Visit Malta wins Cervantes Trophy
A big variation in wind strength and direction gave the competitors in the RORC Cervantes Trophy Race plenty to think about; spotting the changes in the conditions and reacting to them proved crucial.
Sailing Logic’s Reflex 38, Visit Malta Puma, carried on from their highly successful 2009 season winning the Cervantes Trophy over the Bank Holiday weekend. A glorious spinnaker start saw the fleet out of the Solent but light airs beset the fleet mid-Channel before filling in to give the fleet a beat to the finish at Le Havre.
“We are really delighted with our win and it was down to a very good effort by all of the team,” said Skipper, Philippe Falle. “The decisive stage of the race was rounding the A5 buoy. The wind had gone super light and forward, it was difficult to keep the boat going but by looking at the gusts on the water under the moonlight we kept her moving. The crew really concentrated on trim, helming and weight distribution and we knew that if we could match wind speed to boat speed we would be doing well. Sometimes the wind speed was as little as three knots but we kept going. We finished last season with a win into Cherbourg, so it was nice to win two on the trot.”
In IRC Super Zero Nigel Passmore’s Apollo won the battle of the TP52s, beating the British Keelboat Academy’s John Merricks II on the water and on handicap. Andrew Dawson’s Class 40 Spliff was third picking up the Class 40 division win.
IRC Zero saw another win from Mike Greville’s Ker 39 Erivale III repeating their class win from last year. “We got a pretty good start but a broach near Owers put us in the pack with smaller boats,” commented Greville. “We had a fetch out into the Channel and the only real decision was whether to sail with the Jib Top or the Genoa. However, the breeze eventually started to go forward and light. This turned the race into a much more tactical one. Our strategy was to tack on the shifts, spotting them is not easy in light airs and concentration is paramount.”
John Stapleton’s First 44.7 Vespucci's Black Sheep made a welcome return to offshore racing taking second place in class with the X-41, Pharo, in third.
In IRC One Visit Malta Puma was first, but this was a very competitive class with the top four boats within 20 minutes of each other on corrected time. Steve Anderson’s First 40.7 Encore was second in class and overall by less than two minutes. Christopher Opielok’s Corby 36 Rockall III was third and RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine, sailing with Peter Morton on their brand new First 40 La Réponse, were fourth. Both Rockall III and La Réponse will be hoping to race in this year’s Rolex Commodores’ Cup.
Noel Racine in a new JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew was the winner of IRC Two. “I only picked up the new boat from Lorient last week, so we have a lot to learn but it is a great start," commented Le Havre resident, Racine. "We will be competing in most of the RORC races this season and we have a clear plan going through to next year, in preparation for the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race.”
David Aisher’s J/109, Yeoman of Wight, was second with Mike Moxley’s HOD 35 Malice in third.
David Lees’ High Tension 36 Hephzibah won IRC Three in the RORC Season’s Points Championship in 2009 and the Lymington-based boat kicked off the 2010 season in fine style, winning in class. Alan Thornewill’s MG 346 Spirit of Daedalus was second and Kirsteen Donaldson’s X-332 Pyxis was third.
The Two Handed Division saw ten entries. Mike Moxley’s HOD 35 consolidated her podium finish in IRC Two by taking the prize for the best two handed boat on corrected time. James Gair’s First 40.7 Below Zero was second and Peter Olden’s A35 Solan Goose of Hamble was third.
There are two RORC races over the next weekend of offshore racing: The 180 mile North Sea Race from Harwich to Scheveningen starts on Friday 14 May and the De Guingand Bowl Race in the Channel starts on Saturday 15 May.
Overall results here