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.
New Look for Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup 2016
The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews. The international offshore regatta comprises a tough mix of inshore and offshore racing and is an intense seven-day programme that pits three-boat teams against one another to accrue overall team points.
For the next edition, The RORC Committee have agreed to a number of changes that will have a positive impact on the number of teams taking part in the event held at Cowes, Isle of Wight between 23 and 30 July 2016.
The first is the requirement of every team to have a small boat with a rating between 1.000 and 1.049. "Many teams in the last event believed that it was hard to be competitive without having three boats that were close to the top of the allowable rating band, as was the case of last year's winning Irish team," commented RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen.
"Lowering the rating band to 1.000 will make it easier for J109s to enter, to include boats like the JPK10.10, A35 and the new Sunfast 3200, and reduce the cost of competing. This group of boats will have their own starts, but if a team has more than one boat within this rating band, and it is possible to have three 'small' boats, it will have to nominate which boat will compete in this division. The maximum rating is still 1.230 and there has been no change to the rule that only allows one boat in each team with a rating between 1.150 and 1.230," continues Warden Owen.
Video: Highlights from the 2014 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup
Ireland’s Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup whitewash
Ireland's three boat team, comprising Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39 Antix, Marc Glimcher's Ker 40 Catapult and Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling's Grand Soleil 43 Quokka 8, today scored the most comprehensive victory in the 22 year history of the Commodores' Cup.
The Irish previously won the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews in 2010, but were unable to defend in 2012. This year they returned with a vengeance finishing the regatta on 268 points, with an unprecedented lead of 173.5 points.
After a disappointing result in yesterday's race around the Isle of Wight, Ireland bounced back strongly in today's double points scoring inshore held on a round the cans course in the central Solent in a light northerly. Impressively the Irish boats claimed three of the top four places on corrected time. Antix put in a particularly powerful performance following the damage she sustained when she hit the rocks close to St Catherine's Point yesterday that bent the aft end of her keel and split the bottom 1ft of her rudder. Lifting the boat out in Cowes yesterday evening, her shore crew worked through the night to ensure she was ready for racing today.
"We were determined after yesterday's fiasco to finish stronger, which thankfully we did," said Anthony O'Leary. Today Antix led around the weather mark and ultimately claimed her third bullet of this Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.
"The amount of work that all 31 people have put in over the last five or six months has been considerable," said O'Leary of the Irish team's victory. "We are very lucky that it all paid off in the end. There is a lot of experience with three boats and it gelled very well and there was great encouragement from one boat to the other. You don't often get a chance to sail as a team - which is the really good thing about this event."
Making his debut at the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup in the Irish team was American Marc Glimcher who had brought his `turboed' Ker 40 Catapult over from the USA. Rating-wise Catapult was the fastest boat at this year's regatta and across the 27 boat fleet finished highest placed individual boat.
"What a great week - this is absolutely my number one regatta," enthused Glimcher. "And what an unbelievable team! We had the `surgeon' - Antix - telling us what to do and the `clean-up crew' - Quokka - which would always come to the rescue. It was a great group and we sailed the boat better than we ever have. Next time we need to bring a bunch more Americans!"
Being the lowest rated boat in the Irish team, Quokka 8, co-skippered by Royal Ocean Racing Club Vice Commodore Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling, had the hardest job among the trio of attaining consistent results.
"It has been a very long campaign this," admitted Boyd. "We are newcomers to the event, but we have had fantastic leadership from team captain Anthony O'Leary and we were very fortunate to choose Quokka. It is just very satisfying to have mission accomplished and to do it in a such a comprehensive way today is a huge bonus. At our level as amateurs, the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is the pinnacle of racing."
The last shall be first and the first shall be last
Throughout this Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup the racing has been blessed with Mediterranean conditions - scorching temperatures and generally light to moderate winds. This has favoured the big boats which have cleaned up in the windward-leewards and Monday's offshore race. But today this all changed.
The Race Committee stuck to the schedule and sent the nine 3-boat teams on a course anti-clockwise around the Isle of Wight. The start was at 09:30 BST from the Royal Yacht Squadron line, and the Blair family's King 40 Cobra in GBR Red and Jamie McGarry's Swan 45 Eala of Rhu in GBR Scotland were called OCS and had to return.
There were two schools of thought among the boats heading west down the Solent and it was the group closer to the mainland shore which prevailed, including the five `fast boats' - the three Ker 40s, the new A13, Teasing Machine, and Swan 45, Eala of Rhu, over the boats closer to the island shore. American Marc Glimcher's turboed Ker 40 Catapult pulled ahead on the water in the Solent leading around the South West Shingles buoy off the Needles.
