This year's IRC National Championship achieves a record entry of 87 yachts

This year’s IRC National Championship organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club has a record entry of 87 yachts. The quality of yachts and crews is outstanding with top amateur sailors rubbing shoulders with the elite of the sport from the Olympics, America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.

The IRC National Championship will be the last occasion to see Ben Ainslie in action in the UK, prior to competing at the 2008 Olympic Games in China, where he will attempt to win an unprecedented third Gold Medal in a row for Britain. Ben Ainslie will be sailing on Rob Lutener & Martin Elwood’s TP52, Henri Lloyd Cutting Edge in the big boat division.

Gery Trentesaux is back to defend his class win last year but this time in his new First 45, Lady Courrier. John Shepherd’s Ker 46, Fair Do’s VII and Nick & Annie Haigh’s DK46, Dark and Steamy, have both shown good form around the cans this season. From Ireland, Tim Costello’s new Mills 43, Tiamat, is a past winner of the event. Mike Greville’s Ker 39, Erivale III is having a great season having won both the Myth of Malham overall and the Morgan Cup race in class. All of these boats will be competing for the Rolex Commodores’ Cup next month.

Expect a close battle between some more Rolex Commodores’ Cup contenders; Eamon Rohan’s Mills 40, Blondie IV and Denise & Conor Phelan’s Ker 37, Jump Juice and also Kees Kaan’s Grand Soleil 43, ROARK.

Last year’s overall champion is back, Tim Spalding’s First 40.7, Love Shack. They will do well to emulate their perfect string of seven bullets from last year. They could be racing against some top opposition including Andrew Allen’s, Mills 37, No Naked Flames and last year’s class winners; Eamon & Alan Crosbie’s Ker 32, Teng Tools (Voodoo Chile). Both of these boats have travelled to the event from Ireland. Hong Kong Etchells sailor, Jamie McWilliam is competing in the J/109, Yeoman of Wight and Chris Walmsley’s Ker 31, Sanguma is a consistent performer.

Jackie and Robert Dobson’s Elan 333, Elusive, are previous class winners and have had titanic battles with Mike Tattersall’s modified X-99, Electra and Ian Braham’s MG346, Dean & Dyball Enigma. Also entered from the East Coast is David Lees’ High Tension 36, Hephzibah, which has shown great form offshore this season.

The IRC National Championship organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club starts on Friday 13th June with eight races scheduled over three days of competition.

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