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

Nifty work as RORC Easter Challenge concludes

Tokoloshe leads the FAST 40+ fleet at the RORC Easter Challenge but star performer throughout the regatta was  Sir Keith Mills' Invictus. © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Sailors at the RORC Easter Challenge left Cowes this Easter Sunday sunburned, full of chocolate and brimming with freshly acquired wisdom about their sport.

Across the 50 boat fleet competing at the RORC’s three day long domestic season opener, that doubles as its annual training regatta, it was close across most classes, but none more so than IRC One. In this, Mike Greville’s sparkling Ker 39, Erivale III managed to lose her three point lead in today’s opening round the cans race and the victor was only decided on the final, head down, charge for the finish line in race two.

Ultimately Roger Bowden’s King 40, Nifty (ex-Tokoloshe 1), claimed first overall, two points ahead of Erivale with another King 40, Cobra, another point behind. As Nifty’s skipper Sam Cox recounted: "Coming into the finish [of race 2], Zero pipped us and we had Erivale III and Zero II stacked up right behind us. All weekend we’ve been having really good boat-on-boat racing between us - it was fantastic."

ech17d2 1161 niftyClose racing in the RORC Easter Challenge. Roger Bowden's King 40, Nifty (ex-Tokoloshe 1), claimed first overall in IRC One © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Three races were scheduled today, but the wind dropped as the new breeze attempted to settle towards the end of the first race, causing the course to be shortened for IRC Two and Three. With the wind shifting dramatically, it took three attempts to get what was to be the second and final race underway.

Within IRC One, there was a match race between the two Mark Mills-designed MAT 1180s. Tor McLaren’s two week old Gallivanter got its first taste of glory, winning today’s opening race, However sistership, Christian Zugel’s Tschuss, finished seven points ahead overall.

McLaren appreciated the coaching laid on by the RORC, spearheaded by Jim Saltonstall and Eddie Warden Owen and supplemented by North Sails UK staff: "We were very happy with the way we performed. We were together upwind - which we weren’t on day one. The groove is very narrow and main and runners have to be trimmed in sync. The crew work at the front is really good and our tactics were great."

ech17d3 949 jim coachingJim Saltonstall offers his expert advice. Crews appreciated the coaching laid on by the RORC and the team at North Sails UK © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Star performer throughout the regatta was Sir Keith Mills’ Invictus in the FAST 40+ class, racing within IRC One. With a 1-3 today, the black Ker 40+ won the regatta by a mighty 11 points. However it was not easy and all five of the FAST 40+ had their moments with Tony Dickin’s Jubilee looking particularly strong today, leading the opening stages of race two, which was eventually won by Mark Rijkse’s 42° South.

"The first race was tough," recounted Mills. "We were third at the first mark, but managed to climb back and get a comfortable win. Then, in the second race, we didn’t get the greatest start but we kept our place all the way round and we had a photo finish - 42° South got it, but there was half a boat length between three boats, which made it really interesting."

ech17d2 618 invictusSir Keith Mills' invincible FAST40+ Invictus. © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

In IRC Two, a late charge from RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine on La Réponse was enough to get his First 40 onto the podium but not enough to make an impression on the race for the lead between David Franks’ JPK 10.10 Strait Dealer and Redshift Reloaded, the Sun Fast 3600 belonging to Ed Fishwick.

ech17d3 689 redshift reloadedVictory in IRC Two for Redshift Reloaded, Ed Fishwick's Sun Fast 3600 © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

While La Réponse claimed today’s first race and Strait Dealer the second, Redshift Reloaded posted a 2-3 to win overall by three points from Franks’ yacht. "The first race was tricky," recounted Nick Cherry, with whom Fishwick will be racing doublehanded for the remainder of the season.  "It went light and at one point we were looking pretty bad and La Réponse ditched us. In the last race, we only had to finish five points behind Strait Dealer, although we were worried we were OCS. Also there were some big shifts, but they were reasonably predictable."

For the Redshift crew, winning on this the boat’s first major competitive outing is a big achievement: "We are very pleased," summarised Cherry. "The boat was going quick. The crew did well and it was nice tight racing."

Fishwick praised the RORC Race Committee: "It is a well organised regatta and they did a really good job."

ech17d3 747 aguilaIRC Three winner, Sam Laidlaw's Quarter Tonner, Aguila © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Aside from Invictus, the most consistent performance was from Sam Laidlaw’s Quarter Tonner, Aguila. The RORC Easter Challenge defending champion today put in a race win and a 2.5, to reclaim IRC Three by 7.5 points from Ian Braham’s MG 346, MS Amlin Enigma.

"It was fantastic conditions - it couldn’t have more different to last year when it was very windy," said Laidlaw. "This year it was light and puffy and quite difficult. Today was challenging with the wind up and down and in the second race we had a good ding-dong with Bullet – they sail really well. It has been close racing all weekend."

The regatta wound up with a prizegiving at the RORC’s Cowes clubhouse where the winners left laden with trophies and Easter eggs.

ech17d3 1136 invictus loade dup with eggsSir Keith Mills and son Alex receive their prizes for Invictus' FAST40+ victory. © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Royal Ocean Racing Club

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Royal Ocean Racing Club Cowes

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UK

fon: +44 (0) 1983 295 144
fax: +44 (0) 20 7493 5252
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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.