by Louay Habib
For the IRC National Championship, there was determination by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) to open in style and three excellent races on challenging windward leeward courses was the result. With virtually no wind forecast for the central Solent, as well as tidal and depth issues, the Race Committee decided to take the fleet east in search of a decent breeze and the result was a magnificent day on the water.
Quokka 8,Grand Soleil 40.GBR 2215,IRC Two
The racing in IRC Zero was incredibly close; Johnny Vincent's TP52, Pace, took the first race by just two seconds on corrected time and the second race also went in Pace's favour by just 11 seconds after time correction. Sir Keith Mills' TP52, 5 West, fought back to take the last race of the day to narrow the margin, however after three races Pace leads the big boat class by a single point ahead of 5 West.
'It was a brave call to send us nine miles to the east, past Horse Sand Fort, but it was the correct decision. The breeze filled in nicely and the RORC did a good job; we wouldn't have got three good races in if we had stayed in the central Solent,' confirmed Jeremy Robinson, tactician on Pace. 'We are pleased with our overall performance but we didn't sail perfectly today. After racing we talked about how we can improve tomorrow but it is always encouraging to finish the day at the top of the class.'
IRC One start - 2013 RORC IRC National Championship
In IRC One reigning class champion, Andrew Pearce's Ker 40, Magnum III, put in a spectacular performance scoring two bullets and a second place to secure pole position in a highly competitive class. Piet Vroon's Tonnerre de Breskens is second with Michael Bartholomew's King 40, Tokoloshe, in third.
'Thrilled!' smiled Andrew Pearce, owner/driver of Magnum III. 'I have got to say well done to the RORC for providing excellent racing today. This is by far and away the most competitive racing we have done and, in a wind speed that is probably our weakest area, I am absolutely gobsmacked by our results. Our boat speed was the key today, we have developed a new No.1 and it gave us that extra horsepower. The crew were magnificent today, probably best typified by a gybe peel in the first race, it could have been a recipe for disaster but the guys executed a perfect manoeuvre.'
Olivier Pesci's Grand Soleil 40, Beelzebuth 3 is top of the leaderboard in IRC Two, but the day did not start well for the team from Brittany, scoring a fifth place in race one. However Beelzebuth 3 came back strongly, scoring two wins to finish the first day in style. Adam Gosling's Corby 36, Yes!, is just a point behind the leaders with Peter Rutter's Grand Soleil 43, Trustmarque Quokka, very much in contention in third.
In IRC Three James Chalmers’ J/35, Bengal Magic, and Peter Morton's Corby 33, Salvo, could not be separated in the first race of the day, scoring a tie after time correction. After three races, Bengal Magic leads Salvo by just a point to top the class. Reigning RORC IRC National Champion, David Franks’ JPK 10.10, Strait Dealer, scored one race win today to claim third place.
The top performer of the day was Nick and Adam Munday's J/97, Induljence, scoring three straight wins in IRC Four. In light airs getting a good start and into clear air was the telling factor and Induljence started every race with great anticipation. Richard Sparrow's J/92, Who's to No, is second but only on countback from Michael Kershaw's Half Tonner, Chimp.
Similar conditions are forecast for the second day of the RORC IRC National Championship and, shortly after racing was concluded on the first day, the Race Committee announced a postponement of two hours in the hope of more wind by tomorrow afternoon. Light airs racing is mentally very tiring and the morning respite was welcomed unanimously by the crews of the 54 yachts racing at the RORC IRC National Championship.
Hooligan V11,KER 40,GBR 741,IRC One - 2013 RORC IRC National Championship
Yes,Corby 36,GBR 4863,IRC Two - 2013 RORC IRC National Championship
Jiggerbug,J111,GBR 1111X,IRC Two - 2013 RORC IRC National Championship
Zero 11,Mills 39,IRL 39000,IRC One - 2013 RORC IRC National Championship
Antix,Ker 39,IRL3939,IRC One - 2013 RORC IRC National Championship
Tanit,Sydney 36,GBR 731,IRC Two - 2013 RORC IRC National Championship