Setting off from the Solent on 6 August in the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race will be three of the most prestigious classes in offshore racing.
Significantly it will be the first occasion the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race fleet of VO65 one design will line up on the race’s ‘Leg Zero’. This is the first occasion the VO65s will get to race against one another in anger, in the build up to the start of the race proper from Alicante on 22 October.
The line-up includes three teams which competed in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race: Team Brunel, second last time and again skippered by Bouwe Bekking; Dongfeng Race Team, third last time and fourth placed MAPFRE, the Spanish team hoping to make it fifth time lucky. In one designs, experience is everything, giving these teams the edge, yet crew from the last race have been distributed across all of the new teams too.
Read the full article on the Rolex Fastnet Race minisite
George David's American Canting Keel Maxi, Rambler 88 has won the 2017 RORC Channel Race, making it two wins in a row, having also won the RORC Cowes Dinard St Malo Race. Rambler 88 took Line Honours in the 160 nautical mile race, and after IRC time correction, was the overall winner out of 109 entries. Piet Vroon's Dutch Ker 51 Tonnerre 4, was second, and Pascal Loison's French JPK 10.10 Night and Day, was third racing Two Handed.
Rambler 88 Crew: George David, David Aisher, Silvio Arrivabene, Dean Barker, William Beavis, Scott Beavis, Josh Belsky, Curtis Blewett, Brad Butterworth, Andrew Cape, Rodney Daniel, Brian Giorgio, Mick Harvey, Nathan Hislop, Will McCarthy, Mark Newbrook, Dean Phipps, Stuart Wilson.
Rambler 88's Project Manager Mick Harvey, spoke about the win: “George (David) is really happy and so is the whole team. We wanted to race in good breeze, and we certainly got that in this race. It was a long leg down to the French coast, and we were fully powered up most of the time, on the leg back to the Isle of Wight, we were sitting at over 20 knots for most of the time, and on occasions, we were sending it faster. This has been a good build up to the Fastnet, which is the big event for us, but we are really enjoying the championship. The RORC race management is excellent, and that is important for the team, as we need to plan well in advance.”
In IRC One, Mark Emerson's British A13 Phosphorus II, was the class winner after a close battle with Jean Pierre Dreau's French Grand Soleil 50 Lady First², and James Neville's British HH42 INO XXX. After over 28 hours on the race course, and after IRC time correction, Phosphorus II was just over a minute ahead of Lady First², and less than four minutes ahead of INO XXX.
In IRC Two, Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster, scored an impressive victory against top opposition. Fournier & Migraine's French J/133 Pintia was second, and Nick and Suzi Jones' Beneteau First 44.7 Lisa, sailed by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd, was third. Pintia crossed the line five seconds behind of Lisa, but after IRC time correction, Pintia was second for the race.
“I fully appreciate why Lisa and Pintia are top teams in this year's championship” commented Ross Applebey. “They are really quick, and extremely well sailed. This was a wet and bumpy race, and it was full of snakes and ladders, and I would very much like to thank my crew for putting up with me and for their hard work. The tough moment in the race was watching the opposition accelerate downwind after the virtual mark, as we battled upwind and against the tide to round it. However, at Selsey Bill we could see boats making little headway inshore, and chose to stay in breeze offshore and it paid off, after a tough race, we managed to end it with a 'ladder' rather than a 'snake' to take the win.”
Delamare & Mordret's French JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls winner of IRC Three and now leads the class in the RORC Season Points Championship - photo Paul Wyeth
In IRC Three, Delamare & Mordret's French JPK 10.80 Dream Pearls, crossed the line just under four minutes ahead of Ian Hoddle's Two Handed team, racing British Sun Fast 3600 Game On. Richard Elliott's British A35 Eaujet, was third. Pascal Loison's JPK 10.10 Night and Day, was the winner of IRC Four. After IRC time correction, the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Champion, was over an hour ahead of Noel Racine's JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew. Jonathan Rolls' Swan 38 Xara was third.
