Royal Ocean Racing Club Ltd.
20 St James's Place, London, SW1A 1NN | +44 (0) 20 7493 2248

RORC History

The 1920s


The first Fastnet Race (then known as the Ocean Race) is conceived by Weston Martyr, after he competed in the 1924 Bermuda Race. The race starts on 15th August from Ryde. Open to yachts of up to 50ft LWL, rated through the Boat Racing Association’s measurement system, there are 15 entries but eventually only seven starters, all working boats save the 1896 vintage cutter, Gull. Jolie Brise wins in 6 days, 14 hours and 45 minutes. Over a dinner at the finish in Plymouth’s Royal Western Yacht Club, the new Ocean Racing Club is formed and its first Commodore appointed: Jolie Brise’s owner Lt Cmdr EG Martin OBE RNVR. The object: 'to provide annually one ocean race not less than 600 miles in length'. The club was officially formed on 9th October with members paying an annual subscription of £1.


The second Fastnet Race line-up included Hallowe’en, the first purpose-built boat for the race and designed to the maximum LWL, the first female competitor in Mrs Aitken Dick and the first American entry, Primrose IV. Line honours were won by Hallowe’en in 3 days 19 hours and 5 minutes.


Third Fastnet Race, starting from Cowes, was held in severe weather and a high attrition rate – only two of the 15 starters reached the Fastnet Rock. Membership up to 73. The King’s Sailing Master, Sir Philip Hunloke, appointed the Club’s first Admiral.


The Junior Ocean Race (the Channel Race)- a 250 mile triangular course in the Channel - introduced as a shorter alternative to the Fastnet for smaller yachts. Fastnet Race size limits changed to 35-60ft LWL. American banker Paul Hammond’s 50ft Nina wins the Fastnet Race but is deemed the first ‘rule beater’ with an unusual schooner rig. The first Plymouth-Santander race is held with two classes - 60+ft and another for 35-60ft - with £950 prize money on offer.


The 1930s


The Cowes-Dinard race is revived (its Challenge Cup was originally donated to the Club Nautique de la Rance by King Edward VII in 1906), although it does not become an official club fixture until 1935.


On 5th November the Ocean Racing Club is granted a 'Royal' warrant by King George V. Transatlantic Race is co-organised between the RORC and the Cruising Club of America and has 10 starters. Line and overall honours were taken by the 52ft Dorade, skippered by her 23-year-old designer Olin Stephens. Dorade’s reduced keel area spawns a key avenue of yacht design development. Dorade then comfortably wins the Fastnet Race. From here on the Fastnet is held biennially. The first North Sea Races are held - the ‘Haaks’ for larger boats and the smaller sailing the shorter ‘Maas’ course.


Dorade claims her second Fastnet Race victory, also the new Jolie Brise Trophy based on an owner-derived PY system. Only six yacht yachts enter the race causing conjecture that it would be the ‘last’ Fastnet Race. 1934 Plymouth-Belle Ile Race added to the programme, run in conjunction with the Union Nationale des Croiseurs. Club’s aim amended to “To foster ocean and long-distance racing in every way”. Heated debate of the day: Scantling requirements, Lloyds of othersie? At John Illingworth’s suggestion a season-long racing championship is introduced between yacht clubs.


Fleets are bolstered by an influx of new entries from Germany and Holland. Stephens-designed 40ft yawl, Stormy Weather, wins Transatlantic Race to Norway and then the Fastnet Race. Royal Yacht Squadron wins the new Championship Trophy. ‘Time Correction Factor’ replaces the ‘time on distance’ system. Maclean Buckley appointed full time Honorary Secretary. Major Rose Richards becomes Commodore, EG Martin elevated to Admiral.


RORC opens its first clubhouse above a shop at 2 Pall Mall. Membership stands at 475. Plymouth-Benodet and Falmouth-Clyde Races added to the calendar to boost membership. 37 yachts compete in the Channel Race, the largest entry in a RORC race to date.


Further new races added: Southsea-Brixham, Ijmuiden-Solent, Plymouth-La Baule and St Nazaire-Benodet. 29 boats enter the Fastnet, won by Kees Bruynzeel (of plywood fame) with his Stephens-designed Zeearend. First pure racers are launched in John Illingworth’s Laurent Giles-designed Maid of Malham and Colonel CF King’s Robert Clark-designed Ortac.


Fleet divided into ‘Open’ and Class A for fast cruisers and B for cruisers, the latter two with restrictions on sail numbers. Michael Mason becomes Commodore and holds this post through the war years, until 1947.


Despite WWII on the honizon, three German entries compete in the Fastnet Race with one, Nordwind, setting a new course record but UK-based American Isaac Bell’s Charles E Nicholson-designed 63ft, Bloodhound wins on corrected time.


The 1940s


During WWII many members were serving, but the club continued with its annual dinners. Honorary membership was granted to members of other yacht clubs from aboard and temporary membership to serving Allied naval officers. On 15th November the Pall Mall clubhouse destroyed by a bomb, killing the steward. The club was moved to its present location at 20 St James’s Place, the top floor of which was also subsequently damaged during April 1941 by an incendiary bomb. Despite this the rest of the building remained habitable. 33 RORC members died during the war. Post-war many ex-servicemen turned to offshore racing as way as satisfy their lust for adventure, among them, war time heroes such as Major Blondie Haslar, leader of the Cockleshell Heroes.


20 St James's Place club house reopened on 23rd June by King Haakon of Norway.


EG Martin dies. RORC is presented with its first training boat, Griffin, by HE West, originally built in 1938 for West and EG Martin, who conceived her. Post-war, the RORC launches straight back, holding the Dinard Race, albeit escorted by a destroyer to guide the fleet through the minefields. Post-war debate: Use of electronic navigation aids such as radar and RDF in offshore racing.


Calendar features six races, including the North Sea Race to the Hook of Holland. Ralph Swann is appointed Secretary. Blondie Haslar’s modified 30 square metre, Tre Sang, sailed by a crew of two, easily wins the season’s Small Class Championship.


Season dominated by John Illingworth’s new Myth of Malham - a Laurent Giles design to Illingworth’s conception with a light displacement, no sheer or bulwarks and short overhangs, plus a headsail dominant rig, exploiting the RORC rule. She wins the Channel Race and Fastnet Race. MacLean Buckley becomes Admiral.


Two of the RORC’s longest-serving staff appointed: Secretary Alan Paul and Assistant Hope Kirkpatrick. John Illingworth becomes Commodore.


For the first time the Fastnet Race starts from the RYS line in Cowes, heading westwards. Myth of Malham wins her second Fastnet Race by eight hours over Bloodhound.


The 1950s


Freehold acquired for 20 St James’s Place for £17,500. Robert Somerset appointed Commodore.


Fastnet winner, Yeoman, is presented to the Club by Owen Aisher and his partners and renamed Griffin II. 15 races held – the most in the RORC’s annual calendar to date. The Fastnet attracts 29 starters from seven nations, including Australia making its debut with Phil Davenport’s Waltzing Matilda. Sever weather causes many retirements. Line honours go to the Swedish-owned Circe, designed by Olin Stephens and skippered by brother Rod, but Owen Aisher’s Yeoman III wins by five and a half hours on corrected time.


Annual membership subscription raised to six guineas and race entry fees changed to a ‘per crew’ basis. Hot topic of debate: Allowing small boats to compete in the Fastnet Race as they are permitted to in the Bermuda Race. This was eventually passed with Class 3 cleaning up – Sir Michael Newton’s Favona winning the Fastnet Challenge Cup. Myles Wyatt appointed Commodore.


New race from Dartmouth to Gibralter introduced, albeit with only three starters. The technology game increases pace: John Illingworth’s Mouse of Malham, with a mere 24ft LWL, sets a new trend in yacht design by separating its skeg rudder from the keel while Fastnet winner Dick Nye’s Carina II is the first to use synthetic sails.


Severe weather dogs the Cowes-Plymouth Race and Plymouth-Belle, but especially the Channel Race when a four day long gale destroys Bloodhound’s storm sails. She is saved by successfully anchoring just of Selsey Bill, while Selwyn Slater’s cutter Uomie is abandoned and Fred Cartwright’s Tilly Twin is run up the Bognor Regis beach.


Admiral’s Cup: Following discussions over how to get more American teams to compete in the UK, the Admiral’s Cup is conceived. Teams from the USA and Great Britain compete for a trophy donated by Peter Green, Sir Myles Wyatt, Illingworth, Geoff Pattinson and Selwyn Slater, initially known as the 1957 Gold Cup. Admiral’s Cup races include Cowes Week’s Britannia Cup and New York Yacht Club Cup, plus the Channel Race (counting double points) and culminates in the Fastnet Race (counting triple). In future years the Admiral’s Cup spawns the Southern Cross (Australia), Onion Patch (USA east coast), Kenwood Cup (Hawaii), Sardinia Cup, and IOR Ton Cups. The Fastnet is one of the toughest on record so far, alongside 1927, 1930 and 1949, with 29 retirements from 41 starters. The Admiral’s Cup is contested by three boat teams, with England fielding Jocasta, Myth of Malham and Uomie against the US trio of White Mist, Bill Snaith’s Figaro and Carina II. The English won by just 70 points to 68. Carina II is the overall Fastnet Race winner, her second consecutive victory.

Vernon Salisbury appointed Commodore, Sir Myles Wyatt becomes Admiral. 1951 Fastnet winner Yeoman III is given to the club by Owen Aisher, Sir Giles Guthrie and Charles Gardner to become the new Griffin training boat. Echo sounders now permitted equipment.


RORC purchases No19 St James’s Place for £18,050, but cannot move in because of a tenant. Programme of 14 races considered as excessive by some members.


In the second Admiral’s Cup, England, represented by Myth of Malham, Griffin II and Selwyn Slater’s new yacht Ramrod, again narrowly wins, this time beating a Dutch team by 135 points to 123. The Swede S&S designed Class II yawl, Anitra, wins the Fastnet Race with Mike Richey as navigator.


The 1960s


Over three years the total number of starters almost doubles to 590. Classes refined: Class 1 - 30-70ft rating; Class 2 - 24-30ft rating; Class 3 - 19-24ft rating. Channel Race has 110 entries. Admiral’s Cup teams include the USA, France, Holland and Sweden, while Britain once again fields Bloodhound and Griffin II plus its only new boat, Ren Clarke’s Quiver III and is roundly beaten by the US team. A heavy weather Fastnet attracts 95 starters and is won by Dutchman Otto van der Vorm’s Zwerver, despite being hove to for five hours. At 37, Peter Green becomes the club’s youngest ever Commodore.


The Duke of Edinburgh acquires Bloodhound. Rating-wise, 2000 yachts in Britain are measured, 700 in Sandinavia, 80 in Germany, 700 in Holland and 500 in France.


Derek Boyer and Dennis Miller’s Clarion of Wight, Ron Amey’s Noryema III and Max Aitken’s Outlaw chosen for English Admiral’s Cup team, winning against six nations and, for the first time since the war, Germany. Clarion wins the Fastnet Challenge Cup, after a hard race causes carnage across the fleet.


First GRP boats – Nicholson 32s – compete. Record number of starters in the Dinard Race – 129, with 652 yachts competing across 12 events during the year.


Technical developments include rod rigging on Firebrand and America’s Cup tank test data being used. The Dick Carter-designed Rabbit features a spade rudder completely separate from her keel. Baron de Rothschild’s Gitana IV sets a new Fastnet course record of 3 days, 9 hours and 40 minutes. First One Ton Cup held in Le Havre, boats having a maximum RORC rule rating of 22ft, racing boat on boat without handicap. The event is won by the Danish Diana III. The event strikes such a chord that it inspires many purpose-built One Tonners to be built. Mike Vernon becomes Commodore. 965 starters across the club’s events with Class 3 swelling as Class 1 declines. Classes 2 and 3 are split.


Two new courses introduced: Harwich-Copenhagen and West Mersea-Breskens.


Nine nations compete for the Admiral’s Cup including, for the first time, Finland and Spain. Australia fight hard and earns its inaugural victory with Robert Crichton-Brown’s Balandra, Caprice of Huon and Mercedes III. French offshore legend, Eric Tabarly and Pen Duick III, win the Fastnet Race.


International Offshore Rule announced by EP De Guingand, Chairman of the Co-ordinating Committee, David Fayle and Robin Glover, RORC Chief Measurers, US deisgners Olin J Stephens II and Dick Carter and Commodore David Edwards. It will become the most successful rule of all time in yachting. Hot topic: Sponsorship in yachting. David Edwards is appointed Commodore, while Owen Aisher becomes Admiral upon the death of Sir Myles Whatt.


Class 3c introduced for the smallest boats with a minimum of 22ft LWL and 17.5ft rating. There are 18 contenders for the three-boat British Admiral’s Cup team, eight purpose built. The Swan 43 Casse Tete is the first GRP production boat to race the Admiral’s Cup. Dunhill sponsors British team. Dick Carter design, Red Rooster and Ron Amey’s Noryema, feature a centreboard and hydraulically operated drop keel respectively. Both feature in the winning US team. First issue of Seahorse published. Janet Grosvenor joins the club. 824 yachts compete in 14 events.


The 1970s


Classes are regrouped: Class 1 – 33-70ft rating, Class 2 – 29-33ft, Class 3 – 25.5-29ft, Class 4 – 23-25.5ft, Class 5 – 21-23ft. Alan Green joins as Assistant Secretary (Racing). Westminster Council gives permission for No19 St James’s Place to be used for club purposes. It is subsequently knocked through to No20.


Sponsorship from Dunhill enables a temporary clubhouse to be erected in Groves & Gutteridge in Cowes. Intense interest in the Admiral’s Cup is fuelled by Prime Minster Ted Heath captaining the British team to victory, the team featuring his S&S42 Morning Cloud II, Prospect of Whitby and Bob Watson’s Cervantes IV. 17 nations compete with the strong entries again from Australia and the USA. For the first time it is raced under IOR. Due to the size of the fleet, the Cowes Week races are dropped in favour of 30 mile stand-alones. Australian Syd Fischer’s Ragamuffin wins the Fastnet Race by two hours on corrected time, while Ted Turner’s American Eagle sets a new course record of 3 days, 5 hours 11 minutes. Traffic Separation Scheme rules tightened, causing races in the eastern Channel or southern North Sea to be rerouted or terminated.


Mary Pera succeeds Alan Paul as Secretary.


Robin Aisher’s Dick Carter-designed Frigate furthers yacht design, being a fully stripped out racer. The crew introduces hiking and sleeping to weather. British Admiral’s Cup team comprises Morning Cloud III, Frigate and Quailo III however the event is won by Germany. Sir Maurice Laing appointed Commodore. 1973 RORC member race entry fees: Class 1 £19, Class 2 £17, Class 3 £15, Class 4 £13 and Class 5 £11.


RORC organises a Transatlantic Race back to Plymouth from the end of the Bermuda Race. Jeremy Rogers’ Gumboots wins the One Ton Cup in Torquay.


RORC organises the Financial Times Clipper Race. Club’s 50th anniversary sees the club’s Patron, HM The Queen and Prince Phillip visit 20 St James’s Place. An anniversary ball held in the Painted Hall at the Greenwich Royal Naval College and a dinner hosted at Grosvenor House. Britain wins the Admiral’s Cup with Ron Amey’s Noryema X, John Prentice’s Battlecry and Robin Aisher’s Yeoman XX.


British Island Race (round Britain and Ireland) is held, starting and finishing in Southend with one division sailing non-stop, the other stopping in Crookhaven, Stornoway and Blyth. Line honours are taken by Robin Knox-Johnson on More Opposition. John Roome appointed Commodore, as Sir Maurice Laing becomes Admiral.


Admiral's Cup reaches its peak entry with 19 teams (repeated in 1979) and an additional race is held the Thursday before Cowes Week. The British team, comprising Marionette, Moonshine and Yeoman XX, retained its title. The Fastnet is won by Dave Allen’s Imp, the innovative Ron Holland design racing for the US team. Champagne Mumm comes on board as the Admiral’s Cup sponsor.


Mary Pera steps down as Secretary to be replaced by Alan Green.


The largest ever fleet of 303 sets off on the Fastnet Race but is caught in a freak storm in the Irish Sea. Despite the best efforts of HM Coastguard, the rescue service and the Navy, 15 lives are lost and 23 boats abandoned (including the RORC training boat, Griffin VI). A formal inquiry instituted by the club and the RYA, results in new Special Regulations to improve boat construction, watertight integrity and vessel identification; fitting of trisails and VHF radios become mandatory; qualifications for competitors are introduced and the number of starters limited to 300. Donald Parr appointed Commodore.


The 1980s


Decisive win for the British Admiral’s Cup team comprising Peter de Savary’s Victory of Burnham, the Saffery-Cooper’s Dragon and team captain Robin Aisher’s Yeoman XXIII. The Caribbean Pursuit Race is run, starting from Cowes and heading to Antigua via Las Palmas.


After a long search for Cowes premises, RORC gains use of the Disrespect, tied up in a deal with the Trustees of the neighbouring Prospect. Its name was coined by Max Aitken as at one point it housed his crew. Recession bites – the One Ton Cup is cancelled due to a lack of entries. Hot topic: IYRU Rule 26 and sponsorship of yachts and teams, plus ‘incorrect’ ratings.


Opposition to sponsorship in yachting disappears when Champagne Mumm acquires naming rights to the Admiral’s Cup. Britain fields a team comprising Graham Walker’s Indulgence, Dragon and Dixon Atkinson’s Black Topic, but finishes eighth with Germany winning the series. Restrictions on electronic aids to navigation are lifted. David Edwards appointed Admiral.


Channel Handicap System introduced in partnership with the Union National du Course au Large. With race entries stagnating, modern day corporate life is blamed and typical race lengths are shortened to make them more appealing to those needing to get to work by Monday morning.


Simon le Bon’s Drum capsizes in the Fastnet Race. Germany claims the Admiarl’s Cup again, while Peter Whipp’s Panda, racing in the British team, wins the Fastnet and Marvin Green’s maxi, Nirvana, sets a new course record of 2 days, 12 hours, 41 minutes and 15 seconds. Larry and Debbie Woodell’s Jade wins the One Ton Cup. Robin Aisher appointed Commodore.


The latest Griffin, a Sigma 41 run by the National Sailing Centre and skippered mostly by Stuart Quarrie, is Yacht of the Year: The Three Quarter Ton Championship in Torquay is won by Graham Walker’s Indulgence. James Capel sponsors the British Admiral’s Cup team which, although strong – including Mike Peacock’s Juno III, Alan Gray’s Jamarella and Indulgence – is beaten by New Zealand (winning on its sixth attempt).


The Austrian-chartered I-Punkt is disqualified for contravening IYRU Rule 22 (transferring water ballast). Membership stands at 3545.


Jonathan Bradbeer appointed Commodore.


Admiral’s Cup contested by 14 teams and includes an additional long inshore in Hayling Bay. Richard Keeling, Harold Cudmore and Bill Edgerton manage the British team of Indulgence, Alan Gray’s Jamarella and Mike Peacock’s Juno, resulting in the first British victory in eight years. Alan Green appointed Director Racing and Tony Ashmead is Director Rating and Measurements. Donald Parr becomes Admiral.


The 1990s


Members vote with their feet: While entries are still strong in the shorter races, they plummet in the longer ones. The only exception is the new Brent Walker European Challenge from Brighton to Puerto Sherry, Cadiz, which attracts 60 starters and is won by Richard Keeling’s Spartan. David Minords becomes General Manager.


Admiral’s Cup is raced in three level rating boats – One Tonner, Two Tonner and IOR 50. First sponsored British boat, the Two Tonner, Wings of Oracle, competes alongside the Farr 50, Juno V and the One Tonner, Port Pendennis. IMS is adopted by the Offshore Racing Council as the replacement for IOR in 1985, but it is subsequently run in parallel with IOR for some divisions in RORC races. Red Funnel Easter Challenge introduced, the RORC’s first all-inshore event and offering coaching to competitors. Decline of IOR shown by there being 712 CHS starters, 246 IMS and just 105 IOR (including 63 for the Admiral’s Cup). RORC Rating Office writes the Whitbread 60 rule. John Dare becomes Commodore.


First Commodores’ Cup held for teams of three IMS boats using the ‘Ton Cup’ race format. It is envisaged as a Corinthian regatta until the world’s top teams and sailors pitch up in Cowes. Teeside Development Corporation backs the Round Britain Race which stops in Cork, Lerwick and Hartlepool. It is won by Mike Taylor-Jones’ 1974 vintage, Deerstalker.


CHS adopted as the primary rating system and enhanced by the Rating Office providing ‘endorsed’ certificates. St James’s clubhouse renovated with modern accommodation for members. RORC launches a competition for a Class 3 one design and eventually chooses a Bruce Farr design that becomes the Mumm 36. A year later orders for 100 had been received.


First Mumm 36 World Championship is held in the Solent. John Warren takes over as Director of Rating. John Bourke is appointed Commodore. 20% rise in race starters to 622.


