Competitors enjoyed fantastic conditions at the final day's racing on Sunday 18/4/06
The third and final day of the Red Funnel Easter Challenge and the competitors could not have asked for better weather on Easter Sunday – a south-westerly breeze of 10-15 knots with clear skies and wonderful sunshine. The final two races of the series were windward/leewards in an area between the Brambles Bank and Southampton Water.
Race 6: The penultimate race was won by Jerry Otter and his Farr 45 Werewolf after a tight battle with their sister ship Audacious helmed by Jon Pegg. At the line Werewolf won it, but only by a boat length. In third place was Farr 45 Rebel owned by David Franks.
Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte 4 won the last race of the day and in second place was the Farr 45 John Merricks crewed by Volvo RYA Keelboat sailors, their first podium finish of the regatta. Jerry Otter’s Werewolf was third. It has been fantastic sailing for the IRM class and going into the last race the winner was still undetermined.
In the end Werewolf did just enough to win the class by a single point from Exabyte 4. Jerry Otter, owner of IRM class winner Werewolf commented: “All the sailors out there this weekend learn a lot from people like Jim Saltonstall and Mike Richards coaching. The key lesson we have learnt is to keep looking at the sails all the time, constantly adjusting them and getting the weight of the crew in the correct areas is also very important. That goes for all of the crews, professional and amateur included. They can learn more in three days here than in a month of sailing without them.”
Jon Pegg driving Audacious will be satisfied with a third place against some good competition. This season should see as many as ten Farr 45’s ripping up the Solent. It would be nice to see more Farr 40’s doing the same.
IRC Super Zero and Zero
Race 6: Benny Kelly’s TP52 Panthera continued their winning form by posting yet another win in the big boat class. Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain, named after his construction company, was second and it was great to see John Shepherd’s Ker 46 Fair Do’s VII making her debut with a third, pipping Kit Hobday’s Bear of Britain by three seconds after correction.
Race 7: Panthera smoked the last race winning by well over two minutes from Debutante Ker 46, Fair Do’s VII owned by John Shepherd. Erivale III’s Mike Greville had a good end to his weekend with a third in the last race.
Race 6: Eamonn Rohan’s Corby 37 Blondie was absolutely unstoppable winning the race by four minutes on corrected time but significantly in second place was Dominic Chappell’s IMX 40 Maverick 2, pushing Jump Juice, the Ker 37 owned by Conor and Denise Phelan into third place.
Race 7: Eamonn Rohan’s Blondie continued their winning form beating Jump Juice by the biggest margin of the series. Ian Maclean’s Software Mistress had a good end to their regatta taking third place.
RORC reporter Louay Habib asked Class winner Blondie’s designer John Corby what he learnt about her this Easter. Corby replied: “She is on the pace and I am also extremely relieved. We haven’t talked the boat up at all but there have been some negative comments in the press and perhaps this regatta has answered those criticisms. We’ve just been getting on with it quietly in the background.”
In second place overall was Conor and Denise Phelan’s Ker 37 Jump Juice and this is just the first installment of what should be a fascinating encounter between these two yachts this season. In third place overall, another Ker, Ian Maclean’s Software Mistress had an excellent second half of the regatta. All three of these boats should feature in major RORC events this season. At the moment, it looks like Blondie is just edging it but at this early stage in the season there will be opportunities for other boats to gain peak performance.
Race 6: No Naked Flames, the Irish J109 owned by Andrew Allen continued their sparkling form with a bullet, with Commodores’ Cup hopefuls Chris and Hannah Neve racing their Beneteau 34.7 No Doubt in second place. Third was Jim MacGregor in his Elan 40 Flair IV by only two seconds.
Race 7: Chris and Hannah Neve in No Doubt got the gun by one second on corrected time from No Naked Flames with Peter Rutter’s Quokka in third.
Andrew Allen owner of class winner J/109 No Naked Flames commented after racing: “We came to the Red Funnel Easter Challenge as the first event of what we hope will be a successful season and it’s great for all of the crew to start with a win.” Colm Moynihan, co-skipper commented: “I would like to give a special mention to the on-the-water tuition that we have received this weekend, both from the coaches and in our case from North Sails. We were delighted to have Richie Hind-Smith on board who has a lot of experience and it’s a pity he can’t do the whole season with us.”
Peter Rutter’s Elan 37 Quokka, was in second place with her regular crew and is always well sailed. Peter Scholfield in his HOD 35 Zarafa did not manage to keep up his consistently good results and having led the class this morning, slipped to third place.
Race 6: Dean & Dyball Enigma owned by Ian Braham notched up yet another win in class by nearly two minutes from Andy Johns Sigma 33 Shadowfax. David Riley’s elegant Corby 29 No Retreat was third.
Race 7: Ian Braham’s Dean & Dyball Enigma won the last race of the series from David Riley’s No Retreat with John Corden’s Contessa 32 Fresh Herring scoring a third.
The MG 346 Dean & Dyball Enigma won class 3 by a huge margin from Michael Tattersall’s Electra, the X99. David Riley’s Corby 29 No Retreat had a good day on the water and moved up to third place overall.
Ian Braham, Enigma’s skipper commented: “The regatta this year is at the right time to think about doing some proper racing. The boat’s based in Poole and unfortunately our race series was cancelled down there and the Red Funnel is a great alternative. At the moment we have an inshore programme but there is some discussion amongst the crew about whether we should do the Rolex Fastnet but I’m not convinced yet. There is the Bob Fisher view that to do the race you need a foot of boat length for every year of your life and as I am 42, we need a bigger boat. If we’re going to do the Fastnet, we will of course need to do the qualifying offshore races.”
The 15th Red Funnel Easter Challenge concluded with a prizegiving ceremony where Easter eggs and engraved tankards were presented to winners in all classes.
The Prix d’Elegance Trophy was awarded to Jump Juice owned by Conor and Denise Phelan and designed by Jason Ker. She will be part of one of the Irish Teams in the forthcoming Rolex Commodores’ Cup, and the Trophy will awarded at the RORC’s Annual Dinner in London in December.
Overall Results (provisional)
IRC Super Zero Zero
1. Panthera, TP52 (Benny Kelly)
2. Fidessa Fastwave, DK 40 (Chris Brown/Peter Harding)
3. Chieftain, Cookson 50 (Ger O’Rourke)
1.Werewolf, Farr 45 (Jerry Otter)
2. Exabyte 4, Farr 45 (Shaun Frohlich)
3. Audacious, Farr 45 (Jon Pegg)
1. Blondie, Corby 37 (Eamonn Rohan)
2. Jump Juice, Ker 37 (Conor and Denise Phelan)
3. Maverick 2, IMX 40 (Dominic Chappell)
1. No Naked Flames, J/109 (Andrew Allen)
2. Quokka, Elan 37 (Peter Rutter)
3. Zarafa, HOD 35 (Peter Scholfield)
1. Dean & Dyball Enigma, MG346 (Ian Braham)
2. Electra, X99 MOD (Michael Tattersall)
3. No Retreat, Corby 29 (David Riley)
Other Prizes and Trophies
Red Funnel Easter Challenge Prix d’Elegance Trophy:
Yacht Jump Juice, Ker 37 owned by Conor and Denise Phelan