Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster has won the Royal Ocean Racing Club Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race, having scored the best corrected time of the 170 yachts racing under IRC. In all 185 yachts raced to St Malo from 20 different countries. The largest fleet for a RORC race since the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race.
Thibaut Vauchel-Camus' Multi50 Solidaires En Peloton-Arsep (Paul Wyeth/RORC)
Multihull Line Honours, and the win under the MOCRA rating rule, went to Thibaut Vauchel-Camus' Multi50 Solidaires En Peloton-Arsep. In the Class40 Division, Luke Berry's Lamotte - Module Création was the winner. David Collins' Botin IRC 52 Tala took Monohull Line Honours.
In a close and thrilling encounter, six Two-Handed teams made the top ten overall, dominating IRC Three and IRC Four. Winner of the Two-Handed class, by just 58 seconds after 21 hours of racing, was Francois Moriceau's JPK 10.10 Mary, which was also second overall. Jean Pierre Kelbert's JPK 10.30 Léon, was second in class, and third overall. Louis-Marie Dussere's JPK 10.80 Raging-bee2 was third in the Two-Handed Class, and fourth overall, just 81 seconds from class victory.
Jean Pierre Kelbert's JPK 10.30 Léon (Paul Wyeth/RORC)
Built in 1987 Scarlet Oyster was one of the oldest boats racing in the Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race. However, Scarlet Oyster was the stand-out performer, beating top opposition both in class and overall, to win the King Edward VII Cup. The entire Scarlet Oyster team celebrated in St Malo, with more than a glass or two of red wine.
Built in 1987 Scarlet Oyster was one of the oldest boats racing in the Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race. (Rick Tomlinson/RORC)
“My wife Sarah is expecting our first baby in two weeks, and was not on board, but she started getting some sensations back home, which was a bit of an incentive to sail faster! However, all is well, and the baby hasn't been born yet!” smiled skipper Ross Applebey. “Coming out of the Solent we went over the Shingles Bank, I am not sure if it worked tactically, but the strategy put us in a clear lane, avoiding the dirt from the huge fleet. The wind did go aft during the race which really suited Scarlet Oyster, as we could pole back, while the asymmetric boats had to sail a lot more miles. Pintia showed us the way leaving the Channel Islands, with some favourable tide we were very fast towards St Malo. The final icing on the cake was the tide turning foul just after we finished. Our best result in previous races to St Malo has been third in class. To win overall, against very good opposition, is a real thrill. Jules White did a great job, allowing me to concentrate more on tactics, and Jules will be the skipper for the Rolex Fastnet Race, as our baby should have arrived before the race start.”
In IRC Zero, Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by Gerd-Jan Poortman, corrected out to win the class ahead of Ker 46 Lady Mariposa, skippered by Nigel King, Tala was third. In IRC One, Didier Gaudoux's JND39 Lann Ael 2, had a fantastic tussle with Jacques Pelletier's Milon 41 L'Ange De Milon. Lann Ael 2 crossed the finish line 27 seconds ahead, but after time correction, L'Ange De Milon was the winner by less than a minute. Ed Fishwick's FAST40+ Redshift was third, making the class podium for the third time this season.
Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by Gerd-Jan Poortman (Paul Wyeth/RORC)
In IRC Two, Scarlet Oyster was the winner. Second by just over four minutes after time correction was Francois Lognone's MC34 Nutmeg Solidaire En Peloton. Herve Benic's First 40 Iritis was third.
In IRC Three, Jean Pierre Kelbert's JPK 10.30 Léon, sailed by Alexis Loison, had an epic battle with Louis-Marie Dussere's JPK 10.80 Raging-bee2. Both racing Two-Handed, the teams had a fantastic duel during the race. Raging-bee2 was the first to finish, but after time correction Léon won the class by just 23 seconds, placing third overall for the race. Antoine Croyere's A35 Hey Joe, also racing Two-handed, put in a stellar performance to take third in class, and sixth overall.
IRC Four had a photo-finish for Line Honours between two French JPK 10.10s racing Two-Handed. Francois Moriceau's Mary crossed the line just one second ahead of Alain Peron's Un Papillon Contre L'Eczéma. Mary won the class after IRC time correction, and placed second overall for the race. Un Papillon Contre L'Eczéma was fifth overall under IRC. Nigel & Tim Goodhew, racing Sun Fast 3200 Cora, was third in class, and seventh overall for the race. Cora is now first in IRC 4 for the RORC Season's Points Championship.
