Hoping to bridge an almost 30 year gap in Canadian Offshore racing, Sail Canada has announced its intention to lodge a challenge for the 2014 Commodores' Cup by forming a three boat team of Canadian sailors.
"The likely make up of the team will draw on sailors from right across the country, with serious interest being expressed by Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver sailors," confirms Paddy Boyd, Executive Director/Directeur Général, Sail Canada/Voile Canada.
"Canada's last foray into offshore team racing was at the 1985 Admiral's Cup, where the three boat team of Pachena, Amazing Grace and Impetus crossed the Atlantic to race against 17 other countries. Since then, offshore team racing and Canadian involvement in such events has waned, but recently, there has been an upsurge of interest. IRC, the rating system used in the Commodores' Cup has a strong following in Lake Ontario and there are plenty of competitive IRC rated boats available for charter on the South Coast of England, reducing the cost to compete quite considerably," continues Boyd.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) has announced the introduction of a new Transatlantic Race starting in November 2014.
The RORC Transatlantic Race will set off from Lanzarote, Canary Islands and finish in the Caribbean, at a destination to be confirmed. The 2,800 nm east to west race will act as a feeder for yachts participating in the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600, held annually in February from Antigua.
The RORC racing calendar attracts sailors from all over the world to compete during the season in over 20 races and comprises a series of highly competitive inshore and offshore IRC Rated events throughout the year. The new RORC Transatlantic Race will be the longest and final race in 2014, making it another busy year for the London-based Club. It follows a season of regular RORC races as well as the international Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.
"In the past the club has been involved with the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) who have a racing division, but with increasing interest in the RORC Caribbean 600 every February, the number and quality of serious race boats making the crossing has required a specialist RORC event all of its own," explains RORC Commodore, Mike Greville. "We're delighted to be working with such keen racers as the Calero family and using the fabulous marina facility they have in Lanzarote and we look forward to a long and happy relationship."
Review of the 2013 RORC Season's Points Championship
The RORC Season's Points Championship is a series of offshore races run by, or in association with, the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The season starts in the Caribbean in February with the RORC Caribbean 600 and ends with the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta in October, with the domestic season on the south and east coasts of the UK in between. In 2013 the season included the Rolex Fastnet Race; this classic 600 mile race is considered to be "the world's greatest offshore race" and this year's fleet of 337 starters was a record in its 88 year history. In total just under 500 different yachts competed in the 2013 RORC Season's Points Championship indicating the strength of offshore racing throughout the UK, Europe and Worldwide with almost half of the boats coming from overseas to race with the RORC.
IRC Division Start: 0700 GMT Sunday 3 November 2013
Under the auspices of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, the Dubai to Muscat Yacht Race is part of the RORC racing calendar. RORC members have been taking part in the race since 1992.
The 360-mile race is the longest offshore yacht race in the region and is organised by The United Arab Emirates Sailing and Rowing Federation in association with the Ministry of Sports Affairs, the Sultanate of Oman.
Starting outside the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, the first 100 miles of the race course is in the shallow waters of the Arabian Gulf. The significant local land effects caused by the colossal skyscrapers of Dubai and thermal effects emanating from thousands of miles of desert make for an interesting start. The desert wind from the north is called The Shamal, which can rapidly accelerate as it reaches the waters of the Arabian Gulf, sand and thunderstorms are not uncommon. The first part of the race can often be a fast reach until sunset.
As the fleet progress up the Arabian Gulf, the land to the east becomes more mountainous and hauntingly beautiful. As night falls, colder air flows down these high slopes and the thermal breeze dissipates. Shifty, lighter conditions can develop as the sun sets. The yachts often reach the Strait of Hormuz at night, it is the busiest shipping channel in the world and narrows to less than 30 miles, there are also significant ocean currents to contend with and rain squalls are common.
The Strait of Hormuz is the gateway to the Indian Ocean and as the fleet passes through the strait, the shallow depths of the Arabian Gulf are replaced with blue ocean and fresh winds, often from the south east. The depth can plummet to 2000 metres causing a significant sea state. The last 200 miles of the race can often be a tough beat to the finish with significant wind shifts, created by the mountains rising up to 3000 metres on the Omani coast.
As the autumn creeps in, most boat owners are looking forward to a break from the frenetic pace of the summer and autumn sailing season. However, the RYA is already planning for next season's premier sailing event, the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup which is being held in Cowes, Isle of Wight between 17-25 July 2014.
The biennial event, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, is one of the most prestigious events on the international yachting calendar culminating in a tough mix of inshore and offshore racing across a tense seven-day racing programme on the testing waters of the Solent.
With RYA GBR Red having won the event in 2012, the pressure is back on for a successful defence of the trophy. In order for owners to be able to plan and prepare their boats and teams, the RYA is looking to invite either owners or their representatives to a meeting in London or Southampton in late November to inform them of the selection process and to discuss training weekends and qualification events in the build-up to selecting the teams to represent the RYA.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club has been a supporter of the Rolex Middle Sea Race for over 50 years and the 35th edition of the race has a record entry of over 111 yachts. For the first time the 606-mile race, starting and finishing in Malta, is included in the RORC Season's Points Championship and a number of boats are attending the event with the aim that their results could affect the final standings.
"The Royal Ocean Racing Club were co-founders of the race with the Royal Malta Yacht Club in 1968 and the Rolex Middle Sea Race is an important event in our calendar. Therefore the RORC Committee concluded that it should be included in the Season's Points Championship," commented RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen.