123 boats for the St Malo race
The RORC's Cowes-Dinard-St Malo race, set sails this Friday at 1450 from the Royal Yacht Squadron line.
The 164 mile St Malo race has always been popular and with 123 boats already in, it is the biggest entry for a RORC offshore race so far this season.
Leading the field is certainly Mike Slade’s Farr 100 super maxi ICAP Leopard, the line honours favourite. Slade will be attempting to break his own course record, set in 2008. He commented: “We have held the record in four different boats, Ocean Leopard took about 19 hours, in Longabarda we took about 16 hours, Leopard of London about 15 hours and racing ICAP Leopard we got it down to about 11 hours. We will be hoping to get a good westerly wind so that we can lay the Casquets and then charge off towards St Malo under spinnaker.
"I have been doing this race for about 20 years and we are running out of restaurants that will have us! Hopefully we will be in by Saturday morning and have an enormous celebration!”
There are 16 RORC trophies up for grabs in this race and there will be some intense battles right through the fleet. Four Class 40s will also be racing including World Champion, Concise, skippered by young aspiring yachtsman Tom Gall.
No less than nine A 35s will undoubtedly be swapping tacks throughout the race, including French Rolex Commodores’ Cup representative, Marc Alperovitch and Jerome Huillard’s, Prime Time. However, last year’s IRC Two winners Franck-Yves Esco-Voiles’ A 35 Ame-Hasle will certainly be looking to retain the Yacht Club de Dinard Trophy.
26 Beneteau yachts will be on the start line, many from France but also making the trip to St Malo is RORC Commodore Andrew McIrvine, abouard his First 40, La Réponse, racing against three other sisterships.
McIrvine commented: “La Réponse is a new boat and a new design, so we are getting used to it and the new sails, there are a lot of tweaks to be done but we are learning more every race. It is the first boat that I have had with a fridge which is a bit of a novelty for me! So far we are pretty happy with the boat speed but there is more to come, I am sure.”
Hugues Riché’s Grand Soleil 44R Spineck was the overall winner of the prestigious King Edward VII Cup for best yacht overall in IRC. Riché has strong associations with the Yacht Club de France and after winning last year, he let the Club put the Cup on display. Spineck is back again this year and will be highly motivated to retain it.