by Louay Habib
The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Morgan Cup Race took the fleet from Cowes, east out the Solent, along the southside of the Isle of Wight and along the southwest coast of England to Dartmouth and it proved to be a tough test. To make the finish, a 110-mile beat required determination, even tenacity. After the fleet received their finishing times, corrected under IRC, the results made several significant changes to the standings for the RORC Season's Points Championship, including the overall lead.
Nigel Passmore's Apollo 7 at the finish of the RORC Morgan Cup Race.
Nigel Passmore's J/133, Apollo7, with an all-Devonian crew, were celebrating in Dartmouth after winning the Morgan Cup.
'It was a great blast out of the Solent at the start' smiled Nigel. 'Full on downwind, 150 degree wind angle, kite up and the breeze gusting up to 20 knots. We were soon approaching the Forts and decided to peel to a Code Zero, which was a real thrill. After hardening up, we dug in for a 110 mile beat. The big decision was whether we could make Portland Bill before the tide turned but that decision had to be made before Anvil Point and we decided to go for it.
We went tight in at Portland and got there just before the tide turned but we had to deal with a back eddy off the point straight after and we footed off went for the Code Zero and powered our way through it. After that it was all about driving through the waves putting in fat tacks to keep up the speed. Definitely the decisive move was staying in shore and that is where we pulled it off.
As we came into Dartmouth it was pitch black with wind over tide causing a very lumpy sea-way, so we waited until first light to get up the Dart. Most of the lads are from Plymouth, but we had a pasty and a couple of beers, waiting for the result before heading to our local. After all those long deliveries back and forwards to Cowes for races, it was a real indulgence to be so close to home at the finish and winning such a prestigious trophy on home soil - we are over the moon!'
Line Honours and the win in IRC Zero went to Piet Vroon's Lutra 56, Formidable 3, propelling the Dutch team to the top of the class for the season.
RORC Commodore, Mike Greville racing his Ker 39, Erivale 3, was the class winner. He gained enough points to take pole position for the RORC Main Series by just 1.2 points from Steven Anderson's Corby 40, Cracklin Rosie, who only missed the race as Stephen has been away competing in the Newport Bermuda Race. Daniel Hardy's Oyster 625, Lady Mariposa, was second in class, lifting the team to third overall for the series.
Apollo 7 won the race, Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling, sailing Peter Rutter's Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, was second in the class and overall by just over six minutes, giving the Irish Commodores' Cup team valuable practice and a good degree of confidence prior to the Brewin Dolphon Commodores' Cup next month. Ross Appleby's Oyster 48, Scarlet Logic, made their first appearance in a RORC race for the season, scoring a well earned third in class.
Louis-Marie's JPK 10.10, Raging Bee, was the winner of the class and the Two-Handed division. An extra-ordinary effort, which lifts the French team to the best yacht overall for the RORC Season's Points Championship. Kevin Armstrong's J/109, Me Julie, a temporary replacement for their regular yacht Jazzy Jellyfish, with the Summit Sailing Team scored a very respectable second in IRC Three, after a tremendous battle with Christopher Palmer's J/109, Je T'aime. The two teams enjoyed a private dual for over 22 hours and just over six minutes separated the J/109's at the finish.
Two French yachts, both racing two-handed enjoyed a close battle. Matthias Kracht's JPK 9.60, Ultreia! was the class winner finishing just over three minutes ahead of fellow French JPK 9.60 team onboard Sous Mama Boulé skippered by Ludovic Melnyk. However, the performance by Sous Mama Boulé was enough to lift the team to second overall for the RORC Season's Points Championship.
The Round Ireland Race started on Saturday and is a weighted race within the RORC Season's Points Championship. After 48 hours of racing, Royal Cork's Ian Hickey racing Cavatina is the provisional race leader after time correction under IRC. The leaders on the water are locked in titanic battle passing the Fastnet Rock, Wicklow Sailing Club's David Ryan racing Volvo 70, Monster Project is just a mile ahead of Teng Tools Kilcullen, co skippered by Enda O'Coineen and Eamon Crosby from the Royal Irish and National Yacht Clubs of Dublin.
Racing in the Round Ireland Race is expected to continue for most of the first week in July. The next race in the RORC Season's Points Championship, is the ever popular, Cowes Dinard St.Malo starting on Friday 11th July where competitors should have enough time to celebrate Bastille Day in the historic walled-port in Normandy, France.
For more information visit RORC website.