Powerful thunderstorms, driving rain and wind speeds ranging from thirty knots to complete shutdowns provided epic conditions for the 256-mile RORC Myth of Malham Race.
James Neville’s FAST40+ Ino XXX won the gruelling marathon, correcting out under IRC to take the overall win in the 140 boat fleet. Artur Skrzyszowski’s Polish Reichel Pugh 48 Selma Racing was second and Windward Sailing’s CM 60 Venomous, skippered by Derek Saunders was third.
“Since we started racing in the FAST40+ Class, we are now miles apart from where we began as a team.” commented Ino XXX skipper, James Neville. “We have also made significant changes to the boat, which has really increased the rating quite a bit but also the performance. We thought that if we could bring the FAST40+ experience into the offshores, we could use that and it would pay off, and we are delighted. To be honest a lot of this race was upwind, and downwind is really our thing.” RORC Chief Executive, Eddie Warden Owen asked James Neville if Ino XXX could win the Rolex Fastnet? “I’d love to; we will give it a go; it is our main aim for the season. We will be racing to St. Malo and in the Channel Race to finish our qualification.”
The RORC fleet was a spectacular sight in the Solent, as they started a memorable race around the Eddystone Lighthouse and back around the Isle of Wight to the finish. George David’s American Maxi Rambler 88 finished the course in just over 29 hours, however the smaller yachts endured over three days to complete the course.
Rambler 88 returned to RORC racing in IRC Zero, to take line honours in the Myth of Malham Race, nearly nine hours ahead of any competitor and take pole position in IRC Zero for the season. However, Venomous was the winner of IRC Zero for the Myth of Malham Race, much to the delight of skipper, Derek Saunders: “Looking at the forecast before the race, we were expecting 25 knots downwind to Eddystone then a 180 degree wind shift to return downwind back to the Solent. The reality was we had 25 knots on the nose and driving rain from the start and after rounding Eddystone, a beat home in more driving rain, and we got becalmed twice. On the plus side, mother nature put on a firework display for us as we floated over the line, and it was all worthwhile in the end. This was a hard race, we have now tested every jib on board at least twice! The crew worked hard, this was great training to ready the team for the Rolex Fastnet”.
The closest contest in the 140 boat fleet was played out in IRC Three, Rob Craigie’s Sunfast 3600 Bellino, racing Two Handed with co-skipper Deb Fish, was the winner by less than nine minutes after IRC time correction from Delamare and Mordret’s JPK 1080 Dream Pearls. Ed Fishwick’s Sunfast 3600 Redshift Reloaded, also racing Two Handed, was third. The class win lifts Bellino to the top of the overall rankings for the RORC Season’s Points Championship, by just 0.6 of a point from Foggy Dew.
“The forecasts were all wrong for the whole race.” commented Bellino’s Rob Craigie. “Co-skipper Deb Fish is very good at the weather and she guessed more right than wrong. In the big picture, we stayed away from land and followed the wind shifts, which served us well. We were impressed with Redshift, who had great height and speed upwind. I would like someone to show me how to do that.” When Rob found out that he was just 0.6 ahead of Foggy Dew for the Overall RORC Season’s Points Championship, he commented. “I know Noel (Racine) very well, we had a beer in the RORC Clubhouse the night before the start. We have raced against each other for years and he has often beaten us hollow, so I am delighted to be just ahead of a fabulous sailor”.
A clutch of well sailed Class40 will be taking part in the Myth of Malham, including Harvard Mabire Campagne de France racing with Miranda Merron and Ronan de Kersauzon.
In the Class40 Division, Peter Harding’s Phor-ty sailed by Pip Hare, scored an emphatic win by nearly 15 hours. However there was a titanic battle for second between Campagne de France, designed and skippered by Halvard Mabire, and the latest Owen Clarke designed Class40, Henrik Bergesen’s Hydra, sailed by Tristan Kinloch. Hydra took second by just over five minutes after over two days and nights of attrition.
In IRC One, Ino XXX and Selma Racing were joined on the podium by Jack Pringle’s First 50 Avatar, which claimed third for the Myth of Malham Race. Windward Sailing’s Corby 45 Incisor of Wight, skippered by James Gair was fifth, enough to put the Isle of Wight team top of IRC One for the season.
In IRC Two, Fournier and Migraine’s J/133 Pintia enjoyed another close battle with Nick and Suzi Jones’ First 44.7 Lisa, sailed by RORC Commodore Michael Boyd. Pintia won the class with Lisa second and Patrick Ponchelet’s X-40 Exception was third. Pintia may have won this battle but Lisa is still winning the war, as leading boat for IRC Two for the season.
In IRC Four, Chris and Vanessa Choules took a well-earned victory, just under ten minutes ahead of Noel Racine’s JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew. Stuart Greenfield’s Half Tonner Silver Shamrock, racing Two Handed, gritted out a third place in IRC Four after racing for nearly 65 hours. Foggy Dew remain at the top of IRC Four for the season.
After an epic Myth of Malham Race, the 2017 RORC Season’s Points Championship, hardly pauses for breath, with the 181-mile North Sea Race starting today, Tuesday 30 May, from Harwich bound for Scheveningen, Holland.
by Louay Habib