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RORC Transatlantic Race: Moonlight Sérénade

L-R (standing) Andrew McIrvine, Matthew Thomas, Glynn Thomas, Pita Porta, Eddie Warden Owen, Denis Villotte, Nick Kingsman, Alain Houchard, Nick Elliott. (Sitting) Chrislynn Lashington , Lynn Thomas, Danny Donelan. RORC/Arthur Daniel & Orlando K Romain

RORC Transatlantic Race Update 19th December

Denis Villotte's French JNP 12, Sérénade, crossed the finish line of the 2014 RORC Transatlantic Race, off Quarantine Point, Grenada in the early hours of Friday 19th December with an elapsed time of 18 days, 20 hours, 01 minutes and 55 seconds. The three-man team on Sérénade was the final yacht to complete the inaugural race.

Having spent over 18 days at sea, the crew were understandably tired but Denis Villotte, Alain Houchard and Pit Porta were smiling from ear to ear in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. A large welcoming party had gathered to greet them.

Results from the race can be found here

Read the complete article on the RORC Transatlantic Race minisite

RORC Transatlantic Race 2014: Special Delivery

Spirit of Adventure crew arrive in Lanzarote. Credit:RORC/James MitchellThe inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race, in association with the International Maxi Association (IMA), starts on Saturday 29th November from Lanzarote bound for Grenada, 2995 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean. All of the competing yachts are now safely moored in Puerto Calero Marina and last night an informal welcome drinks reception was well received with crews mingling together and recounting tales of their journey to the start.

Derek Hatfield's Volvo 60, Spirit of Adventure, left Lunenberg, Novia Scotia, Canada on 9th November with eight crew on board for the 2,800 nautical mile delivery across the Atlantic to Lanzarote, which took 14 days.

"I have completed 26 Atlantic crossings and this one was the worst I have ever done," admitted Derek. "It was cold and uncomfortable off the Grand Banks and the bad weather just kept coming and coming. We encountered eight low pressure systems which had spun off the east coast, including two full blown gales. At one point we were sailing upwind in 45 knots for 24 hours and we hove-to for nine hours because it was just too much. For the delivery, we had prepared the boat and the crew in much the same as we will do for the RORC Transatlantic Race and the most important goal is to keep everybody safe. For the delivery we used older sails and not pushing the boat as hard as we would in the race, where we will be ramping things up; changing sail configuration more often and concentrating on fine tuning the trim. Compared to the delivery, we expect the race to be in far more comfortable conditions, but you still have to have respect for the sea. The North Atlantic at this time of year can have storms, so you still have to pay attention, but we expect some pretty nice weather and some full on downwind racing."

Read the complete article on the RORC Transatlantic Race minisite

RORC Transatlantic Race: Little and Large

Southern Wind 94, Windfall. Photo: Southern Wind ShipyardThere are 11 days to go until a highly competitive fleet competes in the inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race. The race across the Atlantic will be a very different experience for the crews from 12 different nations taking part. Whatever the size of boat, or whether or not they have crossed the vast Atlantic Ocean before, all have one goal; to make a safe passage and to get to Grenada fast. The race is on!

High Spirited Russians

The 94ft (28m) Southern Wind, Windfall will be trying their best to keep up with the largest boat in the fleet, the 100ft (30m) Finot Conq, Nomad IV, and pushing the crew hard all the way across the Atlantic.

Chartered by passionate Russian sailor, Igor Katalevskiy, some of his High Spirit Sailing Team - a group of Russian friends and sailors - will compete in the RORC Transatlantic Race as the final goal to achieve their Ocean Yacht Master certificate; all part of a special Southern Wind Sailing Academy training program in collaboration with the VMB RYA Training centre that began in Genoa in May and has run throughout the year.

