Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with UNCL, Yacht Club de Dinard, Société Nautique de la Baie de St. Malo, Junior Offshore Group (JOG) and the Royal Yacht Squadron.
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.
“It is one of my favourite races.” commented RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine, who will racing La Reponse, one of 12 Beneteau First 40s taking part. “Over the years I have been part of winning crews for both class and overall. Part of the enjoyment is that it is often very tactical, and with a light wind forecast with big spring tides, this year strategic decisions will be very important as well. As a qualifier for the Rolex Fastnet Race, the race is very popular this year, but it stands alone, it is one of the oldest races in the RORC calendar and St Malo is a wonderful destination.”
George David’s American Maxi Rambler 88 will be racing with one eye on the clock hoping to better the race record set by Mike Slade’s Leopard 3 in 2015 (11 hours 57 minutes and 53 seconds). Rambler 88 is one of ten yachts competing in a highly competitive IRC Zero Class, including the current leader for the season, Derek Saunders CM60 Venomous. Two Ker 46s are set for a close duel, Daniel Hardy’s Lady Mariposa, class winner in the 2017 IRC National Championship, and the overall winner of the 2017 North Sea Race, Van Uden, skippered by Rogier Van Overveld. Class winner for the 2016 RORC Transatlantic Race, Maverick is one of the most radical entries, equipped will DSS side foils.
James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX, will be hoping to emulate their overall win in the 2017 Myth of Malham. Whilst Edward Broadway’s Ker 40 Hooligan VII, and Giles Redpath’s Lombard IRC 46 Pata Negra, have the opportunity to take the class lead for the season. Lloyd’s Yacht Club’s X-55 Lutine, skippered by Gavin Stanley, is the largest yacht in the class and will be hoping for reaching conditions to suit their water-line length. Jacques Pelletier’s L’Ange De Milon returns to defend their class win in the race last year.
Nick and Suzi Jones’s First 44.7 Lisa, skippered by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd, lead the class for the season, and won the Morgan Cup overall in their last race. However, Gilles Fournier’s J/133 Pintia is within striking distance of overtaking Lisa, for both the class and overall lead for the RORC Season’s Points Championship. Pintia also won IRC Two in last year’s St Malo Race. A dozen Beneteau First 40s will enjoy a terrific battle to St Malo, including Sailing Logic’s Lancelot II, skippered by Oliver Heer and RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine, racing La Reponse. Francois and Corentin Lognone’s MC34 Nutmeg Solidaire En Peloton, and Eric Gicquel’s J/133 Blackjack, have the added incentive of racing to their home port.
44 yachts are entered, with the vast majority running asymmetric spinnakers, ideal for the predicted reaching conditions. The majority of the 22 Two-Handed teams will be racing in IRC Three including Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, which leads the class for the season. Bellino faces stiff opposition from fully crewed teams, including three well sailed JPK 1080s. Delamare and Mordret’s Dream Pearls will be racing to their home port, Marc Alperovitch’s Timeline won class in the St Malo Race last year, and Thomas Kneen’s Sunrise, which has placed no worse than sixth in her last four races.
With 51 entries IRC Four will form an impressive line up as the first to start on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line. The largest class racing to St Malo includes Noel Racine’s JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew; class leader for the season and defending class champion for the St Malo Race. Robert Nelson’s J/105 Bigfoot, and Chris Choules Sigma 38 With Alacrity, will be racing and have been in impressive form this season. With Alacrity will be one of six Sigma 38s in the race. Four teams will have the added incentive of racing to their home port; Jean Pierre Briand’s J/97 Jj L’Amorosso, Boheme 33 Tomline, skippered by Denis Hauser, Marc Noel’s Norlin 37 China Girl, and Jacques Minet Symphonie Gwez-gwern.
The 176 yacht fleet will be divided into four starts, with the first warning signal 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.
The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Season’s Points Championship consists of a testing series of races which attracts an international and varied fleet. For the serious offshore sailor, trying to win the Season’s Points Championship is a real challenge. The Season’s Points Championship this year includes the tactically and physically challenging Rolex Fastnet Race, one of the oldest and most prestigious offshore yacht races in the world.
by Louay Habib