RORC fleets head south

Races to la Rochelle and Madeira to set sail this coming Sunday and Monday

Friday August 8th 2008, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
Course: Casquets (P), Ushant (P), Ponta de Sâo Lourenço (S), Quinta do Lorde. Approximately 1,480 miles

The Cowes to Madeira Yacht Race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club is certain to provide some challenging and spectacular ocean sailing for the competitors. Starting on the historic Royal Yacht Squadron Line at Cowes, the fleet will head for Madeira, some 1480 miles away. The race to the sun soaked Atlantic island is by far the longest race in the RORC Season’s Points Championship and carries a point’s factor of 1.4.

Entries have come from all over Europe and include a wide variety of yachts. There is a David vs Goliath match of Clipper Ventures’ 72 foot ketch Jamaica and the two-handed Class 40, Keralia, owned by Mike West. Despite a huge difference in size and design, the two yachts should be evenly matched for the race.

Also competing is, Dr D Thomsen, Andrews 56, Norddeutsche Vermoegen from Hamburg, Germany. The yacht’s skipper, George Christiansen commented: “We very much enjoy races organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club as they are well organised and the club make us feel very much at home. We are really looking forward to this race, especially some blue water sailing in the Atlantic.”

Class Zero has the on form J/122 Pen Azen, owned by Phillipe Delaporte but the Army Sailing Association’s A40, British Soldier, has shown good form during Skandia Cowes Week and may favour a long beat up the English Channel more than some rivals.

The smallest boat in the fleet is Matthias Kracht’s, JPK 9.6 Ultreia! An apt name for this race, as it is also the name for a pilgrims’ song from North Western Spain which they will pass on route.

Weather forecast predicts a stiff south westerly breeze for the start of the race with the chance of the wind direction backing to the north, if this is the case, it could be a spectacular sleigh ride in the Atlantic for the RORC Cowes to Madeira Race. The variety of conditions should make this an exciting race, in terms of boats changing position across the race course.

RORC Madeira - Cowes Race – Tuesday 26 th August 2008

The return race to Cowes could prove to be a very interesting tactical race making the best use of the conditions experienced on the trip down to Maderia. The competitors should be acustomed to offshore sailing from the start and by the finish, they will have experienced roughly 3,000 miles of ocean sailing.

RORC La Rochelle race starts this Sunday

Course: Cowes-Needles Channel-Eddystone (P), Ushant (P), Chaussee de Sein buoy (P), PA buoy - off La Rochelle (P), Chauveau buoy, La Rochelle. Approximately 450 miles

Points factor: 1.20

La Rochelle typifies the French population’s affinity to the sea; not just because of the town’s seafaring heritage and beautiful old harbour, but also because it is the home to many of France’s best yacht designers and builders. The RORC La Rochelle Race should be a tactical puzzle for the competing yachts; for most of the race, the effects of land and current will always be in the thoughts of navigators and tacticians.

Weather forecasts predict a wet and windy start to the race and that may suit Piet Vroon’s Lutra 56 Formidable 3 in Class Super Zero, as Boat Captain, Matt Trautman explains: “In comparison to the TP52, John Merricks II, we probably have a better boat for heavy weather beating but we will be pushing just as hard as ever, we had a long beat in the Eddystone Race and we didn’t beat them there, so we will not be taking anything for granted.”

There is an interesting battle looking in Class Zero, Rolex Commodores’ Cup winner, John Shepherd’s Fair Do’s VII, should favour the upwind start, but the class also contains some ‘off the breeze flyers’ who may play catch up later in the race; Mark Wynne-Smith & Jack Buttell’s Class 40 Gusilliam will be ballistic on a reach and debutant Luctor 42, Seawolf² owned by Henri Tinchant, is rumoured to be quite a weapon.

The pick of the smaller boats must include Noel Racine’s JPK 9.60, Foggy Dew and if the breeze stays up and they get the rub of the tides, they could be in with a chance but don’t discount, Pascal Mouton’s Grand Soleil 36, Foxy F Ewe, coming from La Trinite–sur-Mer, Pascal and his team will know the tidal coastline of north west France very well indeed.

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