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It’s a wrap – review of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup: France victorious
The reason why the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup stands as a pinnacle event within the Royal Ocean Racing Club's sizeable calendar was made abundantly evident during its 13th running in late July.
The club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews is a supreme test, held on the navigationally complex waters of the Solent and the Channel, and featuring a range of race courses - windward-leewards, round the cans, an overnight offshore race and a race around the Isle of Wight, that on this occasion took place in sun and a 20-25 knot southwesterly. It is also something of a rarity in modern grand prix yachting - an event that lasts a whole week. And to win requires a team effort: All three boats in each team must pull their weight.
Video: Highlights of the 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
French victorious on 10th anniversary
After a sensational week of racing, that included eight inshores, one 24 hour overnight offshore race and a round the Isle of Wight race held in 20-25 knots and brilliant sunshine, one race was held but ultimately abandoned on the final day of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews. As a result, yesterday's scores stand, with France Blue claiming victory in this Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup on 160 points, 35.5 ahead of Flanders North Sea.
The first timers from Israel were fifth overall, beating both British teams and the Celtic team. In a week of racing on varied courses, tidal states and wind strengths, consistency was tough to achieve, but the French Blue line-up of Eric de Turkheim's A13 rocketship, Teasing Machine, the Prietz family's Ker 39, GOA and yacht designer Daniel Andrieu on his Sun Fast 3200, Cifraline 4, achieved this best.
Day 6 - Close fought fight around the Wight
20-25 knot winds and glorious sunshine made for one of the most memorable races around the Isle of Wight on record for the penultimate day of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. With a win for Eric de Turkheim's A13, Teasing Machine (despite destroying a kite), and a second for Daniel Andrieu's Sun Fast 3200, Cifraline 4, France Blue have leapt ahead in the overall results, now holding a 35.5 lead margin over the second placed Flanders North Sea Team.
France Blue's position is strong, but victory remains far from assured with two more inshore races tomorrow, the last scoring double points.
Today's anti-clockwise lap started from the Squadron line with a favourable ebb tide, but into a southwesterly that kicked up a short chop once into the western Solent building into large exhilarating sea at the Shingles. From there it was a tight spinnaker reach to St Catherine's Point, a run down towards Bembridge, before a port tack fetch back to Cowes.
Once again Andrew Williams' Ker 40 Dan, Israel (ex-Keronimo), led the charge down the Solent ahead of the faster HH42, Ino XXX, locked in battle with Teasing Machine.
Lone bullets for the Brits
Despite three more inshore races being held on day five of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews, France Blue leads with a similar 11.5 point margin to yesterday, but Flanders North Sea is now the team that has relieved France White of second place overall.
Today racing returned to the central-eastern Solent with two windward-leeward races and one round the cans course. The day started in July-like sunshine and a light southwesterly, but the arrival of an occluding front early afternoon brought cloud, light rain and an ultra-shifty breeze and fog thick enough to make spotting marks hard - more October-like conditions.
Video: Day 5 Highlights
France Blue blasts back
The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup race course took on a different complexion today. A front passed through early morning leaving behind it a lumpy sea further kicked up by a strong eastbound tide. Conditions gradually abated and the sea flattened in the afternoon, but it made for a brisk start to day four of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams sailed by Corinthian crews.
For the first time today's courses were set in the western Solent, with the committee boat moored close to the Beaulieu river and the weather mark off Hamstead on the Isle of Wight shore.
The lively conditions created one casualty before the start gun had ever fired. On the biggest boat in the race, the Goubau family's Beneteau 47.7 Moana (Flanders North Sea), the mainsail suffered a severe luff to leech rip during a pre-start gybe. Fortunately the Belgium team had its delivery mainsail back in Cowes and raced back to fit it, but in doing so scored maximum points for missing race five.
As Moana helmsman, Mathieu Goubau recounted: "It was very stressful. We had to get back, so we went as fast as we could, but we just made it back in time for the second race."
