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Swiss sailor, Oliver Heer will skipper Sailing Logic's First 40, Lancelot II, for the Morgan Cup Race © Paul Wyeth / RORC
Swiss sailor, Oliver Heer will skipper Sailing Logic's First 40, Lancelot II, for the Morgan Cup Race © Paul Wyeth / RORC

Morgan Cup Race

The 2017 RORC Season’s Points Championship continues this weekend with another big entry for the Morgan Cup Race from the Solent to Guernsey, Channel Islands. 120 yachts have entered the race, the second largest entry so far in the 2017 RORC Season’s Points Championship.

As with all RORC races starting from the Royal Squadron Line, the 125-mile race will require strategy at the start to negotiate the complex tidal streams and shifting winds of the Solent. After crossing the open waters of the English Channel, competitors must negotiate the Casquets, north of Alderney, followed by the rocky west coast of Guernsey and the Les Hanois Lighthouse on the exposed south western tip of the island. Approaching the finish competitors will experience some of the biggest and strongest tides in the Northern Hemisphere.

Last year’s winner of the Morgan Cup was Ker 39 Erivale III, skippered by former Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Mike Greville. Mike will be taking part in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, for the 18th time, racing Erivale III in IRC One.

“We will be racing to Guernsey with much the same crew as last year, friends and family, a mixture of youth and experience.” commented Mike Greville. “We have had a good start to the season and that consistency comes from having a boat which Is proven and which we know well. This year’s Morgan Cup looks like a windy affair, so quite different to last year and that will be good to experience for our build up to the Fastnet. I have many memorable moments of the Fastnet Race over the years but I think doing over 20kts on this Erivale in 2007, downwind in pitch dark crossing the Irish Sea is up there!”

In IRC Two, seven First 40s will be racing including five teams from Hamble based yacht racing school, Sailing Logic, that has won the RORC Sailing School Boat of the Year 11 times in the past 12 years. Swiss sailor, Oliver Heer will skipper Lancelot II for the Morgan Cup Race, which is currently third in IRC Two for the season.

Mike Greville's Ker 39, Erivale III, holder of the Morgan Cup Paul Wyeth / RORC

Mike Greville’s Ker 39, Erivale III, holder of the Morgan Cup Paul Wyeth / RORC

“I am sure we will enjoy a great battle with the other First 40s that are on the starting line, and we hope to be the first of them to make it to St. Peter Port.” commented Oliver Heer. “Racing against similar boats definitely helps us to push that little bit more. The crew have all sailed before but they are pretty much novices in terms of offshore racing. Our main focus is to defend the RORC School Boat Trophy and we have four months to train the crew and this weekend, we will also focus on defending our podium position in IRC Two. For me this is a very rewarding job, as I see how quickly the crew progress and develop their skills, and myself and my co-skipper keep coaching them to improve. Safety is the number one priority, we push hard but you have to balance that with keeping a crew safe and well.”

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

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