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Sir Keith Mills' invincible FAST40+ Invictus. © Paul Wyeth / pwpictures.com http://www.pwpictures.com
Sir Keith Mills' invincible FAST40+ Invictus. © Paul Wyeth / pwpictures.com http://www.pwpictures.com

RORC Easter Challenge

Sailors at the RORC Easter Challenge left Cowes this Easter Sunday sunburned, full of chocolate and brimming with freshly acquired wisdom about their sport.

Across the 50 boat fleet competing at the RORC’s three day long domestic season opener, that doubles as its annual training regatta, it was close across most classes, but none more so than IRC One. In this, Mike Greville’s sparkling Ker 39, Erivale III managed to lose her three point lead in today’s opening round the cans race and the victor was only decided on the final, head down, charge for the finish line in race two.

Ultimately Roger Bowden’s King 40, Nifty (ex-Tokoloshe 1), claimed first overall, two points ahead of Erivale with another King 40, Cobra, another point behind. As Nifty’s skipper Sam Cox recounted: ‘Coming into the finish (of race 2), Zero pipped us and we had Erivale III and Zero II stacked up right behind us. All weekend we’ve been having really good boat-on-boat racing between us – it was fantastic.’

Three races were scheduled today, but the wind dropped as the new breeze attempted to settle towards the end of the first race, causing the course to be shortened for IRC Two and Three. With the wind shifting dramatically, it took three attempts to get what was to be the second and final race underway.

Within IRC One, there was a match race between the two Mark Mills-designed MAT 1180s. Tor McLaren’s two week old Gallivanter got its first taste of glory, winning today’s opening race, however sistership, Christian Zugel’s Tschuss, finished seven points ahead overall.

Tokoloshe leads the FAST 40+ fleet at the RORC Easter Challenge but star performer throughout the regatta was Sir Keith Mills' Invictus © Paul Wyeth / pwpictures.com http://www.pwpictures.com

Tokoloshe leads the FAST 40+ fleet at the RORC Easter Challenge but star performer throughout the regatta was Sir Keith Mills’ Invictus © Paul Wyeth / pwpictures.com http://www.pwpictures.com

McLaren appreciated the coaching laid on by the RORC, spearheaded by Jim Saltonstall and Eddie Warden Owen and supplemented by North Sails UK staff: ‘We were very happy with the way we performed. We were together upwind – which we weren’t on day one. The groove is very narrow and main and runners have to be trimmed in sync. The crew work at the front is really good and our tactics were great.’

Star performer throughout the regatta was Sir Keith Mills’ Invictus in the FAST 40+ class, racing within IRC One. With a one – three today, the black Ker 40+ won the regatta by a mighty 11 points. However it was not easy and all five of the FAST 40+ had their moments with Tony Dickin’s Jubilee looking particularly strong today, leading the opening stages of race two, which was eventually won by Mark Rijkse’s 42° South.

‘The first race was tough,’ recounted Mills. ‘We were third at the first mark, but managed to climb back and get a comfortable win. Then, in the second race, we didn’t get the greatest start but we kept our place all the way round and we had a photo finish – 42° South got it, but there was half a boat length between three boats, which made it really interesting.’

In IRC Two, a late charge from RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine on La Réponse was enough to get his First 40 onto the podium but not enough to make an impression on the race for the lead between David Franks’ JPK 10.10 Strait Dealer and Redshift Reloaded, the Sun Fast 3600 belonging to Ed Fishwick.

While La Réponse claimed today’s first race and Strait Dealer the second, Redshift Reloaded posted a 2-3 to win overall by three points from Franks’ yacht. ‘The first race was tricky,’ recounted Nick Cherry, with whom Fishwick will be racing doublehanded for the remainder of the season. ‘It went light and at one point we were looking pretty bad and La Réponse ditched us. In the last race, we only had to finish five points behind Strait Dealer, although we were worried we were OCS. Also there were some big shifts, but they were reasonably predictable.’

