Tim Spalding's Beneteau 40.7 Love Shack wins a windy RORC IRC Championship on Solent 2/7/07

The last day of the RORC IRC Championship and the big breeze was back from the south-west; 25 knots gusting up to 30 knots. Sunday proved to be a dramatic conclusion to the event.

PRO Jamie Wilkinson opted for windward/leeward courses in the eastern Solent between Burgess Salmon and Peel Bank. The shorter courses were selected to get the scheduled two races in before four metres of tide would churn up the course into a confused sea.

In the IRC Super Zero class, race 6 a close battle between the top three TP52s saw Paul Winklemann’s Island Fling win on corrected time, from Colm Barrington’s Flash Glove. Benny Kelly’s Panthera was third, by just five seconds on corrected time. For the overall class, it couldn’t be tighter going into the last race as these three speed machines were all tied on cumulative points.

In the seventh race Flash Glove lit up the Solent giving them victory in the last race. Panthera were second, followed by Island Fling. A special mention must go to Flash Glove as they broke their rudder and boom, but Colm Barrington and his crew never gave up.

Barrington commented before the prize giving: “This has been a highly memorable regatta. I must say a big thank you to Peter Harding for the loan of his rudder and also to James Hynes and Rob Greenhalgh for staying up virtually all night, two days on the trot, to keep us racing.”

Thankfully, the crew member from Island Fling who went overboard during the race is none the worst for her ordeal.

After several protests, Benny Kelly’s TP52, Panthera were awarded the class title.

In the Swan 45 fleet Glynn Williams helming WISC, returned to winning ways on the final day in race six, but they were pushed all the way by Charles Swingland’s, Piper at The Gates of Dawn. Only seven seconds separated them as they crossed the finish line. Alex Roepers, Plenty, competing from the United States, was in third place.

WISC also won the last race for the class by a minute and a half from Boldit. A large fleet of Swan 45s will be racing in the Solent next week to decide their world championships and Williams was delighted with the performance of his team on WISC, commenting: “Obviously our world championships are the highlight of the season for us, but we did not come to the RORC IRC Championships just to practice. It is always good to get in the habit of winning and we definitely came here to compete. We have learnt a lot from the weekend, but have been preparing and training hard as a crew since March. I am proud to say that the crew’s boat handling, especially in big breezes was impeccable.”

Gery Trentesaux’s Beneteau 44.7, Courrier Du Coeur, had yet another close battle with John Shepherd’s Ker 46, Fair Do’s VII In IRC Zero. The French boat scored their fifth victory in race six, but only by 29 seconds on corrected time. Rob Bottomley’s consistent Beneteau 47.7, Pacific Interiors Sailplane was third.

In race 7 Courrier Du Coeur continued their impressive performance by winning the last race, with Fair Do’s VII second and Pacific Interiors Sailplane in third. These three yachts finished in exactly the same order for the overall title for the class, meaning Gery Trentesaux’s Beneteau 44.7, Courrier Du Coeur was awarded the IRC Championship title for Class Zero.

Tim Spalding’s, Beneteau 40.7, Love Shack were unstoppable in the penultimate race in IRC 1, winning by a comfortable margin from John Michael Dean’s Swan 46, Lowy Worm. Tony Lowe and Paul McNamara’s Beneteau 40.7, Incognito, were in third place.

Love Shack made it a perfect seven first places, winning a closely contested last race from Incognito, with STS Antilope in third place. To say the margin of victory was slim would be an understatement; only four seconds separated the top three boats on corrected time.

Tim Spalding’s Beneteau 40.7, Love Shack not only won their class, but their faultless performance meant they were awarded the title of Overall RORC IRC Champions. Tim Spalding owner and helmsman of Love Shack commented after racing; “I’m absolutely over the moon and delighted by the win, especially as we are all amateur sailors. To win such a prestigious title against some of the best opposition around has been a very memorable experience for us.”

In race 6 of IRC 2 Mike Eaton’s Seaquest RP36, Spirit of Juniper, a new production boat designed by Reichel Pugh, won their first race of the regatta by nearly four minutes from Michael Ewart-Smith’s J/109, Zelda. Radboud Crul’s Dehler 36 JV, Rosetta from the Rocks was third.

Teng Tools picked up another win in the last race, by just 45 seconds, beating Spirit of Juniper into second place with Rosetta of the Rocks in third. Eamon Crosbie and his crew on Teng Tools should be delighted with their class win.

The IRC 2 fleet had many highly experienced sailors amongst them, however Teng Tools win will have a twinge of disappointment. On the morning of the last day, they were favourites to win the overall title, but a fifth in Race 6 put them out of contention.

John Pollard’s X99, Xcellent, won the sixth race in IRC 3 race by over a minute on corrected time, beating Ian Braham’s MG346, Dean & Dyball Enigma, into second place. Neil Vardy’s Elan 333, Esprit was in third. Dean and Dyball Enigma just pipped Xcellent by seven seconds on corrected time in the last race, and Jackie Welch’s Elan 333, Elusive, was third. The last race had no effect on the overall class title. John Pollard and his Torquay-based crew on Xcellent, winning the class overall by a comfortable margin from last year’s champion Elusive.

Overall Results (provisional)

1. Panthera, TP52, Benny Kelly (13 series points)
2. Island Fling, TP52, Paul Winklemann (14 points)
3. Flash Glove, TP52, Colm Barrington (15 points)

1. Courrier Du Coeur, Beneteau 44.7, Gery Trentesaux (7 points)
2. Fair Do’s VII, Kerr 46, John Shepherd (12 points)
3. Pacific Interiors Sailplane, Beneteau First 47.7, Rob Bottomley (18.5 points)

1. Love Shack, Beneteau 40.7, Love Shack (6 points) ( Overall Championship winner)
2. Incognito, Beneteau First 40.7, Paul McNamara & Tony Lowe (15 points)
3. STS Antilope, Rogers 36, Willem Wester (23.5 points)

1. Teng Tools (Voodoo Chile), Ker 32, Eamon Crosbie (9 points)
2. Spirit of Juniper, Seaquest RP36, Mike Eaton (16 points)
3. Rosetta from the Rocks, Dehler 36 JV, Radboud Crul (19.5 points)

1. Xcellent, X99, John Pollard (11 points)
2. Elusive, Elan 333, Jackie Welch (18 points)
3. Esprit, Elan 333, Neil Vardy (22 points)

Swan 45
1. WISC, Glynn Williams, (10 points)
2. Vixen, Dick Weisman, (29 points)
3. Goombay Smash, William Douglass, (35 points)