In the Class40 Division, Peter Harding's Phor-ty narrowly beat Benoit Charon’s Normandie by just over 17 minutes following over 25 hours of duelling with each other.
The Channel Race is the eleventh race of the RORC Season's Points Championship. The 14 race series attracts an international and varied fleet. For the serious offshore sailor, trying to win the championship is a real challenge. The 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship continues with The Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Sunday 6th August.
Follow the RORC Channel Race on YB's AIS Tracking as the boats race from Cowes, around waypoints and marks in the English Channel, before finishing in the Eastern Solent.
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
While the Judel-Vrolijk 115 Nikata will be the largest yacht competing among the 350 or so yachts starting the Rolex Fastnet Race on Sunday 6 August, the battle for line honours glory looks set to be between two titans of the grand prix racing world.
The second ever IRC European Championship took place in the south of France over four days last week for an international fleet of 53 boats.
While last year the inaugural event was incorporated into Volvo Cork Week, this year’s IRC European Championship was a stand-alone affair, held off Marseille, the 2017 European Capital of Sport and the potential 2024 Olympic sailing venue, should Paris win its bid. It was run by the Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), in conjunction with the three Marseille clubs, Centre Nautique et Touristique du Lacydon (CNTL), Société Nautique de Marseille (SNM) and Union Nautique Marseillaise (UNM) – the first time they had organised a major international regatta together.
The Marseille 2017 IRC European Championship title was open to boats with an IRC TCC of 0.900 -1.400. In practice entries ranged from 31 footers to TP52s, with IRC, the rating rule of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and UNCL, creating a level playing field for all. Racing was held on windward-leewards and longer courses around Marseille’s off-lying Frioul islands in conditions ranging from light on the first two days, building over the weekend into the high teens.
In IRC Zero local favourites Team Vision Future beat the powerful international crew on Phoenix by just one point © Pierik Jeannoutot
IRC Zero for the fastest boats, featured four TP52s and the Italian Cookson 50, Endless Game, helmed by Spanish double Olympic medallist Luis Doreste Blanco. The longest boats were the Swan 601, Lorina 1895 and the Wally 60, Wallyño, which, despite the grand prix competition, led IRC Zero after day two.
However ultimately crowned 2017 IRC European Champion was one of the smallest boats: the JPK 10.10, Expresso 2 racing in IRC Four. Owner Guy Claeys regularly races shorthanded, but on this occasion Expresso 2 was sailed with a full crew including Olympic Soling sailor turned sailmaker, Sylvian Chtounder. Training, plus new sails for the event, contributed to the St Tropez-based team’s success and across the series they achieved a near perfect score line, discarding a second.
Guy Claeys and his crew on the JPK 10.10 Expresso 2 leads IRC Four to victory and to the overall IRC European Championship title © Pierik Jeannoutot
Dominique Tian's Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen won IRC One © Pierik Jeannoutot
But their championship victory was far from clear-cut. Expresso 2 prevailed thanks to being in the most popular class and three larger boats finished on similar points: Dominique Tian’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen, winner of IRC One; Pascal Fravalo’s A-40 Geranium Killer (featuring two time Olympic sailor Dimitri Deruelle) winner of IRC Two and Simon Henning’s Farr 36 Alice, which prevailed in IRC Three. With the exception of Alice, all this year’s winners have also been this season’s top performers on the UNCL’s Mediterranean IRC Championship.
The 1994 vintage Alice, originally owned by Vendée Globe skipper Mike Golding, was the sole British entry in this year’s IRC Europeans and impressively counted no points worse than a second.
“We had a really good week,” enthused Henning’s son, Mike. “We’ve all done a lot of sailing together, everyone on board sailed really well and we managed to get things right every day - going the right way, good crew work and good starts. In fact we didn’t have any bad situations at all.”