In the Multihull Class, Solidaires En Peloton-Arsep revelled in the downwind conditions to be the first into St Malo by over five hours. Charlie Capelle's Acapella – Proludic was second, and James Holder's Dazcat 1295 Slinky Malinki was third. A special mention should go to Michael Butterfield, completing the race in his Dazcat 46 Dazzla. Michael is celebrating his 88th birthday this year.
Australian RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone commented on a memorable race. “This is the biggest RORC fleet I have seen since taking the position as racing manager over a year ago, and it is very rare to witness a fleet of this size. All of the RORC Race Team did a fantastic job, especially between 3a.m. - 9 a.m., where there was not a gap for rest as so many boats were finishing. For the competitors, the race proved to be a fast one, full of opportunities. The teams that took their chances, to maximize their performance, got their rewards.”
The 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the Channel Race, starting on Saturday 27 July from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line. The Channel Race will be the final race before the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, starting on Saturday 03 August.
Stuart Sawyer's J/122 Black Dog - 2019 IRC National Champions © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 2019 IRC National Championship has been won out of the blue by a first timer not from the Solent. The 22 boat IRC Two fleet was led from the outset by Stuart Sawyer’s J/122 Black Dog, rounding off the series today with a final bullet to win ultimately by 15 points from the Blair family’s King 40 Cobra.
Today was the third in this three day event where the race committees ventured out into the Solent uncertain of whether they would get racing in. Today it was grey, with sub-10 knot winds and drizzle, and yet two windward-leewards were held on the Hill Head plateau enabling PROs Stuart Childerley and Steve Cole to compete the full schedule on their respective courses.
While the form was firming up in most classes, oddly the opening race saw a new winner in every class, partly caused by a significant shift on the final run. In IRC 1, it was the turn of French owner Dominique Tian on the Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen to prevail, while in IRC 2 it was Performance 40 season leader Christopher Daniel’s J/122E Juno. The IRC 3 (and HP30) bullet went to Malcolm Wootton’s modified Farr 30 Pegasus while Jubilee and Whooper were both upstaged in both today’s races by the Southworth’s Quarter Tonner Protis. Even in the FAST40+ class Tony Dickin's newly acquired Carkeek 40 Mk3 Jubilee managed to break the unbroken string of bullets of Peter Morton's Girls on Film.
Nonetheless, after the mathematics were applied, Black Dog was determined to be the worthy recipient of this year’s IRC National Championship title.
“We haven’t sailed that much this year, so when we came up we said we’d be aiming for the top five and we’d be delighted by top three in our class. To win overall is incredible!” said Stuart Sawyer, his Black Dog also securing the Performance 40 prize. While the team has been sailing out of Falmouth on several boats for the last nine years, Sawyer admitted that they feel isolated racing in Cornwall. Previously they campaigned their J/111 around the Solent, but coming from Cornwall this proved too difficult so, according to Sawyer, he sold it and bought the J/122 “to take it easy. But then after we won Dartmouth Royal Regatta last year we thought we had to come here to see how we’d do…”
Compared to racing in Falmouth, there was more of a chop than a swell to deal with on the Solent but also the tides were far more complex. For the event the regular crew was assisted by North Sails’ Shane Hughes plus a copy of the Winning Tides book. “And you are constantly having to change gears, but my crew has been amazing - I have never seen them hike harder,” said Sawyer who also paid tribute to the late J/Boats dealer and Solent racing guru Paul Heys: “The one person who would have loved to have seen this is Paul. He would have bene so chuffed to see both a Cornish boat and a J Boat do this.”
In IRC 1 all four boats won races, but ultimately it was Tony Langley’s highly polished Gladiator crew, including the likes of Iain Percy and Jules Salter, that prevailed. Despite being a prolific TP52 owner, simultaneously campaigning three boats, this was Langley’s first IRC Nationals. “I love it - it is nice to come home,” he said. “It was good to have some boat-on-boat action with Tala this weekend. We knew we had a bit on because she is a bit faster. They sailed it well.” The UK Gladiator was also Langley’s first. “I have quite a soft spot for this boat. We have won the Round the Island and Cowes Week and St Tropez last year on her and now this.”
