers during the season; Jeremy Waitt and Rupert Holmes.

Jangada completed 12 races, accumulating a massive haul of points for overall victory. But perhaps the best indicator of Jangada’s performance was that the team was victorious in two classes, IRC Two-Handed and IRC Three, where the winner is decided by the best five races in the series. Jangada was also the winner of a new trophy; The Gordon Applebey Trophy for the best six races in IRC Overall.

In IRC Three with 71 entries, Jangada narrowly beat Sun Fast 3200 Cora, raced by Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews. Cora’s impressive season was rewarded with The Assuage Trophy. Mike Yate’s J/109 JAGO was third. In IRC Two-Handed with 99 teams, runner-up to Jangada was Cora and third was Sun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper, raced by Jim & Ellie Driver.

L to R: James Neville, RORC Commodore, Rupert Holmes, Richard Palmer, Jeremy Waitt. Jangada received a haul of prizes including the Jazz Trophy for IRC Overall and the Somerset Memorial Trophy for RORC Yacht of the Year Photo: Rich BowenL to R: James Neville, RORC Commodore, Rupert Holmes, Richard Palmer, Jeremy Waitt. Jangada received a haul of prizes including the Jazz Trophy for IRC Overall and the Somerset Memorial Trophy for RORC Yacht of the Year Photo: Rich Bowen 

Jangada’s ambitious resolve to win the RORC Season’s Points Championship started in 2018 when Richard Palmer and Jeremy Waitt narrowly missed out in their first attempt, thwarted by rig failure in their final race. In 2020, after a superb start with an overall win in the RORC Transatlantic Race, the pandemic took away any chance of winning. This year, Jangada sealed off an immense season with the overall win under IRC for the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race.

“Five years ago, we set out to win the Jazz Trophy but we had no idea where this campaign was going to lead us,” commented Richard Palmer. “Finally, this year has exceeded all our expectations, winning the Championship overall and winning the RORC Yacht of the Year. A massive thank you to my co-skippers for their huge commitment, and to our families and friends that have supported us on this fabulous journey.”

Richard Palmer's JPK 1010 Jangada (GBR) racing Two-Handed with co-skippers Jeremy Waitt/Rupert Holmes win the 2022 RORC Yacht of the Year and the RORC Season's Points Championship Photo: Paul WyethRichard Palmer's JPK 1010 Jangada (GBR) racing Two-Handed with co-skippers Jeremy Waitt/Rupert Holmes win the 2022 RORC Yacht of the Year and the RORC Season's Points Championship Photo: Paul Wyeth 

IRC Superzero - Telefonica Black

VO70 Telefonica Black, skippered by Lance Shepherd was the winner of the 18-team IRC Superzero Class. Runner-up was the Polish National Foundation’s VO70 I Love Poland, third was the VPLP/Verdier 100 Comanche.

“Our aim to make big boat sailing fun and accessible has been achieved. We are proud to have won IRC Superzero,” commented Telefonica Black’s Lance Shepherd. “We run Telefonica with a skipper and three regular crew, with up to 14 guests. Our team is different for every RORC race so they have to pull together as a unit. We try to make the experience a fun, learning environment with a huge emphasis on safety and seamanship. Everyone gets to try every position onboard; our mantra is to enjoy the experience. If we get results, that’s the icing on the cake.”

VO70 Telefonica Black, skippered by Lance Shepherd was the winner of the 18-team IRC Superzero Class Photo: Rich BowenVO70 Telefonica Black, skippered by Lance Shepherd was the winner of the 18-team IRC Superzero Class Photo: Rich Bowen

VO70 Telefonica Black, skippered by Lance Shepherd was the winner of IRC Superzero in the 2022 RORC Season's Points Championship Photo: James TomlinsonVO70 Telefonica Black, skippered by Lance Shepherd was the winner of IRC Superzero in the 2022 RORC Season's Points Championship Photo: James Tomlinson 

IRC Zero – INO XXX

One of the highlights of the season for INO XXX was the 230-mile Myth of Malham Race. INO XXX won overall beating Niklas Zennström's brand-new Swedish CF-520 Rán 8 into second place.

"It was great to see so many boats out racing, with the RORC making the most of the Jubilee Weekend!" exclaimed James Neville. "The start was quite difficult; we had to put a few gybes in to hold position on the south side of the Solent. With tide under us, it was a tight call getting past the Shingles. The crucial tactic racing to the west was making Portland on one gybe, and that maximized our VMG. Rán sailed deeper than us and got to the Eddystone Lighthouse two hours ahead of us, but we knew that on IRC corrected they needed about four hours in the race. Rán did have to foot off as they were on a tighter angle, which meant they had to sail more miles, but INO goes well on a tight reach. The big decision racing east was staying quite south on the return past Portland. We had good tide all the way to the Isle of Wight and with the easterly coming in and tidal relief from the Island, that was what did it for us. The wind died for the boats behind and they had foul tide."