Video: Action in day 5 of racing
Ireland do a 'horizon job' on Three Race Thursday
In contrast to the frustration of yesterday's two unfinished races, today three inshore races were successfully held at the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, bringing the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews back on schedule.
With five inshore races sailed Ireland has now established a solid lead of nearly 100 points, on 176 followed by GBR Red in second on 275.5 and with France Green and GBR Scotland jockeying for third place on 291.5 and 292.5 respectively. After today's second race just five points separated second from fifth place in the team rankings.
Principal Race Officer Stuart Childerley bravely set up a start line off Osborne Bay just to the east of Cowes for today's first windward-leeward race, sailed in a light northeasterly. Robert Lutener's Cutting Edge, sailing in GBR Red, nailed the start mid-line and found better pressure in the middle of the course to lead at the weather mark from American Marc Glimcher's Ker 40, Catapult, in the Irish team. In the light winds throughout the day it paid to be out in front in clear air and, in the first race, Cutting Edge managed to remain ahead of Catapult to win by 19 seconds on corrected with Eric de Turkheim's A13 Teasing Machine third for France Green.
Unlucky race four
With the best wind forecast for early morning, the 27 boats in nine teams started an hour early from a line off Peel Bank. The plan was for them to sail north to the North Ryde Middle mark and then east out of the Solent and into Hayling Bay onto a windward-leeward course.
Childerley recounted: "The boats started reaching out towards the Forts and there were a few big holes there and then six of the boats got to St Helens [mark in Hayling Bay]. Meanwhile the rest of the fleet was being affected badly by big holes in the wind, so we had a situation where probably over half of the fleet wouldn't have finished within the time limit. So we had to abandon that one."
There followed a long wait for the boats in the Solent to reach the new start area in Hayling Bay before a second attempt at race four of the series could be made - this time a windward-leeward in an offshore northeasterly breeze of 6-7 knots. Unfortunately as the boats were approaching the leeward mark the wind shifted hard right, by more than 90
Notice to Competitors No 1
Please see Notice to Competitor No 1 below. Due to the extra time and nice weather available, the RC part-suspended SI 1.16.2. Boats may leave the harbour to sail. (Check full text of the Notice below regarding restrictions):
Ireland still leads as favourable conditions make for swift offshore race
Stronger winds and reaching conditions resulted in a shorter than anticipated offshore race that allowed crews to sleep in their own beds rather than spending a night at sea in the highest scoring race of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.
The course took the boats west out of the Solent, southeast down to a virtual gate 26 miles northeast of the Cherbourg peninsula, returning north to the New Grounds Buoy off the Nab Tower, then west to Bembridge Ledge buoy before a final beat to the finish line, just south of Gosport's Gilkicker Point.
The wind being further west and stronger than forecast resulted in a fast reach down to the virtual gate and it was the powerful reaching machines such as the Ker 40s and the brand new French Archambault A 13, Teasing Machine, that relished the conditions.
Tactical evening ahead
Variety has always been the spice of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup with the 27 boats from France, Scotland, Ireland and England this week getting to sail a mix of inshores, offshores and a race around the Isle of Wight. At 09:30 BST today the fleet of three boat teams set sail from the Royal Yacht Squadron line of Cowes on the first Offshore Race, the longest and most high scoring of the series.
With a moderate wind forecast and the wind due to shut down tomorrow, the Race Committee, led by former Etchells World Champion Stuart Childerley, worked hard to set a fair but challenging course. They opted to send the boats west out of the Solent, passing the Needles Fairway buoy then down to a 'virtual mark' mid-Channel, before returning north to the New Grounds Buoy off the Nab Tower, then on to the Bembridge Ledge buoy and leaving No Man's Land Fort to port before the finish line south of Gosport's Gilkicker Point.
After a long starboard gybe in 10-15 knot NWN wind, at 1600 BST the first boats were rounding the virtual gate. At the front of the fleet the beamy Ker 40s were loving the conditions. GBR Red's Cutting Edge and GBR White's Hooligan VII had done a good job of fending off the `turbo-ed' and higher rated Catapult, leading the Irish boat around the gate.
Course Instructions for the Offshore Race Monday 21st July
Antix opens the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup with two bullets
Ireland has not competed in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup since winning the event in 2010, but today on the Solent the defending champions once removed got off to a strong start in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews.
The Emerald Isle has one of the strongest teams competing in Cowes this week, led, as in 2010, by Anthony O'Leary and the Ker 39, Antix, recent winner of the RORC's IRC National Championship. Today's two inshore races were held in light conditions in the southeastern Solent and Antix won both. With additional consistent performances by her Irish team mates, American Marc Glimcher's turboed Ker 40, Catapult, and Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling's Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, Ireland now leads the 2014 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup with a 19 point advantage over GBR Red.
