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Sunrise dances to victory in the Morgan Cup

by Louay Habib 13 Jun 09:03 PDT 11-12 June 2021
The third race of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Season's Points Championship was an overnight race to Dartmouth, Devon for the Morgan Cup. © Rick Tomlinson / RORC

The third race of the Royal Ocean Racing Club Season’s Points Championship was an overnight race to Dartmouth, Devon. The impressive RORC fleet got away on a spinnaker run, exiting the Solent to the east before turning upwind to race in the English Channel to finish at Dartmouth, Devon.

After one of the hottest days of the year, the overnight race was held in the comfort of a warm south westerly breeze. However, dense fog greeted the fleet as they tacked around the southside of the Isle of Wight. By morning on Day Two, with the race leaders closing in on the finish, high pressure arrived over the racecourse. The teams that could maintain their optimum velocity reaped the rewards.

Tom Kneen's JPK 1180 Sunrise scored the best corrected time under IRC to win the Morgan Cup. Michael O'Donnell's J/121 Darkwood was the winner of IRC One and placed second overall. Ed Bell's JPK 1180 Dawn Treader was third overall. Former RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine's Ker 39 La Réponse was fourth overall, just over a minute off the podium after IRC time correction.

"The early part of the race was pretty intense with lots of manoeuvres in thick fog, but we knew it was going to get light and funky towards the finish, so we all tried to get as much sleep on the light wind beat on the first night, so that we would all be fresh and up for it in the morning," commented Sunrise skipper Tom Kneen. "The breeze shut down ten miles before Dartmouth, but we were ready for it. Our navigator, Tom Cheyne got it absolutely spot on, gybing us southwest to where the breeze would be coming from. Although we did have zero on the speed for a short while, we fared better than the boats who went for the land. Sunrise is a twin-rudder wide-hulled boat, not designed for light airs, but we just managed to keep her moving. The crew have been together for a while, and we have invested a lot of time understanding the boat. We are really pleased with our results so far, and it is very encouraging for the Fastnet. I hope we get lots of breeze, then we can really let her rip for the big race in August!"

Congratulations to all of the class winners for the Morgan Cup Race: CM60 Venomous, skippered by James Gair, Michael O'Donnell's J/121 Darkwood, Bruce Huber's J/112E Xanaboo, Richard Palmer's JPK 10.10 Jangada, and Charles Emmett's Class40 Manic. Ed Fishwick's Farr 42 Redshift took Line Honours for the 110 nautical mile race.

Richard Palmer's JPK 10.10 Jangada was the winner of IRC Four and IRC Two-Handed. Racing with Jeremy Waitt, the pair are highly experienced and successful offshore duo. Winning Two-Handed races with the RORC has become increasingly difficult, with many professional sailors competing, Palmer and Waitt are both Corinthian sailors.

"We really enjoy racing against this level of competition," commented Jangada's Richard Palmer. "Probably our best tactic was to ignore the routing software and instead race instinctively. We kept with the fleet to see what our pace was like against the competition. We did 64 tacks in 90 minutes after Ventnor - just bonkers! It was fantastic to be on a destination race, meeting up with people at the end, airing our stories, it was just great!"

J/112E Xanaboo, winner of IRC Two, is owned by Bruce Huber who lives in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. On the first night, local knowledge and great crew work paid great dividends for the team, as Huber explains.

"I could actually see my house from the racecourse, it's where we sail Bembridge Illusions, so we know where the rocks are," commented Bruce Huber. "While the fleet were tacking for tidal relief, we managed to hold a lane and get a high line without tacking, so a big gain there. As with the rest of the fleet, the Xanaboo crew worked really well to put in many tacks to stay out of the tide after Ventnor. There was the added complication of staying in the best pressure with a lot of sailcloth around us, plus there was dense fog. The end of the race was very frustrating, we were in contention for the overall win but hit a wind hole. We did everything we could to tweak the boat to the finish, but the overall win was not to be."

The next event for the Royal Ocean Racing Club will be inshore. The IRC National Championship will be held in the Solent 18-20 June. The RORC Season's Points Championship continues offshore, with the De Guingand Bowl, starting from the RYS Line on Saturday 26 June.

See the full results here...

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