 RORC Commodore James Neville (right) is presented with the Europeans Cup by RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone for winning IRC Zero in his HH42 INO XXX Photo: Rich BowenRORC Commodore James Neville (right) is presented with the Europeans Cup by RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone for winning IRC Zero in his HH42 INO XXX Photo: Rich Bowen

 Winning IRC Zero and the Europeans Cup - RORC Commodore James Neville racing his HH42 INO XXX won the 75-strong class Photo: Rick TomlinsonWinning IRC Zero and the Europeans Cup - RORC Commodore James Neville racing his HH42 INO XXX won the 75-strong class Photo: Rick Tomlinson

IRC One – Bulldog

Derek Shakespeare’s J/122 Bulldog was the winner of the 103-strong IRC One Class, lifting the Trenchemer Cup. Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood was second and Jean-Eudes Renier & Rob Bottomley racing MAT12 Sailplane was third. Bulldog also won the Peter Harrison Youth Trophy for a crew with a third under 25.

“The key for our RORC Season win was consistency,” commented Derek Shakespeare. “Albeit with only one class win, in our six races we finished five on the podium. We kept the boat moving all the time and made some good navigational calls. It was great to win our class in the De Guingand Bowl - there were plenty of tactical options as the course took us first to lines of longitude rather than fixed marks. Between the Needles and St Catherine’s we chose to stay close to the Island and that paid for us in the end.”

 Derek Shakespeare’s J/122 Bulldog was the winner of the 103-strong IRC One Class, lifting the Trenchemer Cup Photo: Rich BowenDerek Shakespeare’s J/122 Bulldog was the winner of the 103-strong IRC One Class, lifting the Trenchemer Cup Photo: Rich Bowen

IRC One winners - Derek Shakespeare’s J/122 Bulldog Photo: Rick TomlinsonIRC One winners - Derek Shakespeare’s J/122 Bulldog Photo: Rick Tomlinson 

IRC Two - Bellino

Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with Deb Fish was the winner of IRC Two in a class of 88 boats, lifting the Emily Verger Plate. Nick Martin’s Sun Fast 3600 Diablo, racing with Cal Finlayson was a close second for the season. Jim & Ellie Driver racing Sun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper was third.

The Corinthian team of Rob and Deb on Bellino have sailed a huge number of miles together, including winning the RORC IRC Two-Handed season three times in the past five years. This year, for the first time, Bellino competed in the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race. Winning IRC Two for the 1805-mile race resulted in class victory for the season. Bellino had an epic duel with Sam White and Sam North, also racing Two-Handed with JPK 1080 Mzungu!

“We knew from the start that there would be strong competition, with boat-on-boat racing and that was a big reason for entering the race,” commented Bellino’s Deb Fish after finishing the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race. “We could see Mzungu! for 95% of the race. In that situation, for every mile you are looking for that extra inch, you have to short tack to stay in pressure or out of bad tide. It was great racing, but also stressful; an absolutely cracking race.”

“It’s just about sailing the boat,” said Rob Craigie. “You have to get it going; tweak the sails, set up the instruments and also have fun and enjoy it. This race has been 1800 miles of close racing at the highest level. All you can ever do is the best you can.”

Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with Deb Fish was the winner of IRC Two in a class of 88 boats, lifting the Emily Verger Plate Photo: Rich BowenRob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with Deb Fish was the winner of IRC Two in a class of 88 boats, lifting the Emily Verger Plate Photo: Rich Bowen 

Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with Deb Fish Photo: Rick TomlinsonRob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with Deb Fish Photo: Rick Tomlinson 

IRC Four – Morning After

Stuart Greenfield S&S 34 Morning After was the winner of IRC Four, lifting the Cowland Trophy and also the Freddie Morgan Trophy for the Best Classic Yacht. Paul Scott’s Sigma 38 Spirit was runner-up, with Kirsteen Donaldson’s x-332 Pyxis completing the podium.

“Morning After was left in a yard for 21 years. It took 18 months because of Covid to rebuild her and I think I've aged 20 years doing it,” commented Stuart Greenfield.

Morning After competed in six RORC races in 2022. Stuart raced Morning After for much of the season Two-Handed with Louise Clayton. However, for the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race, Morning After was fully crewed with the addition of RORC Admiral Mike Greville and Frederick Neville-Jones. Racing with Louise Clayton, Stuart’s 1968 Morning After won IRC Two-Handed in a class of 45 for the 2022 Cowes Dinard St Malo Race.