Simon Henning's Alice led the three Farr 36s in IRC Three © Pierik Jeannoutot
Surprisingly in IRC Three, the top three boats were all Farr 36s, Alice and Frantz Philippe's second-placed Farr 36 Absolutely, recent winner of the inshore racing at Rolex Giraglia Cup, both IRC-optimised by designer Mark Mills. They and Week End Millionaire all overcame race favourite, Gilles Pages’ Sun Fast 3600 Tip, present leader of the UNCL’s 2017 Mediterranean IRC Championship.
“It was good to see the Farr 36s going so well,” Henning continued. “I think we raised each other’s game – we were neck and neck and we extended on the fleet. Sub-10 knots they are extremely competitive, but we saw 22 knots and most racing was in 12 knots - the crossover where heavier boats start doing better.”
Henning said the event was well run both on the water and ashore with the host clubs taking turns to hold social functions. “It was really friendly - we were welcomed so well by the French and by the race committee and the competitors. But by the end they were joking that they didn’t want us back!”
In all four classes mentioned the winners were all stand-outs, none more so than Expresso 2 which won IRC Four on seven points to the Forestier family’s Elan 333 GTE Fioupelan in second on 28. This was not the case in IRC Zero, where after eight races, the top three finished within four points. Ultimately local favourites, Dr Jean-Jacques Chaubard’s TP52 Team Vision Futur won, a mere point ahead of Hasso Plattner and daughter Tina’s heavyweight crew on their newly acquired Phoenix.
Calling tactics on board Phoenix was America’s Cup winning helmsman Ed Baird, who observed: “This was the first IRC event I have ever done. It’s a long time since I’ve done any handicap racing. I thought that it was interesting with all the different sizes of boat - it changed the concept of getting around the course.” The 2014 generation Phoenix was the newest TP52 competing while the three other TP52s were all optimised for IRC. This didn’t seem to make much difference said Baird: “Generally we sailed to the rating: We rate the fastest boat and we were. If we used that strength correctly we could save our time and if we didn’t, we couldn’t.”
Philippe Serenon, a past UNCL President, who also sits on the IRC Policy Steering Group, competed on board Yves Grosjean’s J/133 Jivaro, finishing second in IRC Two. He commented: “This has been a really high level European Championship with plenty of world renowned sailors, but with amateur crews on most boats. That a variety of boats were rewarded shows that IRC is strong.” Serenon was especially impressed by the Farr 36s’ performance: “That is the beauty of IRC: If you take an old boat and have good sails and good people on board, you can be very competitive.”
The IRC European Championship is next scheduled to take place in Cowes in 2018, when it will also incorporate the RORC’s Commodores’ Cup. Serenon feels it has a great future: “The RORC and UNCL still have a lot of work to do to make people believe it is accessible to them. With a mix of very good sailing and enjoyable evenings on land with good friends - there is no reason why it shouldn’t continue to grow.”
Overall results by class (including discard)
1. Team Vision Future - Jean-Jacques Chaubard (FRA) - 18
2. Phoenix - Hasso Plattner (USA) - 19
3. Arobas2 - Gerard Logel (FRA) - 22
1. Tonnerre de Glen - Dominique Tian (FRA) - 7
2. Imagine - Jean-Claude André (FRA) - 16
3. Cippalippa Rossa - Paolo Guido Gamucci (ITA) - 17
1. Geranium Killer - Pascal Fravalo (FRA) - 8
2. Jivaro - Yves Grosjean (FRA) - 15
3. Adrenaline - Michel Gendron (FRA) - 15
1. Alice - Simon Henning (GB) - 8
2.Absolutely - Philippe Frantz (FRA) - 20
2.Week-end Millionnaire - Yves Ginoux (FRA) - 23
1. Expresso 2 - Guy Claeys (FRA) - 7
2. Fioupelan - Frédéric Forestier (FRA) - 28
3. Old Fox - Paolo Colangelo (ITA) - 28
George David's American Canting Keel Maxi, Rambler 88 has won the 2017 Cowes Dinard St Malo Race, and the King Edward VII Cup dating back to 1906. Rambler 88 took Line Honours in the 151 nautical mile race, and after IRC time correction, is the overall winner out of 176 entries. James Neville's British HH42 Ino XXX is second overall, and first in IRC One. Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by Rogier Van Overveld, is third overall.
