Rán continues her winning ways

Brisk conditions on the Solent for day two of the RORC's IRC Nationals

Saturday June 6th 2009, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
Challenging Solent conditions were the order of the day, as hundreds of competitors on over 60 boats experienced some spectacular racing at the RORC IRC National Championship. 15 knots, gusting to over 20 from the southeast proved a physical and mental challenge for all five classes. The tide kicked up a great deal of swell and mastering the lumpy conditions was paramount. Slick boat handling was at a premium; a mistake at a mark rounding in this field and a podium finish would disappear and for some teams, aspirations of a class win evaporated with gear failure.

In IRC Class Super Zero, Niklas Zennstrom’s TP52 R á n continued her total domination of the class by winning all three races by big margins.

“We had some perfect Solent conditions today. It is a little bit colder than the Mediterranean, but we had plenty of physical work to keep us warm,” commented a delighted Niklas Zennstrom. “The shorter courses today were excellent and I would congratulate the RORC on managing to get all six races in over the last two days. I would also like to mention the young team on John Merricks II. They had a very good start in the last race and we recognise that they are using equipment that is not as advanced as RÁN. I am sure that many of them will go on to become very good sailors.”

Lutener and Elwood’s TP52 Cutting Edge is second in class and the UK Sailing Academy, racing Peter Harrison’s Farr 52 Chernikeeff 2 are third.

Piet Vroon’s new Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens had a perfect day on the water, scoring three straight wins in IRC Class Zero.

Michael Bartholomew’s King 40 Tokoloshe could not emulate their superb performance on day one and has dropped to second overall in class. John Shepherd’s Ker 46 Fair Do’s VII had a disappointing day yesterday with a 10th and a DSQ, but they showed great fighting spirit to post three podium finishes today to cling onto third place, by a slender margin in front of Nigel Passmore’s J/133 Apollo.

In IRC Class One, it was déjà vu as David Dwyer’s Mills 39 MarinersCove.ie was second to Peter Rutter’s Corby 36 Quokka in race four, but came back to take the handicap win in races five and six. John Patterson’s J/122 Panacea put in another solid performance and is third in class with two races to go. Jim Macgregor’s Elan 410 Premier Flair had their best day at the championship and Nadia Ifticene’s Sydney 39 Allard posted their first podium finish with a third in Race Four.

In IRC Class Two, Plymouth-based Steve Northmore’s A 35 Waterjet continued their sparkling form. The stable downwind speed machine reveled in the brisk conditions to win two of today’s races and now leads the class by a handsome margin.

Jonty Layfield’s J/39 Sleeper had a more consistent day’s racing and in doing so retains second place in class. Peter Morton’s First 34.7 Salvo was well sailed today to move into third place and best of the 34.7s racing within the class, but only on count back from Chris and Hannah Neve’s No Doubt.

There is a new leader in IRC Three, and it was a frantic day in the small boat class, as probably some of the smaller boats were on the edge in the 20 knot gusts. Adam Gosling’s Corby 30 Yes! scored a perfect three bullets today: “Racing under IRC, every dog has his day and it was definitely ideal conditions for the Corby,” commented Adam Gosling. “The Quarter Tonners are extremely well sailed and have been rebuilt to modern day standards but in the breeze we have an advantage. Also local knowledge played a part, we used the bank well today and that paid a dividend.”

Peter Morton’s Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge was leading the class this morning, but further gear failure has put them out of contention for the National title, along with Rob Gray’s Quarter Tonner Aguila. Meanwhile, Louise Morton’s Quarter Tonner Espada has come right back into contention and is lying second in class. Paul Kelsey’s flamboyant red Quarter Tonner Runaway Bus is third.

Two races are scheduled tomorrow to conclude the RORC IRC National Championship where conditions are forecast to be similar to today with perhaps the chance of some vicious gusts in rain squalls.

More photos on the following pages...

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