Victory for Cracklin' Rosie
The Royal Ocean Racing Club's De Guingand Bowl Race featured teams from Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands. Starting and finishing in the Solent, the flexi-course used virtual marks in the English Channel to produce a course that tested the tactical awareness of the fleet, especially in the light airs close to dusk on the south side of the Isle of Wight.
While Piet Vroon's Dutch Lutra 56, Formidable 3, took line honours for the race and IRC Zero it was three British yachts racing in IRC One who dominated the podium for the overall result. Cracklin' Rosie, Steven Anderson's Corby 40, was the winner overall and in IRC One, their second win of the season. RORC Commodore Mike Greville's Ker 39 Erivale III was second overall and Mark Emerson's Rodman 42 Phosphorus third.
"We want to keep the same team together for the season, which is important in the build up to our main event, the RORC Transatlantic Race," commented Steven Anderson. "The crew put a lot of effort into preparation before the season started, the hull is in the best state it has ever been and Cracklin' Rosie is now dry sailed. We had another great battle with Erivale but to be honest, the lighter conditions we have experienced were in our favour, the competition would prefer more wind which we are bound to get at some stage over the next few months. However, the first three races have been a great boost to our confidence and we were highly motivated going into the De Guingand Bowl Race. This helped our concentration throughout the race, which was a very important factor."
In IRC Two the J/122 Relentless on Jellyfish, raced by James George, was the winner, followed into a well-deserved second place by Robin Elsey and Will Harris who were racing Two-Handed on their Figaro II Artemis 43. Sailing Logic's First 40, skippered by Nick Martin, Arthur Logic, placed third in class.
Tom Gadsden, navigator for Relentless on Jellyfish, gave an insight into the decisive part of the battle for class honours: "It was very interesting on the south side of the Isle of Wight. We were short tacking around St.Cat's, right up the shore, tacking the boat every five minutes to stay in the shallows and out of the current. It was late afternoon and the sea breeze was fading and the big decision was whether to stay inshore out of the current or go offshore in search of more wind. We left it a little late, fell into a hole and only just managed to escape by the skin of our teeth but several others remained there for several hours."
Ten yachts were racing in the popular Two-Handed Class and all enjoyed an extremely competitive race between themselves and the rest of their respective classes. Five teams finished in the top ten overall and took podium places from fully crewed yachts in the top three of every class they competed in. Taking first place in the Two-Handed Class, as well as winning IRC Four, was the highly experienced multihull and shorthanded sailor from Le Havre, Renaud Courbon, who was racing his First Class 10 Shortgood.
It was a photo finish for second place in the Two-Handed Class, the stakes raised as the two British yachts were also vying for first place in IRC Three. After 24 hours of racing it was Mike Moxley's HOD 35 Malice, which snatched the IRC Three win, and second place in the Two-Handed Class, by just 13 seconds from Nick Martin's J/105 Diablo-J . Kevin Armstrong's fully crewed Jazzy Jellyfish won its own battle of the J/109s and came in to claim third in class.
"Not bad for an old boat! But that was very tiring," laughed Mike Moxley after the race. "The course legs were all less than two hours, which meant neither of us got any sleep at all. We did a great job at St.Cat's, where we spotted a breeze line offshore and decided to go for it, while Diablo-J seemed to stall inshore. Later in the race, we ran out of wind off Poole and the competition came back with the breeze to cancel out our gain and the last leg was a real fight to the finish. Nick (Diablo-J) was catching us in better breeze and nearly pipped us at the line. Great race, great win - what more can I say."
In IRC Four Noel Racine's JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew came second to the Two-Handed Renaud Courbon on Shortgood, while fellow Two-Handed entry, David Mossman and Blair Forsyth's J/97 High Jinks was third.
"It was not a good race for us," admitted Noel Racine. "We had some problems with the engine, which we use to charge the batteries and while I was working on it, I didn't spot a wind hole. We sailed right into it and lost a lot of time because of that - but that is yacht racing. The weather was very nice but there were very light winds and with the mistakes we made I was not very happy! Foggy Dew will be racing again with the RORC for the Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race, a race that I always look forward to."
Despite Noel Racine's reservations, after the conclusion of the De Guingand Bowl Race, Foggy Dew has emerged as the new leader of the RORC Season's Points Championship, followed closely by Louis-Marie Dussere's Raging Bee which is four points behind. With a mere 0.1 difference between them are Steven Anderson's Cracklin' Rosie in third, and Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout's MC34 Patton Azawakh in fourth.