Strong line up for Red Funnell

80 entries confirmed for this weekend's Easter Regatta

Thursday April 13th 2006, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
With 80 confirmed entries for the Red Funnel Easter Challenge, the opening event of the RORC season looks set to be a real cracker. However, it is not just the number of entries that is impressive, but also the huge variety of yachts.

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
GBR46L Shockwave Z C 1.21 E 15 Nick Lutte DK46
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
GBR6513N Longbow X C 1.08 E 10 ASA Prima 38
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
GBR8500R Brightwork X C 1.00 E 8 Bob Baker X332
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

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