The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), organisers of the Rolex Fastnet Race, announced at a press conference today that the City of Cherbourg will host the finish of the Rolex Fastnet Race for the 2021 and 2023 editions of the biennial race. The move encourages and secures the future development of the race and will open it to more competitors; in 2019 the race had a waiting list of 150 boats.
The 6th edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race got underway on time with the fleet starting from outside Marina Lanzarote at 1100 UTC on Saturday 23 November, 2019. After months of preparation, the international fleet have started one of the most iconic offshore races with a stiff breeze gusting up to 25 knots.
After the start, the fleet passed a turning mark at Puerto Calero Marina before leaving Fuerteventura and Tenerife to port and then heading out into the Atlantic Ocean. The first 125nm of the course are both strategic and tactical, with land effects providing both snakes and ladders. The fleet are expected to experience gusty conditions for the first 24 hours, with rain squalls varying both the wind speed and direction.
"15-20 knots from north-northwest was a little more than forecast with squally conditions giving even more breeze," commented RORC Race Officer Steve Cole. "The reaching start was without incident and it was great to see the fleet make good headway at the beginning of this long race. Childhood 1 was just 10 seconds shy of the line at the gun, and Pata Negra and Dark Shadow also got away well."
French Wally 100 Dark Shadow - an impressive sight at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race © Joaquin Vera/Calero Marinas/RORC
The fast reaching start was ideal for Childhood 1, skippered by Bouwe Bekking. The Swedish VO65 was the first yacht to the mark off Puerto Calero Marina and once clear of the wind shadow of the surrounding hills, they hoisted their A3, blasting through La Bocayna, the strait between Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Childhood 1 is expected to round Tenerife later tonight. French Wally 100 Dark Shadow, skippered by Yerin Hobson, was just three miles astern. Giles Redpath's British Lombard 46 Pata Negra got off to a good start. Skippered by Andy Lis with a young crew, the team were seven miles behind Dark Shadow, the largest yacht in the fleet.
Swiss 47.7 Kali, skippered by Benedikt Clauberg is competing in the RORC Transatlantic Race for the second year in succession. "We have new sails and an experienced crew this year, with six teams members having obtained their Yachtmaster Offshore qualification. Our dual aims are to be safe and fast, and with that in mind we have three modes on board: race, safe and survival - I hope we don't have to go into survival mode but we are prepared for it all the same, including a full man overboard test on the eve of the race," explained Clauberg.
Andy Lis and his young crew on Giles Redpath's Pata Negra © Joaquin Vera/Calero Marinas/RORC
Second RORC Transat for Swiss 47.7 Kali, skippered by Benedikt Clauberg © Joaquin Vera/Calero Marinas/RORC
Richard Palmer's British JPK 10.10 Jangada is also taking part in their second RORC Transatlantic Race. Richard is once again racing two handed, this time with Jeremy Waitt, who contacted the RORC Race Team shortly after the start:
"A nice breeze gave us a tight reach and we just made the turning mark of Puerto Calero without having to tack. A good squall came in on the turning mark so we got pretty wet. It cleared quick, however, as we came around the southerly tip, we got hit hard by another larger squall reaching 25 knots of wind speed. It was a good spanking - a nice and early reminder who is boss out here! We reefed and ended up on main only for 15 minutes. We are now in blue water sailing mode, 80º off the breeze in 18 knots. It looks like a few more squalls are on the way and we have 120 miles to go to Tenerife, or as we say, twice across the English Channel!"
Richard Palmer and Jeremy Waitt racing Two Handed on JPK 10.10 Jangada at the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race © Joaquin Vera/Calero Marinas/RORC
José Juan Calero, CEO of Calero Marinas, accompanied by RORC Commodore Steven Anderson and RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen watched as the fleet set off. RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone, with RORC Race Officer Steve Cole officiated on the Committee Boat.
More than 5,000 sailors from around the world, racing in a dazzling variety of 570 yachts, took part in the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship. The world's largest offshore racing series comprised 14 testing races and every race had its own coveted prize for the overall winner and for IRC class honours. The 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship destinations included the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Grenada, and the Spanish island of Lanzarote. There were six European destinations: France, Great Britain, Belgium, Ireland, Malta, and The Netherlands.
