The final day of the RORC-organised Red Funnel Easter Challenge was sailed in light and tricky conditions

The third and final day of the Red Funnel Easter Challenge was sailed on another beautiful warm and sunny day in the Solent with high pressure providing light and tricky conditions.

Nick and Annie Haig, winners of IRM1 & 2 sailing Too Steamy commented: “I have to say that the IRM fleet had lots of professionals racing. It was interesting to see the different boat speeds with all the Farr 45s together and the Farr 52s and ourselves with the other Farr 40 and the Kers. Annie Haig said: “We have a fantastic team and it’s been a really good weekend, all the more so as it didn’t snow as it has done in previous years!”

Shirley Robertson OBE, tactician and helmsman on Patches-Team Tonic, winner of IRCSZ & Z commented: “We came to the Red Funnel Regatta to practice for the TP52 that is being built to compete in this years RORC Admiral’s Cup. We just really wanted to get the crew together and start racing. A lot of the Irish guys haven’t sailed in a yacht of this size. It was good for us really as there were some tricky weather conditions and the competition with Bear of Britain, the other Farr 52 has flagged up some areas for us to work on. For us it was training and it was good to kick start the season. I haven’t actually sailed all winter and neither have many of the crew. I really enjoyed racing the Farr 52 as although I have done big boat sailing in the past, it was on the more cruisie type. Eamon Conneely has not been intimidated by the power of the Farr 52 even though he has never sailed anything over 35ft. I know he is really looking forward to getting the Transpac 52 Patches very soon.”

Kevin Sproul, helmsman on Peter Morton’s Mumm 30 Salvo, winners of IRC1 said: “The main event for us this season is the Mumm 30 Worlds and we highlighted this regatta as a training event for that. It’s early on in the season and it’s a good opportunity to get people out there and shake away the cobwebs of the winter. As we were the smallest boat in the class it was really hard for us to find clear lanes. The guys sailing on the boat have all sailed together on Peter’s previous boat a Bashford 36 but this is the first event we have done together on the Mumm 30. We got a lot out of the event in particular managing to ascertain what sails need to be replaced or changed.

Ex-RORC Commodore Peter Rutter won IRC2 with his Elan 37 Quokka. Peter commented: “This year’s Red Funnel event was the best racing we have done with boat since last year and we were particularly interested in improving our downwind trimming and used the expert skill of Jim Saltonstall out on the race course to improve this area.

Roger Cerrato of Spinlock was trimming on Quokka and said: “I was very surprised by the standard of the competition this early in the season and we were pushed to the max by Jim Macgregor on Flair IV and Graeme Brookes in High Tension.

Steve and Jody Maine’s X332 X-To-Sea, winners of IRC3 said: “We have virtually all new crew and the regatta does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a tune up regatta. This is the fifth year that we have raced in the Red Funnel Easter Challenge. We see this as an occasion to bed in the new crew, the main event for us this year will be the IRC Nationals in June and the lessons we have learnt this weekend would have taken weeks to achieve.”

Once the fleet were safely docked in Cowes Yacht Haven, an overall prizegiving ceremony for the regatta was held at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club. After a successful three-day regatta, the crews of the winning boats were presented with the customary Easter egg prizes.

The Red Funnel Easter Challenge Prix d’Elegance Trophy will be awarded to Misha Mouratov’s Swan 45 Murka 2 at the RORC’s Annual Dinner in London in late November.

Overall Results (class winners – provisional)

IRC Super Zero Zero – Patches-Team Tonic – Farr 52 – Eamon Conneely

IRC1 – Salvo – Mumm 30 – Peter Morton

IRC2 – Quokka – Elan 37 – Peter Rutter

IRC3 – X-To-Sea – X332 – Steve & Jody Maine

IRM1 2 – Too Steamy – Farr 40 – Nick & Annie Haigh