The closest competition for Black Dog’s overall IRC Nationals win came from David Franks’ J/112e Leon. Her otherwise perfect scoreline was broken twice today, by Pegasus and then in race two by Bruce Huber’s Xanadoo, one of two sisterships to Leon competing. “He got his boat this year to come on to give us some competition, but now he is starting to bite our neck,” observed Franks, who was the IRC National Champion with his previous boat Strait Dealer in 2012.
One of the tightest battles occurred in IRC 4 where Nigel Goodhew's Sun Fast 3200 Cora and defending champion Giovanni Belgrano on Whooper both suffered disappointing days enabling the Southworth-powered Protis to leapfrog them into second overall. However winning overall by five points with a consistent 2-2 today was Christopher Preston’s J/109 Jubilee.
“It was great fun,” observed Preston. “We were very pessimistic about whether we’d all be racing at all today, but then the wind came in and the race committee got it going at the right time and we had two very nice, interesting races with the turn of the tide in the second which made it tactically interesting. It was a much better day than we had dared hope.”
As to why Jubilee won, Preston attributed it to being “well prepared with a good crew who sail well together. It helps being at the top end of the rating bracket with a boat that is extremely good and a wide envelope to windward. We had consistently good starts and boat speed that enabled us to use our tactics, which was a big advantage.” It was also possible that today’s lighter breeze didn’t suit Whooper.
Dominating the FAST40+ class was Peter Morton’s Carkeek 40 Mk3 Girls on Film. “We had a pretty good weekend with seven firsts and a second,” acknowledged boat captain Nick Butt, who reckons he has done most IRC Nationals since the event started. Owner Peter Morton was not on board today, and the only point they dropped was in today’s first race. “We weren’t where we wanted to be at the start,” said Butt. “We went around the first mark second and it got really light on the second beat and the fleet compacted. Then coming down the run we got mixed up with all of the classes on the shorter course, so there was a lot of bad wind and we were all compacted again. So Jubilee got us by seven seconds.”
The HP30 fleet raced in IRC 3 and was won, with the exact same scoreline as Girls on Film, by Locke family’s Farr 280 Toucan. With the absence of his father Glyn this week, son Anthony was in charge together with brother Alex. “It was a great regatta,” Anthony said. “We were really pleased with the organisation. It felt like we sailed well and we had great racing with all of the HP30 boats. Today was heavily challenging - very puffy and the pressure was up and down a bit. The race committee did a good job getting two races in because I didn’t think it was going to happen.” Generally of the three day event he said: “We had a bunch of situations where things went our way - which was great. The other boats were sailing really well and it was really great racing. It was fantastic HP30 racing.” Toucan currently leads the HP30’s 2019 championship.
PHOTOS FROM PRIZEGIVING:
PRO Stuart Childerley and Chris Stone, RORC Racing Manager presented the prizes at the Cowes RORC Clubhouse: Images of all class winners will be on the RORC Facebook page.
Collecting their silverware after three days of racing in the Solent - Stuart Sawyer's team on the J/122 Black Dog: Winners of the 2019 IRC National Championship Trophy for 1st overall and 1st in IRC 2 & Performance 40 class © Paul Wyeth
David Franks collects the Jackdaw Trophy for 2nd overall and the Roger Granger Trophy for 1st in IRC 3 with his J/122E Leon © Paul Wyeth
Winning IRC 4 - Chris Preston's J/109 Jubilee © Paul Wyeth
Winner of IRC 1 - Tony Langley's TP52 J/V Gladiator C © Paul Wyeth
Despite a dismal light wind and strong tide forecast that had most crews preparing for an afternoon ashore, a light breeze built early in the afternoon, miraculously allowing the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s two race committees to lay on a full three race opening day of the IRC National Championship.
As the rating rule jointly operated by the RORC and the Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL) in France, IRC seeks to create a level playing field between all kinds of boats. At this year’s IRC Nationals this is being put to the test with a wide array from grand prix racers to cruisers, from brand new thoroughbreds to 80 years wooden classics, and in size from the two TP52s down to Quarter Tonners and HP30s.
