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Scarlet Oyster wins RORC De Guingand Bowl

by Louay Habib 9 Jun 17:16 BST 8-9 June 2019
Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster wins the RORC De Guingand Bowl © Paul Wyeth /

With 40 knots of wind speed recorded during the race, the 2019 RORC De Guingand Bowl was undoubtedly a tough test for both the crews and competing yachts. Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, a four-mile downwind leg to Browndown provided a breath-taking start.

The fleet then returned through the Solent upwind with a building tide through Hurst Narrows. The beating continued all the way to East Shambles off Weymouth. After the long hard beat, the fleet turned east for a long sleigh ride back around the south side of the Isle of Wight, with a beat to finish at Mother Bank.

Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster, sailed by Ross Applebey (GBR), scored the best corrected time under IRC to win the race. Sigma 38 With Alacrity, sailed by Chris Choules (GBR), was runner up. Swan 38 Xara, sailed by Jonathan Rolls, was third.

"This was our first time out with the crew that will be racing in the Rolex Fastnet Race," commented Scarlet Oyster's Ross Applebey. "I think a couple of them might we wondering what they let themselves in for! We were conservative for the 4-mile run at the start. Using a headsail, we stayed in control and in good shape to harden up for the beat. We headed for Lymington, Scarlet's home port, local knowledge helped to get inshore and out of the tide. It was tough getting through Hurst Narrows, perhaps we should have lined that up better, making fewer tacks in foul tide. The beat down to Weymouth was pretty full on but Scarlet is a reliable boat, and we managed to keep up with some good competitors. Downwind, back towards the Isle of Wight was fast. We were hitting 15-18 knots and touched 19 knots down one wave. We went for the stable A3 spinnaker with a headsail inside it, if we did broach the spinnaker would not wrap around the forestay. Generally we gave ourselves plenty of time, planning and talking through every manoeuvre. As this was a short race we pushed pretty hard the whole way. If this was the Rolex Fastnet Race, we would have throttled back, as in a 600-miler you have to pace yourself."

In IRC One, A13 Phosphorus II, sailed by Mark Emerson (GBR), was the class winner, retaining their lead in the class for the season. FAST40+ Ino XXX sailed by James Neville (GBR), took Overall Line Honours for the race and second in class after time correction. Windward Sailing's Corby 45 Incisor, sailed by James Gair (GBR), was third in class.

In IRC Two, Scarlet Oyster was the winner. JPK 11.80 Sunrise, sailed by Tom Kneen (GBR) put in a solid race, closing in on Scarlet Oyster at the finish, but was second in class. However the result moves Sunrise to the top place for the class in the RORC Season's Points Championship. First 40 Skylander, sailed by Yuri Fadeev (RUS) was third, putting the team into second place for the season after six races.

In IRC Three, Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, sailed by Rob Craigie and Deb Fish (GBR) was the winner, Trevor Middleton's Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep, sailed by Jake Carter (GBR) was second retaining the overall lead for the RORC Season's Points Championship. JPK 10.80 Timeline, sailed by Marc Alperovitch (FRA) was third.

In IRC Two-Handed, Sun Fast 3200 Cora, sailed by father and son duo, Nigel and Tim Goodhew (GBR) scored a tremendous victory. Bellino was second maintaining their lead in the class for the RORC Season's Points Championship. Timeline's podium finish lifts the team to third for the series.

In IRC Four, With Alacrity was the winner, Xara was second and Cora third. The race win puts With Alacrity in pole position in IRC Four for the RORC Season's Points Championship.

"It was hard work," commented With Alacrity's Chris Choules. "The long beat just went on and on, it took us about ten hours to get to East Shambles, the wind was unrelenting, rarely below 25 knots, and it was wet and cold. When you get a windy race, it is really good to know that you can sail the boat, and With Alacrity is robust enough to get through those conditions. I thought it was a good course because although it was a 40-mile beat, there were lots of different flavours. Going around Anvil Point it became quite hard to keep the boat upright. The waves were not massive, maybe 6-8ft waves but they were close together. We were coming off one wave and straight into the trough of another. Most of the crew have raced together for a number of years but this was the first offshore race for Jessie Main, who has done lots of dinghy sailing. It was a baptism of fire but she lapped it all up, with a big grin on her face all the way round."

The southwesterly pressure and the tidal flow meant that heading east was not going to be a good option," commented RORC Racing Manager, Chris Stone." The lesser of the two evils was to send the fleet east for an hour or more, then send them west through Hurst Narrows, when the water was still fairly flat. As a 24-hour test, these conditions are great for preparing for the bigger races that the RORC organises, the Rolex Fastnet Race being one of them."

The 2019 RORC Season's Points Championship continues with the Morgan Cup, starting Friday 21 June from Cowes bound for Dieppe. For more information including full results:

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