The Solent was star of the show on day one of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s annual IRC National Championship, one of the leading events for the RORC/UNCL-owned yacht rating system.
The race committee led by PRO Stuart Childerley laid on two windward-leewards and a round the cans course on the central/eastern Solent in periods of brilliant sunshine and a WSW wind ranging from 10-20 knots.
In IRC One there were few surprises when Niklas Zennström’s immaculately sailed and conceived Rán scored three race wins.
While the smaller fleet in IRC One technically makes it harder to win the overall IRC National Championship title, the all-black Carkeek FAST40+ is on the best possible track to claim this title that has so far evaded Zennström.
Second, four points astern of Rán, is the Gp42 Dark N Stormy, campaigned by Ian Atkins, President of the new Grand Prix Zero class, which at this event encompasses IRC One.
It was a good day for what IRC calculates as the ‘fastest’ boat here – the Ker 46 Van Oden, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race sailor Gerd-Jan Poortman and sailed by a talented youth crew from the Rotterdam Offshore Sailing Team.
With three fourths today they are third overall in IRC One.
In IRC Two the competition is between the Performance 40s and nine boat Cape 31 majority, that IRC rates alongside them, despite their diminutive size.
Leading after day one was surprisingly not the Cape 31’s UK series leader Michael Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe 4, but John Cooper’s Fanatic. A 1-1-3 gives her an eight point lead over Tony Dickin’s Cape 31 Jubilee.
Top non-Cape 31 in IRC Two, lying third overall is Rob Bottomley and Jean-Eudes Renier’s MAT 12 Sailplane, winner of today’s final race.
The surprise class is proving to be IRC Three. The star performer was not a modern, chined French IRC weapon but John Smart’s 20-year-old Cowes-based J/109 Jukebox, which posted a 2-2-1.
Full results can be found here: http://www.rorc.org/racing/race-results/2022-results