Last Blast to Cherbourg
The Cherbourg Race is the last of the UK-based races of the RORC Season’s Points Championship with the final race, the Rolex Middle Sea Race, taking place in October.
After the Solent start, fast reaching conditions are forecast for the offshore sprint across the English Channel. An international fleet of 279 teams have taken part in the series with three teams vying for the overall win: Richard Palmer's Jangada, the Army Sailing Association's British Soldier, and Noel Racine's Foggy Dew.
Seventy teams are expected to start the Cherbourg Race, including about 30 boats racing Two-Handed, which will also be the deciding race for the 2018 IRC Two-Handed National Championship.
The 80-mile race is the shortest of the RORC Season’s Points Championship but no less tactical. It can be won and lost in the escape from the Solent, in the strong tides on the approach to Cherbourg and finally on the last mile along the inside of the breakwater of the Grande Rade.
Two multihulls will be gunning for Line Honours in the Cherbourg Race. Ross Hobson's Seacart 30 Buzz proved to be a real rocket as the first boat to finish last month's De Guingand Bowl Race. James Holder's Dazcat 1295 Slinky Malinki will be the competition in the multihull class. In the monohulls, Ker 46 Lady Mariposa has taken Line Honours in every race entered this season. Ed Broadway's Ker 40 Hooligan VII and Filip Balcean's Club Swan 50 Balthasar pose the biggest threat to a clean sweep for Lady Mariposa.
Twenty-Four Class40s have competed in the 2018 RORC Season's Points Championship. Halvard Mabire & Miranda Merron's Campagne De France will line up for the last time against Tony Lawson's Concise 8, skippered by Jack Trigger. It will be their final showdown before the Route du Rhum this November. Assuming neither compete in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, Concise 8 has an unassailable lead for the season.
Five IRC divisions will be in action for the Cherbourg Race with close to half the teams racing in IRC Two-Handed. Ian Hoddle's Sun Fast 3600 leads the season and will have one eye on Richard Palmer's JPK 10.10 Jangada. Game On has a 38 point advantage for the IRC Two-Handed Class but will be conscious of the fact that Jangada is entered for the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600 Bellino is in third place for the season, Nick Martin's sister-ship Diablo, is capable of staking a claim for the last podium place in the class.
In IRC One, after winning the De Guingand Bowl Race overall, Edward Broadway's Ker 40 Hooligan VII went to the top of the class. However, the pressure is on for a winning performance to Cherbourg. Maxime de Mareuil's Xp44 Orange Mecanix2 is less than 23 points behind Hooligan VII and also entered for the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Mark Emerson's A13 Phosphorus II, in third place for the season, will also be racing. In IRC Two, two of the top teams for the season will be in action, the Army Sailing Association X-41 British Soldier, and Sailing Logic's First 40 Arthur Logic. 2017 Class Champion, Gilles Fournier's J/133 Pintia will also be racing. In IRC Four, Noel Racine's JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew has an unassailable lead for the season and an outside chance of winning the championship overall for the first time. Blackburn & Dipple's Sun Fast 3200 All or Nothing, is in a strong position to take runner up in IRC Four. Nigel Goodhew's Cora and Olivier Hays’ Kia Ora will both be racing to Cherbourg, with the winner of the duel likely to make the class podium.
The majority of the fleet are expected to arrive in Cherbourg early Saturday morning - the Yacht Club de Cherbourg are magnificent hosts for the final race across the English Channel. The well protected marina is complimented by an elevated clubhouse restaurant with a panoramic view serving a superb lunch.