Strong line up for Red Funnell
RORC offers a complete cross section of racing throughout the season and many competitors see the Red Funnel Easter Challenge as the opportunity to identify areas they need to tune up in order to have a successful year.
The changeable weather at this time of the year means a range of differing conditions throughout the weekend, as international tactical weather specialist Mike Broughton explains: “This Easter the Solent will be experiencing a really mixed bag of wind directions. On Friday there will be a weak occluded front south of Cowes. Skies will be overcast with a fair chance of rain and there should be light westerly winds of 8-12 knots.
Saturday should see a change in wind direction to easterlies, but this could change massively if a low pressure system over the Cherbourg Peninsular moves even slightly. Forecast wind speed will be less than 10 knots.
Sunday sees the low pressure system move off to the north east, roughly over Hamburg, with the wind moving to the north west and more of a gusty nature. The predicted wind speed will be in the 9-14 knot range and a weak front may arrive from the north west by the afternoon which could bring some showers.
In general, the competitors at the Red Funnel Easter Challenge should experience milder conditions than of late, with pleasant air temperatures but be warned, the sea temperature is still very cold at this time of year.”
In Class Super Zero there is a mouth-watering battle looming between three yachts of fifty feet or more: Panthera is a second generation carbon fibre Transpac 52 and among the crew is America’s Cup and Round the World sailor, Guy Barron. Panthera has been undergoing an extensive refit on the Isle of Wight by Anthony Haines of Alpha Plus who commented: “We are really excited about her first event. The owner Benny Kelly will be helming her for the Red Funnel Easter Challenge. He has chartered some high performance yachts in the past but it is great for the sport to have a new owner coming onto the scene.”
However Panthera will have stiff opposition, especially from Ger O’Rourke’s canting keel Cookson 50 Chieftain. She won her Class in the 2005 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race and their plans for the season include the SevenStar Round Britain and Ireland Race. Also Kit Hobday’s Farr 52 Bear of Britain will be pushing hard on the course and is never easily overcome.
In IRM five Farr 45s are racing including Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte 4 which currently leads the Raymarine Warsash Big Boat Spring Series; Creative Play the Farr 40 makes six boats racing under IRM.
Also well campaigned yachts such as Nick Lutte’s DK46 Shockwave and RORC Commodore David Aisher’s Yeoman of Hamble will be racing around tight Solent courses over three days. There are also three new boats racing at Easter - Denise and Conor Phelan’s Ker 37 Jump Juice; John Shepherd’s Ker 46 Fair Do’s VII and Mike Greville’s Ker 39 Erivale III.
Approximately 20 boats will be racing in IRC 1 which should make for some very busy start lines and will no doubt feature in Jim Saltonstall’s video debriefing. There are four Prima 38s and three Beneteau 40.7s who will without doubt be mixing it up at mark roundings. But this Class is a real cocktail of designs, ranging from the well campaigned Mumm 30 Asterix, owned by Louis Browne, to John Dean’s Swan 461 Lowly Worm enjoying their second season in the Solent. Edward Broadway’s Max Fun 35 Hooligan V is competing as well as two yachts brand new this year - Ian MacLean will be racing his Ker 36 Software Mistress with a crew consisting of work colleagues and pro-sailors of the ilk of Mike Broughton and top match racing yachtsman Ian Williams and Philip Wood’s Grand Soleil 43 Simply the Best is straight out of the bubble-wrap.
In IRC 2 about half of the fleet will be J/109s, including Andrew Allen’s No Naked Flames. The unusual name is due to the crews affiliation with the gas industry and they were also sporting some very amusing T-shirts last year! Full of fun this crew may be but they are also in line for a Rolex Commodores’ Cup spot for Ireland. The class will also be complimented by a range of other popular cruiser racers including three HOD 35s including veteran campaigner Peter Schofield’s Zarafa.
Peter Rutter’s Elan 37 Quokka and Jim McGregor’s Elan 40 Flair IV will add another chapter to their on-going duel and Chris and Anna Neve will be racing No Doubt, a First 34.7 which is a Rolex Commodores’ Cup trialist.
