Morgan Cup Race - Thrills and spills to Dieppe

Paul Willcox at the helm of Tonnerre de Breskens powering through the finish line off Dieppe
Adrian Gray
In the Morgan Cup Race, Piet Vroon's marlin blue Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, surfed through the finish line at Dieppe to take Line Honours and the win overall under IRC. Finishing the 122-mile race in under 12 hours, it was a fast downwind ride across The English Channel but boat handling and tactics were very much a big part of the overall win.

'That was pretty quick!' exclaimed Adrian Gray from on board just after the finish. 'We hit 20 knots as we crossed the finish line and we have been hovering around 16 knots since we rounded The Nab Tower leaving The Solent. From the start line to Owers was tactical, especially staying in the breeze and the run south was dead downwind so we were gybing non-stop through the night, there was no sleep for the crew and it was pretty wet on deck, so it was flat out all the way but it was a real blast and we all loved it.'

Andrew Pearce's Ker 40, Magnum 3, was runner up with Edward Broadway's Ker 40, Hooligan VII, into third place overall.

In IRC Two Philippe Falle racing Grand Soleil 43, Trustmarque Quokka, was the victor. Stacy Vickers’ First 40 Windward Assoc. on Lancelot II Logic was second but only by the narrowest of margins, astonishingly after over 17 hours of racing the race charter team was just nine seconds ahead of First 40, La Réponse, skippered by RORC Admiral, Andrew McIrvine.

In IRC Three there was a 'David vs. Goliath' battle for the class win. Pascal Loison's JPK 10.10, Night and Day, racing two handed, was one of the smallest yachts racing to Dieppe and Ben Morris' Swan 55, Lulotte, racing fully crewed, one of the largest. Lulotte took line honours but Night and Day finished just over half an hour later to win the class by a mere three minutes on corrected time. Christopher Palmer's J/109, J-T'Aime, was third in class.

There was drama in IRC Four, even before the fleet had left the Solent, as Chris Choules, skipper of Sigma 38, With Alacrity explains:

'About half an hour into the race, we were racing past Wooton Creek flying our spinnaker with Mefisto about three boat lengths behind us. In a big gust, Mefisto broached and we saw one of their crew members had gone over the side. We dropped our spinnaker immediately and turned around and headed back upwind. We could see that Mefisto was still trying to gain control of the boat and we were in a better position to retrieve the casualty, so we motored alongside him and recovered him from the water. The man-over-board routine is something we have practiced a lot. Recently we spent half a day just practicing that, so it was time very well spent. Once we had established that the casualty was okay, he asked to be returned to Mefisto. Both of us continued racing and we had a fantastic close battle, as we have done all season. However, Mefisto got the better of us on the downwind leg to the finish. We will have to see how the race committee handle our request for redress but I am sure that any other yacht in the race would have done exactly what we did in the same situation.'

Subject to a request for redress from With Alacrity, Kevin Sussmilch's Sigma 38, Mefisto, is the winner of IRC Four, Chris and Vanessa Choules' Sigma 38, With Alacrity, is second and Robert Boulter's Cal 40, Breeze, is in third.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues next weekend with The Lyver Trophy Race organised by the Royal Dee Yacht Club and Liverpool Yacht Club. The bi-annual 100-mile race from Holyhead, Wales to Howth in Dublin Bay is timed to take place a week after the Holyhead Regatta and is an excellent feeder race for yachts taking part in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

For more information: RORC