Day three of the Red Funnel Easter Challenge, organised by the RORC, produced some quite stunning Solent racing with plenty of spills and thrills. Finally, after two days of frustration, racing got under way and it was well worth the wait. Louay Habib took a trip out to the combat zone to witness the action. CLASS IRC SZ
Niklas Zennstrom’s TP52, Ran, lit up the Solent, nailing the start and perfectly anticipated a massive wind shift, laying the top mark spot on. A text book bear away set and they were literally flying downwind, at over twenty knots, winning race one by over five minutes on corrected time.
Robert Lutener & Martin Elwood’s, TP52, Henri Lloyd Cutting Edge was second. Close behind, in third place was the young talent of the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme, racing a TP52 for the very first time.
Stuart Robinson’s stunning TP52, Stay Calm, was well placed until gear failure halted their progress. 'The bow-sprit came clean off. At the moment we are not exactly sure what caused the failure,' commented Stay Calm crew, Lisa McDonald.
The all star crew on TP52, Ran, showed their class, winning by an impressive margin of over six minutes. Serguei Shevtov’s, Russian TP52,Valars, was second; a great recovery after forestay problems forced them to retire from the first race. Henri Lloyd-Cutting Edge was third, on corrected time.
Overall winner of IRC Super Zero was Niklas Zennstrom’s, Ran with Rob Lutener and Martin Elwood’s, Henri-Lloyd Cutting Edge, second and VOLVO RYA Keelboat programme third.
'It was tough out there today for all of the boats and the race committee,' commented Ran navigator, Steve Hayles. 'There were a lot of variables on the race course. The wind speed varied from 12 to 25 knots and the wind direction was never really stable. We made a few mistakes today, as I am sure everybody did but Easter being so early this year has been a big factor. On Ran we have only managed a few training days prior to the event and I am sure that we will improve as the season goes on. It is great to have these boats in the Solent; it is a fascinating and challenging place to race.' CLASS IRC 0
Colm Barrington’s, brand new Ker 39, Silk Glove, won her maiden race in a very competitive class by just under a minute,on corrected time. Barrington’s fellow Irishman, Anthony O’Leary was at the helm and yacht designer Jason Ker was part of the crew, wearing his trademark red trousers.
A superb performance by Simon Henning’s Farr 45, Alice II, saw them claim second place by 36 seconds on corrected time, just ahead of an all star crew on Klaus Diederich & Grant Gordon’s, Swan 45, Fever.
David Lancefield will be delighted with his first win on his First 45, Poppy of Portland Marina, winning the last race of the day from Colm Barrington’s Silk Glove. Klaus Diederich & Grant Gordon’s, Fever.was in third place.
Silk Glove won the class overall and boat captain, James Hynes is pleased with her first run out; 'It’s a great boat and there is more speed in her to come. We have had a couple of teething problems as you often do but, all in all, we are delighted to come to the Red Funnel Easter Challenge. As always, it a great start to a campaign.'
Second in class was Klaus Diederich & Grant Gordon’s, Fever with David Lancefield, Poppy of Portland Marina, a respectable third. CLASS IRC 1
It was nip and tuck as the top four boats finished within seconds of each other on corrected time. Eamonn Rohan’s Mills 40, Blondie IV and Jerry Otter’s Ker 39, Erivale III had a photo-finish; with the brand new, Blondie IV, winning by one second, on the water and by seven seconds, on corrected time. Rob Bottomley’s Prima 38, Sailplane, was close behind in third place.
Conor & Denise Phelan’s Ker 37, Jump Juice, had a great result in race two, beating Eamonn Rohan’s Blondie IV by just 21 seconds on corrected time. Jerry Otter’s Erivale III was in third place.