Admiral’s Cup boat line-up comprises a Mumm 36, ILC 40 and an IMS 44-50 footer and is deemed a success despite there only being seven full teams. Group 4 backs the British team which has to charter its big boats (ex-Rubin XIV and Aerosail Astro) from German owners. Italy scores its first win with a strong performance from Brava Q8. First Teachers Round Britain and Ireland Race held in one design Jeanneau 36s, to help develop youth offshore racers. IMS ‘simplified’ by using a Time Multiplication Factor, rather than a performance curve, in all races, except the Admiral’s Cup. Flexi-courses, that can be changed mid-race, are introduced.


To promote amateur sailors, pro sailors are limited in the Commodores’ Cup to two on the big boats, one on the smaller boats. Two-Handed Class introduced. Sir Timothy Bevan appointed Admiral.


USA claims the Admiral’s Cup for the first time since 1969. 245 starters for the Fastnet Race. The presence of French grand prix offshore classes is felt in the Fastnet when Laurent Bourgnon’s ORMA 60 trimaran, Primagaz, claims line honours, Banque in Luxembourg takes monohull line honours and Morning Glory winds the Fastnet Challenge Cup under IMS. In an attempt to resolve the issue of multiple rating rules, RORC and the UNCL unveil IR 2000, comprising IRC and IRM. IRC replaces CHS while IRM is aimed at the grand prix fleet. Terry Robinson appointed Commodore.


Dramatic change for the Admiral’s Cup which is taken out of Cowes Week and no longer includes the Fastnet Race. The mid-sized boat is changed to the Sydney 40 OD with boats available to charter for £1 plus sails.


Catherine Chabaud’s Open 60, Whirlpool-Europa 2, wins the Fastnet under IRC. Loick Peyron’s ORMA 60 trimaran, Fujicolor, sets a new course record of 1 day, 16 hours and 27 minutes and Ross Field’s RF Yachting sets a new monohull record of 2 days, 5 hours and 8 minutes. First IRC National Championship and Sydney 40 Worlds are held. Admiral’s Cup sees ‘Commonwealth’ and ‘Europe’ teams. The French 50 footer Krazy K-Yote Two is prohibited from racing due to its ‘Krazy’ free-standing mast. For the first time since they first entered in 1959, victory goes to the Dutch.


The 2000s


Tony Buckingham-led Channel Islands Team wins the Commodores’ Cup by a large margin over England Blue. Peter Rutter appointed Commodore. With Alan Green retiring, Janet Grosvenor becomes Racing Manager.


Admiral’s Cup is cancelled due to a lack of teams. Rolex first sponsors the Fastnet Race. This attracts 229 starters with Gianni Agnelli’s maxi, Stealth, claiming line honours but RORC veteran, Piet Vroon aboard his Lutra 52, Tonnerre de Breskens, wins overall under IRC on his 20th attempt.


Admiral’s Cup still in upheaval – a new venue announced as being Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, the event to be raced by two-boat teams, from yacht clubs rather than nations, sailing an IMS 600 and a larger IRC boat. Cleaning up at the Commodores’ Cup was Gery Trentesaux’s French team, comprising the IMX-40s, Courrier Nord, Eric Fries’ Fastwave 3, and the X-442 Clin d’Oeil of Jean-Yves le Goff. Peter Wykeham-Martin becomes General Manager. At the Rating Office in Lymington Mike Urwin becomes Technical Director.


The Admiral’s Cup is eventually held in Cowes with the two new boat format. It is won by the Australian team of Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats and Colin O’Neil’s Aftershock. A moderate Rolex Fastnet Race sees 245 starters with Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo picking up line honours but Charles Dunstone’s Nokia claims overall honours. IRC is awarded ‘international’ status by ISAF. Chris Little appointed Commodore.


In the Rolex Commodores’ Cup there is an 11th hour win by France Blue.


Admiral’s Cup is cancelled (and has not been held since). 283 boats start the Rolex Fastnet Race including rock star Simon le Bon’s former Drum maxi, 20 years after her keel loss. Maximus beats Skandia Wild Thing in the battle for line honours and looks good for overall handicap prize until she is beaten by one of the smallest boats in the fleet – Jean-Yves Chateau’s Nicholson 33, Iromiguy.


Once again it is a French team under Gery Trentesaux that claims the Rolex Commodores’ Cup, Trentesaux sailing his First 44,7, Courrier du Coeur, alongside Stephane Neve’s Sinergia 40, Paprec Recyclage and Cyrille Legloahec’s A-35, Batistyl. David Aisher appointed Commodore and Chris Little elevated to Admiral.