“Morning After is a brilliant boat on the beat and we stayed on starboard tack all the way to Casquets. In the morning we had no breeze and at one point, we were going backwards on the tide and we thought we had lost the race. However, the wind picked up from the north and we got going again before the boats in front of us got the new wind. That is the luck of being a small boat, but we had to get the tide tactics absolutely spot on!”

Stuart Greenfield S&S 34 Morning After was the winner of IRC Four, lifting the Cowland Trophy and also the Freddie Morgan Trophy for the Best Classic Yacht. James Neville awards the silverware to Stuart Greenfield, & Louise Clayton Photo: Rich BowenStuart Greenfield S&S 34 Morning After was the winner of IRC Four, lifting the Cowland Trophy and also the Freddie Morgan Trophy for the Best Classic Yacht. James Neville awards the silverware to Stuart Greenfield, & Louise Clayton Photo: Rich Bowen

Stuart Greenfield S&S 34 Morning After was the winner of IRC Four lifting the Cowland Trophy and also the Freddie Morgan Trophy for the Best Classic Yacht Photo: Rick TomlinsonStuart Greenfield S&S 34 Morning After was the winner of IRC Four lifting the Cowland Trophy and also the Freddie Morgan Trophy for the Best Classic Yacht Photo: Rick Tomlinson

MOCRA Class – Maserati

Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati was the winner of the Multihull Class. After MOCRA time correction Maserati was the winner of the RORC Caribbean 600. Despite not winning on corrected time, Maserati’s golden race was the RORC Transatlantic Race, taking Line Honours in a 4000-mile shoot-out with PowerPlay and Argo. “It was a breathtaking race! Our crew gave their all and Maserati Multi70 really made the difference," Soldini rejoiced. “I am very satisfied. The result of the work of these years is there for all to see. It has been a very long process of research and development.”

 Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) was the winner of the Multihull Class Photo: Arthur Daniel Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati (ITA) was the winner of the Multihull Class Photo: Arthur Daniel

Class40 - Mussulo 40

The RORC Class40 champion for 2022 was Jose Guilherme Caldas’ Mussulo 40, winning the Concise Trophy. Runner-up was Antoine Magre’s Palanad 3 and third was Greg Leonard’s Kite. Twenty Class40 competed in RORC races during 2022, including nine for the RORC Caribbean 600 which was won by Herve Thomas’ Finimmo.

The 2023 RORC Season’s Points Championship has already started with an overall win for RORC Vice Commodore Eric de Turckheim’s Teasing Machine in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. The 15-race series will continue with the RORC Transatlantic Race starting from Marina Lanzarote on the 8th January. 2023 also marks a special occasion for the Royal Ocean Racing Club with the 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race starting from Cowes on the 22nd July.

The RORC Class40 champion for 2022 was Jose Guilherme Caldas’ Mussulo 40, winning the Concise Trophy Photo: Paul Wyeth The RORC Class40 champion for 2022 was Jose Guilherme Caldas’ Mussulo 40, winning the Concise Trophy Photo: Paul Wyeth 

2022 RORC Season's Points Results here

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The ninth edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race, supported by Calero Marinas and the International Maxi Association, is scheduled to start from Marina Lanzarote, Canary Islands on Sunday 8th of January 2023.

Racing across the Atlantic is a phenomenal experience and a huge variety of boats and sailors have already registered for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's 2,995nm offshore race. Held annually in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club de France, entry is open to boats racing under IRC, Class40, Classic Yachts, Superyacht and MOCRA rating systems. Early entries and expressions of interest for the 2023 RORC Transatlantic Race include teams from at least seven different countries, including; Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and the United States.

The largest yacht currently entered in the 2023 edition is the magnificent French Wally 107 Spirit Of Malouen X, sailed by Stephane Neve. The overall winner under IRC will win the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy and past winners include four Maxi Yachts: RP78 Lupa of London, Finot 100 Nomad IV, Marten 72 Aragon and the VPLP/Verdier 100 Comanche. The first monohull to cross the line in Grenada is also awarded the magnificent IMA Transatlantic Trophy.

The largest boat in the race to date is the French Maxi - Wally 107 Spirit of Malouen X © Rolex/Carlo BorlenghiThe largest boat in the race to date is the French Maxi - Wally 107 Spirit of Malouen X © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Competing in their fourth RORC Transat - Giovanni Soldini and team on 2022 Line Honours winner Multi70 Maserati © James Mitchell/RORCCompeting in their fourth RORC Transat - Giovanni Soldini and team on 2022 Line Honours winner Multi70 Maserati © James Mitchell/RORC

Philippe Falle will skipper Laurent Courbin’s French First 53 Yagiza who are new to the RORC Transatlantic Race Philippe Falle will skipper Laurent Courbin’s French First 53 Yagiza who are new to the RORC Transatlantic Race 

Giovanni Soldini’s ballistic Italian Multi70 Maserati plans to defend their Line Honours victory last year. This will be Maserati’s fourth race, but the outright race record has so far eluded the team. (2015 - Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo3 in 5 Days, 22 hrs,46 mins,03 secs). Maserati is one of five 70ft trimarans competing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race this October. Soldini’s Maserati is keen to have close competition for the RORC Transatlantic Race. The first multihull to take Line Honours will receive the RORC Transatlantic Race Multihull Trophy. The best corrected time under the MOCRA Rule will be the Multihull Class winner.

