Three dimensional chess
Yesterday’s champagne opener was all about boat speed in the windy Western Solent. For Day Two, the international RORC fleet had a very different battle ground. The Solent was still blessed with brilliant sunshine, however it was the turn of the Eastern Solent to play host to the RORC fleet. Windward-leeward courses were set on the Hill Head plateau for the first two races, to get the fleet out of the tide. By mid-afternoon depth became an issue and a seabreeze had developed which de-stabilised the gradient wind. Racing around fixed marks in the Central Solent became the racecourse of choice.
Getting the tactics right and trimming to erratic puffs of wind was akin to playing a game of three-dimensional chess for the competitors at the RORC IRC National Championship. By the end of the day, six races had been completed. Favourites had emerged but virtually all classes were nowhere near decided.
In IRC Super Zero after Race 4, protests were lodged by several competitors and results will be subject to a hearing by the Protest Committee. There was more drama in Race 5. Charles Dunstone’s TP 52, Team Origin Rio, took penalty turns shortly after the start. Robert Gray’s Farr 52 Bob won Race 5 on corrected time, their first win of the championship.
Glynn Williams’ Swan 45 WISC is back racing in the Solent and sailed with intelligence today in IRC Zero. Williams has been in this position many times before and he is taking nothing for granted, as he explained: “Mandrake is a quick boat and a big worry. I guess we are on about equal points but we won’t be spooked, we have won regattas on the last day with more to do than this. The spirit on WISC is as good as ever and we are looking forward to tomorrow.”
In IRC One Dave Dwyer’s Irish Mills 39 Marinerscove.ie continued to impress by winning Race 4 by a minute after correction, from Christopher Opielok’s Corby 36 Rockall III. Marinerscove.ie and Peter Rutter’s Grand Soleil 43 Quokka 8 had a battle royal, especially the start of Race 5 where they had a real tussle at the pin end of the line.
Christopher Opielok’s Corby 36 Rockall III had a great day at the races and had this to say after racing: “We have all of the Rolex Commodores’ Cup team Hong Kong guys sailing this weekend and we are really getting used to racing the boat. Now, after a few races, we are putting things together. Today was a great test for us, especially a close encounter with Roxy 6, which will be competing in our class for the Rolex Commodores’ Cup.”
Marinerscove.ie remains at the top of IRC One, Quokka 8, is still in second place with French J/122 Pen Azen, owned by Philippe Delaporte, moving up to third place after an excellent day on the water.
Tom Snowball’s First 34.7 Mongoose had a mixed day in IRC Two but came out of it smelling of roses. A bullet in Race 4 was the perfect start but the next race saw them over the line and they turned back to rejoin the fleet right at the back. David Aisher’s J/109 Yeoman of Wight ended the day in style winning Race 6 by a canter. However after six races Chris and Hannah Neve’s First 35 No Chance is the new class leader after a consistent day. Mongoose staged a dramatic comeback and has crept up to second place. Steve Northmore’s Plymouth-based A-35 Waterjet.co.uk is third in class.
In IRC Three, Louise Morton may be racing a different Quarter Tonner, but Anchor Challenge was right on the top of the game and probably enjoyed the lighter wind strength and windward leeward courses. At the start of Race 4, they looked to be too early but dialled down, picking up pace to pull the trigger on the pin-end to perfection. Anchor Challenge has raced to the top of the class with James Morland’s Quarter Tonner Menace second. Mike and Jamie Holmes’ J/97 Jika Jika loses top spot and lies third.
After racing a prize giving was held at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club. Tomorrow sees the conclusion of the RORC IRC National Championship. The light weather forecast looks like it could be a tense and thought provoking day. All classes are still hanging in the balance but by the end of tomorrow, the class winners for the RORC IRC National Championship will be announced.
More images from Paul Wyeth