Line honours for Magnum
The final race of the RORC domestic season, the Cherbourg Race this year proved a tough and technical upwind battle for the fleet as, faced with squalls and spring tides, the competitors were kept firmly on their toes from start to finish.
Managing the big storm cells and the 30° lifts and headers associated with them was central to how boats performed. The wind would increase from 15 to 30 knots very quickly and many of the fleet were caught out with ragging sail as the squall passed through. Reflecting on the race, owner of Magnum III, Andrew Pearce recounted that “…as each cell hit us the same thing happened, each one bringing with it stinging rain and thunder and lightning. At one stage I counted six different storm cells around us with lightning going on all around interspersed with the most incredibly clear starry skies.”
Coping well with the conditions, Pearce and his crew on Magnum III were delighted to round off their excellent season with their first ever line honours, leading their main rival, Piet Vroon’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3 over the finish line.
However across the board the British and Dutch boats were beaten on corrected time by the French. Fittingly, the race results were dominated by local entrants from Cherbourg with two class wins and strong results in IRC Overall. In particular was local favourite Bruno James whose Sunfast 3200 Le MC do de Cherbourg was virtually the smallest boat in the fleet, but nevertheless claimed first place in IRC Four as well as an excellent second in IRC Overall, crossing the finish line among many of the IRC One and Two boats.
Another popular local, fresh from his success at the Rolex Fastnet Race, Pascal Loison returned to finish the RORC season with his JPK 10.10 Night and Day. Coming first is becoming a force of habit for Pascal with this, his fifth, IRC Three win this season, and he is sitting comfortably at the top of IRC Three Season’s Points Championship. His usual co-skipper, his son Alexis, was racing onboard the hugely successful Inis Mor which also won its class, IRC One.
However it befell another consistent French performer, Courrier Vintage, to walk away with first place in IRC Overall. The MC34 Patton, owned by Sam Marsaudon and skippered by Géry Trentesaux, has now performed a hat trick of IRC Overall wins this season, adding to the Cervantes Trophy Race and the De Guingand Bowl Race.
Despite strong competition, the Two-Handed Class was won by Rob Craigie and Deb Fish in their J/122, J-Bellino. It came as a bit of a surprise for a delighted Rob and Deb, who first knew of their win when they arrived for lunch at the Yacht Club. They were over the moon to collect their trophy and were warmly congratulated by their fellow two-handed sailors. The win now pushes them firmly into second place in the Two-Handed Class Season’s Points Championship, just behind Night and Day.
Elsewhere it was a straightforward head to head race between the two Class40 entrants, won by Marc Lepesqueux’s Class 40, Sensation .
As in recent years, the Cherbourg Race prizegiving was accompanied by a party organised by French RORC members, led by Géry Trentesaux and hosted by the Yacht Club de Cherbourg with support from the L’Equipage Restaurant. Thanks go to Jean Le Carpentier, Yacht Club de Cherbourg President, for his continued support for the race and providing the finish Committee Boat.
There is only one race left now to count towards the RORC Season's Points Championship: the Rolex Middle Sea Race will begin on Saturday 19 October.
Trophies for the RORC Season’s Points Championship will be awarded at the RORC Annual Dinner, held at the Royal Courts of Justice on Saturday 23 November from 18:30.