Saturday, July 25, 2015

J/105s Crush St Malo Race

J/105 sailing North Sea to France (St Malo, France)- The RORC Season's Points Championship continued last weekend with the highly popular Cowes Dinard-St Malo Race. With 173 entries, the 151 nautical mile race featured the largest RORC fleet since the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race. With an 0850 hrs start time, the teams sail west out of the Solent and around marks consisting of Casquets- Les Hanois- St Malo finish.

The weather forecast was promising, but no one expected race records to be set.  In short, the weather was fabulous, the breeze on big time and the race was nothing short of sensational. The British MOD 70 trimaran CONCISE 10 set a multihull record of 9hr:12min:35sec and Mike Slade’s 100 ft Maxi LEOPARD destroyed the monohull record by two hours.

In IRC Two-Handed, three British teams racing J/105s swept the podium. Alex Adams and Chris Holliman on VOADOR won the class from JESTER, sailed by Kelvin Rawlings and Stuart Childerley. Nick Martin's DIABLO-J was third. That was quite an extraordinary feat for the 20+ year old J/105 design, sailing against all the latest hot IRC designs from European boat shops!  The three musketeers performance was so emphatic that the same three J/105s took 6th, 7th and 9th IRC Overall and crushing many of the top JPK 10.10s and JPK 10.80s and Sun Fast 3600s in the process!!  Of note, the 2013 IRC Two-handed and IRC Overall winner of the Fastnet Race, the JPK 10.10 RAGING BEE, placed 5th in class in this race— a former French J/105 owner himself!

Not to be outdone by their stablemates, the other J teams also faired quite well in the race.  The French offshore team of Gilles Fournier and Pierre Viard sailed the J/133 PINTIA to 10th IRC Overall and 3rd in IRC Two class.  The famous J/122 PENN AZEN, also from France, has found new life being sailed by her new owner Daniel Collin, posting a 4th in IRC Two class and 17th IRC Overall.  A third French boat, the J/133 BLACK JACK, was sailed by Eric Gicquel into 9th in IRC Two class.

The J/133 JINGS skippered by David Ballantyne from Great Britain also enjoyed the course like their French stablemates, taking 7th in IRC One Class.

If that weren’t enough trophies for the trio of J/105s in IRC 2H class, VOADOR, JESTER and DIABLO-J also took 4th, 5th and 6th, respectively, in IRC Three class (a fully-crewed division).  They were followed by John Allison’s J/109 JUMBUCK from Great Britain in 7th place.  Then, Chris Palmer’s J/109 J-T’AIME placed 11th in class.

There were also good performances by J teams in IRC Four class, with Helen Hofmann’s J/97 JASLAN taking 7th position followed by Francois Boue’s J/109 FIROUZEH 4 in 8th place.  Another J/97, the French JJ L’AMOROSSO sailed by Jean-Pierre Briand, finished 10th, and another French team, the J/109 BOTEZ COAT IV skippered by Yves Dervieux, placed 12th.

The St Malo Race is renowned for being a good “test case” for top offshore teams from England, France, the Netherlands that are preparing for the upcoming Fastnet Race that starts Sunday, August 16th, just four weeks away!  If the performance of J teams in the St Malo Race is any indication of their level of preparation, it certainly bodes well for them in the Fastnet Race, too.  Time will tell.

The RORC Season's Points Championship continues on August 1st with the Channel Race, the penultimate race before the Rolex Fastnet Race.  The IRC Two-handed Series shows that Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J in second overall as a result of their stunning performance in the St Malo Race, just 76 pts back from RAGING BEE.  Also, vaulting up the leaderboard in the IRC One Class for the series is Ballantyne’s J/133 JINGS, now lying second overall just 38 pts behind the leader.  Then, in IRC Two Class, Elin Haf Davies’ J/120 NUNATAK sits in 4th position for the series just 40 pts back from the series leader.  Finally, in IRC Three Class, Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J is holding onto 3rd overall for the series, 74 pts from the series leader.  In short, if any of these boats place in the top five or higher in the next two races, the Channel Race and the Fastnet Race, it’s likely the could be either on the podium or sitting on top by the end of August!  Fair winds and fast, safe passages to all!  For more RORC St Malo Race sailing information