Victory for Tonnerre

Piet Vroon's Ker 46 wins the RORC's Myth of Malham Race

Monday May 31st 2010, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom

The 2010 Myth of Malham Race was a tough one. The challenging course around the Eddystone lighthouse was subject to two gale warnings and, as expected, there was a lumpy sea.

The race started in bright sunny conditions with a beat out of the Solent in a force four southwesterly breeze; but the fleet knew that it would get tough later. IRC classes Two and Three started first with Mark Tracey’s J/109 Jamira hitting the line on port right on time. However she soon had to tack because of starboard boats and John Loden’s HOD 35 Psipsina led the fleet down the Solent.

The second start saw the bigger boats fully powered up as they hit the line. With a strong tide running four boats were over the line early; thee came back quickly but Steven Anderson’s Encore took a long time to return and start correctly. Jonny Vincent’s TP 52 Pace powered away taking an early lead but Piet Vroon’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3 managed to get in front of the other TP 52s and keep them behind.

Pace took line honours completing the 230 mile course in less than 23 hours, but did not do enough to stop Piet Vroon and Tonnerre winning Class Zero and IRC Overall on handicap. After the race Mike Broughton, the navigator, explained their strategy. “The wind was remarkably stable and behaved as predicted so we worked the tides aggressively. We knew that, with half of the race being hard on the wind, Tonnerre would be hard to beat and she proved as fast as a TP52 in the upwind conditions”. He added that they were too fast to get perfect tides which he thought were well suited to a 40 footer. The only problem they had was a broken D1 which prevented them from tacking after the finish.

Tonnerre managed to keep Apollo and John Merricks II, the two other two IRCed TP52s, behind her for the first three hours of the race and crossed the finishing line fourth an hour and a half after Pace. Back in Cowes, Vroon joked that he was disappointed not to have finished in under 24 hours (they were 25 seconds over) as he waited for lower rated boats to finish. he considered that Erivale III, Mike Greville’s Ker 39 was the most likely to beat him but in the event it was Marc de St Denis and Géry Trenteseaux’s First 40, Courrier de Coeur, which posed the threat. The Class One boat came second overall by just two and a half minutes on corrected time. “It was wet cold and uncomfortable” said Vroon. “We did a long leg out to sea to avoid the adverse tide at Portland and rounded the Eddystone at 0340. It was too close for a kite so we reached back under jib top and managed 18 knots on occasions. With the wind increasing it was a rough uncomfortable and wet ride to the finish”.

The overall results reflected the strength of IRC with boats from IRC Super Zero to IRC Two in the top six. Super Zero was won by Pace, Courrier de Coeur took Class One, Noel Racine’s JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew triumphed in IRC Two and Class Three saw Jean Yves Chateau’s Fastnet winning Nicholson 33 Iromiguy take handicap honours. John Loden won the Two- Handed Division in his HOD 35, Psipsina.

Alan Thornewill’s MG 346 Spirit of Daedalus was the last boat to finish nearly 24 hours after Pace. The race was toughest for the smaller boats which raced for twice as long as the big boats and they deserve credit for staying the course.

The RORC would like to thank the volunteers and Brian Stewart, the owner, who kept Zulu the committee boat on station for a long watch. They were close to the lee shore and dragged the anchor as well as rolling heavily for the whole time.

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