Organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with the Royal Yacht Squadron.
The 2023 RORC Season’s Points Championship, the world’s largest offshore racing series, comes to a grand finale on 01 September with the Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race, which is also the first race of the IRC Double-Handed Nationals. Teams from France, Great Britain, Ireland, and Poland will be racing.
“It is a privilege for us to sponsor the Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race; it represents another great component of our developing partnership with the Royal Ocean Racing Club,” commented Howard Davies Co-Founder Salcombe Distilling Co. “This event is a great follow on from the launch of our special edition RORC ‘Start Point – Offshore Strength’ gin earlier this year from which every bottle sold contributes towards ocean recovery projects with the Marine Conservation Society supporting our shared desire with RORC to support our seas. It has also been very pleasing to see just how popular the ‘Offshore Strength’ gin has been amongst the yachting community – especially after an energetic race on the water!”
The Salcombe Gin Bar at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse – photo © Salcombe Distilling Co.
Once weather forecasts have been analysed, the RORC Race Team will set a course for the Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race. Spectators can watch the start from Cowes Parade. “Over the last 12 months, 500 different boats have raced with the RORC, providing great racing for a huge variety of sailors,” commented RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole. “The Race Team is just as keen to deliver the same high standard for the final race of the RORC Season’s Points Championship. The Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race is also the first race of the IRC Double-Handed Nationals with the final race of the championship starting from Cowes on the 9th of September.”
RORC fleet in the Solent © Paul Wyeth / RORC
Three boats are favourites for Line Honours in the Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race, Ross Hobson’s Open 50 Pegasus of Northumberland, and two Class40s: Bridge Sailing’s Rock’n’roll and Renaud Corbin’s The 3 Bros (FRA). In IRC One, two well-campaigned First 40s will be racing, Susan Glenny’s Olympia’s Tigress and Richard Powell’s Rogan Josh. Ian Griffith’s Dehler 30 Black Betty will also be in action.
Richard Powell’s First 40 Rogan Josh – photo © ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi
Most of the 17 Double-Handed championship contenders will be racing in IRC Two and Three. Fully crewed entries include the IRC Two season leader Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster, overall winner of the RORC Channel Race. Two Sun Fast 3600 will be in action fully crewed, the Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Will Naylor, and Trevor Middleton’s Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep. Overseas entries include three JPK 1030s; Noel Racine’s Foggy Dew (FRA), Astrid de Vin’s Il Corvo (NED), and Andrzej Rozycki’s Pneuma (POL). Gavin Doyle’s Corby 25 Duff Lite (IRL) is the smallest boat in the race and two classic designs are racing; Gavin Howe’s Channel 32 Wavetrain and Gareth Penn’s Contessa 32 Jemima of Farley.
The Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race is the first encounter in the IRC Double-Handed Nationals, the final race to decide the National Champions will start on 09 September.
Noel Racine’s JPK 1030 Foggy Dew – photo © Rick Tomlinson / RORC
Defending champion, Mike Yates’ J/109 JAGO will be racing once again with Will Holland. The leader of the RORC 2023 Series in IRC Two-Handed and IRC Three, Sun Fast 3200 Cora, will be raced by Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews. Father and daughter team Jim and Ellie Driver will be racing Sun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper, hoping for championship victory and to seal the final double-handed podium spot for the season. Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3200 Bellino will be racing with RORC Rear Commodore Deb Fish. Bellino was runner up for the 2022 IRC Double Handed Nationals and is back this year, hoping not only to win the Nationals, but also to claim overall victory for the 2023 RORC Season’s Championship, the world’s largest offshore racing series.
Sun Fast 3600s Fujitsu British Soldier and Black Sheep Rick – photo © Rick Tomlinson / RORC
The Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race is supported by the Salcombe Distilling Co., who in partnership with the Royal Ocean Racing Club, has developed RORC ‘Start Point – Offshore Strength’ gin. The RORC Cowes Clubhouse will be open to all competitors and their families over the weekend with pre-race activities, followed on Saturday 02 September with the Season Prize-Giving BBQ. Prizes include RORC ‘Start Point – Offshore Strength’ gin and live music from party band Vote Pedro.
Mike Yates’ J/109 JAGO – photo © Paul Wyeth / RORC
“The Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race is now a firm date in my calendar as it will have been for many others,” continued Howard Davies Co-Founder Salcombe Distilling Co. “We expect some great sailing and also for what will no doubt be sought after social events including the prize-giving afterwards. These gatherings provide a chance to catch up with so many highly respected sailors from the sport we love, whilst enjoying an ‘Offshore & Tonic’ also I’m sure – I’m very much looking forward to it.”
For more information about the Royal Ocean Racing Club: www.rorc.org
Tim Goodhew’s Sun Fast 3200 Cora – photo © Paul Wyeth / RORC
Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino – photo © Paul Wyeth / RORC
by Louay Habib / RORC