"On Christmas morning you'd say `yes please',"said Anthony O'Leary of Antix's performance. "We got away cleanly in the two starts. We had a nice position on the line and were able to rumble on without interference, which meant we could make our own decisions. The second race was a bit all over the place. But at the moment it is just shadow boxing - the offshore is what is really important." The event's 24-36 hour long offshore race sets sail tomorrow.
Video: Action in day 1 of racing
Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup Ups the Ante
This year's event features nine teams, comprising four from France, one from Ireland and four from Britain (including one from Scotland), two more than 2012. Over the last few days crews from the three boat teams have been putting the finishing touches to their campaigns. The thundery conditions of the last 48 hours have provided some lively moments for boats being delivered to Cowes, with one French boat experiencing 55 knot winds as she crossed the Channel.
As ever the RORC's flagship event for national teams with amateur crews comprises a challenging mix of inshore and offshore racing.
The event kicks off tomorrow (Sunday 20th July) with two inshore races, the first warning signal at 1055 BST. Over Monday-Tuesday the boats head off on an overnight offshore race, the longest of the regatta (set to last 24-36 hours) and carrying the highest points co-efficient of 2.5. Inshore racing resumes on Wednesday and Thursday followed by a race around the Isle of Wight on Friday, with a 1.5 co-efficient, the event concluding on Saturday with an inshore race carrying a co-efficient of 2. In past years the event has gone to the wire, with the final outcome only decided on the last race.
Team GBR: Returning Defenders
Britain returns to the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup as the defending champion following the victory of GBR Red in 2012. Like the French the home nation will be fielding four teams, including a team from Scotland, when racing gets underway this Sunday 20th July in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial week long regatta for amateur national three boat teams.
Compared to previous years the form of the 2014 British teams is harder to judge with many first time competitors. In fact, of the 12 boats, only two competed in 2012. Father and son team, Michael and Seb Blair, are returning with their King 40, Cobra, in GBR Red and David Aisher's J/109, Yeoman of Wight, is back in GBR Blue. One reason for this is due to many boats changing hands - all three of the 2012 GBR Red line-up are in new ownership. However Jonathan Goring, owner of GBR Red's winning Ker 40 Keronimo in 2012, has returned as a Team GBR selector.
Ireland – Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup favourite for 2014?
Having won the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup in 2010, Ireland was unable to mount a campaign to defend its title in 2012, but this year they are returning to Cowes for the RORC's biennial regatta for amateur national three boat teams, over 19th-26th July, with one of the strongest line-ups taking part.
In recent years, while France and Britain have entered large numbers of boats into the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, Ireland's efforts have been notable for achieving top results but with a smaller but more powerful line-up. In 2006 they fielded three teams with Ireland Green coming home second to the French while, in 2008, Ireland was favourite going into the regatta but its two teams ended up second and third to GBR Red. Finally in 2010 it was third time lucky. The single Irish team dominated the regatta, finishing well ahead of Hong Kong and France.
This year's line-up continues this theme, with former Vice Commodore of the RORC Anthony O'Leary resuming his duties as Irish team leader and skipper of his Ker 39, Antix. The Irish `big boat' is American Marc Glimcher's turbo charged Ker 40, Catapult, while making up the trio is a former IRC Nationals winner, Peter Rutter's Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, chartered for the occasion by Niall Dowling and present RORC Vice Commodore Michael Boyd.
Nine teams for 2014 Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup
This year the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews has two more teams than when the event was last held in 2012. This is thanks to France and Great Britain both fielding four teams, each comprising three boats.
The teams feature many previous Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup participants, particularly in the French line-up, where they are keen to emulate the success of the campaign led by Géry Trentesaux in 2006.
"The French have come back with vengeance - they have got severe strength and depth, which is going to be an interesting problem for everyone else," advises CEO of the RORC, Eddie Warden Owen. "They are taking it seriously. The crews are all friends and I think they will be a severe handful for the rest of the teams."
Serious French turn-out for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup
Since Géry Trentesaux's French team stole victory from the powerful Irish in 2006, France has never finished better than third, but this year they intend to put this right. And to give some idea of what the British and Irish teams will be potentially up against you don't have to look much further than the results from last year's Rolex Fastnet Race, where an incredible 12 of the top 14 finishers were our cousins across 'La Manche'.
To make the point, France is equalling the British line-up, bringing four teams to Cowes over 19-26th July for this year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.
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