George David has been a long time member and supporter of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, both in terms of racing with the RORC, and as Rear Commodore Overseas, improving relationships with overseas yacht clubs. Rambler 88 crew for the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race: Rodney Ardern, Silvio Arrivabene, Scott Beavis, Josh Belsky, Brad Butterworth, Andrew Cape, Simon Daubney, George David, Jan Dekker, Brian Giorgio, Nathan Hislop, Jerry Kirby, Will McCarthy, Mark Newbrook, Edward Warden Owen, Dean Phipps, Stuart Wilson.
“We are very happy to win such a prestigious trophy, and we are very excited about it, but we didn't run away with the win, when you are in a fleet of 176 boats, winning is never going to be easy. If you look at the margin in real time, it was less than 20 minutes in over 14 hours of racing.” commented George David.
“Except for the Fastnet, I have never done any of the English Channel races before, and it seemed like a good thing to do, as I have raced with the RORC for two Transatlantic Races and three Fastnets, and I have come to know current and past RORC Commodores very well, and the CEO Eddie Warden Owen; they are a delightful bunch of people.
We came to the UK hoping for stronger winds, but that has not materialised in the two races we have participated in. It has been sunny and nice sailing, you will not get a better day than yesterday to experience racing across the Channel. Near the finish, we had a beautiful sunset and a big moon rising on a clear night. The season is not yet over and the big one is the Fastnet. I have done two heavy air, and one lighter. So we will see what the 2017 race will have, it would be nice to get a good blow up to Ireland and back.”
Two Handed Class, which was won by Ian Hoddle's Sun Fast 3600 Game On. (RORC/Rick Tomlinson)
The Cowes Dinard St Malo Race is the ninth race of the RORC Season's Points Championship. The 14 race series attracts an international and varied fleet. For the serious offshore sailor, trying to win the Season's Points Championship is a real challenge. The defending champion, Nick & Suzi Jones' Beneteau First 44.7 Lisa, sailed by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd, leads the series for 2017. Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two Handed with Deb Fish is second, and Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine J/133 Pintia is third, less than a point ahead of Thomas Kneen's JPK 10.80 Sunrise.
Nicolas Gaumont-prat's Beneteau First 40.7 Philosophie IV was the winner of IRC Three. (RORC/Rick Tomlinson)
Congratulations to all of the class winners in the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race. Eric Gicquel's J/133 Black Jack had a victorious return to their home port of St Malo, winning IRC Two. Nicolas Gaumont-prat's Beneteau First 40.7 Philosophie IV was the winner of IRC Three, and in IRC Four, Paul Kavanagh's Swan 44 Pomeroy Swan scored an emphatic win in class and was placed fifth overall. 20 Yachts raced in the IRC Two Handed Class, which was won by Ian Hoddle's Sun Fast 3600 Game On. Eight Class40s entered the race. Marc Lepesqueux's Sensation scored an impressive victory and Simon Baker's Hissy Fit won the multihull class.
Paul Kavanagh's Swan 44 Pomeroy Swan scored an emphatic win in IRC Four. (RORC/Rick Tomlinson)
The 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship continues with The Channel Race on Saturday 22 July.
In excess of 1500 sailors, from all over the world, will be competing in the 2017 Cowes Dinard St Malo Race. The largest RORC fleet since the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race, comprising of 176 yachts will be taking part, with 164 racing under the IRC Rating Rule for the magnificent King Edward VII Cup. With a wind direction expected in the westerly quadrant, combined with midsummer air temperature, a glorious downwind race is the likely outcome.
Follow the RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race as the boats race from Cowes to St Malo via the Casquets an Guernsey on YB Tracking's AIS Tracking. The first start is at 1000 on Friday 7th July 2017 from the Royal Yacht Squadron.
