Start: Saturday May 13, 2017
Flexi-Course starting from Royal Yacht Squadron Line
The Royal Ocean Racing Club's offshore racing season continues this weekend with the 4th race of the RORC Season's Points Championship. Over 80 yachts are expected to take part with the vast majority of the crews made up of passionate Corinthian sailors with their own set of goals.
Designed to last 24-36 hours, the De Guingand Bowl Race starts and finishes in the Solent and is a flexi-course allowing the Royal Ocean Racing Club to design a bespoke course. "Without the constraint of finishing the race in a totally different location, we concentrate on the weather and tidal conditions to decide the course," explains RORC Racing Manager, Nick Elliott. "We try to get all of the fleet to finish the first beat in the same tidal vector, so as to avoid a tidal gate early in the race."
In IRC Zero, Daniel Hardy's Ker 46 Lady Mariposa is the fastest yacht rated under the IRC rating system. However, several yachts in IRC One could challenge Lady Mariposa for Line Honours including Alan Hannon's RP45 Katsu, Edward Broadway's Ker 40 Hooligan VII, and Tor McLaren's MAT 1180 Gallivanter.
In IRC Two, Richard Neocleous' Ocean 55 Julia returns after its debut in last season's championship. The crew come from Hertfordshire and 18 year old Louie Neocleous will skipper Julia as he did last year.
Richard Neocleous' Ocean 55 Julia returns after its debut in last season's championship
"2016 was a great opportunity to put the team together and we all learnt a huge amount throughout the season" commented Louie. "This year we are back to race much more competitively, we have a permanent race crew of 8. The remaining 6 crew are all friends, the boat's mate, Simon Jackson and I have crossed the Atlantic together and built a great relationship for the races. Last year, we were just beginners in terms of racing, our best result was 25th out of 86 boats in the Cervantes Trophy. This year, we hope to achieve better results on a consistent basis."
In IRC Three, Trevor Sainty and Simon Forbes Jalenko is one of many J/109s that will be racing with the RORC this season. The crew have been together for about ten years and did their first Rolex Fastnet with Jalenko in 2015. The De Guingand Bowl Race is part of the teams programme for another crack at the Rolex Fastnet.
"All amateurs and we are all friends, most of the time" smiled Trevor. "I am a veterinary surgeon working with horses, Simon works in the City, and the rest of the group are from the South of England and London, working in banking and IT. Our aim is to be top J/109 this season and improve our Fastnet finishing position by winning it of course. This will be my eighth consecutive Fastnet and last! - I said that last time."
In IRC Four Dave Cooper & Paul England will be racing their Dehler 38 Longue Pierre. This will be their first RORC race this season, as part of their 2017 RORC Season Points Championship campaign.
"2017 is the 10th anniversary of us having won the great bowl overall" commented Dave Cooper. This race will continue our rivalry with the Swan Xara. In 2016, we finished on equal points in JOG and the rivalry continues in both JOG and RORC this year. Longue Pierre is approaching her 30th birthday and has spent all of the last 30 years RORC racing."
The 2017 De Guingand Bowl Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes on Saturday 13th May.
The Lymington (UK) based Rating Office, headquarters of the world’s most popular rating system IRC, is to be managed by Dr Jason Smithwick. Following on from academia, roles in the research industry and sailing’s international federation Smithwick will take up his post at the head of a team of four full-time staff and several external consultants on 3rd July this year.
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
Mighty Maxis to Gutsy Two Handed Warriors
Over 500 yachts are taking part in the 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship. Over 5000 sailors from all over the world will race in the biggest offshore sailing competition in the world.
August's Rolex Fastnet Race remains on track for a record-sized fleet. Currently 390 boats are entered: 338 competing for the main IRC handicap prize; the remainder racing for their own trophies in the Class40, IMOCA 60, Volvo Ocean 65 and Multihull grand prix classes.
The 2017 Vice Admiral's Cup Notice of Race is now published. This event takes place from Friday 19th May - Sunday 21st May, and entries close Thursday 11th May 2017.
DOWNLOAD THE NOTICE OF RACE
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."
Close 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."
Jim 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."
Sir 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.
Victory 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."
IRC 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.
Sir Keith Mills and son Alex receive their prizes for Invictus' FAST40+ victory. © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
While Invictus Challenge remains top scoring boat at the RORC Easter Challenge, today the scoreline of Sir Keith Mills’ immaculately sailed FAST40+ was matched in IRC Two by La Réponse, skippered by Admiral of the RORC, Andrew McIrvine.
Day two of the RORC’s domestic season opener and training regatta, saw three races held on the central Solent, with a round the cans followed by two windward-leewards, due to the tidal state. As yesterday, conditions came good, starting in a chilly, overcast 7-8 knot northwesterly, finishing in brilliant sunshine and winds gusting to 20 knots.
Despite shifty conditions and the contrary tidal state across the race track, La Réponse and Invictus showed impressive consistency, both scoring 1-2-1.
