In the bag for Chernikeeff 2

Peter Harrison's youth crew handicaps out in first in the RORC's Myth of Malham Race to the Eddystone and back

Tuesday May 26th 2009, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
The 230 mile race from Cowes around the Eddystone Lighthouse and back proved to be a very demanding race for the 130 boats competing for the RORC Myth of Malham Trophy. Light airs and strong tides conspired to produce a tactical conundrum that was an ever changing picture.

Peter Harrison’s Farr 52 Chernikeeff 2 won IRC Class Super Zero and the RORC Myth of Malham Trophy for best yacht on corrected time. The crew are all in their twenties from the UK Sailing Acadamy which relies on sponsorship to give promising young sailors the opportunity of offshore racing in the big boat class.

“It was a tricky race from a tactical point of view, our overall strategy was to just keep the boat moving,” commented Brett Aarons, navigator on Chernikeeff 2 and at 28, the oldest member of the crew. We had a close battle with John Merricks II but probably the defining moment was on the way back from Eddystone, our strategy was to use the gradient breeze but we correctly assumed that as we arrived at Lyme Bay, it would die out. We headed inshore as the breeze should fill in their first and we were in shallow enough water to kedge against the tide and only had to wait an hour before the new breeze came in.”

Chernikeeff mastman, Hamish McDonald is 20 and studying medicine at Oxford. “We must have done about 15 headsail changes during the race and several spinnaker peels, it was very important to keep the boat going during the manoevres and I must say, it was a real boost to my experience of offshore racing, especially getting up in the middle of the night, bleary eyed and peeling a spinnaker in the dark.”

In Class Super Zero, The RYA Keel Boat Programme’s TP52 John Merricks II claimed line honours but was second on handicap and overall in IRC. Derek Saunders’ CM60 Venemous was third in Class.

In IRC Zero there was an outstanding performance by Bill Blain’s J/133 Batfish III winning class by nearly three hours and claiming third in IRC overall. “We had a cracking start through the Solent but the mood went pretty dark on board as we parked up on the Shingles and watched the competition get away on the Island shore,” commented Blain. “So we changed tactics and headed offshore, as we knew we would never get to Portland Bill, before the tide would turn. We rounded Eddystone at 6 a.m. and realised we had made a big gain. The route back was a stop start affair; on several occasions we thought about sacrificing crew to the wind gods! Also kedging in 60 metres of water was an entirely new experience but I have to say a big thank you, to navigator Tristan Nelson and our magnificent Code Zero, they both did a fine job.”

In IRC Class Zero Brian Wilkinson’s Corby 40 Cracklin Rosie was second and Neil Martin’s J/133 Jammy Dodger third.

RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine was delighted to win IRC Class One in Quokka, Peter Rutter’s Corby 36. “I have known Peter for many years and it was a shame he couldn’t be on board for the race,” he commented. “To be honest, I am pretty exhausted but thrilled to have won our class. It was a difficult race, as the wind was all over the place but probably the key factor for us was going offshore off Start Point, I knew Portland was a high risk, but offshore we got a lift on starboard tack which meant we could just lay the Shambles. However on arrival we did have to kedge, I was biting my finger nails, if we had been a mile further west we would have been stuck there for some time but we got going and held an A-Sail to St.Alban’s Head. The finish was bizarre, a very localised squall came through, gusting up to 30 knots with thunder and lightening and then I saw my good friends on Jackdaw, going through the line. At first I thought they must have sailed a blinder but they had retired, owner David Walters was pulling my leg.”

Philippe Falle’s Reflex 38 Puma Logic was second in IRC Class One and Chris Shipman’s Dehler 39 Deliverance 2 third.

In IRC Class Two, Geoff Poore’s Pronavia 38 Tangaroa came out on top. Geoff hails from New Zealand and decided to purchase the Swedish-built yacht because he wanted a boat that he could race but also one that he could cruise with his friends. “The crew certainly didn’t think it was a cruise when we were tacking through 180 degrees, just to tread water for an hour or so,” said Geoff. “Besides some impressive crew work, I think the fact that we were able to fly a symmetrical kite and sail 30 degrees higher along the rhum line may have been a big factor, correct sail choice and just keeping the boat moving were also crucial. We will take the win and will be back for more this season. “

In IRC Class Two, Simon Curwen, sailing two handed, was second in his J/105 Voador and Robin Taunt’s J/109 Jibe corrected out to third.

IRC Class 3, Jean Yves Chateau Nicholson 33, Iromiguy was the victor, finishing late on Monday evening after over two and a half days at sea. Chateau and his crew are a highly experienced and successful crew and were the winners of the Rolex Fastnet Trophy in 2005. Kirsteen Donaldson’s X-332, Pysix was third in Class, sailing two handed and Kay & Kevin Stibbs’ Dehler 36 Draig O'R Mor was third.

There were 24 entries for the Two Handed Class and honours went to Voador with Mike Moxley’s HOD 35 Malice claiming second and Pysix third.

The next schedule racing in a busy RORC season is inshore for the RORC IRC National Championship which will take place in the Solent, 5-7 June. Followed by a return to offshore racing for the De Guingand Bowl, starting from Cowes, 13 June.

Full results here

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