Close racing Saturday for RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup

Close racing  Saturday for RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup

Racing at the Royal Ocean Racing Club Vice Admiral’s Cup got underway with three races for all classes on Saturday 20 May. 

RORC Vice Admiral's Cup Race Officer Paul Jackson reported that the breeze was in the north east quadrant during the day with a variable wind speed of 8-18 knots. The final race was in shifty conditions with a round the cans race being chosen for all classes except the Cape 31s. Bright sunshine and a moderate sea state added the polish to a superb day of complex and close racing.

Cape 31 Class

Three different teams scored victories today in the 25-strong Cape 31 Class. James Howells’ Gelert taking Race 1, Roger Bowden’s Nifty running away with it in Race 2, and Niall Dowling’s Arabella winning Race 3. After three races, Niall Dowling’s Arabella is leading, having scored a consistent 5-7-1. Mike Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe scored a 3-3-9 and is second by virtue of countback from Michael Wilson’s Shotgunn which scored 6-5-4. Anthony O’Leary’s Antix is definitely in the mix, two points off the podium in fourth after an 8-6-3.

RORC member Niall Dowling hails from Ireland and is also a member of the Royal Irish Yacht Club. “I knew would have a good last race but had no idea that we were leading after three races, I haven’t been allowed to look at anything but my telltails all day!” smiled Arabella’s Niall Dowling. “Consistency was a real key today, the Tokoloshe guys sail the boat incredibly well, but to be honestly our lead is not down to me it’s the great crew on Arabella. I hope we are not one-day wonders because this is great sailing!”

After the biggest fleet of Cape 31s to ever make a start line, Niall Dowling gave his opinion about what matters in the Cape 31 Class. “Having 25 Capes out is amazing but what is even more impressive is that nobody is being destructive,” continued Dowling.   “The Class have managed to grow the fleet well and keep the good atmosphere. Maintaining the class spirit, where everyone is out to have a good time is key, if we can continue to do that, then great. On the course today with the wind from the north it was shifty, so we all had ups and downs, but I think everyone had great sailing and returned to the dock delighted.”

J/111 Class

Tony & Sally Mack’s McFly scored a 1-2-1 today to lead the J/111 Class. Louise Makin and Chris Jones’ JourneyMaker II is just two points behind in second having scored a 3-1-2. In third place is Paul Griffiths’ Jagerbomb with two podium finishes today in their 2-3-4. Racing is as close as ever in the J/111 Class; in the very first race Jagerbomb beat JourneyMaker by just five seconds to snatch second.

HP30 Class

After IRC time correction, the HP30 Class was the most competitive fleet at the RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup. In Race 1 the top five boats were just 41 seconds apart. In Race 2, 16 seconds separated the top three, and in the final race there was a tie after IRC time correction between Andrew Peake’s Resolute and Mako skippered by Geoff Poore. After three races, Malcolm Offord’s Fareast 28 Assassin leads by four points from Jamie Rankin’s Farr 280 Pandemonium. Andrew Peake’s Resolute is just 1.5 points behind Pandemonium in third. Malcolm Offord is a long standing competitor in the Cowes Etchells Fleet and has chartered Assassin to race in the HP30 Class. On board Assassin is Cowes Week Regatta Director, Laurence Mead.

“We had incredibly closing racing,” commented Assassin’s Laurence Mead. “Our objective in each race is to beat the other Fareast 28s and if we can do that we just have to wait and see if. We have beaten the bigger boats. The Fareast 28 is a really impressive boat; it’s fast and well built. Today we had super racing with good courses, an all-round awesome Solent day of boat racing. What is really impressive is Malcom Offord on the helm. Prior to this season, Malcolm has only really raced Etchells, and in his second weekend in an asymmetric lightweight boat, he is winning races.”

J/109 Class

There was close racing right from the start in the J/109 Class with the top three boats in Race 1 less than a minute apart. Charles & Rosie Berry’s Jenie leads the J/109 Class after an impressive 2-1-1 today. In second place, by just two points, is Mike & Susie Yates’ JAGO with a 1-2-3 score line. Third is David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish with a 3-3-2. Just four points separate the top three boats with one more day of racing set for Sunday.

Quarter Ton Class

Sam Laidlaw’s BLT has won the Quarter Ton Class at the last two editions of the Vice Admiral’s Cup and BLT opened their account at the 2023 edition with two bullets today. However, Louise Morton’s Bullet won Race 2 by just 17 seconds after IRC time correction. Bullet came no worse than second today to finish just a point behind BLT. Jan Thirkettle’s Lill Scamp was third in every race to finish the day on the Quarter Ton Class podium.

After racing the RORC Cowes Clubhouse welcomed all competitors, family, and friends to enjoy a drink in the sunshine. The bar was open for all and was followed by a Crew Supper Buffet in the Terrace Marquee for a spicy Lamb Birria with Spanish rice. 

Text: RORC/Image: © Rick Tomlinson