Due to the high tides this weekend, the RORC divided the fleet in two so that the larger IRC 1, 2 and FAST40+ boats could race in deeper water in the western Solent while IRC 3 and 4 sailing windward-leewards off Hill Head.
A particular feature of sailing in the western Solent today was the powerful ebb tide particularly in race one that was causing difficult pile-ups and tricky manoeuvring at the marks. This was especially true at the top mark where the fleet arrived in strongest favourable current on port, directly into the path of boats looking to gybe set and get inshore, out of the foul tide. Because of largely tide-related incidents the jury was sitting late this evening.
Baraka Gp, Harmen Jan De Graaf's Dutch Ker 43 One-off in IRC 1 © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
Leading the charge in IRC 1, as expected, is Tony Langley’s high polished Gladiator team. The 52 Super Series team won two of today’s three races, only dropping one point to the De Graaf family’s Ker 43 Baraka GP.
“We had fun!” said jib trimmer Dirk de Graaf. “It is a long time since we sailed against two TP52s and it is always nice to race the best Tonnerre ever. We did a good job!” However the light wind and strong tidal conditions made mark roundings challenging. “The first bottom mark was hard - we dropped the kite too early and we really had to point low. We lost 30 seconds over that. But then our laylines were better.” And this was the race they won.
Toucan, Glyn Lockes Farr 280 Toucan competing in the competitive HP30 class © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
In the FAST40+ there was a clean sweep for Peter Morton’s Carkeek 40 Mk3 Girls on Film. Similarly the only other boat to score three bullets today was Glyn Locke’s Farr 280 Toucan in the HP30 class, which she leads from the modified Farr 30 Pegasus and Jessica Fries’s Fareast 28 Mittens Revenge.
IRC 2 fleet racing on the first day of the RORC IRC National Championship © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
Largest class by far is IRC 2, including the entire Performance 40 fleet. Here after three races two boats are tied at the top - the Ker 39 Rumbleflurg and J/122 Black Dog. However thanks to the conditions it was a high scoring day for all.
Tor McLaren's MAT1180 Gallivanter claimed race one, however the next two were claimed by Stuart Sawyer’s Falmouth-based Black Dog, which leads IRC Two on countback.
“We are delighted although somewhat shocked too - hopefully it will be a long evening so we can enjoy this as long as possible,” enthused Sawyer. This is his first IRC Nationals, although he has previously won the IRC South West Championship. “The IRC Nationals is a benchmark to see how we are doing as a Cornish boat. Other than our tactician, we are all Corinthians although this is our ninth season sailing together.”
As to today’s competition Sawyer continued: “The first race was tricky - we got caught out at the leeward mark and were about seven deep and got buried. In the second race, we had a really nice start and felt quite comfortable and managed to hold our lane quite well because we are one of the slower boats. It feels like we are threading the eye of a needle - being rolled from top and with someone higher below.” On board North Sails’ Shane Hughes calls tactics.
Performance 40 class: Stuart Sawyer's J/122 Black Dog © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
Surprisingly it is not Black Dog but Ian Schenkel’s Ker 39 Rumbleflurg that leads Black Dog by a point when Performance 40 results are extracted from IRC Two.
Looking strong to recapture the IRC Nationals title he last won with Strait Dealer in 2012, David Franks and his J/112E Leon was one point off a perfect scoreline in IRC 3.
Franks congratulated the race officials for getting in three races. “It was a pleasant surprise when the wind came in and then we got three races.” Perhaps equally surprising was recovering a second, the only blemish on their scoreline, despite being called OCS in race two. “We had a good recovery and a good first beat, which got us back into play.
Leon, David Franks' J/112E in IRC 3 © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
“I have been racing too long to get too excited about the first day of a three day regatta. We are going well but our competition might give us a thrashing tomorrow,” Franks concluded.
Stand-out boat in IRC 4 is Chris Preston's J/109 Jubilee posting a 1-2-1.
Nigel Goodhew’s Sun Fast 3200 Cora holds third but on equal points with Nick and Adam Lunday's J/97 Induljence. Goodhew who usually races Cora offshore doublehanded with son Tim, says they enjoyed today. “The race officer snatched it out of the jaws of disaster and it was an absolute victory. We had really good racing which it got better and better – we had about 16 knots at the end.”
