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127 boat RORC fleet entered for 2021 Myth of Malham Race

by Louay Habib 26 May 19:52 BST 29 May 2021
David Collins' Botin IRC 52 Tala © Rick Tomlinson / RORC

The Royal Ocean Racing Club offshore programme is in full race mode this weekend with 127 boats expected on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line for the 230nm race around the Eddystone Lighthouse.

The Myth of Malham Race is always an important event in a Rolex Fastnet Race Year, as it mirrors the start of the world famous yacht race that will start from Cowes in August. Even more importance is attached to the Myth of Malham Race for 2021. This will be the largest RORC fleet to set sail since the start of the pandemic. The forecast fair weather will make for an impressive spinnaker start off Cowes Parade.

Conditions at the start of the race may suit teams racing light displacement boats, especially those that can clear the tidal gate at Portland Bill. Among the favourites for Monohull Line Honours in IRC Zero are David Collins' Botin IRC52 Tala and CM60 Venomous skippered by James Gair. In IRC One the fastest boats will also challenge to be the first to finish, especially RORC Commodore James Neville's HH42 Ino XXX and Ed Fishwick's Farr 42 Redshift.

James Holder's Dazcat 1295 Slinky Malinki is currently the only team racing for Multihull Line Honours.

For overall victory under IRC for the Myth of Malham Trophy and victory in the six IRC Classes, the form book is wide open, especially as the wind is forecast to increase in speed for the slower boats.

In IRC One, Ino XXX and Redshift will both be fired up for the race. In 2019, Ed Fishwick's Redshift was the overall winner in a 134 boat fleet, beating James Neville's Ino XXX by just 20 seconds over the line. "That was an extraordinary race," commented Ed Fishwick. "The Myth of Malham Trophy has been on display at my house in Cowes for two years. It will be a shame to give it back, but we have a great crew, we will try to keep it for another year!"

Proven winners offshore in IRC One also include Andrew Hall's Lombard 46 Pata Negra and Michael O'Donnell's J/121 Darkwood and one of only a handful of French competitors in the race, Maxime de Mareuil's xP44 Orange Mecanix2.

In IRC Two, the two fastest boats on paper are both JPK 1180s, Tom Kneen's Sunrise and Ed Bell's Dawn Treader. In what is sure be a fascinating duel, the two boats will no doubt be trading places throughout the race. A welcome return to RORC racing awaits Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine who will be racing one of the most successful Corinthian French boats J/133 Pintia.

Racing in IRC Two will also be a number of race charter boats crewed by keen amateurs with professional skippers. Probably one of the most heart-warming stories of the Myth of Malham is that this will be the first offshore for William Le Fevre on Benedikt Clauberg's First 47.7 Kali. At just 12 years of age, William lost his father in the 1979 Fastnet Race.

William's aim is to complete the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race, become a RORC member and wear a RORC tie like his father. The Myth of Malham is the first step to crew qualification for the 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race.

'Through adversity comes strength,' commented William. "Particularly with Covid, lots of people have lost loved ones in a very unexpected way and I think that having the ability to navigate through grief and come out of it OK the other side, this is what I want to do to help others."

With 44 entries, IRC Three will be the biggest class racing for the Myth of Malham and it includes a large number of the 38 Two-Handed teams taking part in the race. Double handed champions abound in a highly competitive race. Proven winners include Corinthian teams such as 2020 RORC Yacht of the Year Jangada sailed by Richard Palmer & Jeremy Waitt and Rob Craigie and Deb Fish with Bellino which was runner-up for IRC 3 and IRC T-H in 2019.

Two-Handed teams with world class sailors will be racing including Dee Caffari racing with James Harayda on Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo, Team Bomby Robertson on their Sun Fast 3300, Alex Bennett and Conrad Humphreys racing Swan 46 Ginny B, and Kelvin Rawlings & Stuart Childerley on Sun Fast 3300 Aries.

Vendée Globe success Pip Hare returns to the offshore arena, racing Two-Handed with Ole Bettum. The level of comfort on Ole's Grand Soleil 34 Alamara IV, with an Italian styled interior is a far cry from the IMOCA 60 Medallia.

IRC Four has 43 entries including several of the ten J/109s in the race, the pick of the crop would be Mike Yates racing JAGO with Eivind Bøymo-Malm and Just So raced by William McGough and Christian Jeffrey.

Emmanuel Pinteaux's JPK 10.10 Gioia will be sailing across from France for the race, having been class runner-up in 2019.

One of four Sigma 38s in the race is Chris Choules' Sigma 38 With Alacrity, which was third in class for 2019. IRC Four is peppered with yachts with an interesting history racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club including three Contessa 32s, S&S 41 Easy Glider, and Whitbread 30 Gusto.

Stuart Greenfield will be racing his S&S 34 Morning After, Two-Handed with Louise Clayton. Morning After is the sistership to British Prime Minister Ted Heath's famous Morning Cloud.

Morning After was left at Richardson's Yard I.O.W for 21 years, I found her five years ago and it took me three years to get the owner to part with her," explained Greenfield. "It took 18 months because of Covid to rebuild her, and I think I've aged 20 years doing it."

Yachts taking part in the RORC Myth of Malham Race will start to gather off Cowes Parade from around midday on Saturday 29th May.

Full entry list and AIS tracking
Results will be available with live updates

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