Bears wins Morgan Cup

Frustrating light winds and spring tides prolong racing

Monday June 16th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
The 2003 RORC Morgan Cup Race to Brixham began from the RYS line in Cowes, the five classes starting in light airs and a strong flood tide. The combination of these two factors caused problems for some yachts which had miscalculated the strength of the tide and were swept to the wrong side of the ODM. The starting sequence had to be interrupted to allow for a large container ship to pass through the area. However, the starting signals for all 125 yachts had been made by 21:00 BST. One Class 3 boat, which had been OCS at the time of her starting signal at 20:00, struggled against the strong tide in dying winds and cleared the start line at 21:55, almost two hours later.

During the night the breeze continued to decrease to nothing and the fleet parked up for a time in the Solent. The Ker 11.3 El Gringo and the IC45 Hawk, which had headed towards the north shore, commented that they had never previously had to kedge in the Solent for a RORC race. About 01:30, the Farr 52 Bear of Britain was in Sandown Bay, after rounding Nab Tower, and El Gringo was off St Catherine’s at about 03:00.

Once in the Channel, keeping to the north seemed to pay dividends. By 09:20 on Saturday morning, Pure Sailing’s Volvo 60 Spirit, sailed by Hamish Oliphant reported her position due south of Portland, with RORC Commodore Chris Little’s IC45 Bounder nearby. It was a long hard night which required maximum concentration throughout the fleet to keep the boats moving in the ghosting conditions.

Bear of Britain, owned by Kit Hobday and Tim Louis was the first of the fleet to finish the 115-mile course at 14:15. Windward Sailing’s Volvo 60 Venom sailed by Derek Saunders was second across the line, one minute ahead of another Farr 52, Volvo For Life Team Tonic sailed by Nick Hewson.

By mid-afternoon on Saturday the flat calm in Lyme Bay had built to a gentle breeze allowing the Class Zero yachts, led by Bounder and Chris Bull’s J/145 Jazz to take the last of the fair tide to the finish. The tidal gate closed and the dying inshore breeze in the late afternoon interrupted the arrival of finishing yachts. By 18:00 only 12 yachts had crossed the line, including the first two Multihulls. The Grainger TR40 trimaran Gleam sailed by Robin Herbert was closely followed by Triohe, Richard Roscoe’s Farrier F9AX

In an agonising finish, having taken about an hour to complete the last 100metres to the finish line, Longbow, the Army Sailing Association’s Prima 38, sailed by Nicholas Bate, crossed the line at 21:21 to spontaneous applause from the sailors and members in the bar at Brixham Yacht Club. She was first Prima 38 and first in class IRC1.

The first of the class IRC 2 yachts did not finish until 01:14 on Sunday morning, after a second hard night of racing searching for the elusive breeze. Zarafa, Peter Scholfield’s HOD 35 led the way in, ahead of Jezebel, Bruce Isles & Philip Swatman’s J/109. Throughout the night and early morning there was a steady stream of finishers with Leo Lady, Graham Nixon’s Sigma 362, the first finisher in IRC 3 at 03:48. By 09:00 Sunday morning 78 yachts had successfully made their hard-fought way to Brixham, leaving only 10 boats to finish, the remainder of the fleet having retired.

The crew of the Sigma 38, Degree of Latitude girlsforsailing ltd, the second-to-last boat to finish at 13:16 on Sunday afternoon, were anxious for their well-earned baths, as were the long-suffering race officers still on duty on the Committee Boat after 40 hours.

The members of Brixham Yacht Club made the RORC fleet most welcome and the competitors who came ashore refuelled with bar meals and beer before setting off home. The visitors much appreciated the hospitality and expressed their hope of racing to Brixham again in future.

RORC would like to thank everyone who helped in Brixham: - Ray Bowles the Admiral of Brixham Yacht Club, Paul Labistour the Harbour Master, Neil Slater the Marina Manager, the Shuttle crew who ferried crews across the harbour to the Yacht Club, Pat and her team in the bar and restaurant and particularly Roger and Paula Richards, who supplied their yacht ‘Eleanor’ for Committee Boat duties.


Morgan Cup – BCT IRC Bear of Britain Kit Hobday / Tim Louis

1st Bear of Britain Kit Hobday / Tim Louis
2nd Volvo For Life Team Tonic Nick Hewson

Knightsbridge Cup – IRC Z El Gringo Nick Hartshorn
2nd Jazz Chris Bull
3rd Roxy 9 Robert Davies
4th Bounder Chris Little

Queenborough Cup – IRC 1 Longbow Army Sailing Association sailed by Nicholas Bate
2nd Magnum II Andrew Pearce
3rd Born Slippy 2 Team ORL sailed by Andrew Husband
4th Dark Star Geoff Chapman
5th Bonny Blue Sean Muskett

Charles Ball Challenge Cup – IRC 2 Jeronimo Jonathan & Lisa Goring
2nd Voodoo Chile Eamon Crosbie
3rd Zarafa Peter Scholfield
4th Jezebel Bruce Isles & Philip Swatman

(Class IRC 2 results subject to protest)

Warsash Cup – IRC 3 Exile Nicholas de la Fourniere
2nd Sigress David & Fiona Crawforth
3rd Cas Philippe Falle
4th Leo Lady Graham Nixon
5th Boozeroo Mr Richard Butler

Colin Campbell Challenge Cup – BCT IRM Bear of Britain Kit Hobday/Tim Louis
2nd Volvo for life Team Tonic Nick Hewson
3rd El Gringo Nick Hartshorn

RORC Salver – First Boat Home Bear of Britain

Multihull Triohe Richard Roscoe
2nd Gleam Robin Herbert

2 Handed Division Thunder 2 Donald Wilks & Kieron O’Connell
2nd Hurrying Angel Kathy Claydon & Harry Allaway

Seahorse Division Venom Windward Sailing Derek Saunders

Sigma 38 Highland Spirit Vince Hayter
2nd El Greco Impression Marine
3rd Arbitrator Peter Hopps
4th Euphorix Joanna Martin

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