Racing in IRC 4 - Cora, Nigel Goodhew's Sun Fast 3200 © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
While Christopher Preston’s J/109 Jubilee won the first and last race, coming out on top inrace two was Giovanni Belgrano’s defending IRC National Champion, the 1939 Laurent Giles-designed Whooper.
Racing is again looking light tomorrow but maybe the race committee will again get lucky with the conditions.
Spectacular Start to the 2019 RORC Morgan Cup race to Dieppe - Photo: Rick Tomlinson
The Royal Ocean Racing Club's race to Dieppe for the Morgan Cup started in the Solent on midsummer's day in superb conditions. The RORC fleet enjoyed a spectacular downwind start off the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, heading east for the English Channel. During the night, the wind evaporated and as high pressure enveloped the race course, competitors were searching for the best of the breeze and tidal conditions. By morning, clear skies and an early sunrise conspired to enhance sea breeze conditions, giving a fantastic downwind finish for the fleet into Dieppe. The slow-down during the night meant that the race to the finish was a close one, with many classes being decided by minutes, even seconds. The 2019 Morgan Cup Race was notable for British yachts which won all seven classes.
William McGough & Christian Jeffrey making their way out of the Solent aboard Just So - Photo: Rick Tomlinson
William McGoughand Christian Jeffrey, racing J/109 Just So in IRC Two Handed, won the 2019 Morgan Cup Race, winning overall in a fleet of 86 yachts racing under the IRC Rating System. McGough and Jeffrey are both corinthian sailors in their 30s, and this is their first season racing Two-Handed. Monohull Line Honours for the race went to Botin IRC 52 Tala, skippered by Robbie Southall. After time correction, IRC Zero was won by Ker 46 Lady Mariposa, skippered by Nigel King. Joel Malardel's Normanni 34 Tancrède took Multihull Line Honours.
The top three yachts in IRC Overall for the Morgan Cup Race were all racing Two-Handed. Just So won by 27 minutes from Sun Fast 3200 Cora, sailed by Nigel & Tim Goodhew. Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, sailed by Rob Craigie & Deb Fish, was third by less than a minute.
“We have been sailing together for 11 years with fully crewed teams in RORC races but this is the first time we have won a RORC trophy so we are absolutely delighted,” agreed McGough and Jeffrey, the Two-Handed team racing Just So. “We got one of the best starts along with Bellino and we were going well out of the Solent. Probably the biggest tactical decision that paid off was to go east. If you look at the results of the pack of boats that went that way, they have all done well. When we finished the race, we looked at the boats around us and knew we had done well, but to win overall is amazing! Just So will be competing in the Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race fully crewed but this was the last race before we take on the Rolex Fastnet Race Two-Handed.”
Corby 45 Incisor under kite on her way to a strong finish in Dieppe - Photo: Louay Habib
In IRC One, Corby 45 Incisor, skippered by James Gair and sailed by the Cowes Race School, was the winner. Didier Gaudoux's 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race champion, JND 39 Lann Ael 2 was second and proven winner Maxime de Mareuil's XP-44 Orange Mecanix2 was third.
In IRC Two, Gavin Howe's Hamble, UK based Sun Fast 3600 Tigris was the winner racing Two-Handed with Sam Cooper. After IRC time correction, Tigris was ahead of 2015 Rolex Fastnet champion Gery Trentesaux racing JPK 11.80 Courrier Recommande, and 2017 IRC Two champion, Gilles Fournier's J/133 Pintia.
Gavin Howe's Hamble, UK based Sun Fast 3600 Tigris finishing in Dieppe - Photo Louay Habib
The podium for IRC Three was all British yachts, Bellino was the winner. Trevor Middleton's Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep, sailed by Jake Carter, continue to lead the RORC Season's Points Championship with second in class for the Morgan Cup. The Royal Navy Association's J/109 Jolly Jack Tar, skippered by Tom Thicknesse, was third in class for the Morgan Cup. In IRC Four, Just so, and Cora took the top two places. Cooper & England's Dehler 38 Longue Pierre was third in class, and just four seconds off the podium for the Morgan Cup.
The eighth race of the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship will be the East Coast Race, organised by the West Mersea Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club. The 125nm race across the North Sea finishing in Ostend, Belgium will start on Friday 28th June 2019.
