RORC Channel Race - Preview
Start - 1000 BST Saturday 22nd July
Course: Cowes - Round Marks - Solent Finish
The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship continues this weekend with the Channel Race. The 10th race of the series, and the last RORC offshore race before the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race. For those teams vying for class honours for the championship, starting the Rolex Fastnet Race in pole position, is highly desirable, and with most of the RORC season now completed, favourites are emerging for the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship, the world's largest participation offshore racing series.
Over 100 yachts have entered the Channel Race, which features a flexi-course starting and finishing in The Solent, lasting approximately 24 hours. The entry list features the world's fastest ocean-going yachts, a vast variety of cruiser/racers, Two Handed teams, and well-maintained yachts from previous decades. Racing under the IRC Rating system, the fleet is divided into five IRC Classes.
In IRC Zero, George David's American Canting Keel Maxi, Rambler 88, will be looking to build on their overall win in the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race. A solid result for the Channel Race will put the American Maxi on top of the class leaderboard for the season, but there is tough competition. Piet Vroon's Dutch Ker 51, Tonnerre 4 is a proven winner, as is Quentin Stewart's British Infiniti 46 Maverick. The Volvo 70 Monster Project has set numerous records in the Caribbean, and is skippered by Polish Olympic Gold Medallist, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and given the right conditions, Stephen Durkin's British Farr 52 Bob, should not be under-estimated.
In IRC One, James Neville's British HH42 INO XXX, will be looking for a hatrick of wins in the Channel Race, having won class in the Myth of Malham and Cowes Dinard St Malo Race. A win will not put INO XXX on top of the leaderboard, but in a great position for the season overall. Four teams racing in IRC One are vying for the class lead, and all of them are in action this weekend. Edward Broadway's British Ker 40 Hooligan VII leads the class for the season by just 5.8 points from Jack Pringle's British First 50 Avatar. Past RORC Commodore, Michael Greville, racing British Ker 39 Erivale III, and Giles Redpath's British Lombard IRC 46 Pata Negra, are both capable of taking the class lead for the season.
IRC Two, Nick & Suzi Jones British Beneteau 44.7 Lisa, skippered by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd, leads the class for the season, having scored consistently well over five races. Fournier & Migraine's French J/133 Pintia are likely to go to the top of the class with a good result in the Channel Race.
IRC 3 and IRC 4 working their way down the Western Solent in light summer breezes - photo Paul Wyeth
In IRC Three, four teams have emerged as favourites for the class title in the RORC Season's Points Championship. Rob Craigie's British Sun Fast 3600, Bellino, leads by 24 points from Tom Kneen's British JPK 1080, Sunrise. Delamare & Mordret's French JPK 1080, Dream Pearls, is in third place, but could move to the top of the leaderboard, with a good result from the Channel Race.
With 28 teams competing, IRC Four is the largest class in the Channel Race. Noel Racine's French JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew is leading the class for the season, just 10.2 points ahead of Robert Nelson's British J/105 Bigfoot. Chris Choules's British Sigma 38 With Alacrity, is third. Paul Kavanagh's Swan 44 Pomeroy Swan, will also be racing, fresh from their class win in the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race.
In IRC Two Handed, nineteen teams will be taking on the challenge. There are three British Sunfast 3600 at the top of the class, all vying for glory. Rob Craigie's Bellino leads by a big margin, but that is likely to be eroded after The Channel Race. Ian Hoddle's Game On, is currently in second place, and looking to discard a low score, and Ed Fishwick's Redshift Reloaded is third, with a race in hand. Last year's winner for the season, Robert Nelson's J/105 Bigfoot, needs a big result in the Channel Race to stay in touch with the leaders.
The first warning signal will be at 09:50 BST from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line. The best vantage points will be along Cowes Green and Egypt Esplanade on the Isle of Wight. Watch the race online with the fleet tracker. YB AIS tracking will again be used so you can see each boat's position along the course. View by class or select your favourites to follow friends and family, check out their boat speed and weather conditions in real time. http://yb.tl/channel2017