Monday, July 18, 2016

J/133 PINTIA Crushes Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race In Rare Four-Peat!

J/133 sailing off Cowes- racing to St Malo, France (Cowes, England)- The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Season Points Championship continued this past weekend with ninety-seven yachts competing for a magnificent trophy. Over 700 sailors made up of teams from France, Great Britain and the Netherlands including World record breakers, passionate Corinthians and young aspiring sailors participated in the RORC’s Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Rae.

Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes at 11:00 on Friday 8th July, the course took the competing yachts out of the Solent and across the English Channel where the fleet must left all of the Channel Islands to port including the Casquets and Les Hanois lighthouses, encountering strong tidal streams and rocky coastlines but avoiding the notorious tidal gate that is the Alderney Race. After Les Hanois the fleet turned south skirting the edge of Les Minquiers before finishing outside the ancient walled city of St. Malo.  Without question, the race is one of the most important in the annual calendar, pre-dating the Royal Ocean Racing Club by almost 20 years. The overall winner is awarded the impressive, gold plated, King Edward VII Cup, which was first presented by the British monarch to the Club Nautique de la Rance at Dinard in 1906.

It was a tough race this year for a number of reasons.  It was a beat all the way to Guernsey with the wind getting up to about 20 knots and then the wind just died at the moment needed to tack around the islands, so that was frustrating for many teams. However, the wind came back up to about 10 knots which was enough for most to finish at a good speed, so long as you were vigilant about massive wind holes that could materialize quickly.

The walled seaside city of St Malo, FranceIn IRC Two Class, Gilles Fournier's J/133 PINTIA enjoyed their rare fourth class win of the season; that is, four wins in four races entered so far!  Quite an impressive accomplishment and, maybe, one for the records books in RORC offshore yachting history!  In fact, she nearly won the entire race overall, missing that honor to hold the coveted King Edward VII Cup by a mere 12 minutes corrected time!  Behind PINTIA, Chris Daniel’s new J/122E JUNO placed 5th in class and 11th overall.

The IRC 3 Class had a raft of J/109s racing, dominating the top ten placings along with JPK 10.80s.  The 109s were led by David McGough’s JUST SO in 3rd place, followed by Trevor Sainty’s JELENKO in 5th, and Pure Racing’s PURE JOY in 6th. Nic Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J placed 7th in class.

IRC Doublehanded Class saw a terrific battle with Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies sailing their J/120 NUNATAK against Chris Schram's J/120 MAVERICK.  For most of the race, MAVERICK was leading NUNATAK boat-for-boat and looked like they had the race victory well in hand.  However, MAVERICK sailed into a massive wind hole near Les Minquiers and watched the others sail around them.  As a result, NUNATAK took second in class while MAVERICK settled for third, about 12 minutes back on corrected time.  About an hour further back on handicap was Trevor Sainty’s J/109 JELENKO and in 8th place was Robert Neilson’s J/105 BIGFOOT and in 9th was Nick Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J.

With enough races now counting for the RORC Main Series Overall honors, many boats are now just counting their top five scores of six or more races sailed.  Even then, Fournier’s J/133 PINTIA now sits in fourth place overall counting only four races she has entered.  Nelson’s J/105 BIGFOOT is still in contention, sitting in 5th place.  And, the British Army Sailing Association’s J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER is now hanging on to 7th overall.

On a class basis, the picture changes completely as the teams are being scored within their classes, too.  In IRC 2, J/teams are dominating, holding six of the top ten places.  The J/111 BRITISH SOLDER is currently leading the provisional rankings with Fournier’s J/133 PINTIA in 2nd place.  Then the Davies/Frost J/120 NUNATAK is 4th, Schram’s J/120 MAVERICK 6th, Andy Theobald’s J/122 R&W 8th and Daniel’s J/122# JUNO in 9th.

For IRC 3 Main Series overall, Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J is again near the top of the leaderboard, currently sitting 4th.  Meanwhile, Palmer’s J/109 J’T’AIME is 6th.

RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the Channel Race starting on the 30th July from Cowes around marks in the English Channel and back to a Solent finish off the Royal Yacht Squadron line, the race will be between 100-140 miles (dependent on wind/ current considerations).  For more RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race sailing information