The past three days has produced tantalisingly close racing for the 72 boats - an increase of 40 per cent on last year's entry. Despite what initially appeared to be an unpromising forecast, six to eight races were completed in each of the eight classes, in winds varying from five knots to a squall of more than 20.
This regatta is renowned for fast-paced close racing and this year proved to be no exception. There were many changes of leader across every fleet, while 23 different boats achieved at least one race win, and double that number scored at least one podium finish.
Summer sun returned for today's racing, with bright sun and rising temperatures, but initially without any wind. The committee boats left the dock when the beginnings of a southerly of 2-3 knots sprang up in the central Solent at 1030. Half an hour later it had swung into the south east and increased to 8 knots and the AP flags signalling the postponement came down at 1100.
The Fast 40+ fleet started the day with Niklas Zennstrom's Ran leading the series counting only four first places, having discarded a fifth place scored in yesterday's third race. However, four boats, separated by only two points, were locked in battle for second overall. Michael Bartholomew's Tokoloshe led this group on 12 points, ahead of Steve Cowie's Zephyr and Peter Morton's Girls on Film, who were tied on 13 points, while Niall Dowling's Arabella held fifth overall on 14 points.
The class had three short races today, the first of which was held in a building east-south-east breeze and a strengthening east-going tide. Girls on Film started prematurely, while Ed Fishwick's Redshift bailed out early before the gun, gybing onto port. Redshift then held out alone on the right hand side of the course, before leading into the windward mark on the port layline, tacking a length ahead of Ran.
They were followed by Zephyr, which had a small lead on Fillip Englebert's Elvis and Tokoloshe, with all three overlapped on the short spreader leg. By the finish Zephyr had slipped back to fifth place, while Redshift took second place, six seconds ahead of Girls on Film in third place.
In the next two races Ran scored a first and third, finishing the series with a commanding overall lead of nine points. A second and fourth for Girls on Film was just enough for Morton to secure second overall, half a point ahead of Tokoloshe's final score of 22.5.
"We've had big tides and big windshifts, which made for tight layline calls," says Ran navigator Tom Needham. "It's great that the race committee was able to get so many races off in tricky conditions and we've been really happy to see all the boats on the water, including new teams, for the first Fast40+ event this year.
"Today we were racing in deeper water, with big differences in the tide across the course - there were some big tide lines out there - so there were big gains or losses depending on which end of the line you started."
Juno was the victor in the Performance 40 class © Rick Tomlinson
The Performance 40 class went into the final day with a much tighter leaderboard - Christopher Daniel's J/122e Juno led the class, counting four points from three races, just one point ahead of Michael Blair's King 40 Cobra.
At the start of the opening race another King 40, Roger Bowden's Nifty, headed out to the right hand side of the course, gaining a similar advantage to Redshift. Bowden got to the top mark at the same time as Ian Schenkel's Ker 39 Rumbleflurg, with both followed quickly by Juno and one of the lowest rated boats in the fleet, Andrew McIrvines' First 40 La Reponse. At this stage Cobra was well buried in the pack.
Juno was first across the line, saving her time on La Reponse by 14 seconds. Another First 40, Richard Patrick's Dusty P, took third on corrected time, just 12 seconds behind La Reponse. Juno took another decisive victory in the final race to win overall 10 points ahead of Cobra. Nifty and Dusty P tied on 17 points, with the former taking third overall thanks to her victory in race four.
At the start of the day five boats were still in contention for a podium place in the J/111 fleet. A win in both of today's races sealed Tony Mack's class victory on McFly, 6.5 points ahead of Joerg Sigg's Lallekonig. The three-way fight for third was resolved in favour of Chris Jones' Journeymaker ll, thanks to his two second places today.
Last year's J/109 class winner, Simon Perry's Jiraffe went into the final day one point ahead of Chris Preston's Jubilee. Both were neck and neck at the end of the first run of today's first race, with Jubilee rounding the mark inside Jiraffe. Both had been late to drop their spinnakers, which were still hoisted to the lower spreaders as they turned up to windward. Jubilee was quick to complete the drop, however Jiraffe had a snag and had slipped to leeward and astern by the time it was sorted.