For La Réponse today was a bounce back after rounding the wrong mark while leading yesterday’s opening race. "I have new crew and really good foredeck crew," explained McIrvine. "The boat handling was superb and we fiddled with the rigging a lot last weekend and the boat’s flying." Race three went particularly well, La Réponse’s tactical team calling the giant left hand shift correctly.
In IRC Two Ed Fishwick’s brand new Sun Fast 3600 Redshift Reloaded (the only boat to take a race off La Réponse) has nudged David Frank’s JPK 10.10 Strait Dealer off the top spot. Fishwick, who usually races a Figaro 2, has acquired the 3600 to sail doublehanded under IRC with former Match Racing National Champion turned solo offshore sailor, Nick Cherry.
Ed Fishwick's Redshift reloaded won today's second race in IRC Two © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
Redshift Reloaded pulled out a second in race one, despite a contretemps with the mainland. "We were cheating the tide off the North Shore and we hit because the instruments aren’t properly calibrated yet," admitted Fishwick. "It took us about a minute to refloat and we only lost by 12 seconds…"
In race two they nailed the pin end start perfectly, putting them into clear air for the remainder of the race. But in the final race Fishwick said they found the shifting breeze tough and they got mixed up with traffic from IRC One.
Steve Cowie's Zephyr was the only boat to claim a race of Sir Keith Mills' Invictus in the FAST 40+ class © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
In the FAST40+ class, the Scottish boat, Steve Cowie’s Zephyr, followed three last place finishes with victory in today’s second race, finally blemishing Invictus’ perfect scoreline. "It was about getting all the fundamentals right - we had a good start and we went the right way and there was a big difference between getting the tactics right and wrong," recounted tactician Ian Budgen. "There were big gains on the right side upwind where the tide had already turned and there was also more pressure and right shift. Every time we got to the right of somebody we made gains." On the second lap this tactic enabled Zephyr to overhaul Invictus to take the bullet.
"It was really nice for the crew because everyone was really frustrated yesterday," continued Budgen. In the final race Zephyr was over early but managed to recover to finish third. This again was due to the Scottish team positioned themselves correctly for the giant left hand shift. As Budgen observed: "The Solent is a weird place and a race isn’t over until you cross the finish line…"
Mike Greville and his beloved Ker 39, Erivale III, won today’s first race in IRC One and maintained her string of podium positions until the tricky final race. "We had a good start in the first race, but the last race was a bit funny because the wind was all over the shop and there were big shifts," summarised Greville, former Commodore of the RORC. Erivale III is looking in good shape with a fresh paintjob and with 100kg lopped off her bulb this winter.
Close racing in IRC Three © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
In IRC Three, top scoring boat of the day was Bullit, posting a 4-1-4 to leave Louise Morton’s all-female crew in fifth place overall, just 1.5 points astern of another Quarter Tonner, Bullet, steered by husband Peter. Among the pint-sized former IOR racers, Sam Laidlaw’s Aguila continues to lead IRC Three after another consistent day, 5.5 points ahead of Ian Braham’s MG346, MS Amlin Enigma.
Also on the ascent among the Quarter Tonners is Cobh Pirate, skippered by Ben Daly. In only his second season in this highly competitive class, Cobh Pirate won their first race (among the Quarter Tonners) yesterday and followed this up with another solid performance today, scoring 6-4-2. "We are comfortable up to 14 knots and today we were in the sweet spot for the boat," said Daly. They might have done better in the first race had they not got stuck in traffic with bigger boats. Their top result in the final race was once again due to choosing the favourable side of the course for the giant shift. "It was fun sailing in sunshine. All the Quarter Tonners finished within a few boat lengths of each other," concluded Daly.
The RORC Easter Challenge concludes tomorrow with three more races scheduled prior to the prizegiving where competitors will be appropriately rewarded with Easter eggs.
Head coach Jim Saltonstall shares his wisdom at tonight's post-race debrief © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
Peter Rutter and crew on board the Half Tonner Quokka 9 © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com
The RORC Easter Challenge, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's domestic season opener and coaching regatta, got off to an ideal start on the Solent today. Three races were held, the first of two windward-leewards off Lee-on-the Solent starting in a relatively benign 7 knot southwesterly. After gently easing the boats into the regatta, the breeze slowly built until it was gusting to 20+, which, combined with a lumpy wind-against-tide sea state, made for a challenging final round the cans race. This featured an America's Cup-style reaching start, eventually taking the 50 competing yachts back towards Cowes.
Star performer of the day was Sir Keith Mills' all-black Ker 40+ Invictus which scored three bullets in the five-strong FAST40+ class, racing within IRC One.
Sir Keith Mills came ashore buzzing: "It was lovely conditions - we got up to 16-17 knots downwind. It is always fun with a reaching start - some went for kites and we went for a Code Zero. 42° South overtook us right on the mark and we spent the race catching them up, which eventually we did. With these close races, and particularly in the FAST 40+ fleet, you can't afford to make a mistake because you get punished immediately. Crew handling is everything, but fortunately we have a great crew."
