After a stunning performance over the Bank Holiday weekend, local Le Havre boat Pintia is the overall winner of the 2016 Cervantes Trophy Race. The French J/133, racing in IRC Two, was skippered by Gilles Fournier and crewed by the creator of the Louis Vuitton Cup, Bruno Trouble and past Commodore of the Société des Régates du Havre, Corraine Migraine. Pintia's big win was set up right from the start when the French team chose the north shore of the Solent and led overall into the English Channel. Squally conditions prevailed south of the Isle of Wight with several yachts damaging sails in the 30 knot gusts, accounting for the retirement of last year's class winner, Harry Heijst's Winsome and Brian Wilkinson's Rigit On Wild Child. Lighter conditions prevailed for the majority of the fleet as they crossed the English Channel but Pintia managed to stay in good breeze to claim overall victory. Pintia was second overall last year and Gilles Fournier was delighted with the win.
The Cervantes Trophy Race is traditionally the first English Channel Race of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship and this year's race from Cowes to Le Havre has attracted a variety of yachts from Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands. The majority of the teams are passionate Corinthians, but make no mistake, the RORC Season's Points Championship is arguably the toughest offshore series of races in the world.
The RORC Rating Office in the UK, which issues IRC rating certificates for boats in South East Asia, is proud to be associated with the Phuket King's Cup Regatta which recently won Best Asian Regatta at the 2016 Asia Boating Awards, recognizing the event's exceptional organization, promotion, course quality, entry size, competitiveness and social aspects.
With five days of racing amidst the Andaman Sea islands, the Regatta draws entries from over 40 countries and attracts some of the world's best racing teams in several IRC classes. In addition to three classes split by IRC rating, this was the first event to include IRC classes determined by boat type such as Premier, Charter boats and Modern Classics, providing close racing for similar style boats.
If traditionally the RORC Easter Challenge is the Royal Ocean Racing Club's coaching regatta, today's lesson centred upon heavy weather sailing technique.
As the fleet returned to yesterday's start area around Peel Bank, conditions were sunny and relatively benign, but with giant grey clouds looming. During today's one race, a squall stuck down the fleet with gale force gusts of up to 40 knots. In addition to numerous broaches plus two man overboard incidents; one on James Neville's INO XXX racing in the FAST 40+ class, the other on RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine's First 40, La Réponse.
On La Réponse the vang trimmer got washed overboard during a Chinese gybe. As McIrvine described it: "We were absolutely dead downwind and a little bit by the lee and a big gust took us the other way. We let the vang off too much and the boat rolled and we Chinesed in."
With gale force gusts forecast for the afternoon of Easter Saturday, one long race on a round the cans course in the central/eastern Solent was held today at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Easter Challenge. Despite this, there were leader changes in two of the four classes.
In the FAST40+ class, Peter Morton on his Carkeek 40 Mk3, Girls on Film, won to topple Texan William Coates' Ker 43, Otra Vez. Girls on Film spent today match racing Sir Keith Mills' Ker 40+, Invictus. Mills made the best of the reaching start, but Girls on Film subsequently overhauled them.
"It was very close. Too close!" declared Morton. "We managed to get them on the beat and then managed to stay in front and then move away a little bit on the last beat. It was good fun. We had plenty on!"
High speed, adrenalin pumping, ultra-competitive racing came to the Solent today in what many agree is the most exciting development to have taken place in big boat keel boat racing in the UK for decades.
The long-awaited advent of competition for the new FAST40+s, the big boat class at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Easter Challenge, coincided today with chilly, but summery conditions. Three races were sailed with the wind peaking at 15-20 knots during race two.
This Friday's opening regatta of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's domestic calendar, the RORC Easter Challenge, provides an opportunity for the 50 or so crews to ramp up their programs for the 2016 season.To help, for the three day duration of the regatta the RORC lays on free coaching, led by the eminent Jim Saltonstall, supported by RORC CEO and former America's Cup coach Eddie Warden Owen, plus North U Regatta Service's Andreas Josenhans and Chuck Allen, who fly across from the States especially for the occasion.