With the strong flood tide and the southwesterly wind, all the boats immediately tacked after the start and then short tacked up the mainland shore until they had to make the long trans-Solent starboard tack across to the weather mark. As Tanguy Caradec, navigator on the Prietz family's Ker 39 GOA (France Blue), winner of today's first race, described it "by the shore the tide was a knot or less. In the middle when you had to cross, it was about 2.5 knots. The laylines were very hard to call."
New French leader in Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup
Breakfast time today saw some furious adding up to resolve the winning team in the high scoring offshore race for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews.
Initially France Blue, overall leaders after day one, looked strong with their two big boats, Eric de Turkheim's A13, Teasing Machine, and the Prietz family's JND 39, GOA, in front. As boats started finishing the Flanders North Sea team edged ahead. It wasn't until almost all the boats had finished that the roulette ball finally clunked home on France White, two slender points ahead of their European neighbours.
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Day 2 Report
For the 24 competing yachts in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup today was the `big one'. Designed to last 24 hours or more, the offshore race is the longest in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews. A good result in it is vital as it comes with a 2.5x points co-efficient.
This year the race committee set a course of 153 miles (as the crow flies). Starting from the Royal Yacht Squadron line the course is east down the Solent and along the Sussex coast towards the turning mark at the Royal Sovereign lighthouse south of Bexhill. The boats then return west south of the Isle of Wight and then past Needles Fairway Buoy and on to the finish at the North Head buoy off Milford on Sea. En route some tactical decisions to be made with boats obliged to avoid the large exclusion zone around Rampion Wind Farm, south of Shoreham-by-Sea and right in the middle of the race course both outbound to Royal Sovereign and on the way back.
France sets the pace
Competitors from the south side of the English Channel have the upper hand after the opening day of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews.
Day one saw Principal Race Officer Stuart Childerley lay on two windward-leeward races followed by a 'round the cans' with a reaching start. These were held in the central-eastern Solent with the start set up off Lee-on-the-Solent. The southwesterly breeze was relatively light at the time of the 1030BST start, but by the end of the final race mid-afternoon had picked up to 20+ knots, with some lumpy wind-against-tide conditions.
Stand-out team today was the favourite, France Blue, but second-placed France White is still in contact with their fellow countrymen as are their neighbours in the Flanders North Sea team.
RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine and his First 40 La Réponse in GBR Red got off to a strong start claiming the opening race of the day, blazing down the last run with the new breeze, but was subsequently 12th in race two. McIrvine explained: "We got stuffed at the start and then got caught in traffic at every corner. But it was very close - you just had to have a couple of bits of bad luck and suddenly you were pushed down." La Réponse then salvaged a sixth in the round the cans race after a tricky first reaching leg.
Video: Day 1 of the Brewin Dolphin Commdores' Cup
France Blue, Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup favourite?
Calling form on the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is hard, as for a team to be successful, all three of its boats must perform. This, plus the event's week-long duration and diverse race format, make the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial championship for Corinthian crews one of the pinnacle racing events internationally held under a rating rule
Teams gather for Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
Sunday sees the start of racing at the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, where eight teams will be competing in this the 13th edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial championship for three boat teams with Corinthian crews.
This year the most sizeable entries are from Britain and France, the latter fielding three teams while Britain has two. In addition to this there are two 'regional' teams - the Celts, with two boats from Scotland and one from France and 'Flanders North Sea', comprising a boat from the Netherlands, Belgium and northeast France.
Team GBR's Turn?
Looking at the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup results for the last eight years, GBR won in 2008, Ireland in 2010, then GBR again in 2012 and Ireland in 2014. Given this sequence it should be Britain's turn to prevail once more in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews, that starts on the Solent on Sunday.
This year, Team GBR has two teams:
La Réponse - First 40 - Andrew McIrvine
Alice - Mumm 36 - Simon Henning
Bengal Magic - J/35 - James Chalmers
Ino - HH42 - James Neville
Cobra - King 40 - Michael Blair
Sunrise - JPK 1080 - Tom Kneen
Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup Secret Eighth Team Revealed
With the deadline for entries into the 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup now passed, eight three boat teams are set to contest the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial championship for Corinthian crews, taking place out of Cowes over 23-30th July. Teams for the 13th Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, comprise three from Team France, two from Team GBR and others from Flanders North Sea and, for the first time, Israel. The last to raise its head above the parapet is the Celtic Team, comprising two boats from Scotland and one from France.
