Singlehanded Channel Week

The Solo Offshore Racing Club's 350 mile six leg dash about the Channel sets sail this Saturday

Thursday July 29th 2010, Author: Jerry Freeman, Location: United Kingdom

The 22 competitors taking part in the 2010 edition of Solo Offshore Racing Club's (SORC) Channel Week, are due to set to sail from Lymington for Alderney early on Saturday 31 July for the first leg of the six stage race over the following seven days.

Race Director Peter Olden, (fresh from his class win in the RORC channel race) commented: "The depth of the talent in this year’s fleet is as competitive as I have seen in five years competing in this event, with a few notable exceptions we have a fine representation from the cream of amateur shorthanded sailing in the UK and Ireland”

The race visits Alderney, Guernsey, St Quay, Brixham and Portland before finishing in Lymington on Saturday 6 August - a total of 350 miles of solo racing over six legs. There are no discards and with just one rest day in St Quay the pace will be relentless.

Class one will see a close battle between four boats that recently completed the Round Britain and Ireland race: Chris Rustom came out top then in Ding Dong (a Stewart 37), followed by Katie Miller in bluQube (Figaro2), Mary Falk in QII (Pocock35) and Rob Craigie in Jbellino (J/122). Rob won his class in Ostar 2009 and will be looking for revenge, but Noj White in SX girl (X-37) and Peter Olden on Solan Goose (A-35) will provide plenty of competition.

HODs and JODs will battle it out for class 2 honours. Barry Hurley from Ireland is a very experienced sailor with an Ostar class win in 2009 under his belt. Barry will be racing his JOD-35 Dinah and will have two other water ballasted JOD 35s for company in John Twiggs' Ticktock and Paul Brant on Ninjod. Steve Thomas, winner of the RIOW Solo race in 2010 on his HOD Truant will be racing against sistership Psipsina, the current leader of the RORC 2010 doublehanded series. Psipsina will be skippered Paddy Cronin.

Following on from his Round Britain and Ireland race, Nigel Colley makes his solo debut on his Sunfast 3200 Fastrack. Also taking part iwll be the Mini Prim’Avel sailed by Andy Oliver, while RORC Rear Commodore and SORC regular Nick Martin will compete on his J/105 Diablo J.

Carl Wilcox will be the one to watch in class three. After the frustrations of missing most of last year with a ski injury, Carl has made a big impact in 2010 by winning class 3 in the SORC coastal series, finishing second overall. French skipper Herve Dupriez is on another very competitive boat. He recently won the Solent to Portland race. Luke Bond, on his J/92s Dragonfly with two previous Channel Weeks under his belt could should be in contention for a class podium. Simon Mitchell on his Beneteau 31.7 Aquillo, in his first SORC season has already clocked up some good results, of particular note was his third overall in the recent Portland to Solent Race. The lowest rated boat in the fleet is certainly not there to turn the lights out, Mike Saqui on Restless recently won the Portland to Solent race and also achieved an overall win in one of the inshore races of 2009 (his second Solo race).

SORC, or as it used to be known Petit Bateau, has always had a place for suitably qualified skippers, even if they have boats which are of a more cruising-oriented nature. This year there are some fine examples with Rob Packham on his Southerly 110 Star Dancer, which successfully completed the Fal500 double handed earlier this year and Robin Hyde on his Mystery 35 Katy Laura who is travelling from Plymouth for his maiden SORC event.

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