IRM phased out. For the first time in its history the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race is delayed. In the battle for monohull line honours, George David’s Rambler and Mike Slade’s newly launched Farr 100, ICAP Leopard, are separated by three seconds at the Rock. ICAP Leopard sets a new monohull course record of 1 day, 20 hours and 18 minutes. Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50, Chieftain, claims the IRC prize. However the race is overshadowed by gale force winds which result in 75% of the fleet retiring.


In the Rolex Commodores’ Cup a strong Irish turnout is overcome by GBR Red comprising John Shepherd’s Ker 46, Fair Do’s VII, Peter Rutter’s Corby 36, Quokka 7 and Jerry Otter’s Ker 39, Erivale III. Eddie Warden Owen is appointed CEO. Ian Loffhagen becomes Racing Manager.


RORC Caribbean 600 is held for the first time. John Burnie’s ORMA 60 trimaran Region Guadeloupe sets the course record as Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard scoops monohull line honours and Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners is the overall winner. ICAP Leopard faces no real competition for monohull line honours in a light wind Rolex Fastnet Race, however the race sees the debut of a new breed – the competitive 72ft Mini Maxis – one of which, Niklas Zennstrom’s Ran, claims the race overall on corrected time. Among the increasingly strong fleet of French grand prix boats, Seb Josse’s IMOCA 60, BT, beats Ran on the water despite being sailed doublehanded. Andrew McIrvine appointed Commodore.


The 201 0s


After three strong campaigns, Ireland finally comes good, winning the Rolex Commodores’ Cup with a single but powerful team, led by Anthony O’Leary and his Ker 39, Antix, with David Dwyer’s Mills 39, and Andrew Creighton’s Corby 36, Roxy 6.


In the Rolex Fastnet Race, there is drama when the canting keel falls off Rambler 100 shortly after rounding Fastnet Rock. As dusk is settling, all her crew is rescued by the Baltimore lifeboat despite five, including owner George David, drifting away from the boat. Loick Peyron’s 40m long maxi-tri, Banque Populaire, sets a new outright course record of 1 day, 8 hours and 48 minutes and the Ian Walker-skippered VO70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, reduces the monohull record to 1 day, 19 hours and 39 minutes.


Brewin Dolphin becomes title sponsor of the Commodores’ Cup, which is won by GBR Red, comprising Jonathan Goring’s Ker 40, Keronimo, Andrew Williams’ Mills 39, Dignity and Mike West’s A-35, CNBC. Michael Greville is appointed Commodore. Nick Elliott promoted Racing Manager.


Despite being limited to 300, entry for the Rolex Fastnet Race’s IRC fleet is filled within just 24 hours of opening. Ultimately there is a record participation of 337 starters. The 40m trimaran, Spindrift 2, again collects overall line honours and the European maxi Esimit Europa 2 is first monohull home on the water. The race has its first doublehanded winner in the French JPK 10.10, Night and Day, sailed by father and son team, Pascal and Alexis Loison. Andrew McIrvine becomes Admiral.


RORC merges with the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes. An east to west transatlantic race is reintroduced, running from Puerto Calero, Lanzartoe to Grenada and acting as a feeder race to the Caribbean 600. Unable to muster a team to defend its title in 2012, Anthony O’Leary leads another Irish campaign to victory in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup. Michael Boyd appointed Commodore.

RORC Office Locations Map
Royal Ocean Racing Club
(General Enquiries, Membership, House)

20 St James's Place

 +44 (0) 20 7493 2248
 +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
Royal Ocean Racing Club
(Racing Enquiries)

82 High Street
Isle of Wight
PO31 7AJ

 +44 (0) 1983 295 144
 +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
RORC Cowes Clubhouse

The Parade
Isle of Wight
PO31 7QU

 +44 (0) 1983 293581
 +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
RORC Rating Office
(Seahorse Rating Ltd)

Seahorse Building, Bath Road
Lymington, Hampshire
SO41 3SE

 +44 (0) 1590 677030
 +44 (0) 1590 679478

Royal Ocean Racing Club - since 1925

The RORC was founded in 1925 to encourage long distance yacht racing and the design, building and navigation of sailing vessels in which speed and seaworthiness are combined. Today the club encourages ocean, long distance and other forms of yacht racing and yachting activity.