A Day at the Races | Peta Stuart-Hunt has one last sweep through this year’s RTI Race entries
A Day at the Races | Peta Stuart-Hunt has one last sweep through this year’s RTI Race entries
Peta Stuart-Hunt has one last sweep through this year’s entries with six days to go and the final entry number standing at 1754
With just a few days to ‘the off’ at the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on Saturday 19th June, the excitement and anticipation is palpable! The lovely town of Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, is gleaming and colourful; the shop keepers and restaurants, bars and pubs are all gearing up to welcome the weekend crowds. Over at the Island Sailing Club (ISC), all is a sea of tranquility. This is the 79th year that the Round the Island Race has been run by the ISC and they’re ready for you!
In a last gallop over the final furlong before our very own Race Day that happens to coincide with the final day at Royal Ascot, I pose this question:
What trailerable, roomy and comfortable, 33ft long family sailboat can possibly take 4th over the line in a huge fleet of yachts, including many giants such as Bruno Peyron's maxi 120ft Cat 'Orange', Francis Joyon's 90ft Tri 'Idec', and Volvo 60 monohull racers?
Answer: It was Brian Haynes' Farrier F-33R Carbon Tiger II that did just that back in the June 2004 race, whilst also taking line honours in Class A Multihulls, and winning on handicap. There were 1,682 boats taking part that year, including 50 or so multihulls.
The Island Sailing Club’s Press Release described the start as follows: “The largest yacht race of its kind in the world got underway from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, in Cowes, promptly at 6am, with the start of the Grand Prix and MOCRA multihull classes. At Gurnard buoy Bruno Peyron's ‘OrangeII’ led with Francis Joyon in ‘Idec’ hot on his heels. Giving the maxicats a run for their money was Brian Haynes' Farrier F-33 which came screaming across the start line at full speed.” Carbon Tiger II was the leading boat for the first mile or so until 'Orange' and 'Idec' got wound up, and by the Needles (Western End of the Solent) Carbon Tiger II was holding 4th place overall having been caught by the Formula 40 'ProVu' (ex Toshiba Formula 40 Tri). Turning left into the open sea at the Needles took the boats into a strong tide on the nose and a 15-18knt SE breeze with 3-5 ft waves.
She went on to finish the 55-mile course rounding in 4hrs 52min being 4th over the line on the water, beaten only by three Grand Prix Class multihulls. The F-33 cruiser was faster than all the big monos, except one Open 60, and around two hours ahead of the first mono sport boat. On handicap, Carbon Tiger II took 1st place in Class A Multihulls and 2nd place overall behind 'IDEC'.
Well, she’s back on the start line again in 2010 with Brian Haynes, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, still in charge and still looking for that class win.
The aptly named 35ft A Day at the Races was designed by Peter Nicholson as a One Off for Sir Robin Aisher to allow him to compete under the old One Ton Rule. Built in 1966 by Camper & Nicholson, the boat’s original name was ‘Yeoman XIV’. She’s been owned and skippered by Barrie J. Martin from London since 2001.
Enjoying their first experience of the Round the Island Race are David and Nicky Bomby from Dartmouth together with their son Ross and friends Nicky and Nick. Hmmm, it could get a little confusing on board!
They are sailing the Bomby’s Dufour 35 Classic called Meyia and it just so happens that David and Nicky’s other son, Henry Bomby, is the young man who set out from Dartmouth on June 12 to undertake a solo anti-clockwise circumnavigation of the British Isles in his Contessa 26, The Seahorse. Henry, a relative youngster at age 19, is also a cracking J80 sailor who with the J80 Youth ‘Team Baltic’ has just come first out of 18 competing in the J Cup 2010. Ryan Gerrish, 21, competes with Henry on the J80 circuit and he and Henry will be flying out on the 20th June (the morning after the Round the Island race) to compete in the J80 Europeans in Lake Garda before Henry flies back to continue with the rest of his trip around Britain.
Going to extremes
Two more Extreme 40s have entered the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, bringing the total entered to four. Joining Mike Golding aboard Ecover Extreme 40, and Team Metherell (skippered by Nick Moloney) are Oman Sail, Masirah, skippered by Pete Cummings – this boat took Line Honours last year. Also competing is Oman Sail, The Wave, Muscat, skippered by Paul Campbell-James.
One overriding sentiment that has come across with so many of the entries is the sheer unadulterated enthusiasm of the owners for their boats and for this particular race. Owners, skippers and crew members say that more than anything, they want a race they can feel proud of at the end of the (sometimes very long) day. A Holman 26 is being skippered by Jane Gerber who restored True Love three years ago. The boat is named after Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby’s boat in ‘High Society’. This is the 3rd time the crew of three have entered, hoping to be third time lucky. She’s racing in the Classic Racing Yacht Group with 22 other boats.
Jane says: “I have been sailing all my life, cruising in the UK and abroad, but my first-ever race was also my first RTI three years ago.
“My crew consists of my long suffering other half Dominic Santana who has put too many hours into sanding and varnishing True Love to mention, and Anthony Spratt, the husband of a close friend who has done a lot of crewing in the past. The boys have got our sail changing down to a fine art whilst I try to steer in the right direction on the helm.
“We did our first RTI together three years ago when we came 10th in the class; last year we came 4th thanks to the Ryde Sands pile up; and this year we are trying to put all the knowledge we’ve gained and mistakes we’ve made along the way to good use to try and improve further. Third time lucky!