Eamonn Rohan’s Blondie IV, won the class overall from Conor & Denise Phelan’s Jump Juice with Jerry Otter’s Erivale III in third. These three boats will all be competing for the Rolex Commodores Cup later this summer. 'It was a great shake out for us today, to get rid of some of the winter rust' commented Blondie IV crew Ian Travers. 'It was exactly the kind of training to start off the season.' CLASS IRC 2
Chris Walmsley’s Ker 31, Sanguma won the first race of the day, beating Peter Schofield’s HOD 35, less than a minute on corrected time. Mike Wallis helming his J/109, Jahmali was third.
Peter Morton’s Beneteau 34.7, Salvo, had a mixed day after a collision in race one. In race two, Salvo was a mere second ahead of Peter Schofield’s Zarafa, on corrected time to finish the day on a high. Chris Walmsley’s, Sanguma was third.
Class winner was Chris Walmsley’s Sanguma, but only on count back from Paul Schofield’s, Zarafa. Peter Morton’s, Salvo was third. CLASS IRC 3
Paul and Marie-Claude Heys racing their J/92s, Jack Sparrow, revelled in the heavy weather winning race one by over a minute. Ian Braham’s MG346, Dean and Dyball Enigma was second and had a great tussle on the water with Jackie & Robert Dobson’s Elan 333, Elusive which was third.
Paul and Marie-Claude Heys, racing Jack Sparrow, made it a perfect score for the day winning race two by a comfortable margin, Ian Braham’s Dean and Dyball Enigma were second .Jackie and Robert Dobson, racing Elusive, were third. 'I thought we had a great mix of racing today' commented Paul Heys. 'The first race was all about spotting the big wind shift early on and then trying to keep in clear air amongst a compressed fleet, especially out of the bad air from larger boats. Race two, we managed to get a good start and due to a round the cans course, we managed to stay in clean air for most of the way around. All in all, a great day’s sailing!'
After the conclusion of racing, a prize giving was held at the Cowes Yacht Haven events centre. Shirley Anderson, a director of Red Funnel Ferries officiated at the prize giving and commented; 'Red Funnel are delighted to be associated with such a well run and splendid spectacle in the Solent and we are so pleased that so many competitors have taken part. If only the weather had been better we could have had a perfect event. We are proud to be associated with this event and look forward to welcoming everybody next year.'
Last but not least, a mention for the RORC Race Team, many of whom are volunteers. Especially, Fiona and Andy Bristow who provide Committee Boat, Atlantis, without charge. Without all their efforts, events such as the Red Funnel Easter Challenge could not happen.
A full race report and results can be found at: http://www.rorc.org Provisional Overall Results
Series Place, Sail No, Boat, Type of Boat, Owner, (Handicap, Series Points, Race 1, Race 2)
Class IRC SZ
1. GBR528R, Ran, TP52, Niklas Zennstrom, (1.369, 2, 1, 1)
2. GBR952R, Henri Lloyd – Cutting Edge, TP52, Robert Lutener & Martin Elwood (1.36, 5, 2,3)
3. GBR76R, Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme, TP52, Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme (1.358, 7, 3, 4)
Class IRC 0
1. IRL3939, Silk Glove, Ker 39, Colm Barrington (1.131, 4, 1, 3)
2. GBR945R, Fever, Swan 45, Stuart Miller (1.184, 6, 3, 3)
3. GBR1545R, Poppy of Portland Marina, David Lancefield (1.136, 8, 7,1)
Class IRC 1
1. IRL3008, Blondie IV, King 40, Eamonn Rohan (1.116, 3, 1, 2)
2. IRL2007, Jump Juice, Ker 37, Conor & Denise Phelan (1.098, 5, 4,1)
3. GBR236R, Erivale III, Ker 39CR, Jerry Otter (1.118, 5, 2, 3)
Class IRC 2
1. GBR7031T, Sanguma, Ker 31, Chris Walmsley (1.036, 4, 1, 3)
2. GBR7712R, Zarafa, HOD 35, Peter Scholfield (1.031, 4, 2, 2)
3. GBR73R, Sa