The strength of IRC racing is exemplified by a huge variety of boats racing this Easter, from new high performance yachts to traditionally built boats and the competition will be just as hard in IRC 3. An interesting duel will be between Robin Holland’s Corafin and John Cowden’s Fresh Herring, both are Contessa 32s, a design that has been racing since 1971 and still extremely popular.
The Red Funnel Easter Challenge is set to be a fascinating event with some really eye catching new boats and a wide spectrum of yachts. The entries have eclipsed those of last year and something approaching 800 people will be competing at the event based in Cowes.
The stage is set for a great start to a busy year of RORC racing. To all competitors and spectators a very happy Easter from the Royal Ocean Racing Club!
|GBR745R||Werewolf||IRM||A||1.23||E||Jerry Otter||Farr 45|
|GBR98R||Creative Play||X||A||0.00||H2O Yachting||Farr 40|
|GBR1445R||Audacious||X||A||0.00||Jon Pegg||Farr 45|
|GBR8448R||Rebel||X||A||1.24||E||David Franks||Farr 45|
|GBR5955T||John Merricks||X||A||1.23||E||Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme||Farr 45|
|Exabyte 4||X||A||Shaun Frohlich||Farr 45|
|GBR521R||Bear of Britain||SZ||C||1.32||E||18||Kit Hobday||Farr 52|
|GBR3935R||Hooligan V||1||C||1.10||E||9||Edward Broadway||Max Fun 35|
|GBR2740R||Mankie||1||C||1.09||E||12||Jack Pringle||IMX 40|
|GBR4639R||Lowly Worm||1||C||1.09||E||15||John Dean||Swan 461|
|GBR1381R||Mostly Harmless||1||C||1.08||E||10||Tom Hayhoe||Prima|
|GBR6510N||Serendip||1||C||1.08||E||10||Paul King||Prima 38|
|GBR9863||In X Celsis||1||C||1.07||E||12||Peter Jones||X 119|
|GBR9389R||Tiger||1||C||1.07||10||Steven Winstanley||Reflex 38|
|GBR7003T||First Crusader||1||C||1.07||E||12||Ric Searle||First 40.7|
|GBR7386R||Lynx||1||C||1.06||10||Anna Rockall||Reflex 38|
|GBR7207T||Playing Around||1||C||1.06||12||Peter Robson||Beneteau First 40.7|
|GBR7080T||Tarka||1||C||1.06||E||12||Guy Prest||First 40.7|
|GBR7031T||Sanguma||2||C||1.04||E||8||Chris Walmsley/Thoms||Ker 31|
|GBR9694T||J2eau||2||C||1.04||9||Steve Maine||J 109|
|GBR1037L||Quokka||2||C||1.04||9||Peter Rutter||Elan 37|
|IRL1090||Blondie||2||C||1.04||E||9||David Whitehouse||J 109|
|GBR979R||Malice||2||C||1.03||9||Mike Moxley||HOD 35|
|GBR7714R||White Knight of Wessex||2||C||1.03||E||9||Mark Neville||HOD 35|
|GBR4709R||Jambo||2||C||1.03||9||Nick Fry/Kate Buckingham||J 109|
|GBR5203R||La Bayadere||2||C||1.03||9||Muller von Blumencron||First 36.7|
|GBR4909R||High Tension||2||C||1.03||E||9||John Cronk||J 109|
|GBR4809R||Jacob's Ladder||2||C||1.03||9||David Hunt||J 109|
|GBR6909R||Jugular||2||C||1.03||9||John Pickles||J 109|
|GBR9487R||Jumunu||2||C||1.03||E||10||Iain Fenna||J 109|
|GBR1347R||No Doubt||2||C||1.02||E||8||Chris and Hannah Neve||First 34.7|
|GBR7707T||Fay-J||2||C||1.02||9||Paul Griffiths||J 105|
