RORC race to Madeira

August will see the Royal Ocean Racing Club's most ambitious race down to Madeira and back.

Thursday April 24th 2008, Author: Trish Jenkins, Location: United Kingdom
The Cowes to Madeira Yacht Race is new to the RORC sailing programme, but the route is centuries old; Charles II granted traders sailing to Madeira tax exemption on wines in 1665. The 2008 race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club is certain to provide some challenging and spectacular ocean sailing for the competitors. On Monday morning, 11 August, the race fleet will line up on the historic Royal Yacht Squadron Line at Cowes and head for Madeira, some 1480 miles away. The race to the sun soaked Atlantic island is sure to be a truly wonderful experience for anyone with a passion for offshore racing.

Leaving the Solent the tactics will be to play the tidal gates en route to Ushant before the fleet pass into the Bay of Biscay with its volatile weather and the crossing of the continental shelf. The fleet will then race south down the Spanish and Portuguese coasts and may pick up the first of the northeasterly trade winds before the finish line in Madeira, making for a thrilling end to the longest ocean race of a busy RORC season.

The return race to Cowes on 26 August will again prove to be a very interesting tactical race making the best use of the conditions experienced on the trip down to Madeira.

Solo sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston commented “The RORC Cowes to Madeira race is a fantastic opportunity for sailing enthusiasts and adventurers to do some serious ocean racing, including an encounter with the northeast Trade winds. It’s great that the Clipper 68 foot round the world racing yachts will be on the start line. These are big, fast boats that respond to good crewing.”

Entries have started to come in from all over Europe from a wide variety of yachts, including the smallest boat to finish the 2007 Rolex Fastnet; Foggy Dew, skippered by Noel Racine from La Havre, France. Clipper Ventures are expected to enter at least two of their yachts; The Clipper 68 is likely to be one of the biggest yachts on what already looks to be a competitive start line. Berths remain available for groups or individuals on the Clipper fleet with a discount offered to members of RORC.

A brand new Archambault RC40, British Soldier, skippered by Nicholas Bate crewed by the British Army Sailing Team will be competing. The RORC race to Madeira and back to Cowes is an essential part of their training programme. The team is composed of soldiers who have all seen active service in recent years and offshore racing is an ideal way to unwind when they return home from duty. Enter online via the RORC website: by 31 July 2008.

The Cowes Madeira Race and the race back form part of the RORC's Season’s Points Championship, alongside the BMW Round Ireland Race and a race to La Rochelle.

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