German Botin 56 Black Pearl, with Stefan Jentzsch at the helm has unfinished business in the race having retired last year. Black Pearl is back and the highly experienced crew includes Marc Lagesse as navigator and Paul Standbridge as watch leader. New to the race is Laurent Courbin’s French First 53 Yagiza, skippered by the highly experienced Philippe Falle. Andrew Schell’s Frers Swan 59 Icebear will also be making its RORC Transatlantic Race debut.

An ocean racing legend will also be racing this year; the 58ft Philippe Briand-designed L'Esprit d'Équipe, winner of the 1985 Whitbread Round the World Race. L'Esprit d'Équipe will be skippered by Lionel Régnier who has completed 13 transatlantic races, including winning the OSTAR. Fifty-footers have lifted the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy on two occasions; Franco Niggeler's Swiss Cookson 50 Kuka 3 (2018) and Eric de Turckheim's NMYD 54 Teasing Machine (2017), also entered for the 2023 edition.

Andy Schell & Mia Karlsson's Swan 59 Ice Bear will make her debut in the RORC Transatlantic race next January Photo: 59º NorthAndy Schell & Mia Karlsson's Swan 59 Ice Bear will make her debut in the RORC Transatlantic race next January Photo: 59º North

 The classic ocean racing legend L’Esprit d’Equipe Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean RaceThe classic ocean racing legend L’Esprit d’Equipe Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race

Eric de Turckheim's NMYD 54 Teasing Machine Photo: Rolex/Carlo BorlenghiEric de Turckheim's NMYD 54 Teasing Machine Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Passionate Corinthian teams for the 2023 edition include teams racing in IRC Two-Handed. Katherine Cope’s British Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist will be racing with Claire Dresser in the race’s first all-woman double-handed team. Father and son team of Peter & Duncan Bacon have entered their Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear and Sebastien Saulnier returns with his French Sun Fast 3300 Moshimoshi which was the first Two-Handed entry to finish in 2021. For the 2023 edition, Saulnier will be racing with business partner Stefan Jaillet. The smallest boat to win the RORC Transatlantic Race overall under IRC was Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, racing two-handed with Jeremy Waitt in 2019.

Katherine Cope’s British Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist - first all-woman double-handed team Photo: Paul WyethKatherine Cope’s British Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist - first all-woman double-handed team Photo: Paul Wyeth

Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear - father and son team of Peter & Duncan Bacon Photo: Rick TomlinsonSun Fast 3300 Sea Bear - father and son team of Peter & Duncan Bacon Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Andy Middleton's EH01 will compete in both the RORC Transatlantic Race and the RORC Caribbean 600 Photo: Tim WrightAndy Middleton's EH01 will compete in both the RORC Transatlantic Race and the RORC Caribbean 600 Photo: Tim Wright

The RORC Transatlantic Race is part of the RORC Caribbean Series where IRC rated boat with the best combined score in both the 2023 Transatlantic Race and 2023 RORC Caribbean 600 claims the series trophy. The Swan 601 Lorina 1895, skippered by Ken Docherty has entered for both races. Andy Middleton’s First 47.7 EH01 is a welcome edition to the RORC Transatlantic Race and his Global Yacht Racing team will also be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Yet to enter, but expected to do so, are Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster; second overall in the last edition, plus Andrew Hall’s Lombard 46 Pata Negra, which has competed in three previous races, including second overall in 2019.

Racing across the Atlantic is on the bucket list of any serious offshore sailor. Every sailor completing the 2995-mile race is also eligible to join the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

For on-line entry and more details about the RORC Transatlantic Race here 

Entries here

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For the first time, the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s GBR IRC National Championship in 2024 will not take place from the club’s base in Cowes but will form part of the  Poole Regatta. The 26th edition of the IRC Nationals, one of the major annual regattas for the international rating system operated by the RORC, will take place on Poole Bay over 25-27th May 2024.

Held biennially, Poole Regatta as usual, will be organised by the Combined Yacht Clubs of Poole and Poole Yacht Racing Association. This year’s event included the IRC Southern Area Championship.

