Thomas Kneen's JPK 1180 Sunrise

Blast to Beachy Head – RORC Channel Race Report

Blast to Beachy Head – RORC Channel Race Report

The 2018 Channel Race proved to be the windiest race of the RORC Season’s Points Championship to date, with competitors reporting gusts of up to 40 knots and a short sharp sea state for the blast to Beachy Head and back to the Solent. Effectively a 150 nautical mile windward leeward course, only three yachts retired with minor gear failure and all of the teams have returned safely to shore.

After IRC time correction, Noel Racine’s JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew was the overall winner by just over two minutes from Ker 46 Lady Mariposa, skippered by Nigel King. Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise, sailed by Stuart Greenfield, was third. Yachts from IRC Four, IRC Zero, and IRC Two made up the overall podium. Congratulations to Mark Emerson’s A13 Phosphorus II, winner of IRC One. Ian Hoddle’s Sun Fast 3600 Game On, winner of IRC Three, and Nigel Goodhew’s Sun Fast 3200 Cora, winner of IRC Two Handed.

“To be honest, I am very surprised to win, we made more mistakes than usual including two big broaches.” admitted Noel Racine. “We saw 25-30 knots and 40 in the gusts, the crew were taking a bath in the cockpit. The A5 was up for most of the downwind, and upwind we knew a left shift was coming but we went inshore to escape the tide and to get into flatter water. We were too tired to put up the A5 for the last downwind leg, I guess we lost about five minutes, thankfully it was not seven, or we would not have won the race.”

“We had a some very experienced crew racing alongside some sailors new to offshore racing, and I am glad we had the likes of Nick Jones and Jean-Eudes Renier on board.” commented Stuart Greenfield sailing Tom Kneen’s JPK 1180 Sunrise.”We hit a top speed of 23.8 knots on the run down to Beachy Head, and the beat back was really heavy going. The conditions were tough but Sunrise was built to be a solid offshore boat and passed the test with flying colours. Racing in 35 knots of breeze is rare these days, most inshore racing is called off. However, offshore you have to have the equipment and the teamwork to handle any situation. That was the windiest race I have done for some time but it was extraordinarily good fun.”

“We had a good rip down to Beachy Head in four hours, mostly at over 20 knots of boat speed.” commented Lady Mariposa Skipper, Nigel King. “After getting past the wind farm, we went to the masthead spinnaker, we didn’t see the high wind speed that some of the other boats had behind us on the run. However, when we turned upwind at the Royal Sovereign Tower and headed offshore, the sea state was the big thing, with a short sharp wave pattern, which caused us to drop off a few. The No.4 blew out of the track, so we reefed and hoisted the No.3, which was fine in 25 knots upwind. Generally the boat and the crew managed very well but we have learnt a lot about how to mode the boat, and we had a long conversation about the changes we will make to the boat and the trim of the sails, especially with regard to sea state.”

The RORC Season’s Points Championship continues with one of the toughest yacht races in the world. The 2018 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line on Sunday 12th August, with a record entry racing 1805 miles through the English Channel, the Celtic Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean.

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