Shaping up nicely

This year's RORC Red Funnel Easter Challenge gains momentum

Thursday March 15th 2007, Author: Trish Jenkins, Location: United Kingdom
Cowes springs to life for the first Bank Holiday of the year at Easter. The 16th edition of the Red Funnel Easter Challenge is set to kick-start a busy season of RORC racing. There is a mouth-watering prospect of a huge variety of yachts scheduled for seven races in just three days from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th of April.

RORC Commodore David Aisher has competed at the Red Funnel Regatta for many years and commented: "Once again we are delighted to have the support of Red Funnel for this opening event of the UK RORC programme. With entries representing some of the best boats racing under IRC, the series will give crews plenty of opportunity to show their racing skills over some tight Solent courses."

The event is billed as a tuning regatta and this year there will be an increase in the number of world class coaches giving free tuition. Competitors can take advantage of support in the form of on-the-water advice and post-race debriefing team led by the world renowned Jim Saltonstall and Barry Dunning.

Over a dozen yachts are expected in the big boat class with crews bristling with talent from the Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup and the Olympics; Steve Hayles, Ian Budgen, Jules Salter, Rob Greenhalgh, Dave Lenz, Andy Beadsworth, Jonathan Taylor, Simon Fry, Jeremy Robinson, Mike Broughton and Nick Pearson are all racing. As are many well known top professional and amateur sailors.

The big boat line up looks impressive indeed but there will be some great racing and interesting boats in all of the classes.

Veteran yacht professional Jochem Visser will be racing the first ever X-41 in British waters with a top Solent based crew. He commented: "The X-41 is the first yacht produced by X-Yachts specifically optimised for the IRC rule and already 27 have been sold. This is the factory boat and whilst similar in style to the new one design X-35, she has more stability. The Red Funnel Easter Challenge is an ideal opportunity to test the boat continuously over several days under racing conditions which will help the crew to make fine rig and sail adjustments."

Planning and Operations director of the Volvo Ocean Race; Jeremy Troughton has a completely different criteria for entering J/109 Beth: "I don’t get the chance to race regularly with a bunch of old friends as we all have babies or young children. The Red Funnel Easter Challenge is an opportunity us to spend a long weekend sailing together. We all like to race but our real motivation is just to get together and to have a good time, but we do have another incentive - good results will mean plenty of Easter Eggs for the kids!"

Harry Heijst’s beautifully kept S&S 42 Winsome was an early entry and this year sees the revival of the Quarter Ton Class who have been given their own start for the regatta.

Spring tides this Easter will cause some head-scratching and catch out the unwary. It is too early to predict what the weather will be like at Easter, but the recent spell of fine weather would be most welcome. One thing is certain, this unique training regatta is the perfect opportunity to get free on the water world class coaching to kick start the season.

This year’s Red Funnel Easter Challenge will have Racing Manager Janet Grosvenor handing out those Easter Eggs once again. Rumour has it that there may be a few surprises!

Enter for the Red Funnel Easter Regatta online via the RORC website: by 30th March 2007.

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