One of the oldest sailing events in the world, the Poole and Bournemouth Regatta, as it was originally known, was first held in 1849. At this time, yachting was a popular pastime of royalty and the aristocracy, with clubs being set up and regattas held around the UK’s entire coastline. 

Sam Laidlaw's Quarter Tonner racing Poole Bay Sam Laidlaw's Quarter Tonner racing Poole Bay

Originally the Poole and Bournemouth Regatta was raced for The Canford Cup, a George IV silver vase made in 1822. The trophy was first awarded in 1849 to Gleam, of P Roberts, Esq of the Southern Yacht Club in Southampton. It subsequently disappeared for decades, until it was recovered in 2015. Recently it has been won by Sam Laidlaw's Quarter Tonner Aguila in 2016, Richard Powell's Marvel in 2018 and this year by Ed Wilton’s Who’s Next.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s GBR IRC National Championship in 2024 will form part of the International Paint Poole Regatta.  L to R: Andrew Pearce, President International Paint Poole Regatta, Jeremy Wilton, RORC CEOThe Royal Ocean Racing Club’s GBR IRC National Championship in 2024 will form part of the International Paint Poole Regatta. L to R: Andrew Pearce, President International Paint Poole Regatta, Jeremy Wilton, RORC CEO Photo: Chris Jones

The UK IRC National Championship was first held in 1999 with the advent of the RORC/UNCL’s new IR2000 rule. Developed from the Channel Handicap System (CHS), the maths behind the IRC rule is undisclosed to avoid the arms race that inevitably occurs when competitive, well-resourced teams attempt to optimise their yachts to published rules. Between CHS and IRC, the rule has been refined over the course of almost 40 years and between them the RORC/UNCL rating offices hold a huge database spanning small keelboats to the world’s largest superyachts, from cruisers to grand prix racers. Significantly all certificates issued in the UK, both Standard and Endorsed, are verified by the professional staff at the RORC Rating Office.

As adding complexity to rating systems typically leads to little or no change in results, the IRC has been deliberately kept simple with ratings calculated from declared boat data for standard certificates (i.e. no need for measurement) while for an IRC Endorsed certificate a yacht’s data must be verified by measurement but without the requirement for complex stability and hull measurements. A yacht’s IRC rating is expressed as a single number (TCC) for time-on-time rating and can be used at events internationally. In practice this makes it relatively simple for teams to calculate their position on the course and their result within seconds of finishing.

Andrew Pearce, Poole Regatta President commented: “We are delighted that the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) have announced that they are inviting the Poole Regatta to host the IRC Nationals as part of their regatta in 2024. Moving it out of the Solent to Poole is something we have been talking about for some time as the two regattas fit very comfortably together. With three days and eight races the two regattas are a perfect fit, and Poole being a very short trip out of the Solent should encourage all potential boats that are interested in racing in the event.” 

Cape 31s racing at Poole Regatta Photo: David Harding Cape 31s racing at Poole Regatta Photo: David Harding 

Jeremy Wilton, RORC CEO was present at the announcement on the first day of the Southampton International Boat Show and commented: “It is a real pleasure for RORC to be part of the Poole Regatta. It may not seem like a big decision to move the IRC Nationals away from its traditional home of Cowes, but it is a big decision within the Club and within IRC to actually move the event. It’s never been done before and as it has the title ‘Nationals’ we felt it was really important to take it to a different part of the UK.

Jason Smithwick, Director of Rating at RORC Rating Office commented: “We are excited to have the event as part of the Poole Regatta. For some time we have had the idea of moving the IRC Nationals to other locations to vary the venue and allow other boats to participate in their local waters and now is the perfect time. We hope Poole will attract the regular Solent racers and in particular the boats from the South West and beyond. Poole is a perfect first edition of this initiative with great race organisation and sailing waters. RORC will of course, be part of the core team in helping the Poole Regatta deliver a world class Nationals event that IRC sailors deserve.”

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The up-grading of the RORC's annual Caribbean 600 race to what is effectively a two-week inshore/offshore festival in February 2023, when the sailing in the area is at its brisk but warm best, is a reminder that Irish boats and crews have been in there since the start in 2009 of
what initially seemed like a slightly wacky idea.

For although the established 600-700 mile classics such as the Bermuda Race, the Fastnet Race, the Sydney-Hobart, the Middle Sea and the Round Ireland have relatively straightforward courses, in order to break the 600-mile ceiling, the slighty eccentric Antigua Sailing Brains Trust came up with a cat's cradle of a course, intertwining so many island and large rock turning points that some of the bigger boats carried two navigators, just to be sure to be sure.

