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2023 RORC Channel Race Preview

by Louay Habib / RORC 8 Aug 18:55 BST 12 August 2023
RORC fleet in Western Solent © Paul Wyeth / RORC

Starting on the Saturday 12th August, The RORC Channel Race is the penultimate race of the RORC Season's Points Championship.

While the fleet will be small in comparison to the world record entry for the Rolex Fastnet Race, competition will be fierce for scoring points towards the largest racing series in the world of offshore racing.

Once weather forecasts have been analysed, the RORC Race Team will set a course starting to the west from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line of approximately 120nm. Spectators can watch the start from Cowes Parade and along the shore of the Western Solent.

RORC Channel Race entry list

IRC Zero

Two teams can be considered as Line Honours Contenders, Ross Hobson's Open 50 Pegasus of Northumberland (GBR) and Arto Livorno's Infiniti 52 Tulikettu (FIN). While both boats have a similar IRC Rating and canting keels. Tulikettu is a new concept including DSS side foils and is significantly lighter than Pegasus which has more sail area and has been raced by Hobson for many years. Racing in IRC Zero with Pegasus and Tulikettu will be Mark Emerson A13 Phosphorous II (GBR), which has made the Class Podium twice this season. Henry Bateson's Iceni 39 Andrasta will be skippered by Bill Edgerton with the RORC Griffin Youth Team.


Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine's J/133 Pintia (FRA) is back in action after winning IRC One for the 2023 Rolex Fastnet Race. Tom Scott's X-50 Itma (GBR) is the top IRC rated boat in the class, skippered by Australian Ben Rahilly, Itma was class runner up for the 2022 RORC Channel Race. RORC Treasurer Derek Shakespeare racing J/122 Bulldog (GBR) is challenging for second place for the season just ahead of Pintia which is fourth. Two British First 40s match up in IRC One with Sailing Logic's Arthur taking on Ronan Banim's Galahad of Cowes. RORC member and IMOCA sailor James Harayda will skipper the Gentoo Sailing Youth Team on Sea Ventures' Farr X2 Farrcical (GBR).


Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600 Bellino (GBR), racing Two-Handed with Deb Fish, has it all to play for in the RORC Channel Race. For the 2023 season, Bellino is leading IRC Two and second in IRC Two-Handed and will also be defending their class win in the 2022 RORC Channel Race. A good result will also keep Bellino in with a chance of winning the RORC Season's Points Championship overall under IRC. Second in IRC Two for the season is Jim & Ellie Driver racing Sun Fast 3300 Chilli Pepper (GBR), which is also third for the 2023 season in IRC Two-Handed, five Sun Fast 3300 will be racing in the RORC Channel Race. Trevor Middleton's Sun Fast 3600 Black Sheep, skippered by Jake Carter with a full crew, will be looking to move up to a Class podium position for the season in the RORC Channel Race. Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster (GBR) is less than 29 points behind Black Sheep. Scarlet Oyster and Black Sheep are the contenders for the top fully crewed boat in IRC Two for 2023.

IRC Three

Taking a well-earned rest for August is the season leader for IRC Three and IRC Two-Handed; Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews racing Sun Fast 3200 Cora (GBR). Mike Yates' J/109 Jago, racing Two-Handed will be looking to close the gap in the RORC Channel Race. Jago is one of three J/109s racing including David McHugh's Just So (GBR) raced Two-Handed by William McHugh and Christian Jeffery, and Chris Burleigh's Jybe Talkin' (GBR). Gavin Howe's Classic Channel 72 Wavetrain (GBR) is the oldest and only wooden boat in the race. Nick Lee's Projection 920 Wee Bear (GBR), racing Two-Handed with Kare Woodward, is the smallest boat in the race with the lowest IRC rating.

Over a hundred sailors will be competing in the RORC Channel Race which is well short of the 3000 which competed in the Rolex Fastnet Race, but it is encouraging to see that over 40% of the Channel Race sailors are under 40 years old and a quarter are women in the 18-25 age bracket. Channel Race Trophies and Medallions will be presented on Saturday 2nd September at the RORC Cowes Clubhouse. The Royal Ocean Racing Club's Channel Race is the 14th race of the RORC Season's Points Championship, the largest racing series in the world of offshore racing.

For more information about the Royal Ocean Racing Club:

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