Small boat race
In terms of conditions, the 2010 JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race delivered, allowing the majority of the 1754 starter fleet to make it around the Isle of Wight before nightfall, however they were not enough for Mike Slade’s supermaxi ICAP Leopard, nor Francis Joyon’s 100ft trimaran IDEC to improve on their course records.
We spent the early hours of the morning helping in the process of getting Ben Ainslie from Audi MedCup in Marseille to Cowes (just) in time for his lap of the Isle of Wight aboard John Shepherd’s Ker 46 Fair Do’s VII, sailing in this race under the name JPM Prince’s Trust. Unfortunately the Class 0 boats such as this had the first of the 13 starts this year with the warning signal going at 0450, and after two hours of ordeal by 40 year old sports car in rain and fog, by 0230 we had only just arrived at Southampton’s Ocean Village.
Fortunately the RIB ride across to the Isle of Wight was in benign conditions – not the 15-20 knots some of the GRIBs through the week had been forecasting. These conditions proved to be a lull, with the breeze not filling in until the mid-morning by which time the record opportunities had been and gone.
Nonetheless the lull was welcome to the majority of the Round the Island boats for whom this is their only race of the year and the spinnaker start for the monster fleet coinciding with dawn made for a fantastic spectacle appreciated even by the severely sleep-deprived.
The first start for the IRC Class 0 and the one and only Open 60 – the Graham Tourell-skippered Artemis Ocean Racing – saw ICAP Leopard start cleanly in the middle of the line before hoisting her kite as the TP52s such as Johnny Vincent’s immaculate Pace and Team Volvo 1 (with Shirley Robertson on board) as well as Fair Do’s VII (with Ainslie on the helm) chose the island side along with the magnificent J Velsheda.
The multihulls were up next and in the 6-8 knot winds, Joyon’s solo round the world record breaker IDEC was looking sticky compared to the four nimble Extreme 40s that buzzed around her sailing much faster with just enough breeze to do the ‘wild thing’ (hull flying with some of the crew to leeward) but sailing substantially bigger angles downwind. They were followed by an impressive turn out of smaller multihulls including Farrier/Corsair and Dragonfly trimarans and Firebirds.
In the light conditions, ICAP Leopard was first to the Needles with Velsheda behind her making good progress thanks to her massive acreage of sail. At this stage the mighty J was only just being caught by the first of the Extreme 40s – the Paul Campbell-James steered Oman Sail boat, The Wave, Muscat that shaved the lighthouse. Among the next group at around 0600 was IDEC which rounded the Needles alongside Artemis and Pace.
With the wind only picking up around the back of the island, this was not to be ICAP Leopard’s race, her problems compounded when she snared a lobster pot and had to sail it inshore and out of the tide before she was able to release it. She arrived back in Cowes at 10:10:06 making her rounding in 5 hours 6 seconds, some way outside her 3 hours 53 record and decidedly out of the chocolates this year.
ICAP Leopard’s owner Mike Slade, said: "We've had a glorious day's sailing as always and we're exceptionally pleased with the result considering we got hooked up to a lobster pot on the south of the Island for about two hours. Thankfully we had a young diver onboard who free-dived below and cut it off. We thought we had slowed up and when we saw the size of the obstacle we realised why. Sadly there was nothing in it!"
The increase in breeze had also brought IDEC to life and the red 100ft trimaran surged into the lead overall on the way to the eastern end of the race track. Joyon and his crew, including as usual old friend and British Olympic medallist Rodney Pattison, crossed the finish line at 09:34:05 with an elapsed time of 04:24:05, slow compared to the time of 3:08:29 Joyon set aboard his ORMA 60 in 2001.
“We regularly exceeded 30 knots, in particular thanks to new the foils, but the wind was a little too weak and the current too unfavourable to improve our record,” commented Joyon. “If the departure had been given one hour later, that would have perhaps been doable.”
Right behind IDEC were the four Extreme 40s led by The Wave, Muscat which finished at 09.37.33, followed by Loick Peyron on Oman Sail’s Masirah at 09.37.57, Nick Moloney on the Pindar/GAC boat Team Metherell at 09.44.10 and then Ecover at 09.48.45.
Velsheda had a great race finishing at 10.45.02 and ended up winning Class 0 ahead of Ben Ainslie on JPM Princes Trust, followed by John Caulcutt’s Swan 65 Desperado and then the ‘international incidence’ – the Farr 52 BOB, formerly Bear of Britain, who’s crew included Tony Hayward, the BP CEO, heavily lambasted recently for his company’s responsibility in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster and who was trying to get some quiet down time with his son.
A round the island race where the wind picks up halfway through always favours the smaller boats and so it was that this year the Gold Roman Bowl for outright victory was won by the Folkboat, Nordic Bear owned and raced by Brian Appleyard from Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire which after a 0600 start arrived back at 14:52 in the afternoon her elapsed time correcting out to 06:57:58. Nordic Bear came second in IRC overall in 2009 and this year was four minutes ahead on corrected of another Folkboat, Madelaine, skippered by Edward Donald, in turn another nine minutes in front of Mark and Paul Lees’ 1971 Van der Stadt Spirit 24, Echo – all three racing in Class 3D. Echo was also first Quarter Tonner around the island this year.
First overall in IRC1 was Willem Wester’s Grand Soleil 43 Antilope, ahead of the J/122 Jinja and the First 40.7 Incognito.
In IRC 2 David Mcleman’s J/109 Offbeat won (and also claimed the J/109 prize) ahead of Harry Heijst’s well travelled Dutch S&S41 Winsome and Major Peter Scholfield’s HOD35 SeaTrack.
In the MOCRA Multihull Class it was Nick Woods’ Farrier 27 trimaran Origami that came out on top ahead of Henio Firley’s Dragonfly 920 Katja and Brian Haynes’ Farrier 33R Carbon Tiger 2.
In the Laser SB3s it was Andrew Nunn’s seamarknunn.com that was first home ahead of Dave Brown’s I Maximus and Stephan Lobmeyr’s Ca Bourre.
Full results here