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

Ultimes threaten Rolex Fastnet Race record destruction

Ultimes threaten Rolex Fastnet race record - Francois Gabart's MACIF© Jean Marie Liot/DPPI

Unless there is a flat calm, it is very likely that the outright record will fall in this August’s edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s premium event, the Rolex Fastnet Race. For leading the charge in the world’s biggest offshore yacht race, with a fleet of 300-350 competing, will be the world’s fastest offshore boats – the Ultimes.

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Cervantes Trophy Race Preview

Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race veteran Gerd-jan Poortman - RORC Cervantes Trophy Race - photo © Van Uden Shipping

115 yachts have entered the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Cervantes Trophy Race, with more than 600 sailors registered to take part. The race from the Solent to Le Havre will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line on Saturday 4th May at 0900 BST.

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Premature summer – 1, Easter Challenge – 0

In one of those aberrations that occasionally afflicts our weather-dependent sport, beautiful summery conditions and record temperatures blessed the Solent but sadly permitted the race committee to hold no racing for the entire three day duration of the RORC Easter Challenge.

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Summer comes early to RORC Easter Challenge

AP flag hangs limply on the Committee boat on day 1 of the RORC Easter Challenge. Picture: Rick Tomlinson

Sadly conditions on the opening day of the RORC Easter Challenge were better suited to improving competitors’ suntans than their sailing skills. At this event, that annually doubles as the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s domestic season opener and as a training regatta to accelerate crews getting up to speed ready for the year ahead, an absence of wind out on the Solent meant there was no racing, despite valiant attempts by the race committees.

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The RORC and the RYA go Double-Handed

© Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

World Sailing’s landmark decision to select a Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat event for the 2024 Olympics and the recent announcement to hold an Offshore World Championship for mixed double-handed sailing in October 2020 has encouraged the RYA and Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) to combine their efforts to develop double-handed offshore sailing in the UK.

Double-handed entries for RORC’s iconic Rolex Fastnet Race have increased from 36 boats in 2017 to over 90 entries in 2019, with 63 of those entries racing under IRC rating system, demonstrating a strong desire by people to sail double-handed offshore.

© Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com© Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Initial indications from World Sailing is that for the Olympics they will not be selecting one particular class of boat until late in the Olympic cycle and that the intention is to focus on the discipline rather than the equipment. The RORC’s Season Points Championship provides the perfect playground to develop the skills required to sail double-handed in existing boats of approximately 10m LOA. All of the RORC races have double-handed divisions and an overall series prize in addition to the IRC Two-Handed National Championship in September which consists of the Cherbourg Race one weekend followed by a weekend of inshore racing. There will also be awards for the top mixed double-handed team to encourage mixed entries.

RYA Director of Racing and former Volvo Ocean Race skipper Ian Walker is excited at the prospect.

“We do not yet know the exact format or equipment for Paris 2024 but that doesn’t mean we cannot get afloat and start improving our double handed offshore skills,” said Walker. “I hope that this will create an opportunity for some younger sailors to team up with boat owners or to represent their clubs and we will be watching these events and seeing what talent is out there. Britain boasts some exceptional offshore sailors, both men and women, competing at the highest level, but we are kidding ourselves if we think we are even close to the depth of the French offshore shorthanded sailing scene.”

RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen is also very keen to see double-handed sailing grow within their existing events:

“The RORC’s Season Points Championships has seen consistent growth in double-handed sailing and we have prizes for both open and mixed double-handed teams. This year we have included a double-handed division in our ‘coaching whilst racing’ RORC Easter Challenge which, with the RYA’s support, we will be providing specific double-handed coaching and advice from Nikki Curwen.”

stmalo18 1328© Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

The RYA currently support keelboat activity through support of the British Keelboat League in addition to the National Match Racing Series and the British Keelboat Academy. Keelboat Manager, Jack Fenwick is looking into how to further support double-handed offshore sailing in the UK:

“The first World Sailing Offshore World Championship is going to be held in 2020. I am sure there will be tough competition between nations to qualify for this event and just as tough a battle to represent Great Britain. We will be keeping a close eye on those British sailors participating in the RORC Two-Handed series as well as any British teams competing in overseas events. Our first priority is to see how we can support anyone looking to get into double-handed sailing with some coaching clinics.”

Royal Ocean Racing Club

20 St James's Place
London SW1A 1NN
UK

fon: +44 (0) 20 7493 2248
fax: +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
web: http://www.rorc.org

Royal Ocean Racing Club Cowes

82 High Street
Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7AJ
UK

fon: +44 (0) 1983 295 144
fax: +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
web: http://www.rorc.org

RORC Rating Office (Seahorse Rating Ltd)

Seahorse Building, Bath Road
Lymington, Hampshire SO41 3SE
UK

fon: +44 (0) 1590 677030
fax: +44 (0) 1590 679478
web: http://www.rorcrating.com
Royal Ocean Racing Club
(General Enquiries, Membership, House)

20 St James's Place
London
SW1A 1NN
UK

 +44 (0) 20 7493 2248
 +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
 http://www.rorc.org
Royal Ocean Racing Club
(Racing Enquiries)

82 High Street
Cowes
Isle of Wight
PO31 7AJ
UK

 +44 (0) 1983 295 144
 +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
 http://www.rorc.org
RORC Cowes Clubhouse


The Parade
Cowes
Isle of Wight
PO31 7QU
UK

 +44 (0) 1983 293581
 +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
 http://www.rorc.org
RORC Rating Office
(Seahorse Rating Ltd)

Seahorse Building, Bath Road
Lymington, Hampshire
SO41 3SE
UK

 +44 (0) 1590 677030
 +44 (0) 1590 679478
 http://www.rorcrating.com

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.