France gunning for further 'roast beef' silverware
After another commanding performance in last year's Rolex Fastnet Race, France is lining up to claim further silverware from the Royal Ocean Racing Club's trophy cabinet - this time the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. A win for France would mark the tenth anniversary of their last victory in the RORC's biennial event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews, that this year takes place over 23-30th July.
Commodores’ Cup call up for six GBR teams
The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is a biennial team event organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), comprising inshore and offshore events over a seven day competition.
Teams comprise of three boats within the IRC rating 1.000 - 1.230, their combined points are added up as one to crown the overall winner. This is one of the only international events for national teams in big boats and was first held in 1992.
Israel optimistic for Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup
In the Volvo Ocean Race they say that the first team to announce often wins the race. If this proves true of this year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup then it will the fledgling Israeli team that takes home the trophy on 30th July from the Royal Ocean Racing Club's premier biennial event for Corinthian three boat teams.
Since last October when Richard Loftus, well-known owner of the Swan 65 Desperado, announced their participation in this year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, it has been a busy time for the Israeli team. Omer Brand, one of Israel's few professional big boat sailors was recruited as Team Captain.
Flanders enters the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup
Up against powerful multiple team entries from France and Britain in July's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, will be the newly announced Flanders North Sea. This will comprise three leading race boats from the continental North Sea coast: Frans Rodenburg's Elke from the Netherlands, Philippe Bourgeois' Dunkerque - Les Dunes de Flandre from northeasternmost France and François Goubau's well-travelled Moana from Belgium.
While the large British and French contingent is a little daunting, the Flanders team can relax slightly in the knowledge the defending champion, Ireland, won with a single team in 2014. Plus, many of the crew in the Flanders North Sea team have past experience of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.
Heavyweight of Flanders North Sea, with what could be the longest boat competing this year, is François Goubau's 2001 generation Beneteau First 47.7, Moana. Goubau, who is Commodore of the Royal Belgian Sailing Club, has campaigned Moana in three previous Commodores' Cups, first with the Belgium team in 2002 and most recently with Team Benelux in 2012.
"We like the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup because its organisation is very professional and the level of competition is so high," says Moana's trimmer/tactician Luc Geirnaert. He adds that they also enjoy the unique `team' aspect to the event and try to make a point of racing in the Solent at least once each season.
RORC drums up International competition for 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
Last night at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's St James's clubhouse, the 2016 Commodores' Cup was formally launched, with the British investment management and financial planning company Brewin Dolphin continuing its sponsorship of the club's biennial flagship event for national three boat teams with amateur crews. The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup will next take place out of Cowes, Isle of Wight over 23rd-30th July 2016.
First Israeli team
Something of a surprise was the first team officially to enter the 2016 event being not one of the regulars - France, Ireland or the UK - but Israel. Alongside judo, sailing is Israel's top Olympic sport, but to date this hasn't extended to big boats.
In addition to the Israelis, and the four UK teams, France is expected to mount a strong entry, having not won the event since 2006. The defending champion, Ireland, is expected to return, plus at least one Dutch team and possibly another composite Benelux team. Hong Kong has shown interest and there remains the strong possibility of a team from Canada.
This is the result of the RORC putting in extra effort to drum up more international competition, says RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen. "We have been more proactive about advertising the race worldwide, that it is a really international event and as a Corinthian, amateur event, it is worth winning."
The Israeli campaign is being spearheaded by British sailor Richard Loftus, well known for campaigning his Swan 65, Desperado. Under Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup rules, 50% of the crew must be Israeli nationals and Loftus has arranged with the Israeli Sailing Association to run a trials to select the best sailors. The intention is to start with 50 and whittle them down to the top 20, who will then train from March onwards.
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