In recent years, a growing number of TP52s optimised for IRC racing have been racing in the Solent and this year two more have entered the fray for the championship; Peter Winkelmann’s Island Fling, will be racing for the first time since the yacht arrived from Hong Kong and Colm Barrington’s Flash Glove will be competing at her first championship event. Also Peter Ogden’s Swan 601 Spirit of Jethou has returned from the Caribbean and will be competing, as well as Richard Loftus’ Swan 65 Desperado who makes a welcome return.
There are a large number of Swan 45s at this year’s event, including top competition from the United States, with William Douglass driving Goombay Smash and Dick Weismann at the wheel of Vixen. These two yachts are extremely well sailed and came, second and fourth, respectively at last year’s Swan 45 World Championships in Sardinia. A large fleet of Swan 45s will be gracing the IRC Championships in a build up to the Swan Gold Cup, in the Solent, the following week.
There are a huge variety of yachts entered of approximately 40ft which should make for a fantastic series. Frenchman, Gery Trentesaux, a past winner of the event is racing his Class 40, Courrier de Cour and there are a number of entries that have plenty of experience in the Solent, there is a huge variety of yachts around this size and the racing rule allows them all to enjoy competitive racing; X Yachts, J Boats, Beneteau and several other designs, make up a very diverse and highly competitive fleet.
The yachts entered under 40 feet for the IRC Championships are just as diverse, Jackie Welch’s, Elan 333 Elusive is back to defend her class title from last year and Eamon and Alan Crosbie are over from Ireland, making a welcome return in their Ker 32 Teng Tools. Tim and Sophie Harrington have had a great season racing their X-35, Vortex, among their competition will be another X-35; Nigel Passmore’s Plymouth-based X Wave. There are several Beneteau First 34.7s racing; Peter Morton’s, Salvo, and Nick Jones’ Astarte are both new boats with seasoned campaigners aboard.
The weather beyond about a week ahead stretches even the most experienced weather forecaster; however late June is usually a time when the south of England has a great effect from the Azores High, often this creates light gradient wind from the northwest which can create a sea breeze from the southwest by late morning, only to die out by early afternoon. Thundery showers are often present in late June, giving rise to some very bizarre local conditions caused by changes in atmospheric pressure. Also with the full moon on 30 June, there will be Spring Tides. All this, adds up to the likelihood of changeable and tricky Solent racing conditions for competitors and the Race Committee for the 2007 RORC IRC Championships