The 2019 Royal Ocean Racing Club Annual Dinner and Prize-Giving was held on 16 November in the Grand Connaught Rooms, London, with 250 guests attending the spectacular black tie event. Prize winners, competitors, crews, RORC members and guests celebrated the year's achievements with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
A champagne reception was followed by dinner and the prize-giving. Dating back to 1775, the historic Grand Connaught Rooms, with its grand Georgian architecture and art-deco interiors, has hosted some of the world's leading politicians, royalty and celebrities. There was a huge ovation for the overall winner of the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship, Black Sheep, and for the RORC Yacht of the Year, Wizard.
2019 RORC Season's Points Championship Overall Winner: Black Sheep, Sun Fast 3600, Trevor Middleton
Winning the Jazz Trophy for first overall in IRC was Trevor Middleton's Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep, skippered by Jake Carter. The team collected five more awards: Jacob Carter was awarded the Keith Ludlow Trophy for the Navigator on the yacht that is First in IRC Overall, and the Duncan Munro Kerr Youth Challenge Trophy. Black Sheep also won the Grenade Goblet for first in IRC Three, the Serendip Trophy for Best Series Produced Yacht, and the Alan Paul Trophy for Consistent High Performance.
Black Sheep was crewed by friends who met during the Clipper Round the World Race and their debut race for the RORC season was the RORC Transatlantic Race. Black Sheep was the smallest yacht in the race, taking just under 17 days, and, after IRC time correction, was second overall. During the season, Black Sheep's main rival for IRC Three, and for the overall season win, was another British Sun Fast 3600, Bellino. Bellino was raced doublehanded by Rob Craigie and Deb Fish. Bellino beat Black Sheep by one place in the Rolex Fastnet Race, to set up a winner-takes-all final encounter in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Black Sheep won the duel, winning the 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship overall and IRC Three by a small margin; just 2.2 points.
"We set out to win the Championship, but it was not until halfway through the season that you realise how big a commitment it is," commented Trevor Middleton. "Black Sheep has done close to 10,000 miles of racing and deliveries. The team come from the Clipper Race and this has been a fantastic, yet different experience. Whilst the RORC races are shorter, the Clipper experience made us stronger for the longer races. A big thank you to the RORC, their organisation is excellent, their entry system and race procedures are second to none. Also, when you get to places like Lanzarote, Grenada and Antigua, the shoreside logistics and parties are so very well done."
The 2019 RORC Yacht of the Year winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy: Wizard, Volvo Open 70, David & Peter Askew
The 2019 RORC Yacht of the Year, winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy was Peter and David Askew's Volvo Open 70 Wizard, which is the first American yacht to win the accolade for over 20 years. Wizard's overall win in the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Rolex Fastnet Race in the same season is unprecedented. This double victory has never been achieved before by any other yacht.
"The Fastnet Challenge Cup is now at the New York Yacht Club - being able to display the Cup at the NYYC is really special. At the NYYC annual awards last weekend we got a chance to study the inscribed names of the previous winners. It was an "oh my" moment to see the name Wizard in close proximity to names like "Imp" and "Tenacious", boats of immense historical importance," commented David and Peter Askew. "When Peter and I were young boys we idolized these boats and the sailors that crewed them and dreamed of having our own success someday. We think a real measure of success is to earn the recognition of your peers. To be recognized by a group of peers on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean is a true honour! To be awarded the Somerset Memorial Trophy is something we will always be very proud of.
"Peter and I have always operated on the principle to have the best tool possible for the job. That being said, everything else counts too, plus a little luck. We had the perfect storm of all of the above. We set out to win the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series and we felt the VO 70 would be the best platform. Charlie Enright, Mark Towill, Will Oxley and the rest of the guys did the real work. All said and done, we think our success is proof that our process works.
"We are disappointed to not be able to personally accept the Somerset Memorial Trophy. Peter has foot surgery some days prior and I must remain in the States to receive an award from my local Yacht Club (Annapolis Yacht Club) that same night. We will have a crew member, Roy Disney, in attendance to accept on behalf of the entire Wizard team."
