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.
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 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):