 Howth contingent in Antigua - Michael Wright and ex-pat superstar Gordon Maguire before the start of the Caribbean 600. Photo: Brian Turvey Howth contingent in Antigua - Michael Wright and ex-pat superstar Gordon Maguire before the start of the Caribbean 600. Photo: Brian Turvey

But immediately it was proposed, Adrian Lee of Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire was much taken with the idea. He had recently bought Ger O'Rourke of Limerick's Cookson 50 Chieftain, overall winner in the 2007 Fastnet Race and high scorer or winner in several other majors. Yet by February 2009 there she was in Antigua, ready to go as Lee Overlay Partners with a totally fresh high-quality livery re-vamp which clearly declared that this was a completely new chapter in Cookson 50 history.

And a pretty good chapter it was too. Lee Overlay Partners was the overall winner of the inaugural RORC Caribbean 600. And it was the first of several good stagings of the annual race as far as Ireland is concerned, for since then there have been top placings and class wins,
notably by Conor Fogerty with his Sunfast 3600 Bam! and the Howth Wright brothers-led team with the chartered Lombard 45 Pata Negra.

Howth contingent in Antigua - Michael Wright and ex-pat superstar Gordon Maguire before the start of the Caribbean 600. Photo: Brian TurveyThe RORC Caribbean 600 is a cat's cradle of a course - the start and finish is in the middle, at the south end of Antigua

As for the crew of Lee Overlay Partners, they'd acquired a taste for winter-rejecting offshore races, and in November 2013 they sailed in balmy Middle East weather in the 360-mile Dubai-Muscat Race, down the Gulf through the Straits of Hormuz to the Arabian Sea in what some naval authorities reckoned to be a war zone. If it was, Lee Overlay Partners spent a prudent minimum of time in it, as they broke the course record and notched another major overall win.

It was a warm, spice-laden Saturday night in Muscat when the win was declared. Meanwhile, back home in Dun Laoghaire on a wet and windy night of classic November qualities, the Royal St George YC was staging a gala celebration of all the 254 major international wins its members had recorded since the club's foundation in 1838, with the successful idea of cheering everyone up after emerging from the acute economic recession of 2008-2012. In the midst of it all, the news came in from Muscat. With appropriate acclamation, the number on the International Winnerboard was raised to 255.

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The 2022 RORC Season’s Championship concluded on Saturday 3rd September with the finish of the 75-mile Cherbourg Race.

A light southerly wind, oscillating both to the east and the west, gave a strategic edge to the race. The overall winner after IRC time correction was Mike Moxley’s HOD 35 Malice, racing in IRC Two-Handed with Tom Bridge. Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews, also racing in IRC Two-Handed, was runner-up with Sun Fast 3200 Cora. Noel Racine’s JPK 1030 Foggy Dew with a crew from Le Havre completed the podium.

76 teams from Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United States started the Cherbourg Race, the class winners included: Lance Shepherd’s Volvo 70 Telefonica Black, RORC Commodore James Neville’s HH42 INO XXX, Jean-Eudes Renier & Rob Bottomley’s MAT12 Sailplane, Samuel Dumenil & Maxime Lemesle’s JPK 960 Casamyas and Mussulo 40 skippered by James Stableford for the Class40 Division win.

Full results are here

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The world’s largest offshore racing series concludes next weekend with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Cherbourg Race, starting from Cowes on Friday, 2nd September at 1800 BST. 81 teams are entered for the dash across The English Channel, the largest entry for the race in over 20 years.

After a hiatus in 2021, the RORC Season’s Points Championship has come back with a bang. Over 400 teams from more than 30 different countries have competed in the 11-month series. Racing under the IRC and MOCRA Ratings plus the Class40 Rule, over 100 different boat designs have been in action. The RORC Season’s Points Championship includes highly prized races from the UK to France, the Netherlands and Belgium plus international races with venues set in Malta, Lanzarote, Grenada, Antigua, Ireland, and Finland. The Cherbourg Race is the sixteenth and final race of the series.

An entry List is downloadable below. 

36 teams entered in IRC Two-Handed Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC36 teams entered in IRC Two-Handed Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC

36 teams entered in IRC Two-Handed

Over 80 double-handed teams have competed with the RORC this year racing in IRC Two-Handed, most of the top teams will be among the 36 double-handed teams racing to Cherbourg. Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada has had a tremendous season, securing victory for IRC Overall and IRC Two-Handed with a race to spare. Richard Palmer will be racing to Cherbourg with Jeremy Waitt, and this is far from just a victory lap (see IRC Three). Fighting it out for runner-up for IRC Overall and IRC Two-Handed are Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino with Deb Fish and Nick Martin’s Sun Fast 3600 Diablo with Cal Finlayson.

The Cherbourg Race is also Race One of the 2022 IRC Double Handed Nationals, Race Two will take place 10-11 September from Cowes. The top three skippers from the 2021 IRC Double Handed Nationals will be racing to Cherbourg: James Harayda’s Sun Fast 3300 Surf, Mike Yates’ J/109 JAGO, and Ellie Driver with Sun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper.