Read the complete article on the RORC Transatlantic Race minisite

Dubai to Muscat Record Smashed!
2014 Dubai to Muscat RaceDoug Hassell's Beneteau 44.7 Diablo comprehensively broke the Royal Ocean Racing Club recognised Dubai to Muscat race record set in 2013 by Adrian Lee's Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners when she arrived in Muscat early on Saturday 8 October, taking some 5 hours off the record. Diablo set a new course record of 1 Day 19 hours 52 mins 41 secs for the 340 mile race. Last year's record was also beaten by Phil Ellerby's XC 45 Exodus which arrived just under 2 hours behind Diablo.
Review of the 2014 RORC Race Season

Somerset Memorial Trophy

Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix, voted RORC Yacht of the Year 2014. Photo: RORC/Rick TomlinsonThe RORC Yacht of the Year, recipient of the Somerset Memorial Trophy for outstanding racing achievement by a RORC Member, has been awarded to Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix, for 2014. Anthony O'Leary did not do any offshore racing this year but his exceptional season in Antix, winning class in the RORC Easter Challenge, the IRC National Championship overall and being part of the winning Irish team in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, was recognised by the RORC Committee as an outstanding achievement. O'Leary was disappointed not to be able to defend the Commodores' Cup victory of 2010 in 2012 but avowed to come back in 2014 with a competitive team and, by enlisting the support of Marc Glimcher's Ker 40, Catapult, and Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling who chartered Quokka 8, O'Leary crowned an already successful season with a consistent performance in Antix to win the Commodores' Cup.

Anthony O'Leary was thrilled with the news: "I must confess to complete surprise - and absolute delight for my crew!"

Review of the 2014 RORC Season's Points Championship

The RORC Season's Points Championship consists of a selection of races, both UK and abroad, that test the skill and endurance of offshore sailors. In addition to the domestic season of 10 races, including the record-breaking Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, there were three races based overseas in 2014: the RORC Caribbean 600, Round Ireland Yacht Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Whilst these longer races carry the highest points factor for the Championship, boats that do not travel outside of the domestic season still have a chance to win their class as only one high points factored race can count for the class trophies, with all other completed high points factor races reduced to a normal factor of 1.0. With this in place it is notable that this season the boats successfully campaigned to win their class only competed in races with a points factor of 1.0 or 1.2.

Highlight of the domestic offshore season was the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race,a truly record-breaking race with five World and Race Records set in what transpired to be a challenging test of endurance in difficult conditions.

In total 360 boats competed in the RORC Season's Points Championship, a strong testament to the allure of offshore racing even in a year without the RORC's flagship offshore event, the Rolex Fastnet Race.

Read more... [Review of the 2014 RORC Race Season]
The RORC Transatlantic Race Fast Approaching

Finot Conq maxi 100, Nomad IV, entered into the inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race 2014. Photo: Gilles Martin Raget/Finot ConqA varied and international fleet ranging from 40 to 100ft (12.19 to 30.48m) will set off for Grenada on Saturday 29th November from Lanzarote, the most eastern in the Canary Islands chain, in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's new offshore race.

After a week of preparation and social events hosted at Puerto Calero Marina, the inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race will see competitors from several countries weave their way through the historic archipelago before making landfall 2,800 nautical miles away where they will be welcomed at Camper & Nicholsons' Port Louis Marina.

Ever since Columbus started the trend over 500 years ago, the Canary Islands have remained the jumping-off point for yachts crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean. The RORC Transatlantic Race will provide RORC members and other highly competitive race boats with the chance to compete in a top-level event during the east-west transatlantic crossing.

Read the complete article on the RORC Transatlantic Race minisite

100 foot limit raised for 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race

Start of the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race. Photo: Rolex/Kurt ArrigoThe 100 foot (30.47m) LOA monohull limit set by a number of the classic 600 mile races such as the Fastnet, Sydney Hobart and Middle Sea races has been lifted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Royal Malta Yacht Club for the 2015 editions of the Rolex Fastnet and Rolex Middle Sea Races. This will allow superyachts participating in the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series to compete.

The AORS consists of four events: the RORC Caribbean 600, the 2015 Transatlantic Race from Newport to the Lizard, the Rolex Fastnet Race and Rolex Middle Sea Race. Superyachts have always been eligible to race in the RORC Caribbean 600 and a number have entered for the west to east Transatlantic Race at the end of June/July 2015, organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron and New York Yacht Club in association with the Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club.

Read the complete article on the Rolex Fastnet Race Minisite

International Maxi Association (IMA) announce new Maxi 72 Class and 2015 schedule

Alegre, the 2014 Mini Maxi Rolex World Champion. Copyright: Rolex/Carlo BorlenghiThe IMA and the owners of the Mini Maxi Racers announced during the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, the new Maxi 72 CLass.

