Sunrise wins wild Cowes Dinard St Malo Race

Sunrise wins wild Cowes Dinard St Malo Race © Paul Wyeth/RORC
Sunrise wins wild Cowes Dinard St Malo Race © Paul Wyeth/RORC

2024 Cowes Dinard St Malo Race

Start: Friday 5th July                

Course : Cowes-Casquets-Les Hanois-St Malo. Approx: 151 miles

JPK 1180 Sunrise III © Paul Wyeth/RORC

Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise III has been declared the overall winner of the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race, having scored the best corrected time under the IRC Rating Rule. Sunrise III also took Monohull Line Honours and the win in IRC One. Thierry Roger’s Newick 39 trimaran Blackcap took Multihull Line Honours.

Newick 39 Blackcap © Paul Wyeth/RORC

Congratulations to all of the teams that finished racing for the IRC Double Handed European Championship. The podium for the first race of the championship was all Sun Fast 3300s. Second overall and winner of IRC Two Handed and IRC Two was Simon Tom’s Zephyr, sailed by Josh Dawson and Ollie Hill. Second in IRC Two-Handed was Ian Hoddle’s Game On, racing with Ollie Wyatt. Winner of IRC Three and third in IRC Two-Handed was Nick Angel’s Rock Lobster III, raced double handed by the youth duo of Zeb Fellows and Willow Bland. A special report will follow with full details.

Sun Fast 3300 Zephyr © Paul Wyeth/RORC

Clipper Events’ CV3 Adventurous, skippered by Jake Carter was the winner of IRC Zero. Will & Jenny Taylor-Jones’ S&S 39 Sunstone was the winner in IRC Four.

Full Results Link

The Cowes Dinard St Malo Race is one of the oldest in the RORC calendar dating back to 1929. However, with close to 100 sailors in the race under 25 years old, the growing trend of youth participation in RORC Races was very evident. None more so than the overall winning crew under IRC. Tom Kneen’s Sunrise team has an average age of under 27 with four women among the nine sailors on board. This was the first race for Sunrise for some time, having raced extensively overseas including the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the RORC Caribbean 600.

“For the St Malo Race, this crew had never sailed together as a unit before, but I was lucky that a core of four had raced in the past and know the boat really well. We were a bit rusty; we missed the magic of consistency across the team. Before the race, the forecast was showing a full gale at The Needles, but actually the boat took it all in her stride. We hardly did anything wrong on the beat, maybe we tacked south too early, if I am being honest, but the beat upwind in 25 knots went really well. Once we got around The Casquets, it was a reach and the boat is an absolute weapon! Top speed was 24 knots with a Br0, jib, a staysail and a reef in the main. We had 35 miles to the finish in conditions where the boat is at its very best.”

Sunrise III with an average age under 27 © Paul Wyeth/RORC

Sunrise III crew: Tom Kneen, Angus Gray-Stephens, George Kennedy, Isabella Drewitt, James Oxenham, Lydia Barber, Rebecca Coles, Rebecca Gmuer, Ruaridh Wright. (Four women, crew average age under 27).

Tom Kneen has been racing at a high level offshore for ten years and is just 39, his crew are all in their 20s. Tom explains why, and how, a young crew works.

“I still consider myself a young owner but the old man in me says I sail with a youthful team to keep me young; I enjoy their company, their banter. My crew is focused, ambitious and interesting. They are all remarkable individuals that are mature for their age, they all have a goal they want to do or a career they want to pursue. Sunrise is a cool boat and a cool team; we attract really talented sailors which gives our young crew great opportunities.”

“It’s amazing and very emotional for me as it is the last offshore race on a boat that has changed my life and many of the Sunrise gang,” commented Tom Kneen, winner of the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race. “The adventures we have has with this boat have been incredible, and in many ways it’s a sad moment to move on but everything comes to an end. The boat is for sale but we will race her inshore this summer. Most teams are kept together by the next big project and Sunrise’s next big goal is The Admiral’s Cup in 2025 with a new custom-designed JPK 1180.”

Sun Fast 30 OD Griffin 007 © Paul Wyeth/RORC

The 2024 RORC Griffin Youth Project continued in the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race with two Sun Fast 30 ODs chartered by RORC, crewed by the Griffin Squad. In all there were four Sun Fast 30 ODs in the race. Cap Sela skippered by Matt Beecher was the one design winner completing the race in just over 24 hours.

RORC Griffin Youth Teams Upwind © Paul Wyeth/RORC

“It was a tough beat to The Channel Islands and we had gone a bit further west than the competition and we were third as we cracked sheets for the reach towards St Malo,” commented Matt Beecher.  “The team hoisted the Code Zero and we had great boat speed. We were flying along and passed the other Sun Fast 30s. It was a great way to finish what will be our last race as a team, for this year at least. We will be celebrating in St Malo!”

The RORC Cowes Dinard St Malo Race awards a plethora of prestigious prizes to IRC Classes, MOCRA Multihulls and special awards. The overall winner under IRC receives the King Edward VII Challenge Cup, originally donated by His Majesty in 1906. Once at the finish, competitors enjoy the party atmosphere of Bastille Day as celebrations begin in the historic walled city, culminating in a superb firework display.

The Cowes Dinard St Malo Race is the 11th race of the RORC Season’s Points Championship, the world’s largest offshore racing series.

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