115 yachts have entered the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s Cervantes Trophy Race, with more than 600 sailors registered to take part. The race from the Solent to Le Havre will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line on Saturday 4th May at 0900 BST. Spectators can watch the spectacle from the Cowes Parade and The Green, and also follow the progress of the fleet via the RORC website. Competitors will receive a warm welcome at Société des Regates du Havre, founded in 1838, it is the oldest yacht club in continental Europe.
The opening European fixture of the 2019 RORC Season’s Points Championship, is the third race of the world’s largest offshore racing championship, with in excess of 600 yachts expected to take part over the course of the season. The majority of the teams racing are Corinthian sailors, who will be taking on some top professional teams during the series. More often than not, the championship is won by an amateur team, with the skill, tenacity, and determination to succeed.
Teams will be racing for the Cervantes Trophy for the best corrected time under IRC. Gilles Fournier and Corinne Migraine’s J/133 Pintia will be attempting to win the Cervantes Trophy for the fourth year in a row. The race to Le Havre is a special one for Pintia, Gilles has been a member of the Société des Regates du Havre for over 60 years.
“We really do not know if we will win, but we will compete for sure!” smiled Gilles Fournier. “We have a good crew and we will do our best, but we know that the competition will be very good. It is wonderful to hear that so many sailors will be racing to Le Havre, and we hope that many of them will enjoy the facilities at the club.”
Racing alongside Pintia in IRC 2 will be Thomas Kneen’s JPK 11.80 Sunrise as scratch boat. Richard Neocleous’ Oceanis 55 Julia has the longest water-line length for the class, and will be hoping for powerful reaching conditions. Four Beneteau First 40s will have a close battle; Susan Glenny’s Olympia’s Tigress, Sailing Logic’s Dusty P and Lancelot II, as well as Ronan Banim’s Galahad Of Cowes.
Over 60 yachts, the majority of the huge fleet, will be racing in IRC Three and IRC Four, 36 teams will be racing in IRC Two-Handed. Richard Palmer’s Jangada returns to action, after a leading the main series overall for most of the 2018 season, before a rigging failure in the very last race, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Jangada is one of nine JPK yachts taking part in the Cervantes Trophy Race, including 2016 champion Louis-Marie Dussere’s Raging-bee². The 2017 champion, Rob Craigie’s Bellino, sailed by Deb Fish & Will Taylor, is one of five Sunfast 3600 yachts racing.
Two-Handed offshore racing continues to gather momentum with a record entry for the Rolex Fastnet Race, along with the introduction of a mixed two-handed class in the 2024 Olympics,” commented Richard Palmer. “The 2019 season will see the arrival of new boats and attention will no doubt be on the Loisin’s new JPK 1030. All of this will only increase the level of competition for two-handed racing with the RORC. Jangada’s sights are firmly set on the RORC series again and have already entered the RORC Transatlantic race in November.”
Hot favourite for Monohull Line Honours will be the Volvo 70 Telefonica Black, skippered by Lance Shepherd, skipper of Liverpool 2018 in the 2017-18 Clipper Round the World Race. Catherine Pourre’s Class40 Eärendil, winner of the class for the 2019 RORC Caribbean 600 will be racing in the Class40 Division. Last year’s Multihull champion, Seacart 30 Buzz, skippered by Ross Hobson, will be returning to action. Windward Sailing’s CM60 Venomous, sailed by Fastnet veteran Derek Saunders, and Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by Volvo Ocean Race veteran Gerd-jan Poortman, will be racing in IRC Zero. In IRC One, Ed Fishwick’s newly acquired FAST40+ Redshift is the scratch boat and expected to have a close battle with 2018 class winner, Ed Broadway’s Hooligan VII.
Start: 0900 BST – 04 May, 2019
Course: Squadron Line, Cowes – Le Havre
Distance: 110-160 miles (Channel Marks or waypoints may be included)