Teams from all over the world will be racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club this weekend in the RORC Channel Race, the 11th race of the RORC Season’s Points Championship, which precedes next month’s Rolex Fastnet Race.
Teams from as far away as Australia, China, and Russia, will compete with teams from all over Europe and Scandinavia. Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, a course of up to 160nm will be chosen by the RORC Race Management team. 80 teams are expected to be racing for the overall win, decided by the best corrected time under IRC, the rating rule administered by the RORC and the Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL).
12 teams will be racing in IRC Zero, the largest fleet for the big boat class since the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600. Three teams are likely to compete for Line Honours: VO65 Team Brunel raced by a mainly Finnish crew, led by Robert Staeuber (SUI) and Ysbrand Endt (NED). VO65 Ambersail II will be sailed by a predominantly Polish crew, but also include the combined talents of Brian Thompson (GBR), and Nicholas Lunven (FRA). Also, one of the favourites for Line Honours will be Maxi72 Sorcha, sailed by Peter Harrison (GBR) with Steve Hayles (GBR) navigating.
After IRC time correction, a multitude of teams have a proven track record including; Botin IRC 52 Tala – David Collins (GBR), Cookson 50 Kuka 3 – Franco Niggeler (SUI), Cookson 50 Riff Raff – Brian McMaster (AUS), NMYD 54 Teasing Machine – Eric de Turkheim (FRA), Ker 46 Lady Mariposa – Nigel King (GBR), and Ker 43 Baraka GP – Harmen de Graaf (NED)
Ker 40 Keronimo, HH42 Ino XXX, JPK 11.80 Sunrise, First 40 Lancelot II – RORC Channel Race – photo © Event Media
Class leader for the season, A13 Phosphorous II – Mark Emerson (GBR) will be in action, but five of the top teams in the class will not be racing. Several teams have the chance to climb up the leaderboard, including HH42 Ino XXX – James Neville (GBR), Ker 40 Keronimo – Lars & Birgitta Elfverson (SWE), J/112 Darkwood – Michael O’Donnell (IRL), and Corby 38 Double Edge – Chris Schram (NED).
The much travelled Lombard 46 Pata Negra will be sailed by a Chinese team for the Rolex Fastnet Race. XP-44 Xtra Staerk skippered by Arto Linnervuo (FIN) is back racing with the RORC with his Finnish crew. The Tall Ships Youth Trust has three entries, all with sail training crew. Cowes Race School’s Corby 45 Incisor – James Gair (GBR), and Ker 46 Tonnerre de Glen – Dominique Tian (FRA), will also be in action.
JPK 11.80 Sunrise – Tom Kneen (GBR), will be looking to extend their class lead for the RORC season. Sun Fast 3600 Tigris sailed Two-Handed by Gavin Howe (GBR) has an opportunity to improve on their impressive fifth in class for this season. Skylander – Yuri Fadeev (RUS) is the leading First 40 for the season, but hard on the Russian’s heels are Sailing Logic’s fleet of First 40s. Hoping to take the lead after the Channel Race will be Lancelot II – Jon Tyrrell (GBR) and Arthur Logic – Jim Bennet (GBR). Cowes based Performance Yacht Racing have two boats racing, Grand Soleil 43 Quokka 8 and J/120 Sunset, with the crews for next month’s Rolex Fastnet Race. J/122 Jolly Jellyfish will be sailed by the Seaventus Russian Offshore Racing Club, managed by Alexander Vodovatov.
Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, 1957 Laurent Giles sloop Cetewayo, Sigma 38 Sam, Class40 Manic – RORC Channel Race – photo © Event Media
The Sun Fast 3600s Black Sheep and Bellino will be continuing their battle for both class and overall supremacy in the 2019 RORC Season’s Points Championship. Black Sheep is skippered by Jake Carter (GBR) and owned by Trevor Middleton (GBR). Rob Craigie & Deb Fish race Bellino Two-Handed. A35 Eaujet – Richard Elliott (GBR), will be racing, hoping to make the class podium after the Channel Race. Top competition comes from Jean-Eudes Renier (FRA) and Jack Trigger (GBR), racing JPK 10.80 Shaitan Two-Handed. Admiral’s Cup winner, Erik van Vuuren (NED), will be racing Two-Handed with his W36 Hubo.
A flotilla of four J/109s will be in action in IRC Three, part of the fleet of 19 J/109s that will compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race. The Royal Armoured Corps and RAF will be in this weekend’s combat zone, as will JYS Jan with a young Maltese team led by Nikki Henderson (GBR). The Dutch duo, Joppe Schepers & Jasper Heikens, will be racing Two-Handed with Jomalija.
Nigel & Tim Goodhew (GBR) continue their Two-Handed campaign this weekend, racing Sun Fast 3200 Cora. The father and son team lead IRC Four, and are placed third overall for the season. For the Channel Race, Cora is one of a few light-weight flyers that will be taking on heavy-weight opposition including: the 1957 Laurent Giles sloop Cetewayo – David Murrin (GBR), S&S 41 Winsome – Harry Heijst (NED), Dehler 38 Longue Pierre – Cooper & England (GBR), Swan 36 Finola – Chris Frost (GBR) and Sir Francis Chichester’s famous 53ft ketch Gipsy Moth IV – Richard Chalmers (GBR).
Four Sigma 38s will be racing in IRC Four: Kindred Spirit – Christoffer Kobusch (GER), Rho – Sophie O’Neill (GBR), Sam will be skippered by Peter Hopps (GBR), and Machismo II, skippered by Tim Levett (GBR), will be crewed by the Olden family.
Seacart 30 Buzz – Ross Hobson (GBR) and Class40 Manic – Ian Hoddle (GBR), will both be competing under multihull and Class40 rules. Flyer winner of the 1977-78 Whitbread Round the World Race is also entered, skippered by Marc van Bemmel (NED).
The impressive RORC fleet will be divided into three starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes. The first start is scheduled for 0900 on Friday 27th July. The best vantage points will be along Cowes Green and Egypt Esplanade on the Isle of Wight. Follow the race online with YB AIS tracking showing each boat’s position and class ranking. yb.tl/channel2019
For more information about the RORC Season’s Points Championship, the world’s largest offshore racing series: rorc.org
by Louay Habib