Tuesday, July 18, 2017

J’s Cruz RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race!

J/133 sailing on Solent (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- In excess of 1,500 sailors, from all over the world, competed in the 2017 Cowes Dinard St Malo Race. The largest RORC fleet since the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race, comprising of 176 yachts took part for the magnificent King Edward VII Cup.  The hope was for a WSW breeze, warm midsummer air, an almost full moon, and a glorious downwind race for 151nm.  As it turns out, the prognosticators were not that far off the mark for this year’s event.

The racing “form” for the race was interesting for each class.  In IRC 2, Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine’s J/133 PINTIA was within striking distance of overtaking the lead for both the class and overall lead in the RORC Season's Points Championship. PINTIA also won IRC Two in last year's St Malo Race. Plus, Eric Gicquel's J/133 BLACKJACK is formidable offshore, hoping to win the class back to home base- St Malo!

Similarly, in IRC 4 class with 51 entries, it was an impressive line up as the first to start on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line. The largest class racing to St Malo included Robert Nelson's J/105 BIGFOOT and local St Malo teams like Jean Pierre Briand's J/97 L'AMORROSSO.

In the end, it turned out to be a fast race for 151nm from Cowes to St Malo. Eric Gicquel's J/133 BLACK JACK had a victorious return to their home port of St Malo, winning IRC Two. However, that was not the entire story for J/133s!  They fought tooth-and-nail with their fellow J/133 PINTIA and only just beat them home by 9 minutes after 27 hours of racing at the very edge of mental control! Taking 10th in class was Chris Daniel’s gorgeous J/122E JUNO.

In the IRC Doublehanded Division, Jerry Freeman’s J/105 JULIETTE took the bronze on the podium with Nick Martin’s perennial contender, his J/105 DIABLO-J, taking 5th in class.  Not far off the pace in the reachy conditions were Robert Nelson’s J/105 BIGFOOT in 7th and Chris Schram’s J/120 MAVERICK in 8th. Four J/Crews in the top ten, and all 20-year-old designs at that- proving the timeless performance built into the boats from day one!

In the monstrous forty-three boat IRC 3 Class, the top J/crew was a new J/112E called MUSIX, skippered by Phillipe Baetz from France, taking 7th in class.  However, despite the reachy conditions, he led home a train of other J/Crews right behind him.  Next were Trevor Sainty’s J/109 JELENKO in 8th, Jerry Freeman’s J/105 JULIETTE in 9th, David McGough’s J/109 JUST SO in 12th, Nick Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J in 12th and Jean-Baptiste Crepin’s J/105 JOB D’ETE from France in 13th.

The enormous fifty-one boat IRC 4 Class saw Jean-Pierre Briand’s J/97 J L’AMOROSSO take 8th in class.

The 2017 RORC Season's Points Championship continues with notoriously simple, but incredibly difficult tactically, Channel Race on Saturday 22 July. The race offers more opportunities for good all-around J/Boats to excel when there is a good mix of beating, reaching, and running in a variety of wind and wave conditions.  At the moment, the J/133 PINTIA is third in the Overall Standings and 2nd her IRC 2 Class, but having sailed one less race than the leader (all bets are off here once the Channel Race takes place!).  The same holds true for the J/105 BIGFOOT currently 2nd in her class for the series.  The most amusing element for the IRC Doublehanded class is that it has become the battle of a 25 yrs old design- the J/105- versus the 4 yrs old design of the SunFast 3600.  With mostly reachy races to date, it’s not surprising the top three are SF3600s.  However, the “tide will change” once races like the Channel Race, the Fastnet Race, and others are factored in that force boats to be less one-dimensional and more multi-dimensional in terms of their performance parameters.  For more RORC Cowes Dinard St Malo Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.