Ràn romps it

Superb conditions for this weekend's Channel Race

Monday July 27th 2009, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
The RORC Channel Race started in beautiful sailing conditions with 10-12 knots of wind and bright sunshine but as the fleet beat East down the Channel, the wind built and by Royal Sovereign Lighthouse was at over 20 knots. The leg to Royal Sovereign was a spinnaker run all the way and there was some great downwind sailing action especially when the tide kicked up the Channel into a surfer’s paradise. Conditions varied across the fleet but this was a race that saw the wind build to near gale force and fall to virtually nothing. It was, in every sense, a great test for the competitors.

Niklas Zennström’s JV 72 Ràn 2 had a marvellous debut in RORC racing winning line honours, IRC Overall, and IRC Super Zero by a convincing margin.

Skipper Tim Powell was delighted with the conditions, the clean sweep and especially winning the RORC Channel Challenge Cup. “The course and conditions were a good test for Ràn and it has given us great confidence in the boat. Up until now we have been based in the Med and we haven't had the chance to test her in truly rough conditions. The Channel Race shaped up perfectly for us; we managed to find some good waves to launch off. It was also a good to test for offshore systems and equipment before the Rolex Fastnet Race. It was a really fun race which the crew enjoyed immensely”.

Nigel Passmore’s TP52 Apollo was second in class and overall, a superb effort in only their second offshore race on their TP52.

In IRC Super Zero Canting Keel the two IMOCA 60s had a good test and will have found the race a successful experience. The variety of conditions and points of sail will have helped them with their two boat testing which is an invaluable way of looking at different sail combinations, trim and rig settings.

In IRC Zero Bill Blain’s J/133 Batfish III corrected out to beat Piet Vroon’s Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, by over half an hour. Batfish III put in a polished performance and also claimed third overall, adding 12 points to their lead in the RORC Season’s Points Championship. Tristran Nelson, Batfish III navigator, commented: “Prior to the race I said we would have to sail our socks off and we did! It was a tough race and one we are really delighted to have won”. Tonnerre de Breskens was second and Charles Ivill’s immaculate performance cruiser, John B, came third to clinch their first podium finish in the new Grand Soleil 54.

Ian Laing’s mighty Swan 53 Sassenach revelled in the heavy air and big waves to post their first RORC win of the season in IRC One but only just. They had a titanic battle with Nicolas Loday and Jean Claude Nicoleau’s Grand Soleil 43, Codiam. The two yachts were barely out of sight of each other for 143 miles and in the end there were less than three minutes separating the two. RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine racing Corby 36 Quokka 7 was third, adding yet another podium finish to a consistent season.

John Loden’s HOD 35 Psipsina not only won IRC Two but also the Two-Handed Division as well. This is Psipsina’s ninth race this season and perhaps John Loden and his co-skipper, Bernie Bingham, are peaking at the right time. “It was a fabulous race with a bit of everything from 3 to 30 knots of wind, some tough conditions and some tactical conundrums.” commented Loden. “Probably the best decision we made was to stay on course when the wind died later in the race. We correctly predicted that when the breeze came back it would fill from the south and while other boats went wind seeking, we stuck to the plan and had a perfect line to the next mark”.

Luca Rubinelli’s J/109 Aria will be delighted to have claimed second place and Dutch entry Harry Heijst’s S&S 41 Winsome was third.

In IRC Three there was a battle royal with the top three yachts finishing within ten minutes of each other on corrected time after 24 hours of racing. The first to cross the line was David Collins’ vintage Swan 43 Cisne, but they were eventually third in class under IRC. Jean Yves Chateau’s Nicholson 33 Iromiguy won by just under seven minutes from David Lees’ High Tension 36 Hephzibah.

In the Two - Handed Division John Loden’s HOD 35, Psipsina was the victor. In second place was David Walters’ J/39 Jackdaw racing two handed for the first time this season. In third place was Nick Martin’s J/105 Diablo-J which is currently leading the Division in the RORC Season’s Points Championship.

RORC Racing Manager, Ian Loffhagen commented on a successful RORC Channel Race: “So far this season the majority of races have been conducted in fairly benign conditions which to be honest has caused us a little concern. It was important that the yachts, crew and equipment get a thorough test before the potentially gruelling Rolex Fastnet Race. The yachts competing in the Channel Race certainly got a thorough test. They all completed the course and we were delighted that there were no retirements. Like the competitors, the RORC Race Team is looking forward to next month’s historic race and hoping it will be a cracker”.

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