Please select your home edition
Musto 2023 Hikers LEADERBOARD

Scarlet Oyster powers home in RORC Channel Race

by Louay Habib / RORC 13 Aug 18:23 BST 12-13 August 2023
RORC Channel Race - Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster © Paul Wyeth / RORC

Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster has won the 2023 RORC Channel Race overall under IRC. The top three boats in IRC Two filled the overall race podium with less than four minutes between them after IRC time correction.

Ian Hoddle's Sun Fast 3300 Game On, racing with Ollie Wyatt was second overall and won IRC Two-Handed. Third overall was Gareth Edmondson's JPK 1030 Insert Coin. Congratulations to all the IRC Class winners including IRC Zero winner Henry Bateson's Iceni 39 Andrasta, skippered by Bill Edgerton with the RORC Griffin Youth Team. In IRC One, Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine's J/133 Pintia was the winner.

RORC Channel Race Results can be found here.

The penultimate race of the RORC Season's Points Championship proved to be a windy affair with 20-25 knots of south westerly wind for most of 145nm race. Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line the fleet beat west leaving North Head to Port to avoid the worst effects of the tide and wind at The Needles. The beat continued as far as Peveril Ledge off Swanage. A downwind sleigh ride back to the southside of the Isle of Wight and as far east as Shoreham Outfall, had boats hitting over 20 knots of boat speed. In the hours of darkness, a series of shorter legs, at a variety of wind angles, tested the boat handling and stamina of the teams. The finish was at Browndown in the Eastern Solent.

Ross Applebey's Scarlet Oyster, with a highly experienced crew that has raced thousands of miles together, got away to a great start and revelled in the upwind conditions to get into a strong position after IRC time correction by Peveril Ledge. "We might have been a little under canvassed at the start but with the possibility of 30 knot gusts, our main aim was to get away to a clean start out of The Solent and not make life unnecessarily hard," explained Ross Applebey. "We played the shifts pretty well to Peveril Ledge, and got there a little ahead of our routing," continued Ross.

Scarlet Oyster's competition in the race included a number of downwind flyers and sail damage to Scarlet Oyster also slowed the displacement Oyster 48 for the middle part of the race, which was all off the breeze.

"From Peveril Ledge to The Needles Fairway it was a deep starboard-tack reach and we had our A4 up with the boat achieving 17 knots of boat speed." However, just as Scarlet Oyster approached The Needles Fairway Buoy a big gust hit the boat blowing the head off the kite. "In windy conditions we rig to drop the kite into the cockpit with a retrieval line, so two of the crew immediately got onto that. This kept much of the bottom of the kite out of the water and the rest of the crew was able to get it back on board fairly quickly. We then elected to hoist the Jib Top and a staysail, which was a little under powered but okay. At St. Catherine's we had a bear-away and with no A4, we had to hoist our old A3. Meanwhile the downwind flyers, especially Game On and Insert Coin, were making big gains hitting over 20 knots of boat speed. Pintia had gone for their Code Zero and was really flying."

As Scarlet Oyster approached Owers the wind went aft, which did not suite their sail set up. "We just couldn't get deep enough with our A3 and the risk out-weighed the reward of keeping it flying. We poled out our Jib Top and set another jib to leeward, it was slower than a spinnaker but it reduced our losses and was far less stressful. However by Shoreham Overfalls we were probably last in IRC Two, but racing against surfing boats this was what we expected. We knew that with a heavy strong crew we could make up our time for the upwind legs; this was our forte. " commented Applebey.

Approaching Shoreham Overalls, the Scarlet Oyster crew readied themselves and the boat for a big finish. "We went through our checklist and got the boat set up so that we would be straight into our stride for upwind trim. Very quickly we saw the gains; the crew were all hiked out and with full enthusiasm remaining until the finish. Our expectations increased as we realised that we would have a slight tidal advantage on the boats behind us."

Scarlet Oyster won The Channel Race after IRC time correction, beating Game On and Insert Coin by less than four minutes after over 18 hours of racing. "The IRC rule does a good job," commented Ross Applebey. "The course setters gave a good balance of upwind and downwind angles, it just shows if you have a great team that is focused and committed, an older displacement boat can compete with modern well-sailed planing yachts under IRC."

Seven boats that retired during The Channel Race have been accounted for with no reports of any injuries to racing crew. Sun Fast 3300 Atomic was dismasted in 20 knots of wind, east of Bembridge IOW. Ronan Banim's Galahad of Cowes and Mark Rayward's Stormcloud should both be commended; both retired from the race to stand by to assist Atomic.

The final race of the 2023 RORC Season's Points Championship will be the Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Friday 01 September from 1800 BST. The Salcombe Gin Castle Rock Race is also Race One of the IRC Double Handed National Championship. For more information about 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 visit

Related Articles

Deborah Fish elected RORC Commodore
She will take up the prestigious role from James Neville Members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) have elected Dr Deborah Fish, OBE as the new Commodore of the London and Cowes based Club with effect from 1st January 2024. Posted on 5 Dec
Celebrations at RORC Annual Dinner & Prizegiving
An impressive season of RORC racing The 2023 Royal Ocean Racing Club Annual Dinner and Prize Giving was held at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square, London. Posted on 4 Dec
Stellar cast building
RORC Caribbean 600 entries and interests are approaching 50 teams The 15th anniversary edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 starts in Antigua on 19th February, and since its launch last year, the RORC Nelson's Cup Series provides an additional action-packed event with racing starting on 13th of February. Posted on 29 Nov
Roschier Baltic Sea Race NoR published
The second edition will start from Helsinki in July 2024 The Royal Ocean Racing Club is delighted to announce that the Notice of Race is now available for the 2024 Roschier Baltic Sea Race, with entry opening on 18 December 2023. The second edition of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race will start from Helsinki. Posted on 28 Nov
2025 RORC Transatlantic Race preview
West-to-east version will be run alongside 100th anniversary of the RORC One of offshore racing's great adventures will return in 2025. The New York Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club are proud to announce Transatlantic Race 2025, which will start from Newport, R.I., on June 18, 2025, and finish off Cowes, England. Posted on 16 Nov
A mouth-watering menu
RORC Caribbean 600 set for 19 February 2024 The Royal Ocean Racing Club's 15th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 will start on February 19th, 2024. Since the first edition in 2009, the race around 11 Caribbean islands, has evolved into one of the world's most famous 600-mile races. Posted on 8 Nov
24 teams join the RORC Transatlantic Race
Sailors from 10 different countries have responded to the challenge The RORC fleet will set off from Marina Lanzarote to race across the Atlantic Ocean, bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada, West Indies. Posted on 6 Nov
IRC rule changes for 2024
Including changes that reflect IRC's desire to listen to what sailors want The 2024 IRC rule text is now published on the IRC website and includes changes that reflect IRC's desire to listen to what sailors want, and respond to changing trends not only in technical development but also racing practices. Posted on 2 Nov
RORC TALK | The Famous Project
Watch and listen to Round the World Sailors Alexia Barrier and Dee Caffari RORC Members and their guests were invited to join Round the World Sailors Alexia Barrier and Dee Caffari for the latest RORC Talk about 'The Famous Project' at the London Clubhouse, on the 10th of October. Posted on 15 Oct
Fire in Falmouth Harbour Antigua
his has caused the closure of several well-known businesses in the proximity of Antigua YC The Royal Ocean Racing Club received news of a severe fire in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua on October 3rd. This has caused the closure of several well-known restaurants, cafes and businesses in the proximity of the Antigua Yacht Club (AYC). Posted on 4 Oct