INO XXX Photo: Rick TomlinsonINO XXX Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Pegasus of Northumberland Photo: Paul WyethPegasus of Northumberland Photo: Paul Wyeth

Palanad 3 Photo: Rick TomlinsonPalanad 3 Photo: Rick Tomlinson

High Performance boats set for Cherbourg

Lance Shepherd’s Volvo 70 Telefonica Black will be taking part in its seventh RORC race of the season. No doubt the team of mainly Corinthian sailors will be celebrating in Cherbourg as Telefonica Black has already secured the IRC Super Zero series win. RORC Commodore James Neville will be racing his HH42 INO XXX to Cherbourg. INO XXX is currently third for the season in IRC Zero but a good result in the last race could propel the team to first in class for the year. High Performance IRC boats set for The Cherbourg Race include Ross Hobson’s Open 50 Pegasus of Northumberland, Antoine Magre’s Class40 Palanad 3 and Lloyd Yacht Club’s X-55 Lutine, skippered by James Close.

French skipper Antoine Magre will race Palanad 3 against two Class40s under class rules for the popular box rule design. James Stableford will skipper Mussulo 40 with a team from the Isle of Wight, and Ari Kaensaekoski will race Fuji with a team from Finland.

The winner of IRC One for the series will be decided in The Cherbourg Race. Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORCThe winner of IRC One for the series will be decided in The Cherbourg Race. Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

Bulldog stands guard in IRC One

The winner of IRC One for the series will be decided in The Cherbourg Race. Derek Shakespeare’s J/122 Bulldog will be in action and is the current class leader for 2022. Michael O’Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood has an outside chance of beating Bulldog, but a good result will definitely move Darkwood onto the class podium for the season. Also, in with a chance of making the podium are Thomas Scott’s X-50 Itma, sailed by Simon Lambert, Jean-Eudes Renier & Rob Bottomley racing MAT 12 Sailplane, and Sailing Logic’s First 40 Arthur, skippered by David Thomson.

A three-way battle for IRC Two winner will be decided in the race to Cherbourg. Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORCA three-way battle for IRC Two winner will be decided in the race to Cherbourg. Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC

All to play for in IRC Two

A three-way battle for IRC Two winner will be decided in the race to Cherbourg. Nick Martin’s Diablo leads for the season, but Rob Craigie’s Bellino and Jim & Ellie Driver’s Chilli Pepper are within striking distance of victory. The Army Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier and Peter Bacon’s Sun Fast 3300 Sea Bear will be racing to Cherbourg with the chance of making the season’s class podium.

Pressure on Jangada in IRC Three. Photo: Tim Wright/RORCPressure on Jangada in IRC Three. Photo: Tim Wright/RORC

Pressure on Jangada in IRC Three

Richard Palmer’s Jangada leads IRC Three, but the class win is far from achieved. Realistically a top three finish for the race will secure the class for Jangada However, depending on other results, a race win for Mike Yates’ JAGO or Tim Goodhew racing Sun Fast 3200 Cora will give those respective teams class victory. Rob Cotterill racing J/109 Mojo Risin’ is currently third for the season but will need to at least beat Katherine Cope’s Sun Fast 3200 Purple Mist, to retain that podium position.

Kirsteen Donaldson X-332 Pyxis Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC Kirsteen Donaldson X-332 Pyxis Photo: Rick Tomlinson/RORC

Podium hopefuls in IRC Four

In IRC Four, Stuart Greenfield’s S&S 34 Morning After has secured the class for the season with an heroic performance in last month’s Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race. Morning After is not racing to Cherbourg but three teams will be hoping to get enough points to make the class podium for the season: Kirsteen Donaldson X-332 Pyxis racing with Juan Moreno, Cooper & England’s Dehler 38 Longue Pierre, and Gavin Doyle’s Corby 25 Duff Lite.

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On the last of four days of magnificent racing off the Dutch port of Breskens, two final races were held and the winner of the 2022 IRC European Championship decided by the closest of margins.

Coming off the water it looked very much like this 7th European Championship for the RORC and UNCL’s popular rating rule would go to the fleet’s smallest boat. Alain Rousseau and his largely French crew on the Dehler 29 Picsou enjoyed a resounding regatta, first winning the double points-scoring, non-discardable medium coastal race on Thursday and then, over the last three days following this by scoring five bullets in eight races. This included wins in both of today’s windward-leewards held in a 10-16 knot north-easterly. 

