Whitehall, London, November 17, 2018 – The 2018 Royal Ocean Racing Club Annual Dinner and Prize Giving was held at the Royal Horseguards Hotel, with over 200 guests attending the spectacular black tie event and where prize winners, competitors, crews, RORC members and guests celebrated the year's achievements with the Royal Ocean Racing Club.
After a champagne reception, the dinner and prize giving was held in the theatre-style Gladstone Library. The Grade I listed hotel overlooking the Thames has strong links to the British Military and Gladstone has a fortuitous link to the 2018 Yacht of the Year. Every prize winner was roundly applauded as they took centre stage at the glamorous event. There was a huge ovation for the overall winner of the 2018 RORC Season's Points Championship, British Soldier, and for the RORC Yacht of the Year, Ichi Ban.
Winning the Jazz Trophy for first overall in IRC was the Army Sailing Association's X-41 British Soldier, the first Armed Services team to win the championship since it was established in 1999. British Soldier took part in 11 races, winning the championship in the very last race, with crew members ranging from Private soldiers, through Sergeants, right up to Colonel. Five different skippers were in charge during the campaign: Andrew Britton, Will Naylor, Phil Caswell, Paul Macro and Donall Ryan.
Andrew Britton commented: “It's been a fantastic privilege to run the Army's campaign for the last two years and we've really seen our team go from strength to strength in that time. Our X-41 has surpassed our high expectations and we have got her going pretty well now. Our people are our greatest asset though, and the team spirit, commitment and resilience has been amazing. We wanted to really go for it this year and worked hard to achieve a consistent series of podium finishes. I knew we had a chance overall with the Middle Sea Race and am thrilled it went to the wire like that. This win means so much, not just for the team, but for sport in the Services as a whole.”
The 2018 RORC Yacht of the Year, winning the Somerset Memorial Trophy was Matt Allen's Ichi Ban. Matt's Australian team won the Brisbane to Gladstone Race, the Rolex Sydney Hobart, and the Sydney Gold Coast Race. Ichi Ban's series of results, in the three major Ocean races in Australia, has never been matched.
“On behalf of the whole crew of Ichi Ban, we are absolutely thrilled to win RORC Yacht of the Year,” commented Matt Allen. “It is a great thrill for us, especially from the other side of the world. I really want to thank the panel for voting for us and thank you to the RORC for thinking so internationally, as you have always done over many decades. The RORC boat Rani was the instigator of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race back in 1945.”
After the prize giving, guests partied until the early hours with a live set from the Milo Max Band courtesy of RORC partner Sevenstar Yacht Transport. Fastnet Marine Insurance also supported the event, as they have done for the last 10 years, and this year William Grant & Sons Distillers continued to provide every guest with gifts on the night.
The 20th edition of the RORC Season's Points Championship will start on 24th November 2018 with the RORC Transatlantic Race. The 2019 championship will consist of 14 races including the Royal Ocean Racing Club's flagship event, the Rolex Fastnet Race, starting on 3rd August 2019.
– Louay Habib
British Soldier, X-41, Army Sailing Association – IRC Overall & Best Series produced yacht & Best British Service Yacht – Jazz Trophy/Serendip Trophy/Haylock Cup
Michael Boyd / Kenneth Rumball with the J/109 Jedi which did an incredible job in recovering a man overboard in Round Ireland in horrendous conditions. It was dark with very big seas and they recovered the man safely within a couple of minutes. Very impressive; the outcome could easily have been very different. Seamanship Trophy