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Prospective Round Ireland Yacht Racers Win RORC Cervantes Trophy Race to France

2nd May 2022
RORC Commodore James Neville's HH42 INO XXX who will contest the Round Ireland Race on June 18 was the overall winner of the 2022 Cervantes Trophy Race
RORC Commodore James Neville's HH42 INO XXX who will contest the Round Ireland Race on June 18 was the overall winner of the 2022 Cervantes Trophy Race Credit: Rick Tomlinson

Two top UK-based yachts expected to enter June's Round Ireland Race scored significant wins in the UK’s offshore season opener in a race across the English Channel on Saturday.

It's a weekend result that raises the stakes for overall honours in the biennial Irish ocean classic that gets underway in a little over six weeks' time with a quality fleet of more than 40.

The first race of the domestic season for the RORC Season’s Points Championship was a tricky light airs 100-mile dash across the English Channel to Le Havre. RORC Commodore James Neville, racing HH42 INO XXX was the standout performer scoring a hat-trick of wins: The Cervantes Trophy for first overall after IRC time correction, race line honours, and IRC Zero. 

The Cowes boat has declared for June 18s significantly longer 700-mile SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race and with the Cervantes Trophy in the bag, Neville is likely to be very much in contention for the Wicklow race that includes quality ISORA, RORC, Class 40 and Volvo 70 yachts.

Yet to enter the Round Ireland Race but sailing with a strong Irish crew for Saturday's fixture, Michael O'Donnell’s UK-based J/121 Darkwood was second overall and the winner of IRC One.

As Afloat reported previously, Dubliner O'Donnell was joined for the race to France by Irish offshore sailors Kenny Rumball, Michael Boyd, Barry Hurley, and Conor Kinsella.

The Cervantes Trophy Race is part of the 2022 RORC Season’s Points ChampionshipThe Cervantes Trophy Race is part of the 2022 RORC Season’s Points Championship Photo: Rick Tomlinson

The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier, skippered by Henry Foster was the winner of IRC Two.

Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews racing Sun Fast 3200 Cora had a superb race, taking third overall, and winning IRC Three and IRC Two-Handed.

The Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British SoldierThe Army Sailing Association’s Sun Fast 3600 Fujitsu British Soldier Photo: Rick Tomlinson

“It was hard work getting out of the Solent in light shifty conditions,” commented James Neville. “Taking a more easterly line offshore worked well for us, staying in better pressure, and making sure we weren’t swept west on the tide. The crew did a great job concentrating in the cold air. The reaching conditions really suited our four-sail set with the Fro, jib, staysail and main all in the air.”

After the finish of the race RORC racing teams arriving at Société des Regatés du Havre, received nothing short of a spectacular welcome with a carnival atmosphere laid on by the oldest yacht club in France, including a dancing girls cabaret and a sumptuous dinner at the renowned restaurant.

The Cervantes Trophy Race is part of the 2022 RORC Season’s Points Championship, the world's largest offshore racing series comprising of 16 testing races. Every race has its own coveted prize for the overall winner and famous trophies for IRC class honours. The fifth race of the championship is the De Guingand Bowl Race, which is scheduled to start on Saturday 14th May from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line with an overnight race in the Solent and adjacent waters.

Additional race report by Louay Habib

Published in RORC, Round Ireland Team

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  • Established in 1925, The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) became famous for the biennial Fastnet Race and the international team event, the Admiral's Cup. It organises an annual series of domestic offshore races from its base in Cowes as well as inshore regattas including the RORC Easter Challenge and the IRC European Championship (includes the Commodores' Cup) in the Solent
  • The RORC works with other yacht clubs to promote their offshore races and provides marketing and organisational support. The RORC Caribbean 600, based in Antigua and the first offshore race in the Caribbean, has been an instant success. The 10th edition took place in February 2018. The RORC extended its organisational expertise by creating the RORC Transatlantic Race from Lanzarote to Grenada, the first of which was in November 2014
  • The club is based in St James' Place, London, but after a merger with The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Cowes now boasts a superb clubhouse facility at the entrance to Cowes Harbour and a membership of over 4,000

At A Glance – RORC 

RORC Race Enquiries:

Royal Ocean Racing Club T: +44 (0) 1983 295144 E: [email protected] W:

Royal Ocean Racing Club:

20 St James's Place, London SW1A 1NN, Tel: 020 7493 2248 E: [email protected] 

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