Britain’s premature summer looks set to continue into this weekend for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Easter Challenge, running on the Solent from Good Friday until Easter Sunday.
The RORC Easter Challenge traditionally doubles as the opener for the club’s domestic season and as a ‘coaching regatta’. Aiming to try and raise the calibre of racing in the UK, the RORC lays on expert coaching for free for the entire regatta. This comes from some of the world’s top coaches, including Jim Saltonstall, MBE, who has played a significant role in honing the skills of so many successful British Olympians. He is joined by professional coach Mason King, plus Eddie Warden Owen, CEO of the RORC - who, aside from being an accomplished sailor has coached America’s Cup crews including Team New Zealand and Desafio Espanol.
They are supplemented by nearly the entire posse from North Sails UK: Frank Gerber and Jeremy Smart will be in the North RIB, while the rest will be racing, but all will be available at the post-race debriefs that will take place daily at the RORC Cowes clubhouse. North Sails is also providing drone footage from the day’s racing which will be shown at the debriefs and the clubhouse bar.
According to North Sails’ Sam Richmond the format of the post-race debriefs will be modified this year: “The aim is to make it more of an informal panel discussion rather than a straight lecture, and to keep it shorter and interesting. Hopefully the footage will draw people in, as Jim always does and the aim is for everyone to learn something technical without feeling like they’re at school.”
North Sails will also offer overnight repairs via their North Sails Certified Service experts in their Cowes Yacht Haven loft.
Louise Morton's Coutts Quarter Ton Cup winner, Bullit will be racing in IRC Three at the RORC Easter Challenge starting on Good Friday © Paul Wyeth/ www.pwpictures.com
At present the line-up for the RORC Easter Challenge ranges from the Ker 46, Lady Mariposa, to a quintet of Quarter Tonners, including regular contenders, Sam Laidlaw on Aquila and Louise Morton’s Coutts Quarter Ton Cup winner, Bullit.
Stealing the limelight will be the five FAST40+ class yachts, including Sir Keith Mills’ Invictus. However nipping at their heels will be the two Mark Mills-designed MAT 1180s, Gallivanter and Christian Zugel’s Tschuss (one of two German competitors in Class 1, along with Soenke Bruhns’ M34, Hotspot).
Tor McLaren's MAT 1180s, Gallivanter competing in the Warsash Spring Series © Andrew Adams http://www.closehauledphotography.com/
Tor McLaren is campaigning Gallivanter and the RORC Easter Challenge will be the boat’s second regatta having only arrived from her Turkish builder a fortnight ago: “We are still very much in a sea trial stage - we have a few electronics and rig issues to sort out and we have got a lot of general tuning to do; getting to know the sails and how the boat performs, etc. The boat is going really well, she’s is over-delivering, but we have got a lot of work to do yet.” So, a regatta where free coaching is laid on, and particularly one with a large North Sails contingent available for advice, is most welcome at this early stage of Gallivanter’s development, being led by Andy Horrocks.
McLaren comes from a J/109 (Inspara), which he sold two years ago and a chartered First 40, Gallivanter. The program for the new Gallivanter will be a mix of inshore and offshore, including the Rolex Fastnet Race. Throughout, he has managed to keep together his young crew: “They are coming on brilliantly. It is going to be a steep learning curve, but it is a lot of fun. I have high hopes for us.”
David Franks' 2012 IRC National championship winning JPK 10.10, Strait Dealer © Paul Wyeth/www.pwpictures.com
Class 2 will comprise the 30-40 footers including a strong posse of First 40s, such as RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine’s La Réponse to David Franks’ 2012 IRC National championship winning JPK 10.10, Strait Dealer, via several J/109s and Tom Kneen’s JPK 10.80, Sunrise.
Racing in Class 3 are the Quarter Tonners as well as Harry J. Heijst’s S&S41 Winsome, plus the smaller J/Boats, including three J/97s. Also in the mix are a pair of Sigma 38s, one being the British Offshore Sailing School’s Rumour of BOSS, campaigned this season by Team Challenge Racing - a mixed youth crew aged 17 to 25, led by 18-year-old Charlie Ellis.
“We are using it as a shake down,” says Ellis of his first RORC Easter Challenge. “We are squaring up against some other boats, so we can learn as much as we can. We are going to make full use of the North guys as well. We want to learn as a team and work on our communication.”
18-year-old Charlie Ellis will lead a young crew on Team Challenge Racing - British Offshore Sailing School's Rumour of BOSS
To help crews in such situations, for the Easter Challenge the RORC uniquely relaxes RRS rule 41 'Outside Help'. This, for example, would permit Rumour of BOSS to ship on board one of the Easter Challenge coaches, even for just part of a race.
Team Challenge Racing has on offshore programme this season focusing on the Rolex Fastnet Race with a view to continuing on to do the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race in 2018.
Racing at the RORC Easter Challenge gets underway on Friday morning at 1055 with several practice starts.