In a tight finish that saw more than half the fleet cross the line in just 22 seconds, Perry's team recovered to lead by 12 seconds ahead of Jubilee, with RNSA's Jolly Jack Tar taking third place five seconds later and David Richard's Jumping Jellyfish fourth, just five seconds after that.
Jiraffe wins by a point in the closely contested J/109 class © Rick Tomlinson
Jubilee won the final race, but Jiraffe took second, 19 seconds ahead of John Smart's Jukebox. It was enough to seal overall victory for Jiraffe by one point. A very consistent performance by Jumping Jellyfish, with an almost straight run of fourth places, secured third overall, one point ahead of Jolly Jack Tar.
Only four points separated the top three boats in the HP30 fleet at the start of the day. Their first race saw an incredibly tight finish in a building breeze and the fleet in full planing mode - the first four boats crossed the line in just 26 seconds. Sture Wikamn's MC31 Vitres led the fleet, but as the highest rated boat he failed to beat Malcolm Wootton's Farr 30 Pegasus, Glyn Locke's Farr 280 Toucan, or Tim Cunliffe's Farr 30 Insatiable on corrected time.
With the top three teams now only two points apart, the pressure was on for the final two races. Locke's crew rose to the challenge, winning both races and taking overall victory by a four point margin. A pair of second places for Wootton sealed his second place overall. "It was a really great event, with such close racing," says Locke. "We rounded some marks four abreast and it was so tight we didn't know we had won until we saw the results."
Eat, Sleep, J, Repeat triumphs in the J/70 class © Rick Tomlinson
The J/70 class used the regatta as Round 3 of their 2019 UK Class Grand Slam Series. A win in both races today saw Paul Ward's Eat, Sleep, J, Repeat cement overall victory ahead of Clive Bush's Darcey, while reigning Grand Slam Champion, Doug Struth's DSP, was third. All races were decided by a minute or less, with race five going to Eat, Sleep, J, Repeat by just five seconds from Darcey.
"This was the first time for the J/70s at the Vice Admiral's Cup and the race team did a great job for us, with six exciting races over two days," says Ward. "Onshore at the RORC clubhouse we enjoyed catching up with the other classes over a few beers and a curry. Thanks to all of the team at RORC for a great event."
Christian Sutherland's Reach Around dominated the SB20 fleet in the first half of the regatta, with three straight wins. However his consistency slipped midway, allowing Charlie Whelan's Breaking Bod to hold the overall lead by one point going into the final day. A further two wins sealed overall victory for Whelan, while a pair of seconds for Sutherland kept him seven points ahead of Charles Sheppard's Sharc, who finished in third place overall.
The front of the Quarter Ton fleet has again seen some of the closest of any fleet. In today's first race the first four boats blasted across the finish line in 14 seconds. On corrected time Ian Southworth's Protis and Julian Metherell's Bullit took equal first places after both scored exactly the same corrected time. Louise Morton's Bullet was third just three seconds adrift, and Sam Laidlaw's Aguila fourth eight seconds later.
Louise Morton picks up her Quarter Ton winnings for Bullet from RORC Deputy Racing Manager Tim Thubron © Rick Tomlinson
This shuffled the overall leaderboard, with Morton dropping into second place, only half a point behind Southworth. However, Morton got the better of him in the next two races, winning each one by a decisive margin and taking overall victory by 1.5 points. Tony Hayward's Blackfun was third overall, but on almost double the Southworth's points, and just one point ahead of fourth-placed Metherell.
"I'm really pleased," says Morton. "Sam has dominated the class for a long time, so I'm very happy to win this trophy back. We've had incredibly close racing and the race team has done really well to get eight good races completed."
The Fast 40+ class gets racing despite light airs today © Rick Tomlinson
The opening day of the Vice Admiral's Cup served up light airs, with big shifts and wind reversals that challenged competitors and race officials alike. A quiet morning quickly gave way to an afternoon that started with fast-paced action on both course areas.
The first start was for the J/111 and J/109 classes in a very shifty southwesterly of 10-12 knots that created plenty of tactical challenges in a tight race with a short 0.8 mile windward leg. The fleet strongly favoured the committee boat end of the line and the first start was abandoned with 40 seconds to go.
