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

Sunrise dances to victory in the Morgan Cup

Spinnaker start for the 2021 Morgan Cup Race © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

The third race of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Season’s Points Championship was an overnight race to Dartmouth, Devon. The impressive RORC fleet got away on a spinnaker run, exiting the Solent to the east before turning upwind to race in the English Channel to finish at Dartmouth, Devon.

After one of the hottest days of the year, the overnight race was held in the comfort of a warm south westerly breeze. However, dense fog greeted the fleet as they tacked around the southside of the Isle of Wight. By morning on Day Two, with the race leaders closing in on the finish, high pressure arrived over the racecourse. The teams that could maintain their optimum velocity reaped the rewards.

rorcmc21 rt0228Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise scored the best corrected time under IRC to win the Morgan Cup © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise scored the best corrected time under IRC to win the Morgan Cup. Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood was the winner of IRC One and placed second overall. Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader was third overall. Former RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine’s Ker 39 La Réponse was fourth overall, just over a minute off the podium after IRC time correction.

rorcmc21 rt0584Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood was the winner of IRC One and placed second overall © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

Results link:

Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise has been in sparkling form this season, having placed third overall for the Myth of Malham, winner overall for the East Coast Race and the Morgan Cup Race.

“The early part of the race was pretty intense with lots of manoeuvres in thick fog, but we knew it was going to get light and funky towards the finish, so we all tried to get as much sleep on the light wind beat on the first night, so that we would all be fresh and up for it in the morning,” commented Sunrise skipper Tom Kneen. “The breeze shut down ten miles before Dartmouth, but we were ready for it. Our navigator, Tom Cheney got it absolutely spot on, gybing us southwest to where the breeze would be coming from. Although we did have zero on the speed for a short while, we fared better than the boats who went for the land. Sunrise is a twin-rudder wide-hulled boat, not designed for light airs, but we just managed to keep her moving. The crew have been together for a while, and we have invested a lot of time understanding the boat. We are really pleased with our results so far, and it is very encouraging for the Fastnet. I hope we get lots of breeze, then we can really let her rip for the big race in August!”

Congratulations to all of the class winners for the Morgan Cup Race: Michael O'Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood, Bruce Huber’s J/112E Xanaboo, Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada, and Charles Emmett’s Class40 Manic. Ed Fishwick’s Farr 42 Redshift took Line Honours for the 110 nautical mile race.

Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada was the winner of IRC Four and IRC Two-Handed. Racing with Jeremy Waitt, the pair are highly experienced and successful offshore duo. Winning Two-Handed races with the RORC has become increasingly difficult, with many professional sailors competing, Palmer and Waitt are both Corinthian sailors.

rorcrtw20 rt2315Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada was the winner of IRC Four and IRC Two-Handed © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

“We really enjoy racing against this level of competition,” commented Jangada’s Richard Palmer. “Probably our best tactic was to ignore the routing software and instead race instinctively. We kept with the fleet to see what our pace was like against the competition. We did 64 tacks in 90 minutes after Ventnor – just bonkers! It was fantastic to be on a destination race, meeting up with people at the end, airing our stories, it was just great!”

J/112E Xanaboo, winner of IRC Three, is owned by Bruce Huber who lives in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. On the first night, local knowledge and great crew work paid great dividends for the team, as Huber explains. “I could actually see my house from the racecourse, it’s where we sail Bembridge Illusions, so we know where the rocks are,” commented Bruce Huber. “While the fleet were tacking for tidal relief, we managed to hold a lane and get a high line without tacking, so a big gain there. As with the rest of the fleet, the Xanaboo crew worked really well to put in many tacks to stay out of the tide after Ventnor. There was the added complication of staying in the best pressure with a lot of sailcloth around us, plus there was dense fog. The end of the race was very frustrating, we were in contention for the overall win but hit a wind hole. We did everything we could to tweak the boat to the finish, but the overall win was not to be.”

dsc 8744Bruce Huber’s J/112E Xanaboo winner or IRC Two © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

The next event for the Royal Ocean Racing Club will be inshore. The IRC National Championship will be held in the Solent 18-20 June. The RORC Season’s Points Championship continues offshore, with the De Guingand Bowl, starting from the RYS Line on Saturday 26 June.

For more information about the Royal Ocean Racing Club:


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

20 St James's Place

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

82 High Street
Isle of Wight
PO31 7AJ

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RORC Cowes Clubhouse

The Parade
Isle of Wight
PO31 7QU

 +44 (0) 1983 293581
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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.