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The Devil’s in the Detail

Analysis 2019 RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup

RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup, Cowes. Rick Tomlinson

Niklas Zennstrom (SWE) racing the Carkeek designed Rán won the RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup, the first round of the 2019 FAST40+ Race Circuit. On face value it was a comfortable win, but looking at the detail, the 2019 FAST40+ alumni enjoyed incredibly close racing, which is set to continue for the season.

“Only three boats out of nine did not make the top three, and every boat had a 5th place or worse,” commented FAST40+ Race Director Stuart Childerley. “Starts were generally consistent and extremely competitive, with no boat showing starting prowess. Choosing the right tactics and avoiding mistakes or errors was rewarded with top performances.”

Arabella – RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup, Cowes. Rick Tomlinson

Niall Dowling (IRL) racing Ker40+ Arabella joined the FAST40+ Class last season, and opened their 2019 campaign with five podium finishes out of nine races at the RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup. Arabella’s navigator, Campbell Field (NZL) shares his analysis of Arabella’s performance in the opening round of the 2019 FAST40+ Race Circuit.

“We are very pleased with how the boat’s going,” commented Campbell. “Niall and Olivia Dowling made a bunch of changes over the winter, and it is lovely to see some fruit from the energy spent on the boat with Anthony Haines in Cowes. We are very pleased with the platform that we have got to sail on, and it’s up to us as sailors to make the best of it. The sailing team worked very hard at the Vice Admiral’s Cup, there was a bit of snakes and ladders in every race. It helps strategically to go where you want to on the race course, and that stems from a combination of getting off the start line well and then sailing smart. It feels for me that the fleet has tightened up in terms of performance and most of the teams have similar strategy, so being able to hold your lane is very powerful. We did have one red flag, which is one too many. A 20 knot squall came through, and we had to push it a bit to make the finish, it was a close call, and you have to make those decisions in the heat of battle. With 20-20 hindsight it wasn’t right for us to have put in the gybe, but had we pulled it off, we would have been famous!”

Centre Tokoloshe 2 – RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup, Cowes. Rick Tomlinson

Mike Bartholomew (RSA) racing Botin Carkeek Tokoloshe 2 has been competing in the class longer than any other team. Scoring three podium finished at the RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup, including two bullets, Tokoloshe 2 has made an impressive start to their 2019 campaign.

“Our boat speed seems to be quite good, due to a host of different reasons,” commented Mike Bartholomew. “We have new sails and we have been playing around with the rig a bit more, and we seem to be getting it right. Finding that extra bit of speed makes a huge difference in this fleet. Rán is clearly the quickest, otherwise the boats are all pretty even, and that was illustrated in the Vice Admiral’s Cup. I have never seen such close racing in the FAST40+ fleet, particularly on the last day, when at times we had seven boats reaching the weather mark at the same time. Getting two firsts was really pleasing, but our eighth was because we were across the line and had to go back, recovering from that is almost impossible. We want competitive sailing and we have certainly got it now. Next we will go to Poole, we raced there last year and it was great fun, I am all in favour of away regattas, Poole is a great place to race and less complex in terms of tides than the Solent. Maybe for the future Dartmouth or Weymouth would be good venues for the class.”

Centre Zephyr – RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup, Cowes. Rick Tomlinson

Steve Cowie’s Scottish team racing Botin Carkeek Zephyr made the podium in three races, and during the Vice Admiral’s Cup was placed as high as second in the nine boat fleet. “Our Hall Spars Rig was new last year, and with the data we have collected, we have made some adjustments which seems to have given Zephyr better speed, “ commented Zephyr’s Kev Miller (GBR). “The competition has definitely got tougher this year and we made a few good calls in the Vice Admiral’s Cup, which always helps. The wind gods didn’t play ball last year when we went to Poole, but hopefully that will be different this time around. We have done our homework on Poole Bay, and the team are really looking forward to getting back into action.”

Round Two of the FAST40+ Race Circuit will take place in Poole Bay, organised by the Royal Motor Yacht Club in conjunction with the FAST40+ Class. Three days of racing, 14-16 June with up to eight races scheduled plus après sailing socials every night at the Poole Quay Boat Haven and the Royal Motor Yacht Club Clubhouse.