Cervantes Trophy Race Preview
Offshore racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club returns to Europe on the 30th of April with the Cervantes Trophy Race, the traditional opening domestic race of the RORC Season’s Points Championship.
Starting from the Royal Squadron Line Cowes, boats will race across the English Channel bound for Le Havre. Well over 50 teams are expected with a warm welcome waiting at the oldest yacht club in France, Société des Regatés du Havre, established in 1838.
RORC Commodore James Neville will be racing his HH42 INO XXX, this will be the first offshore race for Neville’s team, since the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race.
“We are excited to get back racing, it has been a long break, but we have had time to focus on this year,” commented James Neville. “We will compete in the RORC series including the Round Ireland Race and culminating inshore with the IRC Europeans in Breskens. The Cervantes is always an interesting race complicated by tide and wind shifts. We would like to have a nice fast reach to stretch our legs, but the long-range forecast is for light winds, so it could become quite tactical."
Gilles Fournier will skipper French J/133 Pintia, which will be racing to their home club, the Société des Regatés du Havre. In 2018, Pintia was the overall winner of the race, an impressive third victory in a row. Pintia’s crew includes the creator of the Louis Vuitton Cup, Bruno Troublé.
“Pintia always tries to win every race that enter,” commented Gilles Fournier. “However, we know that there are a few very good teams still to return to Europe for the season, so perhaps this race will not be indicative of the quality of racing we will experience during the year. Recently the standard of racing with RORC has been really rising, the performance of many teams has been increasing. Britain was a major influence in founding Société des Regatés du Havre, the link with our friends in Cowes is very important to us. As the customary first race across the English Channel, if it is windy, it can be quite cold, but the welcome will be warm! The club house has one of the best restaurants in Le Havre and it is reasonably priced. I strongly recommend making an advanced booking.”
At least 25 teams will be racing in IRC Two-Handed, including Richard Palmer’s JPK 1010 Jangada, racing with Jeremy Waitt. Jangada has taken maximum points so far in the 2022 RORC Season’s Points Championship with class wins in the Rolex Middle Sea Race, the RORC Transatlantic Race, and the RORC Caribbean 600. Seven Sun Fast 3300s are entered in IRC Two-handed for the Cervantes Trophy, including a debut race for Dee Caffari and Shirley Robertson racing Rockit. Sun Fast 3200 Cora, raced by Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews, was second in IRC Two-Handed for the 2021 season. Cora will start their 2022 RORC campaign with the Cervantes Trophy Race.
Classic yachts racing in the Cervantes Trophy Race include Stuart Greenfield’s S&S 34 Morning After, racing in IRC Two-Handed with Louise Clayton and Janet Hairsine Wilson’s Swan 44 Finnish Line. The Nicholson 55 Quailo III has a long history of racing with the RORC. Originally named Broadsword, she was built by Camper & Nicholson in 1971 for The Admiral’s Cup. Quailo III has been lovingly restored and modified under the ownership of Andrew Tseng.
“Our long-term aim is the 100th anniversary of the Fastnet Race in 2025” commented Quailo III skipper Andrew Tseng. “Clearly if we want a good performance in 2025, we should be doing 2023 and the Cervantes Trophy Race is the start of the whole campaign. Now the rubber hits the road, so to speak, and we are raring to go. The crew are all enthusiasts, a mixed bag of people that I have picked up along the way, it’s a Corinthian team but we have some interest from some well-known sailors from the past. Quailo III has been evolving over the last few seasons, she has a new engine, but most importantly a new fractional carbon rig. What will be really interesting is how well we can sail under IRC. The rule is a great leveller, which lets classics like Quailo III race alongside new designs. The challenge is, can the crew sail the boat to its rating? Boats like Scarlet Oyster and Winsome have managed to achieve that.”
The Cervantes Trophy Race is part of the 2022 RORC Season’s Points Championship, the world's largest offshore racing series comprising of 16 testing races. Every race had its own coveted prize for the overall winner and famous trophies for IRC class honours.