Courrier Vintage - RORC 2013 Yacht of the Year
With the Rolex Middle Sea Race finally bringing the RORC's Season's Points Championships to an end, it is time to honour the winners in what has been a very competitive year. This is the first time that the Rolex Middle Sea Race has been included in the Season's Points Championships and also the first time that only one of the high points factored races is used for a yacht's total score. This initiative was to discourage boats from only doing those races with points coefficient. It had the desired effect of making the points differences much smaller and the final result much closer.
Over 500 different yachts competed in RORC offshore races, half of these coming from abroad, with the pinnacle event being the Rolex Fastnet Race with its record breaking 337 starters, record number of finishers (327) and an historic win for the two-handed father and son team, Pascal and Alexis Loison on the JPK 10.10, Night and Day.
RORC Yacht of the Year
For many sailors the icing on the cake after a tough and competitive season is the selection of the 'RORC Yacht of the Year' by the RORC Main Committee and this year's selection had a number of very good candidates. Arriving at their decision the Committee were impressed with the results of one boat who won its class in the Cervantes Trophy, North Sea, De Guingand Bowl, Rolex Fastnet and Cherbourg Races.
Winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy for RORC Yacht of the Year and the Emily Verger Plate for winning IRC Two overall is Courrier Vintage, an MC34 Patton co-owned by Sam Marsaudon and long time RORC member and supporter Géry Trentesaux.
Trentesaux was both delighted and surprised to receive the award as he was second to Piet Vroon's Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens in IRC overall: "Yacht of the Year is the cherry on the cake and it is an official recognition from the RORC of our season. We reached both of our two objectives from the beginning of the season, winning Spi Ouest and Fastnet in our Class. I am thinking of my father, who was a member of RORC in the seventies and who died just before the start of the Morgan Cup."
Trentesaux took ownership of the boat in 2012 and brought the boat to the IRC National Championship in Cowes. This Mark Lombard design was noticeably different with its striking grey colour, slab sides and with a sharp chine running all the way aft to its wide transom.
The boat started life with a single rudder and showed signs of good performance but was never outstanding. At the end of the 2012 season Trentesaux decided to optimise it for offshore racing with the 2013 Rolex Fastnet in mind so added twin rudders, increased the weight of the bulb and increased the surface area of the fin to improve its upwind performance with a much bigger speed gain than Géry expected and in their first outing in the new configuration they won Spi Ouest at Easter.
Trentesaux has been delighted with the boat's performance both inshore and offshore. The twin rudder configuration on the wide transom allows the boat to be pushed harder when reaching and the spinnaker pole was removed in favour of a bowsprit and asymmetric spinnakers.
The boat now holds its own with conventional designs, but excels downwind and one would have thought it was a very light boat but not so as it weighs in just shy of 4 tons with a DLR of 150. This is less than the highly successful JPK 10.10 (which took five out of the top 11 places overall in this year's Rolex Fastnet Race) with a DLR of 182 but more than a Ker 40 which has a DLR of 121. (The lower the number the more racing orientated the design).
Piet Vroon's Tonnerre de Breskens has been amazingly consistent having won the Jazz Trophy three times for winning IRC overall. The Ker 46, now in its fifth year, has been continuously upgraded and is always regarded as the boat to beat in all conditions. Tonnerre competed in nine offshore races and veteran skipper Piet Vroon was on board for the majority of the races. Tonnerre also won the Stradivarius Trophy for best overseas yacht in IRC Overall and the Alan Paul Trophy for consistent high performance in IRC.
Of the rest of the results the Two-Handed Class deserves a special mention as it continues to grow. 69 boats entered this season which is the largest fleet since the discipline was introduced. The fleet encompasses a wide range of competitors, from experienced Corinthian sailors to the young skippers from the Artemis Offshore Academy training to be professional sailors in their fleet of Beneteau Figaro IIs. The top three boats in the Two-Handed Class in 2013 show this variety with Sam Matson and Robin Elsey from the Artemis Offshore Academy coming third in class with Artemis 21. The 22 and 21-year-olds had a good season but missed out on additional points when they raced their fellow Figaro IIs under class rules for the Rolex Fastnet Race.
Rob Craigie and Deb Fish had a great season with their J/122 J Bellino culminating in a win in class in the Cherbourg Race, the last race of the domestic season. However, it was the Loison family class act in Night and Day who, not surprisingly, won overall with class wins in all of the races they entered apart from the Cherbourg Race. Pascal and Alexis Loison had optimised their JPK 10.10 for shorthanded sailing with twin rudders. It is a very good all round boat with nicely laid out accommodation down below.
Commenting on their successful season Pascal Loison drew attention to the special relationship for the father and son team: "I am especially proud to win all these races with my son; it was for me a great thing. When he was a child I taught him to sail; now he is a professional sailor and teaches me a lot of things. When we won the Fastnet Race overall and Two-Handed, some people said it was 'historic'."
It certainly was.
Other results are:
IRC Canting Keel - Volvo 70, Monster Project - Andrew Budgen and Fred Schwyn
IRC Zero - Volvo 60, Pleomax - Harm Prins
IRC One - Ker 40, Magnum III - Andrew Pearce
IRC Two - MC34 Patton, Courrier Vintage - Sam Marsaudon and Géry Trentesaux
IRC Three - JPK 10.10, Night and Day - Pascal and Alexis Loison
IRC Four - JPK 10.10, Foggy Dew - Noel Racine
Class40 - Momentum Ocean Racing - Emma Creighton and Dan Dytch
Nick Elliott, RORC Racing Manager, was delighted with the 2013 season: "This season has seen varied conditions from an exciting short blast across to Le Havre for the Cervantes Trophy Race to a test of patience and endurance to St Malo in the Cowes Dinard St Malo Race. All the races saw fantastic entry and competition across the classes peaking with the record fleet in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Congratulations to all of our competitors on their achievements throughout the year and we look forward to seeing you all on the water in 2014."