Team Moana celebrate their win Photo: Ronald den DekkerTeam Moana celebrate their win Photo: Ronald den Dekker

However, the results of Francois Goubau and his team on board the Bénéteau First 47.7 Moana were almost as good, but significantly they were achieved in a larger class of 18 boats (IRC 0 and 1 combined) compared to IRC 3’s nine. Using IRC’s formula that takes into account each boat’s result, plus numbers of scoring races sailed and class size, it was instead Moana that was crowned the 2022 IRC European Champion, just 0.003 of a point ahead of Picsou after calculations were completed.w

“It is surprising for sure, but I am very pleased,” said an elated François Goubau, who had assumed, like many, that Picsou’s excellent scoreline had won her the prestigious title. “I think this is the biggest championship I have won in sailing in 30 years.” 

Moana is a 2000 vintage cruiser-racer from Farr Yacht Design that Goubau has been racing since 2005 with a large contingent of immediate family, including his wife Michèle Gelhausen and sons Laurent, Mathieu and Alexis. While Moana may be a relatively old family cruiser, racing her has been, and remains, no casual thing. Goubau is a past Commodore of the Royal Belgium Sailing Club in Zeebrugge and since 2005 the dark blue hull of Moana has been seen out on the Solent for more days than many local race boats.

For this, her first ever IRC European Championship, Moana arrived fresh from a class win at Cowes Week. But most impressive is their Rolex Fastnet Race track record: In 2021, they took part in their 11th consecutive edition, having podiumed in three. Despite only being 38 years old, for their helmsman son Mathieu it was his 12th participation in the biennial race.

Of the IRC European Championship, Francois Goubau commented: “It has been perfect. It was ‘sailing weather’ with the sun and the wind - and the organisation was perfect.” As to why they won, this was clearly in part due to the crew’s super-familiarity with Moana, but also as Goubau explained, because “we prepared the boat very well last winter. We don’t have new sails but we took a lot of time to prepare the underwater shape. After COVID we had forgotten nothing!”

Alain Rousseau's Dehler 29 Picsou - six bullets in nine races Photo: Ronald den DekkerAlain Rousseau's Dehler 29 Picsou - six bullets in nine races Photo: Ronald den Dekker

For Picsou, the crew might have taken the news badly, particularly after ending up in the protest room upon coming ashore. However they were exonerated and then accepted defeat in a most gracious, sportsman-like way. “We know the guys from Moana well, they are good friends of ours,” said owner Alain Rousseau. 

In fact Picsou’s helmsman Philippe Bourgeois was once the owner of the A-35 Dunkerque - Les Dunes de Flandre, part of the Flanders North Sea team with Moana and Elke (also competing here in IRC One) that finished second in the 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup. “It is better that they won rather than anyone else. If we had had one boat more in our class we could have beaten Moana, but that is how it is.” C’est la vie.

The Picsou crew pick up their well-deserved prize for IRC Three Photo: Ronald den DekkerThe Picsou crew pick up their well-deserved prize for IRC Three Photo: Ronald den Dekker

Ultimately in IRC One Moana finished three points ahead of the Ker 46 Van Uden, in turn 11 in front of the MAT12 Sailplane, campaigned by Jean-Eudes Renier, winner of today’s first race. In IRC Three Picsou finished 10 points ahead of Michel Dorsman's X-362 Sport Extra Djinn, tied on points with the third-placed HOD35 Zarafa of Iwan Vermeirsch.

J/109 Joule wins IRC Two by just 0.5 points Photo: Ronald den DekkerJ/109 Joule wins IRC Two by just 0.5 points Photo: Ronald den Dekker

The biggest upheaval today, and where the points were closest after nine races, was in IRC Two. Here Arjen van Leeuwen's J/109 Joule managed to cling on to the lead to win by just 0.5 points from Paul Jonckherre's A-35 Njord which today scored a 1-2, mirroring Swiss owner Jörg Sigg and his J/99 Lällekönig's 2-1. Radboud Crul and his Dehler 36 Rosetta were third.

Arjen van Leeuwen and his crew on Joule celebrate their IRC Two victory Photo: Ronald den DekkerArjen van Leeuwen and his crew on Joule celebrate their IRC Two victory Photo: Ronald den Dekker

Commodore of the RORC James Neville was competing in IRC One aboard his HH42 Ino XXX. Of this seventh IRC European Championship, which took place as part of Damen Breskens Sailing Week, he commented: “It has been extremely competitive. If you look how tight the results have been they have been jumping around with just seconds between the first few places every time. So you only win if you sail a really clean race. It has been great to have all the different types of boats on the start line.

“We sailed nine races and we’ve done a terrific amount of sailing. The weather has been glorious, the sea conditions have been fantastic and the socials have been fun. It was a great end-of-summer regatta and we have all been well looked after by Marnix Lippens and the Damen Breskens Sailing Week team.”

Further information is available on the event website 

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