Lallekonig squeezes ahead of McFly to take the J/111 class © Rick Tomlinson
In the restart, the fleet was more spaced out, with Cornel Riklin's J/111 Jitterbug closest to the pin end of the line. Both Simon Bamford's Kestrel and Joerg Sigg's Lallekonig appeared well placed mid-line, but the former was OCS.
It was an intense race for the J/111s, with two laps completed in only 35 minutes, and the first five boats finishing just 69 seconds apart. Joerg Sigg's Swiss Lallekonig took victory, 20 seconds ahead of Tony Mack's McFly, with Cornel Riklin's Jitterbug third.
Next away was the HP30 class, which again saw intense competition and on such a short course a good start was imperative. Tim Cunliffe's Farr 30 Insatiable was almost alone mid line, while most of the fleet again stacked up at the committee boat. Sture Wilkman's Swedish MC31 Vitres and Malcolm Wootton's Farr 30 Pegasus both jumped the gun and had to return, leaving Jamie Rankin's Farr 280 Pandemonium looking best placed in the early part of the race.
Farr 280 Toucan flys to victory in the HP30 class © Rick Tomlinson
Glyn Lock's Farr 280 Toucan and Insatiable rounded the second windward mark simultaneously, with the former inside and therefore gaining a narrow lead at the spreader mark. They were followed closely by Pegasus, Virtres and Pandemonium.
Unfortunately, the best wind of the day proved to be short-lived and by the time the leaders were reaching the finish the breeze had dropped to only six knots, and even less in some big holes. Nevertheless, Toucan pulled out an impressive lead on the final leg, finishing more than two minutes ahead of Insatiable, with Pegasus taking third on the water just three seconds later. Toucan's lead was sufficient to retain the lead after time correction.
The SB20 fleet also raced on the same course, but spent proportionately more time in the lighter winds. Lizzie Farrington's Sail Navy started mid-line with a half-length advantage on the boats nearby, while Robin Kirby's Carnage also looked well placed close to the committee boat. However, Farrington was racing with a new crew of naval ratings who had not previously sailed an SB20 and Kirby retired. Christian Sutherland's Reach Around took victory a good margin ahead of Charlie Whelan's Breaking Bod and Charles Sheppard's Sharc.
The Fast 40+ class was first away for the second start line, with a 1.3 mile windward leg on a course axis of 260 degrees. Tony Dickin's Jubilee led the fleet at the first windward mark, 20 seconds ahead of Filip Engelbert's Elvis. Steve Cowie's Zephyr rounded next, 27 seconds later, followed closely by Niklas Zennstrom's Ran.
By the time the wind eased on the final run, Ran had pulled out a good lead. Meanwhile, having rounding the last mark uncharacteristically far back in the fleet, Peter Morton's Girls on Film gybed toward the northern corner of the course, well clear of her competitors. For a while it looked as though this might work, but as Ran closed the finish a very light south-easterly breeze re-established and Girls on Film again slipped backwards down the rankings.
Ed Fishwick's Redshift was second on the water, a couple of minutes adrift of Ran, and Zephyr third 67 seconds later. With only one point of rating difference between the three boats, they retained these positions on corrected time.
Quarter Tonner Protis extends her lead to finish first in class © Rick Tomlinson
The Quarter Ton class had a long race for their first day, taking 1 hour 20 minutes in extremely fluky winds. Nevertheless Ian Southworth's Protis, Sam Laidlaw's Aquilla and Louise Morton's Bullet had a close tussle all the way around the course.
Southworth held a one-length lead over Aquilla at the end of the second 0.9 mile beat, with Bullet following close behind, ahead of Tom Hill's Belinda. On the final leg he extended the lead to 44 seconds, taking both line honours and victory on corrected time. Bullet crossed the line second, just ahead of Aguila, but fell to third on corrected time, while Tony Hayward's Blackfun moved from the back of the fleet up to fourth on the water.
"it was a tough, light airs Solent mixer and the team did very well to get a race in," Southworth said. "We changed places a number of times - it was nip and tuck all the way with Aguila and Bullet - very interesting racing and we're all looking forward to tomorrow."
With the south-easterly breeze subsequently stalling, racing was abandoned for the day at 1620. Tomorrow promises a more consistent north-north westerly breeze.