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RORC North Sea Race - Extra Djinn triumph

by Louay Habib / RORC 12 May 09:23 PDT 10-11 May 2024
Start of the 2024 RORC North Sea Race © RHYC Vice Commodore Mark Dean

The Royal Ocean Racing Club's North Sea Race is hosted by the Royal Harwich Yacht Club in association with the East Anglian Offshore Racing Association, the Yacht Club Scheveningen and the North Sea Regatta.

The RORC North Sea Race dates back almost 80 years, the 2024 edition had 53 boats racing from Harwich to Scheveningen. The overall winner under IRC was Michel Dorsman's X-362 Extra Djinn, second was J/122 Ajeto! raced double handed by Robin Verhoef & John van der Starre. Third overall was Willem Ellemeet's Dufour 40 Flying Dolphin.

Congratulations to all of the Class Winners including Frederic de Visser's VO65 NextGen, Ker 46 ROST Van Uden, skippered by Gerd-jan Poortman, Otto Waterlander's Swan 45 Emotions, and Will & Jenny Taylor-Jones S&S 40 Sunstone.

The RORC Race Team set a course of approximately 148 nautical miles for the North Sea Race via Smith's Knoll Buoy. The start was delayed by one hour waiting for the wind to stabilize. The vast majority of the race was held in a cold easterly gradient breeze, upwind in foggy conditions across the North Sea. Thankfully the sun shone for the prize-giving at the Yacht Club Scheveningen!

The overall winner under IRC, Michel Dorsman's Extra Djinn, says victory came as a very pleasant surprise.

"It's a young team and most of us have been sailing together for just a few years now, so winning the North Sea Race is fantastic!" commented Michel. "We started well, but after we rounded Smith Knoll the fog was pretty thick. We didn't know how we were doing against the other boats and steering was difficult in low visibility. The team did very well to keep us on course. This has been a great start to our season, as last month, some of the team won class at the St Maarten Heineken Regatta. We will definitely be celebrating with a cold beer after the prize-giving in Scheveningen!"

Last year's overall winner was runner-up this year. J/122 Ajeto! raced by Robin Verhoef & John van der Starre also won IRC Two and IRC Two-handed.

"We got to the start early to check the current and found a big gain in shallow water, that worked out perfectly," said John van der Starre. "We had a good lead at the first mark and that makes it easier because we were free to make our own decisions. The forecast was not always correct, but we could see the faster boats on AIS, so we could adjust our own course to stay on the right side of shifts. Across the North Sea we had up to 15 knots of wind and Ajeto! goes very well in that. Well done to Extra Djinn, they sailed really well and made some very good decisions."

The Rotterdam Offshore Sailing Team (ROST) are young sailors racing Ker 46 ROST Van Uden, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race veteran Gerd-jan Poortman, they have an exciting race programme over the next two years. For the North Sea Race, ROST Van Uden won IRC Zero and was second across the line to VO65 NextGen, which took Line Honours.

"We pretty much won the start and we are happy with the performance, we had a good race," commented Poortman. "About 95% of the track was upwind and our boat's IRC rating takes in how fast we are downwind, so it was difficult to sail to our rating. We didn't have many options but we sailed well, the boat was up to speed and sail changes were fine. This is the first big event of the year, next will be the inshore North Sea Regatta. After that, ROST Van Uden will sail to Cowes for the Round the Island Race, Cowes Week and the RORC Vice Admiral's Cup. We have a nice season for 2024, which is all part of our build up to the 2025 Admiral's Cup." Concluded Poortman.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the De Guingand Bowl Race starting from Cowes on May 18th. The flexi-course of about 110 nautical miles will start and finish in The Solent. The De Guingand Bowl Race is also the first race of the 2024 IRC Two-Handed National Championship.

2024 North Sea Race Results

For more information about the Royal Ocean Racing Club: www.rorc.org

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