Pintia Retains Cervantes Trophy
The European season of offshore racing with the Royal Ocean Club started with 100 yachts competing for the Cervantes Trophy race organised in association with the UNCL and the destination yacht club Société des Regates du Havre. The 160 nautical mile race started on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line to the east. Leaving Owers to port, Rustington to starboard, A5 then General Metzinger to port and finish.
Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott reported: “The start was delayed by ten minutes due to a container ship going through then they all got away. A southerly wind of ten knots increased to about 15 knots giving a fast passage to Owers. As the fleet passed Owers the wind began to fade before building to 20 knots from the east.”
It was Gilles Fournier's J/133 Pintia who took Class 2 line honours and was the class and overall winner of the Cervantes Trophy on corrected time. Gilles races with a crew of family and friends based in Le Havre so the Cervantes Trophy Race is a firm favourite and as ever they proved most popular winners in their home club. Having won the class trophy 3 times, Gilles joked with the RORC Commodore at prize giving about how many times he would have to win the trophy before he could keep it!
Last year's overall champion, First 44.7 Lisa, sailed by RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd was second in IRC Class 2 edging out Ed Fishwick's Two Handed entry Redshift Reloaded.
Paul Kavanagh's Swan 44, Pomeroy Swan, winner of IRC Class 4 and second overall in the Cervantes Trophy Race - photo RORC/Rick Tomlinson
The top three yachts in IRC Four excelled in the race, finishing with site of each other and likely to be aware that the class winner would have made a strong challenge for the race win overall. Noel Racine's JPK 1010 Foggy Dew crossed the line just over 16 hours into the race. Just 15 minutes behind Foggy Dew, Paul Kavanagh's Swan 44 Pomeroy Swan was locked in a duel with Harry Heijst's S&S 41 Winsome. Pomeroy Swan crossed the line just a minute ahead of Winsome to take the IRC class win and second overall in the Cervantes Trophy Race.
“I bought the boat three years ago with the intention of cruising her with a bit of racing, we have a couple of good guys on board including Andy Greenwood who is a professional but the rest are very much family and friends” commented Pomeroy Swan's owner, Paul Kavanagh. “I did the Fastnet Race about ten years ago with a charter company and I have always fancied skippering a Fastnet boat myself, so that is the aim this year. Unfortunately, we couldn't spend the time to stop in Le Havre after the race and turned back after the finish. I got my head down and when I woke up the crew told me we had won. To be honest, I was brutally surprised, this is the first offshore race the boat has ever done!”
The 20 strong IRC Two Handed Class featured an epic battle for the class win and podium positions. Ed Fishwick's Sunfast 3600 Redshift Reloaded took line honours by just over two minutes but on time correction it was not enough to better Rob Craigie's corrected time racing Sunfast 3600 Bellino, along with crew Deborah Fish. Stephen Hopson's JPK 1080 Blue Note was third.
“For us the key moment in the race was staying high on the reach to Owers, i looked like a flyer but paid off when the wind headed.” revealed Rob Craigie. “Why do we race Two Handed? Well we find it much more satisfying, as we are always fully engaged with both the boat and the racing and it also removes the overhead and stress of a bigger crew!”
The cold but brisk easterly wind provided for a fast broad reach across the English Channel, Derek Saunders CM60 Venomous took Line Honours and IRC Zero, completing the course in just over 13 hours. The seven Class40s racing had an epic speed battle with the entire fleet finishing within 42 minutes of each other. Adriaan van Oord's Moonpalace sailed by Roeland Franssens took the gun for the Class40s by just over three minutes from Maxime Cauwe's Espoir. Peter Harding's Phor-ty, sailed by Pip Hare was just 39 seconds behind in third.
In IRC 1, Jack Pringle's first RORC race in his First 50 Avatar was a memorable one. The British team were beaten to the line by one second by Maxime de Mareui's xP-44 Orange Mecanix2. However, after time correction Avatar was the winner by less than two minutes. Edmund Hall's MAT 12 Night Owl II was third.
In IRC 3, Ben Morris' swan 55 yawl Lulotte revelled in the reaching condition to win the class. Rob Craigie's Sunfast 3600 Bellino was second with Thomas Kneen' JPK 1080 Sunrise third.
The RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the De Guingand Bowl Race, starting on Saturday May 13, 2017.
The Cervantes Race Trophies ready for presentation in Le Havre - photo Christophe Lechevre