Tuesday, August 5, 2014

J’s Persevere In RORC Channel Race

J/team rounding Solent mark (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The tenth race of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season's Points Championship took place this weekend.  The race started on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, with the RORC fleet beating into a light southwesterly wind helped on by a positive tide.  The weather forecast was for a light northerly breeze for the start, which may build as the race develops. High pressure is likely to cause the current heat wave to continue, providing fantastic conditions for the RORC fleet.

After leaving the Solent, the wind was enhanced by sea breeze, giving the fleet a tactical dead beat to a DZB buoy south of Anvil Point followed by a run to a virtual mark south of the Isle of Wight, before beating up to Poole. The course then took the competitors around the south of the Isle of Wight bringing them into the finish at Gilkicker via the Nab Tower.

For several yachts competing in the Channel Race, this was their last test before racing in next month's Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, including the British Army Sailing Association's J/111, British Soldier. Lt Col Tim Hill explains the Army team's approach to offshore sailing.

"The Channel Race is the last proper test before the highlight of our season," stated Tim. "British Soldier will be approaching the task in the same method as we always do. This will be the final dress rehearsal but as all the Round Britain and Ireland Team have already completed the qualifying miles we will be introducing new members to the team this weekend, to encourage and empower younger members for the future.

"British Soldier is very much a team and whilst I grandly sit as Rear Commodore of the Army Sailing Association, I have a team beneath me that do the hard work and hard graft. Capt Phil Caswell is the Race Team Manager and organizes and co-ordinates the crew for every race that we do. Sitting alongside him is Maj Will Naylor who is responsible for all of the equipment and logistics required for RORC Racing, from victualing the boat to making sure we are race compliant. These two leaders then delegate individual tasks for all crew members - it is very much a team effort."

The British Army are used to operating in hot conditions on operations around the world. With the present heat wave in mind, Lt Col Tim Hill gives some good advice on avoiding dehydration.

"For high exertion activity in high temperatures, you need to be consuming a minimum of 1 litre of water per hour. That is a lot of fluid but it is essential to budget accordingly, sometimes during an offshore, the activity is less than other sports, but not taking enough water is unhealthy and a team's performance can be seriously affected by it. To avoid dehydration we use a buddy-buddy ethos; each team member keeps an eye on another and ultimately it is the skipper's responsibility to monitor how much water is being consumed."

In the end, the J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER took 5th in IRC 2 Class for the Channel Race.  Of note, they thoroughly acquitted themselves in the preceding RORC East Coast Mersea Race, taking 2nd overall behind the famous Tonnere de Breskens sailed by Piet Vroon.

The largest class was the IRC Three with 12 boats taking part including Nick Martin's J/105 DIABLO-J.  By getting a 5th place in Double-handed class and 7th in IRC 3 Class, Martin gained valuable points for the Season’s championship.  Meanwhile, Chris Palmer’s J/109 J’TAIME and Kevin Armstrong’s J/109 JAZZY JELLYFISH took 4th and 5th, respectively, in IRC 3 Class.

In the overall RORC Series Championship, Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J is sitting in 5th place only 50 points back from first place overall in IRC!  Classmate J’TAIME, the J/109 sailed by Armstrong is only 70 points back from first as well!  Could be a cracker going into the last few races!

On a class-by-class basis, the J/122 RELENTLESS JELLYFISH skippered by Chris Radford is currently sitting 4th in the IRC 2 Season series and has a good chance for 2nd overall.  If the J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER has an excellent Round Ireland Britain Race, a good finish could easily vault them into 1st or 2nd since it’s a “double-counter” of a race— it’s over 1,200 nm long!

IRC 3 Class for RORC Season series has SIX J’s in the top ten.  Top of the group in 2nd is Palmer’s J’TAIME, 3rd is Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J, 6th is Armstrong’s J/109 JAZZY JELLYFISH, 8th is the Royal Armoured Corps YC’s J/109 RUAG WHITE KNIGHT 7, 9th is Dom Monkhouse’s J/109 ME JULIE and 10th is John Allison’s JUMBUCK. Any one of the top six boats have a solid mathematical shot at taking the overall season’s point championship!

Finally, in IRC 4 Season series, the J/97 HIGH JINKS sailed by Blair Forsyth is currently lying in 7th and has a reasonable chance of getting into the top three if any of the last few races are good scores.  For more RORC Channel Race sailing information