The Maxi 72 Class will replace the term `Mini Maxi' and makes reference to its `heritage as well as the maximum length'.

The IMA also announced the schedule of races for the 2015 season as follows:

The full 2015 programme will include the RORC Caribbean 600, the Rolex Fastnet Race, the RORC Transatlantic Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race as well as Key West Race Week, the Voile de St Barth, Palma Vela, Menorca Maxi Regatta, Rolex Giraglia, RYS Bi-Centennial, Copa del Rey, AAM Cowes Week, the Maxi 72 World Championship.

Read more... [International Maxi Association (IMA) announce new Maxi 72 Class and 2015 schedule]
Domestic season finishes on a High (Jinks)

Mike Greville's Ker 39, Erivale III, finishing second in class. Credit: Hamo ThornycraftThe penultimate race of the RORC Season's Points Championship, and the last of the domestic season, to Cherbourg was a light winds affair, as RORC Racing Manager Nick Elliott explains: "The fleet had just enough pressure to get out of the Solent but the light breeze faded during the night. The breeze did not materialise until the morning and this year's race definitely favoured the smaller yachts. The best performers were those that used the tide to their advantage and although it was a long and at times frustrating race, most of the fleet finished."

Winning the Cherbourg Race overall on corrected time was Blair Forsyth's J/97 High Jinks. "The race conditions were great for our boat, and the other smaller boats in the race," commented Blair Forsyth. "The sail plan was straightforward; we had a 1.5 kite that worked really well and we only had to drop it and get the No. 1 jib back up when what wind there was shifted. I don't think we saw more than 10 knots of breeze, and even that was only fleeting. Thankfully our kite was up for most of the crossing!

"On Saturday night, when the tide shifted, we lost nearly all our apparent wind, but we didn't have to drop anchor, and the rest of the pack seemed to drift with us. Once it picked up we had a good run into Cherbourg, with the smaller boats."

This is High Jinks' first RORC offshore season during which the boat had been principally sailed two-handed. The Cherbourg Race was their first fully crewed RORC race of 2014 and the additional crew played their part in the success as Blair recounted: "This time we had four crew onboard, making the night watches much easier - particularly given the conditions! Altogether a fantastic way to end our first offshore season, made particularly enjoyable by the great welcome form the Cherbourg Yacht Club, and the rest of the fleet."

Read more... [Domestic season finishes on a High (Jinks)]
Cherbourg Race Preview
Starts Friday 5 September
Cowes - Cherbourg 75 nm

The Army Sailing Association's J/111, British Soldier. Photo: RORC/Rick Tomlinson rick-tomlinson.comThe Royal Ocean Racing Club's Cherbourg Race is the penultimate race of the RORC Season's Points Championship and the last race of the season across the English Channel. For many of the competing yachts, the 75-mile dash to Cherbourg will be the final race of the RORC season and several class winners are likely to be decided this weekend.

In excess of 60 yachts will be competing from Belgium, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands. Following a spectacular Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, there are new challengers to the overall title for the RORC Season's Points Championship.

Following a gutsy performance in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, the Army Sailing Association's J/111, British Soldier, is the current overall leader for the championship.

"It came as a bit of a surprise to us to be leading for the season but we are not getting carried away with that," commented British Soldier's skipper, Will Naylor. "Several competitors will be taking part in the Rolex Middle Sea Race in October, so it is unlikely that we can retain the lead but you never know, we might just get to Malta as well!

"For the Cherbourg Race we are especially looking forward to a battle with Relentless on Jellyfish, which was our big rival in the last race and they are just ahead of us in IRC Two. However, we will just concentrate on our own performance, as it is the only thing we can influence. For the Cherbourg Race we will be back to a full crew of eight. Unlike the Round Britain and Ireland Race, we will be able to load up the rail and as it's a much shorter race, we will probably keep the crew there for the duration. British Soldier performs much better with a full crew hiking out."

Read more... [Cherbourg Race Preview]
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Event Minisites

Rolex Fastnet Race
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
RORC Caribbean 600 Race
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race
RORC Transatlantic Race
Transatlantic Race 2015

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