Please select your home edition
Edition
MS Amlin 2019 - 728x90

Two handed training introduced at April's RORC Easter Challenge

by James Boyd 8 Feb 18:44 GMT 19-21 April 2019
Racing rules are relaxed to allow coaching during the RORC season opener, taking place on the Solent over Easter - RORC Easter Challenge © Paul Wyeth

While mixed two handed offshore racing is set to be a new Olympic discipline for Paris 2024, closer to home and more immediately, the Royal Ocean Racing Club continues to see a surge in doublehanded participation in its events.

Last month entries opened for the club's pinnacle event, the Rolex Fastnet Race and the maximum limit of 340 slots sold out in just four minutes 37 seconds. Of these, 68 are currently entered in the IRC Two Handed class, a significant step-up from the 57 that competed in 2017.

To acknowledge this trend, the RORC has introduced, via the Royal Yachting Association, specialist two handed coaching for its RORC Easter Challenge training regatta over 19-21 April.

"In the past two-handed crews haven't been able to get involved and we are well aware how important our two handed fleet is," says RORC Racing Manager Chris Stone. "So we are offering them coaching at the RORC Easter Challenge for the first time."

Open to all (not just RORC members), the RORC's first race of the domestic season makes coaching uniquely possible as the racing rules of sailing covering 'outside assistance' are relaxed for it. This permits coaches not only to offer advice from their RIBs, but to come on board or for crews to step off their boat and on to a coach RIB to check trim, sail shape, etc -during races.

As ever, the RORC coaching team will be led by the 'legend' in this field Jim Saltonstall, ably assisted by Mason King and former America's Cup coach and sailmaker, Eddie Warden Owen, now RORC CEO, plus the talented staff from North Sails UK.

"A training regatta is the ultimate pre-season warm-up," continues Stone. "It is the opportunity where everyone gets to test their skills out, have them reviewed and look at what changes can be made as they go into the season ahead. Best of all is that it is done in a racing format and we allow our coaches to follow boats and make comments about things to improve. It is more of a relaxed racing environment with a view to coaching and people getting the most out of it while they can, in a racing situation."

In addition to Saltonstall's team, specialist two handed coaching will be provided for the first time, both on the water and in the classroom, by Nikki Curwen.

Curwen was weaned in two handed offshore race by her father Simon (still Britain's highest-placed Mini Transat sailor) on board the family J/105 Voador. Father and daughter raced extensively in both RORC and Royal Southampton Yacht Club doublehanded events, including the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race. Two years later Nikki won the two handed Figaro class in the Rolex Fastnet Race with top French skipper Charlie Dalin. She has also raced extensively both solo and doublehanded in the Mini class, completing the famed Mini Transat in the footsteps of her father in 2015.

"The two handed fleet is pretty good already, but the coaching will include some of the 'secret little tips'," explains Curwen. Coaching at the RORC Easter Challenge is a mix of generic to all and specific for individual boats (all competitors are encouraged to request specific coaching from the coaches and this can be done by contacting the RORC in advance), so is designed to be equally relevant for newbies to the highly experienced. All can learn.

"For new people coming in it might be breaking down manoeuvres, thinking about things early on, pre-planning, etc," says Curwen. "A common mistake is running constantly back and forth between the foredeck and the cockpit. So we'll look at hoisting kites from cockpits. There might be tiny little things like throwing the halyard out the back, which slows the drop down so you don't have to be so quick with your hands. And communication - it is quite different when there's two of you on board to when you are used to having seven or eight."

While the majority of the RORC's two handed racing is in its extensive offshore program, it also organises the IRC Double Handed National Championship, the first part of which will take place this year on the Solent over 14-15 September. At the RORC Easter Challenge competitors in this and also the Rolex Fastnet Race have the opportunity to learn valuable skills thereby enhancing their performance.

As usual, the Club's Race Team will set a variety of courses around the Solent and will lay on practice starts and the opportunity for much mark rounding practice and speed testing. The three day event will conclude on Easter Sunday with a prizegiving at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse where the silverware is usually overwhelmed by the hundredweight of Easter eggs that are liberally given out as prizes.

Related Articles

Lendy Cowes Week starts in just 112 days
A new GRP Classics Class and other changes this year Here at Cowes Week Ltd we are excited to look forward to another great year ahead, with Lendy Cowes Week starting in just 113 days. Posted today at 12:07 pm
Ausome Charity takes on awesome Rolex Fastnet Race
Campaign to compete with an autistic crew of nine sailors launched The Fastnet Race is a biennial offshore yacht race organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. Named after the Fastnet Rock off southern Ireland which the race course rounds after setting off from Cowes, Isle of Wight and finishing 608nm later in Plymouth. Posted on 14 Apr
Harken UK Regatta Support Dates
The Harken Tech Team will be back on the road! This year, the Harken Tech Team will be back on the road visiting regattas and working with local chandleries to supply technical support and advice to sailors at these events, to make sure you don't miss a minute of sailing. Posted on 11 Apr
Giant IMOCA 60 turn-out for Rolex Fastnet Race
This line-up is the third biggest in IMOCA history 29 of the boats, best known for their use in the Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop round the world race, will assemble on the Cowes start line of the RORC's premier event to take part in the biennial voyage to Plymouth via the Fastnet Rock Posted on 10 Apr
The RYA and RORC go doublehanded
Double-handed entries for the Rolex Fastnet Race have increased World Sailing's decision to select a Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat event for 2024 Olympics and recent announcement to hold an Offshore World Championship for mixed double-handed sailing in October 2020 encouraged RYA and RORC to combine their efforts Posted on 4 Apr
British Grand Prix joins RORC Easter Challenge
Plus Jim Saltonstall's training in the Solent At present inshore racing is going through a halcyon period in the UK with the return of grand prix racing in the FAST40+ class and the more attainable Performance 40s. Posted on 1 Apr
Nakajima's Hiro Maru lends historical adornment
To the Transatlantic Race 2019 Ninety days from today—on Tuesday, June 25—a fleet of 20-plus yachts is scheduled to depart from Newport, R.I., and head eastwards across "the Pond" in the Transatlantic Race 2019. Posted on 27 Mar
Rolex Fastnet Race's complete pantheon race boats
2019 will see an unprecedented entry of 'non-IRC' boats The most impressive collection of offshore racing hardware from across the globe is set to gather off Cowes for the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race Posted on 21 Mar
RORC Easter Challenge: Free Easter boat speed
Get your crew and boat race-ready after the winter break Many crews use the event effectively to kick start their new season, to make both themselves and their boat race-ready after the winter break. Posted on 14 Mar
Scallywag joins the growing fleet
For the Antigua Bermuda Race 2019 The Antigua Bermuda Race is organised by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in association with Antigua Sailing Week. The oceanic race will start from Fort Charlotte Antigua, just after Antigua Sailing Week on Wednesday 8th May. Posted on 12 Mar