RORC Cervantes Trophy
As the fleet parked up mid-Channel, Robinson had a tense few hours as he could only wonder if the others were sailing in a fresh breeze or were also due to stop. "We stopped in the English Channel, which I think was the wind off the English coast meeting the wind off the French coast. It was quite painful for a bit as we had a bit of a slop with no breeze and the kite up. The breeze filled in eventually so we were alright in the end but when we finished we thought the boats behind might beat us [on corrected time] as they had more wind, but they must have stopped when we did it."
With the finish under the cover of dark, it was impossible for crews physically to see the time difference.
Second across the line was Roger Barber’s multihull, Meridian which took 15:56.50 for the trip.
Once again the Ker 11.3s were also the talk of the dock as all five were in eyesight for a majority of the crossing. Nicholas Hartson’s El Gringo led the five Ker’s out of the Solent, in sight of Team Tonic and Piet Vroon’s Lutra 52 Tonnerre.
Robbie Cameron - Davies’ I-Site, with Olympian Phil Crebbin at the helm, had a code zero in their sail inventory, which slotted into the wind angle and range perfectly to push them ahead of El Gringo just after the Isle of Wight.
Team Tonic and Tonnerre got away in the lighter breezes in the Channel, leaving the 11.3’s to their private tactical tussle.
As the five teams hit the new downwind breeze off the French coast, I-Site opted to cover Chris Bull’s Kerisma to the West, which had class designer Jason Ker in the crew, letting the others off to the East.
Their gamble worked as I-Site led her four sisterships across the line with an elapsed time of 16:48.44 (fourth in IRC overall) with Kerisma next in a time of 17:05.06.
After a number of place changes, Minnie the Moocher was third in to Le Harve with El Gringo fourth and Fair Do’s V the final Ker design in fifth.
Finally, special mention must be given to the French Figaro yacht Groupe Partouche. In last years event, Skipper Christophe Coatnoan and his partner, sailing on a different yacht under the same name (and again sailing double handed), got into trouble not long after the start.
The rudder on their yacht started to shear away from the hull off Bembridge and the boat took on water. The couple abandoned ship to their liferaft and were picked up by the coastguard
Undeterred by their previous experience, the couple returned with a new stead this year and won the IRC 2 class in 20:18.01 (corrected). Second was Philippe Bourgeois’ First 36.7 Consodata Group, which had a final time of 21:41.20.
The next event in the RORC series will be the North Sea Race on Friday, May 10.