After the prize-giving, guests partied until the early hours with a live set from Brando, courtesy of RORC partner Sevenstar Yacht Transport. Fastnet Marine Insurance also supported the event, as they have done for the last 11 years, along with William Grant & Sons Distillers and Ocean Safety.
RORC Race Results for the 2019 season can be found on the Results page. The 21st edition of the RORC Season's Points Championship will start on 23 November 2019 with the RORC Transatlantic Race.
Also winning: Keith Ludlow Trophy for the Navigator on the yacht that is First in IRC Overall: Duncan Munro Kerr Youth Challenge Trophy - Jacob Carter from Black Sheep, 1st in IRC Three winning the Grenade Goblet, Serendip Trophy for Best Series Produced Yacht, Alan Paul Trophy for Consistent High Performance.
The 2019 Yacht of the Year winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy: Wizard, Volvo Open 70, David & Peter Askew
2019 Class winners:
Multihull (26 boats):
Class40 (29 boats):
IRC Zero (65 boats):
IRC One (124 boats):
IRC Two (97 boats):
IRC Three (147 boats):
IRC Four (141 boats):
The 2020 IRC European Championship will be held at Cork Week as part of the unique celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club. The 5th edition of the IRC European Championship will take place over five days of racing from Monday 13th July to Friday 17th July 2020. The championship is expected to attract a record fleet of highly competitive IRC rated boats vying for the overall win and class honours.
Jolly Roger Take Etchells Nationals Title. photo: Sportography.tv
The Etchells British Open and National Champion for 2019 is Jolly Roger sailed by Tom Abery, Bruno van Dyke, Matt Reid, Dom Mortimer and Quentin bes Green. The 2019 Corinthian National Champion is Audrey sailed by Jon Warwick, Will Bedford, Adele Young and Will Heritage, who have all come through the Cowes Etchells Youth Programme. The first youth team at the championship was the Royal Dart YC team of Miles Jones, Fraser Woodley and James Homes.
Jolly Roger: L-R Quentin bes Green, Bruno van Dyke, Tom Abery. photo: Louay Habib
“Racing in the Cowes Etchells fleet is pretty tough and very challenging. We never thought we would win it until we crossed the line in the last race. Thank you to all of the teams and see you next year!” commented Tom Abery. “That was a big weight of our shoulders, we have been trying to win this for nine years.” commented helm Bruno van Dyke. “Sometimes thing just go your way - the stars aligned.”
Strait Dealer in action Graham Bailey, Harry Blowers, Phoebe Connellan and Graham Sunderland photo: Sportography.tv
On the first day (Friday 01 November) the fleet sailed in 15-20 knots of breeze from the southwest, with gusty conditions testing boat handling skills. After three races Ante Razmilovic's Swedish Blue was a point ahead of Strait Dealer, helmed by Graham Sunderland. Jolly Roger was third. Swedish Blue got two great starts and showed impressive downwind speed to win the opening two encounters. Rob Goddard's Rocketman nailed the pin end to win the start of Race 3, but the race was won by Jolly Roger.
Swedish Blue in action Graeme Spence, Andrew Mills, Ante Razmilovic photo: Sportography.tv
The second day of racing (Saturday 02 November) was a non-starter as a 50-knot front blasted into the Solent. The race committee, led by PRO Paul Jackson, called off racing for the day at 08:00 allowing the Cowes Etchells Fleet the opportunity to watch the Rugby World Cup Final. The Royal Ocean Racing Club provided a Full English Breakfast for an eager crowd, the fayre was more enjoyable than the result, especially if you were English!
Three races were held in a variety of conditions on the final day (Sunday 03 November). Race 4 was a light airs affair with a northerly gradient at the start. Kim Ridge's Colin was over eager at the pin end and having been called OCS restarted some way behind the fleet. However Colin, with Dog Palfrey on tactics, spotted a big lefty and recovered from their premature start to win Race 4. The penultimate race was held in building conditions with a big wind shift after the first lap. The race committee spotted the shift and changed the course axis to accommodate the 30 degree wind shift. As the breeze swung to the west, Jolly Roger came to the fore scoring their second bullet of the championship.
