COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT, 24 JUNE 2023: Light to medium conditions was one of the factors resulting in a number of different teams notching up race wins on the second day of the IRC National Championships. Racing today in the Solent was nothing short of spectacular; Race Officer Paul Jackson reported seeing the entire IRC 4 class running abreast towards the leeward mark. Three races were held for all classes. Congratulations to all race winners: MAT 12 Sailplane 3, A35 Arcus, TP52 Gladiator, X-302 Antix, A31 Aztec, and the classic sloop Cetaweyo.
Three straight bullets for Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator puts the star-studded team on top of the class leaderboard after six races. Ian Atkins’ GP42 Dark ‘N’ Stormy finished second in all three races. Gladiator leads the series by two points from Dark ‘N’ Stormy. The young Dutch team on Ker 46 ROST-Van Uden, skippered by Gerd-jan Poortman is in third, three points ahead of RORC Commodore James Neville’s Carkeek 45 Ino Noir.
“This is only our third event with this team. We have not really had much time to train as the boat has had a lot of work, so we are really happy that we are sailing well,” commented ROST Van Uden’s Gerd-jan Poortman. “This is the first year of a three-year project. All the current team are 20 years old or younger and have literally come out of dinghy classes like 29ers. It is amazing how we are getting around the race track, let alone competing with the professional crews in our class. If you look at the scores today, we are getting closer, and that is really encouraging. The big picture is that the ROST youth programme is now in its seventh year, and we have three graduates competing in The Ocean Race. The current team know what is possible for them if they work hard.”
Rob Bottomley’s MAT 12 Sailplane 3 had a perfect day on the water winning all three races. However, James Howell’s Cape 31 Gelert is still top of the class, but only on countback from Sandra Askew’s Cape 31 Flying Jenny. Sailplane 3 has moved up to third, just two points off the lead with two races remaining in the Championships.
“With an average wind speed of about 11 knots the conditions suited us more than the Capes today,” commented Sailplane’s Rob Bottomley. “Having said that, we still had to get off the line well to get into clear air, which we did in the first race, but we had a bad start in the second and we were saved by a general recall, so you have to have your share of luck too! The fact is that Sailplane weighs about three times as much as a Cape 31, but when it’s too light for surfing and we sail well, we can have our day!”
Howell & Newell’s A35 Arcus was just third at the start of racing on day two, but three straight bullets put the team first in class after six races. Adam Gosling’s JPK 1080 Yes! is just a point behind in second. Ed Mockridge’s JPK 1010 Elaine Again scored two more podium race scores to finish the day in third for the series.
“What a day!” exclaimed Arcus co-owner Paul Newell. “Every win was by such fine margins and to be honest winning all three races was very surprising. Yesterday we didn’t get everything right; we were over the line in the first race and we made a few tactical errors in the third. Today, we sharpened up a little bit. The racing was fantastic and in truth Yes! is probably a bit stickier in the light, which may have swapped things around, but there are other really good boats out there. We are loving that competition. Tomorrow (Sunday), we will go out, enjoy the racing and do the best we can. We are playing Bazball* sailing!”
With three different race winners today, IRC Four produced some highly competitive racing. Simon Clifton’s A31 Aztec took Race 4, John Allen’s X-302 Antix won Race 5, and Race 6 went to David Murrin’s Classic sloop Cetaweyo. Giovanni Belgrano’s 39ft classic sloop Whooper did not win a race today, but a 2-2-3 insured that the team retained the class lead, albeit by a smaller margin of just three points after six races.
Racing at the IRC National Championships concludes, Sunday 25 June with two more races scheduled for the RORC Fleet to decide the 2023 IRC National Championships. With the discard race rule now kicking in, the winner of every IRC class hangs in the balance, let alone who will be the Overall IRC National Champion. For more information about the RORC: www.rorc.org
*For non-cricket fans Bazball style and mindset is said to have an emphasis on taking positive decisions in attack and defense, whether batting or in the field.
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ENDS/.. Louay Habib/RORC