For the Redshift crew, winning on this the boat’s first major competitive outing is a big achievement: ‘We are very pleased,’ summarised Cherry. ‘The boat was going quick. The crew did well and it was nice tight racing.’

Fishwick praised the RORC Race Committee: ‘It is a well organised regatta and they did a really good job.’

Jim Saltonstall offers his expert advice. Crews appreciated the coaching laid on by the RORC and the team at North Sails UK © Paul Wyeth / pwpictures.com http://www.pwpictures.com

Jim Saltonstall offers his expert advice. Crews appreciated the coaching laid on by the RORC and the team at North Sails UK © Paul Wyeth / pwpictures.com http://www.pwpictures.com

Aside from Invictus, the most consistent performance was from Sam Laidlaw’s Quarter Tonner, Aguila. The RORC Easter Challenge defending champion today put in a race win and a 2.5, to reclaim IRC Three by 7.5 points from Ian Braham’s MG 346, MS Amlin Enigma.

‘It was fantastic conditions – it couldn’t have more different to last year when it was very windy,’ said Laidlaw. ‘This year it was light and puffy and quite difficult. Today was challenging with the wind up and down and in the second race we had a good ding-dong with Bullet – they sail really well. It has been close racing all weekend.’

The regatta wound up with a prizegiving at the RORC’s Cowes clubhouse where the winners left laden with trophies and Easter eggs.

2017 RORC Easter Challenge

Fast 40+

Series Place Sail No Boat Type of Boat Owner Handicap Series Points Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Race 8
1 GBR1851X Invictus Ker 40+ Sir Keith Mills 1.269 11 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 3
2 GBR1682R Tokoloshe II Gp 42 Michael Bartholomew 1.262 22 2 2 3 3 3 2 2 5
3 GBR1542R 42° South GP 42 Mark Rijkse 1.264 26 5 4 2 2 4 4 4 1
4 SUI19 Jubilee Gp 42 Tony Dickin 1.261 29 3 3 4 4 5 5 3 2
5 GBR4242C Zephyr Gp 42 Steve Cowie 1.264 32 4 5 5 5 1 3 5 4

IRC One

Series Place Sail No Boat Type of Boat Owner Handicap Series Points Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Race 8
1 GBR5940R Nifty King 40 Roger Bowden 1.116 27 1 6 4 2 5 1 5 3
2 GBR236R Erivale III Ker 39 Michael Greville 1.116 29 2 3 2 1 2 6 9 4
3 GBR8888N Cobra King 40 Stephen Beckett 1.117 30 4 2 6 4 3 2 4 5
4 USA61180 Tschuss Mat 1180 Christian Zugel 1.187 33 7 7 1 5 1 5 6 1
5 GBR6255N Lady Mariposa Ker 46 Daniel Hardy 1.296 38 5 1 10 3 7 3 3 6
6 GBR1180X Gallivanter Mat 1180 Tor McLaren 1.196 40 8 4 3 8 4 4 1 8
7 IRL39000 Zero II Mills 39 Cowes Race School 1.114 41 3 5 10 6 6 7 2 2
8 GBR759R Eclectic Azuree 46 Colin Campbell 1.131 60 6 8 5 7 10 10 7 7
9 GER11 Hotspot M34 Soenke Bruhns 1.138 67 9 9 7 9 8 8 8 9