Close starting at the pin end photo: Sportography.tv
After a General Recall, Race 6 got away under the U-Flag. Three teams fell foul and were disqualified including Swedish Blue, effectively taking away any chance of victory in the championship. Jolly Roger showed impressive speed to take the gun and seal overall victory. Shaun Frohlich's Exabyte 7 won a close battle for second just pipping Strait Dealer to the line.
The Prize Giving was held at the Cowes Yacht Haven with Rob Goddard as master of ceremonies and Julia Bailey awarding the prizes for the 2019 Etchells British Open and National Championship. The ceremony included the announcement of the winner for the eight regatta series Champion of Champions, which was Rob Goddard's Rocketman. The Etchells Ice Bucket was won by Jon Warwick's Audrey.
Full Results: https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=6262
The conventional wisdom says the sailing season in the Northeastern United States ends with the Labor Day holiday, celebrated the first Monday in September. But the locals will tell you that September and October are the best months of the year in Rhode Island and ideal for top-level sailing.
The sixth edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race is set to feature a huge variety of yachts racing across the Atlantic Ocean with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
Multihulls have competed in every edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 and for the first time in the history of the race, the 2020 edition is set to feature three equally matched 70ft carbon flyers. Argo, Maserati and PowerPlay have all confirmed their intention to be on the start line in Antigua for the 12th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's RORC Caribbean 600.
The 600-mile course around 11 islands twists and turns with virtually no down time on any leg. Factor in the Caribbean conditions, ocean swell, tropical temperatures, and stunning vistas, and the RORC Caribbean 600 is hard to resist - it's the Monaco for offshore racing multihulls.
Last year, the multihull battle made headline news even before the race. Forty eight hours before the start, MOD70 Argo capsized in training. Argo miraculously made the start line and 30 hours of explosive action followed. Multi70 Maserati took line honours just 7 minutes ahead of Argo and set a new race record of 30 hours and 49 minutes. Giovanni Soldini's Maserati, Peter Cunningham's PowerPlay and Jason Carroll's Argo are set for a showdown in the 2020 RORC Caribbean 600 starting on Monday 24th February.
"We will leave Hawaii about the 25th September, sail to Hong Kong for the race to Vietnam and then we will go to Cape Town to race to Rio, and after that we will come to the Caribbean. It is a long trip - the Pacific, Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, about 20,000 miles," confirmed Giovanni Soldini. "It will be great to have all three boats racing in the '600; the level of the teams is very high, Maserati won the '600, Argo won the Transpac and PowerPlay won the race from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Nobody knows who will win when we come together, it's really a lot of fun and with three boats the racing is more complex," concludes Soldini.
We have continued to modify Argo, especially the foils," reports Argo Program Manager Chad Corning. "There has been so much development in foils for multihulls over the last few years. We are adding T-rudders and new float foils this autumn. Argo will not be fully-foiling but will 'skim' more effectively and pitch less. That's the theory, now we have to test it on the water. We are delighted to hear that PowerPlay and Maserati will be in Antigua, it should be a great race."
"I have done the RORC Caribbean 600 in several monohulls but the appeal in racing the MOD70 PowerPlay is that I always thought it would be nice to finish first," smiled Peter Cunningham. "It's a fast race on PowerPlay but because the legs are quite short you need a couple of extra crew for those manoeuvres. It's great to see the islands, it is exceptionally warm for February racing in the Caribbean and we have good competition. Speeding along at 25,30 even 40 knots is a real thrill. Maserati is fully foiling and we have updated our foils but not gone for T-Foils. Although the boats are not exactly the same, it ends up with very even racing - it's been nip and tuck between us and I am really looking forward to the battle."
Such is the appeal of the RORC Caribbean 600 that a record number of boats are expected to be on the Fort Charlotte start line in Antigua on 24th February 2020. To date, over 20 boats from around the world have secured their place, doubling entries in previous years by this date, in order to confirm their participation in the 12th edition of this epic race.
‘Hubo’ the W36 Worlds Edition sailed by Erik van Vuuren is the Double Handed National Champion for 2019.