A 30kt breeze for the start of the RORC-organised De Guingand Bowl Race last weekend resulted in lost rigs, a couple of MOBs and several crew injuries

A fleet of 80 yachts started the RORC-organised 2005 De Guingand Bowl Race on the evening of Friday 13 May. The fresh north-easterly breeze promised a rip-roaring ride out of the Solent to the RORC Offshore buoy followed by a tough 46-mile beat back up to the Ocean Safety Offshore buoy before bearing away for Cherbourg. With boats anxious to get qualification miles for the Rolex Fastnet Race the Race Committee took the opportunity to send the fleet on the longest (145m) and most challenging course.

Following the postponement IRC 3 started at 1840 followed by IRC 2 at 18:50, IRC Super Zero, Zero & 1 at 19:00 and the Multihulls at 19:10. There were some spectacular wipe-outs and a blown spinnakers from the start as the competitors came to terms with the conditions. Quokka, Peter Rutter’s Elan 33 was the first of several boats to lose the rig. They recovered the rig and returned to the Hamble without any assistance.

As forecast the breeze increased overnight. With 30-knot gusts and rough confused seas seasickness and gear failure began to take its toll. Skippers reviewed the strength of their boats and crews and many of them concluded that it was wise to retire. The Swan 51 Grandee of Crab Tree Lane had a man overboard but they recovered him successfully after 10 minutes. The skipper alerted the coastguard and with concern over the possibility of secondary drowning it was decided to try and airlift the casualty by hi-line transfer. Helicopter Juliet was scrambled and the cruise ship Aurora stood by to provide a lee. Several competing yachts also stood by. Unfortunately the rough conditions made the airlift impossible and Grandee was escorted first by the Swanage and then the Weymouth lifeboat into Weymouth. The casualty was taken into hospital for a check up and later discharged.

A crewmember on Jeu D’Esprit suffered a head injury and the skipper decided to get him ashore for a check up. Due to a damaged binnacle and no engine controls she was escorted into Weymouth by the lifeboat. The crewmember went to hospital for a check up and discharged to return to the boat.

White Knuckles also had a crewmember suffer a head injury and retired to Poole for medical assistance. Again the casualty was discharged after a check up.

A crewmember fell down the companionway on Simply the Best and she retired to Poole. White Knight V also retired to Poole with a crewmember suffering torn ligaments, the lifeboat escorted her in.

Dark Star lost her rig and the Swanage lifeboat stood by, they also retired to Poole. Dazzle was towed into Cherbourg by the Cherbourg lifeboat and Eclipse V was towed into Yarmouth by Yarmouth Lifeboat.

The first down wind leg of the course was enjoyed by most of the fleet Boat speeds were high and the Sigma 33 Dino Volante hit 16 knots on one surf!

Reaching the RORC Offshore buoy crews hardened up and felt the full pressure of the wind. The prospect of a 46-mile beat in 30 knots proved the decider for many; seasickness was rife and crews peeled off to return home.

For many the wise choice was to retire but the well-found boats enjoyed a tough hard-fought race. Although the race was a tough test for both yachts and crews it also proved to be invaluable training for the forthcoming Rolex Fastnet Race.

Windward Sailing’s Volvo 60 Venom skippered by Derek Saunders reported 12 miles from the finish that they were racing under spinnaker at 24kts and crossed the finish at 10:29 to take line honours. Fidessa Fastwave, Chris Brown and Peter Harding’s DK46 was second across the finish at 12:27 followed by Mike Greville’s DK46 Erivale at 13:45 and Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte III at 14:22. Once the correction factor was applied Fidessa Fastwave took the De Guingand Bowl for Best Corrected Time in IRC and the St Barbara Trophy for IRC Zero.

First home in IRC 1 at 16:36 was Maverick 2, Dominic Chappell’s IMX40 winning the Stewart Cup for IRC 1, Groupe Partouche Christopher Coatnoan’s A40 finished at 19:02 and Beaurepere, Martyn Hill’s Grand Soleil 45 at 19:29.

The battle for IRC 2 was between Selene, Mark Jephcott’s Swan 44 and Exocet of Messilah, Christopher Copeland’s X119; the highest and lowest rated boats ion the class. It went down to the wire with Selene winning the fight on the water by 46 seconds to win the Auclair Trophy. Adelaide Star, Stuart Cooper’s Bavaria 44 was third in class to cross the finish in class at 21:17, having stood by Grandee for approximately 30 minutes to assist in the man overboard incident. Kevin and Susie Harris’ Sun Odyssey 47 Temptress of Down were the forth and last boat to finish in IRC 2 at 21:19.

IRC 3 saw Supernatural, Dominic Cahill’s Sigma 38 first in class across the line at 18:50 to win the David Maufe Salver for IRC 3 and the RORC prizes for the Seahorse Division and the Sigma 38 OD class, ahead of Stephen Winter’s Carter 36 Mavis of Gosport at 20:23.

Commenting about the support of the rescue services, Ian Loffhagen – Deputy Racing Manager at the RORC – said: “On behalf of the competitors concerned the RORC like to express heartfelt thanks for the support and help of the Coastguards, helicopter and lifeboats who assisted.


De Guingand Bowl – BCT IRC Fidessa Fastwave (DK46) Chris Brown / Peter Harding

St Barbara Trophy – IRC SZ & 0 Fidessa Fastwave (DK46) Chris Brown / Peter Harding

2nd Venom (Volvo 60) Derek Saunders

3rd Exabyte III (IMX 45) Shaun Frohlich

Stewart Cup – IRC 1 Maverick 2 (IMX 40) Dominic Chappell

2nd Groupe Partouche (A 40) Christopher Coatnoan

3rd Beaurepere (Grand Soleil 45) Martyn Hill

Auclair Trophy – IRC 2 Selene (Swan 44) Mark Jephcott

2nd Exocet of Messilah (X119) Christopher Copeland

3rd Adelaide Star (Bavaria 44) Stuart Cooper

4th Temptress of Down (Sun Odyssey 47) Kevin and Susie Harris

David Maufe Salver – IRC 3 Supernatural (Sigma 38) Dominic Cahill

2nd Mavis III of Gosport (Carter 36) Stephen Winter

3rd Sigmagician (Sigma 38) Alasdair Marshal

4th Premier Cru (Sigma 38) James Bar

5th Incitatus (Sigma 38) Robert Bailey

RORC Prize – Multihulls Tancrede (Normanni 34) Joel Malandel

Seahorse Division Supernatural (Sigma 38) Dominic Cahill

Sigma 38 Supernatural (Sigma 38) Dominic Cahill