IRC Two

Series Place Sail No Boat Type of Boat Owner Handicap Series Points Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Race 8
1 GBR419 Redshift Reloaded Sun Fast 3600 Ed Fishwick 1.052 19 1 2 5 2 1 3 2 3
2 GBR1250N Strait Dealer JPK 10.10 David Franks 1.014 22 2 1 1 4 3 4 6 1
3 GBR42N La Réponse First 40 Andrew McIrvine 1.080 32 14 3 6 1 2 1 1 4
4 GBR3213L Dusty P First 40 Richard Patrick 1.076 33.5 3.5 4 2 5 4 5 4 6
5 GBR1111X Jitterbug J/111 Cornel Riklin 1.095 40 16 5 4 3 5 2 3 2
6 GBR888X Sunrise JPK 10.80 Thomas Kneen 1.046 53 5 6 7 6 6 8 10 5
7 GBR979R Malice HOD 35 Mike Moxley 1.022 62.5 3.5 8 8 7 7 6 13 10
8 GBR8611R Kestrel J/111 Simon Bamford 1.099 73 6 14 11 8 8 9 8 9
9 FRA76 Pegasus Farr 30 Malcolm Wootton 1.047 73 9 7 9 9 14 11 7 7
10 GBR011 Pandemonium Farr 280 Jamie Rankin 1.093 80 11 10 10 12 13 7 5 12
11 GBR8541R Jolly Jack Tar J/109 RNSA 1.011 87 7 11 16 11 10 10 14 8
12 GBR2688R Jenga J 88 Mark Richmond 1.031 96 8 9 3 10 9 19 19 19
13 GBR7005R Trojan J/109 REYC Offshore Racing 1.010 102 13 12 14 13 11 13 12 14
14 GBR9235R Mad Max Max Fun 35 Andy Williams 1.083 103 10 19 12 14 12 12 11 13
15 GBR8809R Mojo Risin’ J/109 J/109 Racing Limited 1.009 110 12 15 15 15 19 14 9 11
16 GBR3234L Rocket Dog II First 40 Sailing Logic 1.068 117 15 13 13 16 15 15 15 15
17 GBR007 Miss U 8mr Ian Smyth 1.098 152 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19
17 GBR4013R Sailplane First 40 Rob Bottomley 1.083 152 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19

IRC Three

Series Place Sail No Boat Type of Boat Owner Handicap Series Points Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Race 8
1 GBR8414R Aguila Quarter Tonner Sam Laidlaw 0.906 19.5 4 1 1 3 2 5 1 2.5
2 GBR4365T MS Amlin Enigma Mg 346 Ian Braham 0.950 27 1 2.5 4 2 6 6 3 2.5
3 FRA7891 Bullit Quarter Ton Louise Morton 0.910 29 8 4 5 4 1 4 2 1
4 NED118 Winsome S&S 41 Harry J. Heijst 0.987 36 2 7 3 5 3 3 8 5
5 ESP3090 Bullet Quarter Ton Oliver Ophaus 0.911 48.5 6 2.5 2 8 5 1 5 19
6 GBR8185 Quokka 9 Half Tonner Peter Rutter 0.951 58 9 6 6 9 7 8 6 7
7 IRL1392 Cobh Pirate Quarter Ton Ben Daly 0.910 68 3 5 10 6 4 2 19 19
8 GBR8274 MacHismo II Sigma 38 Tim Levett 0.982 73 11 14 9 1 11 11 12 4
9 GBR3965R Jumblesail 2 J 97 1.92 Rachel & Robert Hunt 0.975 78 7 10 19 7 10 12 7 6
10 GBR97L Jaywalker J/97 Robert Baker 0.976 81 10 8 19 13 9 10 4 8
11 GBR7557 Innuendo 1/4 Tonner Julian Metherell 0.911 84 5 9 7 10 8 7 19 19
12 GBR9202R Nightjar J/92 Richard Searle 0.975 88 14 11 8 11 13 13 9 9
13 GBR2097R Jackaroo J/97 Robert Orr 0.959 90.5 12 13 12 12 12 9 10.5 10
14 GBR137 Jackal J70 Simon Spraggs 0.966 99.5 13 12 11 14 14 14 10.5 11
15 GBR3200N All Or Nothing Sun Fast 3200 1.90 Chris Blackburn 0.995 121 15 16 14 16 17 17 13 13
16 GBR7 Ilex of Upnor X 332 REYC 0.965 123 17 15 13 18 15 16 15 14
17 GBR6687T Skywave Elan 333 Royal Signals Yacht Club 0.963 133 18 17 15 17 18 15 14 19
18 GBR8351 Rumour Of Boss Sigma 38 Peter Ellis 0.982 135 16 19 19 15 16 19 19 12

by James Boyd

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