Image: Gavin Doyle's Duff Lite © Paul Wyeth/RORC
RYS Cowes - via marks (approx. 120nm)
A total of 87 boats competed in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s De Guingand Bowl Race. Late spring sunshine and high pressure provided a complex mix of weather in a fascinating race for 437 crew racing with the RORC.
Gavin Doyle’s Corby 25 Duff Lite (IRL), the smallest boat in the race, scored the best corrected time under IRC to lift the De Guingand Bowl and win IRC Four. Second overall and winner of the 37-strong IRC Two Handed Class was Sun Fast 3200 Cora (GBR) raced by Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews. Third was Rob Cotterill’s J/109 Mojo Risin’ (GBR) racing with a full crew in IRC Three. Peter Morton’s Maxi 72 Notorious (GBR), racing in IRC Super Zero, took Monohull Line Honours in an elapsed time of 14 Hrs 08 Mins 01 Secs.
Congratulations to all the IRC class winners including Peter Lars Olof Elfversson’s Ker 40 Swee (SWE), Ed Bell’s JPK 1180 Dawn Treader (GBR), Christina Wolfe’s Sun Fast 3300 Red Ruby (USA), Renaud Courbon’s Class40 The 3 Bros (FRA), and James Holder’s Dazcat 1295 Slinky Malinki (GBR).
Skipper of the winning boat Corby 25 Duff Lite is RORC member Gavin Doyle, who hails from the National Yacht Club, Dublin. Duff Lite’s crew was James Ainsworth, and Nicola Tilche.
“We didn’t have the best start but someone once told me you make your own luck and when we caught up in the park up off Ventnor, the crew did an amazing job of keeping us going.” commented Gavin Doyle. “ All of the team drive, and we steered around as may wind holes as we could see and looked at how the boats ahead of us were doing. I was often up in the bow looking at the water, a bit like a pirate in a crow’s nest! We have a small sail wardrobe, just a simple headsail and an all-purpose spinnaker, so with few options there our main strategy was to stay out of the foul tide as much as possible. In the final few miles, we were all praying for more wind and continued to steer for pressure. We were all tired having had no more than an hour’s sleep each, but we kept changing the driver to keep things fresh and when we crossed the line we were very, very happy.”
Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews racing Sun Fast 3200 Cora posted the best IRC corrected time as they finished and waited an agonising hour and a half watching if they would be victorious, before Duff Lite bettered their score. Cora did win IRC Two Handed, ahead of Henry and Edward Clay’s Contessa 38 Flycatcher of Yar. Mike Yates’ J/109 JAGO racing with Mike Stannard was third in the double-handers.
“The start went well and was full on; I think we used every sail before we had left The Solent,” commented Cora’s Tim Goodhew. “It just got better when we had our ‘own personal breeze’ on the southside of the island; we were going downwind on Starboard and the competition were going upwind on Port; weird and quite amazing! This was a really complicated race but a lot of fun with loads of boat handling plus marks near the beach made roundings shifty and fluky. I think that Duff Lite may have had more favourable tide than us in this race, but sometimes it goes against you, and other times it goes for you. Next race for us will be the Myth of Malham, which is a great race but less complicated, with just one mark! “
Third overall under IRC was Rob Cotterill’s J/109 Mojo Risin’. Rob’s crew are all Corinthian with a bunch of friends who started racing together at the London Business School SC who contribute towards the costs mixed with a younger group of talented sailors who race for free.
“It was a great race considering the light weather conditions,” commented Rob Cotterill. “It was one of those swings and roundabouts races where you can get away in breeze and then get caught when the wind goes light, we had a good battle with JAGO and Jetpack on the water. Often a lead would stretch and then disappear, it was really nip and tuck. The leg from St Catherine’s to Peveril Ledge was a key win for us; We stayed inshore, while a lot of boats footed off. At about The Needles we got a big header which was great for us but pushed our competition behind us. At Peveril Ledge we went right in to get out of the tide in very light airs.”
RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole commented: “It was tricky to set a course for a huge fleet of highly diverse boats in a light air forecast. We aimed to get them all finished on Sunday morning as the wind was due to shut down. A few boats finished in very light winds but with favourable tide. We had very few retirements with the top ten overall under IRC racing in four different classes. The majority of teams have commented that they had a fair race which is always our objective when setting a course.”
The RORC De Guingand Bowl Race is part of the 2023 RORC Season's Points Championship, the world's largest offshore racing series. Race six of the series is the North Sea Race. The offshore race from Harwich, UK to Scheveningen, Netherlands will start on Friday 19 May.