“As the smallest yacht in our class we have the advantage of a good handicap, but we're up against some incredible boats with amazing pedigrees and very experienced crews. However Kim Holman knew how to build competitive little racing yachts. We have a shallower keel so we’ll try to do him and True Love justice.”
A totally novice crew from Milford on Sea in Hampshire will race on the Beneteau 331 Dancing Queen. Owner Howard Ross will skipper the boat for the race and it’s his first time in this Race. Let’s hope they won’t be sending out an ‘SOS’ (another Abba song!).
Step In Time is owned by Tony Kiddle from Grimsby, a race regular who has competed for the last 14 years. His crew of Thomas, 24, and Matthew 19, have already completed the course 14 times (Thomas) and once (Matthew).
Disciples of the sea
In amongst the novice sailors there are also many who are very experienced and who are content spending long days and weeks at sea, having undertaken expeditions, round the world races or just been cruising overseas for months on end.
One such entry is another Holman design, Cracklin’ Rosie, an ISC-rated Twister sloop, a modern classic built in 1973 and skippered by 70-year old Trevor Clifton from Portsmouth who spent 34 years in the Royal Engineers. He’s an Ocean Yachtmaster/examiner and his three sons Luke, Matthew and John will enjoy the race with him. Trevor recently sailed singlehanded from the UK to Cape Horn and back.
Night Owl is a Prima 38 owned by Ed Hall, skippered by Julie Fawcett from Hamble and crewed by two round the world yachtswomen, Claire Bailey and Jenni Mundy.
A Custom Sloop owned by Andrew Bristow from Cornwall is Atlantis, a 1957 steel-built classic previously destined for the construction of German U Boats. Atlantis was recovered and re-built after storm damage incurred during Hurricane Iwa in Hawaii in 1982. Andrew is a veteran of the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World Race, and a little more recently the Expedition leader and skipper of the British Army Antarctic Expedition 2001-2.
Azzura is a Hunter Legend 33, the second hull out of the mould in 2004, and is owned and skippered by Colin Wood who has never sailed competitively before competing in this race. He began sailing on the Norfolk Broads as a Sea Scout. In addition to cruising South Coast waters he has also sailed in Hong Kong, the BVIs and the Mediterranean. His crew are co-owners John Cation and Andrew Jesman plus a friend, David Gamms.
The Redrup family from Seaview on the Isle of Wight have entered Succubus, a Westerly Conway. Ray Redrup is the owner of Graces Bakery in Cowes and his crew are his kids with ages ranging from 15 to 29 years old and they all work at the Bakery too. Ray has already circumnavigated the world twice and ‘we are about to go round again’ he says. I want to know who has to stay behind to turn out the loaf tins!
The Village People
Poco 2 is a Tripp 26 high performance sailboat designed by Bill Tripp in the USA. This specific boat was imported into the UK new in 1993 and won the Sportsboat class in Cowes Week 2007 with its previous owner. The boat has been refurbished by the very enterprising Keith Watts at a local farm in Yarkhill, Herefordshire, in preparation for her 2010 campaign. Keith is an experienced race skipper and twice took group line honours in the Round the Island Race in the 1990’s.
He developed the idea of training up a village crew whilst recovering from a spinal discectomy operation and he partly views this project as a challenging way of getting himself fit. The crew is drawn from two tiny Herefordshire hamlets in an aim to challenge the world’s sailing elite in the 2010 Race and also at Cowes Week.
Meanwhile, a Folkboat named Callisto is being raced by the 2010 World Moth Champion, Simon Payne, from the village of Emsworth in Hampshire. His crew, Marcus 12, Tristan 10, and RS200 and budding moth sailor Andrea Ralph are all new to the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.
Vixen, owned and skippered by Luke Yeates, is an International 15 Square Metre (sqm) competing in this year’s race as part of the yacht's preparation for the young crew's voyage to Sweden in July. Designed By Knud Reimers to the 15sqm class rules in 1936, Vixen was built by Oscar Sheiling at the Kungsors yard in Sweden and launched in 1937. The 21st century crew of three, all under 25, will race the 1000 miles from Cowes to Stockholm in a re-enactment of Uffa Fox's famous 1930 trip in the 22sqm ‘Vigilant’. Luke’s crew are Jack Gifford and Will Shepherd.
Shamm, a Minitonner One Off built in 1977, is racing for the first time after a three-year restoration project. Owner John Codner from Cheltenham Glos, has sailed for 40 years but this is the first boat he has ever owned. His crew are all gravel pit sailors from Gloucestershire.
Clive Rankin, a former Naval helicopter aircrewman and Falklands veteran, purchased Melody Blue in May 2009 from its original owners. Melody Blue had been ashore for many years in Rice and Coles yard, Burnham on Crouch and was in need of restoration. This was completed during the summer of 2009 and was sailed back to Portsmouth in the autumn. She has been sailed all winter and the icing on the cake is the Round the Island Race! Clive will be joined by Jason Rankin, an apprentice wooden boat builder, who previously sailed from Sydney to Fremantle in Alec Rose’s ‘Lively Lady’ and Vernon Huskisson ‘who fixes things’.
The Commodore of The Royal Ocean Racing Club, Andrew McIrvine, is skippering La Réponse, a Beneteau First 40 that has been enjoying some strong results so far this season with Peter Morton also on board.
The Swan 53 Lutine is owned by Lloyd’s Yacht Club and will be skippered by their Club’s Commodore Darren Powell. Looking at the club website I see that the yacht has a skipper plus they sell berths to 13 crew. Needless to say, they’re fully booked for the Race weekend.
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