|GBR7341R||Eilidh||2||C||1.00||E||8||Chris Bowles||Grand Soleil 34.1|
|GBR9395R||Elusive||3||C||0.98||E||8||Jackie Welch and Robert Dobson||Elan 333|
|GBR9887||Electra||3||C||0.96||8||Michael Tattersall||X-99 MOD|
|GBR4365T||Dean and Dyball Enigma||3||C||0.95||9||Ian Braham||MG 346|
|GBR9563R||Sonic Boom||3||C||0.95||8||Simon Brady||First 31.7|
|GBR4503||Shadowfax||3||C||0.93||E||8||Andy Johns||Sigma 33|
|GBR2958||Corafin||3||C||0.87||E||8||Robin Holland||Contessa 32|
|GBR3278||Fresh Herring||3||C||0.87||E||8||John Corden||Contessa 32|
|GBR1997L||Panthera||X||C||1.33||18||Benny Kelly||TP 52|
|IRL5005||Chieftain||X||C||1.32||E||18||Ger O Rourke||Sloop|
|GBR2R||Fidessa Fastwave||X||C||1.21||E||15||Chris Brown/Peter Harding||DK 46|
|GBR4601L||Fair Do's VII||X||C||1.19||E||15||John Shepherd||Ker 46|
|GBR124||Yeoman of Hamble||X||C||1.17||E||14||David Aisher||JV 44|
|GBR236R||Erivale III||X||C||1.12||E||Mike Greville||Ker 39|
|IRL2007||Jump Juice||X||C||1.11||10||Conor & Denise Phelan||Ker 37|
|GBR560||Simply the Best||X||C||1.10||E||13||Philip Wood||Grand Soleil 43|
|GBR1540R||Maverick 2||X||C||1.09||E||Dominic Chappell||IMX 40|
|GBR79R||Software Mistress||X||C||1.09||E||10||Ian Maclean||Ker 36|
|GBR3093R||Joules Asterix||X||C||1.09||E||8||Louis Browne||Mumm 30|
|IRL3008||Blondie||X||C||1.08||E||9||Eamonn Rohan||Corby One|
|GBR6690R||Panther||X||C||1.08||E||10||James Stableford||Mumm 36|
|GBR38R||Bornslippy 2||X||C||1.08||E||10||Julian Bates||Prima 38|
|GBR9308T||Seaquest||X||C||1.08||10||Hamish Mackay||Seaquest 36|
|NED332||Heart of Gold||X||C||1.07||8||Gary Shaffer||Mumm 30|
|GBR7383R||Puma Logic||X||C||1.07||10||Sailing Logic||Reflex 38|
|GBR4811R||Leo Lady||X||C||1.04||12||Graham Nixon||Elan 40|
|GBR1404R||Flair IV||X||C||1.04||E||12||Jim Macgregor||Elan 40|
|GBR7712R||Zarafa||X||C||1.04||E||9||Peter Scholfield||HOD 35|
|GBR9040T||Eye2Eye||X||C||1.03||9||Ian Hayes/Christine Simpson||Dehler 36|
|GBR9129T||Tigger 2||X||C||1.03||9||Adrian Ross||First 36.7|
|GBR6895T||Xcitable||X||C||1.03||E||9||Peter Hodgkinson / Sarah Bailey||X 362|
|GBR709R||Jo Jo Gunne||X||C||1.01||E||9||Richard Creer||J 109|
|GBR3782R||Zebedee||X||C||1.00||E||9||Bill Howard||Sunfast 37|
|GBR5678T||Scarlet Jester||X||C||1.00||8||Jamie Muir||SJ320|
|GBR9648R||X Ploiter||X||C||0.99||E||8||Steve Blake||X 332|
|GBR2912R||No Retreat||X||C||0.99||E||7||David Riley||Corby 29|
|GBR982R||Bombardier||X||C||0.98||8||Andrew Pickersgill||Elan 333|
|GBR1622T||Tangent Minus 1||X||C||0.95||E||9||Paul Aisher||MG 335|
|GBR9140||Nazca II||X||C||0.95||E||9||Mike Wilkinson||OOD 34|
|GBR9205R||Diablo J||X||C||0.00||0||Nick Martin/Cressida Robson||J 105|
|GBR8797T||Dragon of Hamble||X||C||17||Gwilym Evans||First 44.7|
|GBR2L||Beth||X||C||9||James George||J 109|
|IRL11109||No Naked flames||X||C||9||Andrew Allen||J 109|