Gearing up for the Red Funnel

RORC easter regatta now into its 13th year

Wednesday February 25th 2004, Author: Trish Jenkins, Location: United Kingdom
This year marks the 13th Red Funnel Easter Challenge - the annual ‘warm up’ regatta for the coming season - organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

This Cowes based regatta is guaranteed to provide a boat and its crew with a good shake down for the season ahead. It is highly competitive and is designed to emphasise crew work and boat handling. As the first major regatta of the season it will be a useful pointer to those checking out the form on the water. Early form is vital this year as the GBR team selection trials will be taking place for the Rolex Commodore’s Cup starting in June.

With their commitment to sailing through support of such events, Isle of Wight ferry operators, Red Funnel have been involved with the event since 1991. Marketing Director, Olive Glass confirms: “We have seen the Red Funnel Easter Challenge grow from strength to strength, particularly over the past five years. It is now firmly placed on the yacht racing calendar as the first major regatta of the season. The event last year attracted over 500 people which is good news for Cowes and the Island itself.”

RORC Commodore, Chris Little commented: “Around 80 boats are expected to take part in IRC and IRM classes, with daily racing taking place on tight Solent courses. We are extremely grateful to Red Funnel for their continued support and in this 13th year we are looking forward to seeing a larger number of boats than ever on the start line on Good Friday. The RORC is a club with a strong international flavour, both in its membership and its racing and as part of our extensive race programme for 2004, the Red Funnel Easter Challenge signifies the first race of the domestic UK calendar. This popular event, complete with the traditional Easter egg prizes, provides a great springboard for the season.”
Following racing each day, a unique feature of the regatta is the successful post-race debriefing sessions run by professional coaches, supported by the Royal Yachting Association. After analysing video footage shot out on the water, teams can discuss the ‘How’s’, ‘Why’s’ and ‘Wherefore’s’ of their racing technique and performance with Jim Saltonstall and his team.

Although for most this is a serious and testing regatta, the Red Funnel Easter Challenge allows for a little fun each evening, when winning teams in all classes are rewarded with Easter eggs at the daily prizegiving ceremonies held at Cowes Yacht Haven in recognition of their achievements. Special Red Funnel Easter Challenge prizes will also be awarded at a ceremony on the final day following racing and the Red Funnel Prix d’Elegance Trophy for overall winner will be presented at a special ceremony at the RORC Annual Awards Dinner in December.

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