With a near perfect scoreline, Giovanni Belgrano’s 1939 classic yacht Whooper was today crowned 2017 champion at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s IRC Nationals. Today, two windward-leeward races were held on the Solent in similar brisk southwesterlies to the first two days: This year’s event may not have been an ‘all-round test’ weather-wise, but has been extremely challenging in terms of preparation and boat handling.
During the event Whooper, a classic Laurent Giles sloop that was previously IRC National Champion in 2004, scored six bullets, a fourth and a discardable DNF in the final race.
“I am relieved we don’t have any more to do – three days of this is knackering!” admitted Belgrano, a leading marine structural engineer. In 20+ knots, Whooper, with her shoal draught/ centreboard configuration is tender, but benefits from a displacement around twice that of her competition. “The loads are much higher, because we have more water to push around, so we have to be very careful. It is stressful for everyone on board, but she loves it when it is strong wind against tide, like it’s been this weekend.”
Whooper is no rating demon. She is optimised with modern sails and Belgrano has an experienced crew who do 60-70 races/year.
Fast 40+ Pace: tired but happy with their success. Photo Paul Wyeth pwpictures.com
Elsewhere, the racing was extremely close. In the FAST 40+, Johnny Vincent’s Pace fended off charges from Peter Morton’s brand new Carkeek 40 Mk3, Girls on Film to win by a slender two points. Today Pace scored a 1-3 to Girls on Film’s 2-1.
“I think the boys were a bit tired, because it has been a bit full on, although there was not quite as much breeze as Friday,” said Vincent, who attributed much of their success to mods made to their Ker 40+. “Last year we had a lot of breakages so we made a lot of changes over the winter – keel, bowsprit and losing weight. They have made a massive difference. The boat feels like it wants to go.” Unlike last year, Pace is now also hitting the top of the FAST 40+ rating band. “The whole class has become massively close in competitiveness.”
IRC One concluded with a dog fight for the lead between the Ker 46 Lady Mariposa and Ker 40 Keronimo. The larger boat held a two point lead going into the final race in which they suffered a major blow, being over the start line early. At this point Keronimo chose to engage. Lady Mariposa skipper, Dan Hardy, observed: “They tried to hook us to stop us clearing the line. At that point we realised ‘this is on today!’” Their 20-year-old Helmsman Igor Yakunin added: “They had nothing less to lose. Their discard was a lot less than ours.”
Lady Mariposa had a battle on her hands to grab a tight win in Class One. Photo Paul Wyeth pwpictures.com
Finally they managed to shake Keronimo off and were able to get up to speed until they had to make a last minute change their lighter spinnaker, despite the wind building to above 20 knots. “We were praying that it would hold to the finish,” recalled Hardy. Ultimately finishing fourth to Keronimo’s second, left them tied on points, claiming IRC One on countback.
Thanks to their spate another boats claimed the bullet in the final race in the Dutch de Graaf family on board their chartered Marc Lombard IRC 46, Pata Negra. As de Graaf son Dirk observed: “We were just watching them match race and we thought ‘that might affect us...’ We just decided to stay fast and not make any stupid decisions and be quick.” The de Graafs’ crew, most from their Ker 40 Baraka GP, sailed well, making no mistakes with their hoists and drops, despite the brisk conditions.
Yes! loses no time in showing her Class Two speed in her debut regatta of the season. Photo Paul Wyeth pw.pictures.com
In IRC Two there was a leader change with Ed Fishwick’s Sun Fast 3600 Redshift Reloaded, leader all weekend, finally trounced by Adam Gosling’s JPK 1080+ Yes! who came very close to successfully defending their IRC Nationals title.
“We only got the boat out of the box for this regatta and that shows in our scoreline,” said Gosling, adding they had also optimised for lighter conditons. “We were all sweltering in London expecting light breeze. Then we come down here and it was blowing 25 knots.”
As to relinquishing the IRC National title to Whooper, Gosling said: “Giovanni sails really well. He’s campaigned Whooper for a long time. It is nice to see an old boat win.”
No ageism here: 1939 built Whooper carves through the breezy conditions c. Paul Wyeth pwpictures.com