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2023 RORC Season's Points Championship - Class winners announced

by Louay Habib / RORC 18 Sep 19:53 UTC
2023 RORC Season's Points Championship Overall Winner under IRC - Congratulations to Rob Craigie racing with Deb Fish on his Sun Fast 3600 Bellino © Rick Tomlinson /

The Royal Ocean Racing Club Season's Points Championship is the world's largest offshore racing series with trophies and races dating back over 100 years.

The series attracts world class professional teams racing against passionate corinthian crews. Five classes and the Overall Winner are decided by time correction under the IRC Rating Rule, used by nearly all of the world's premier offshore races.

In 2023, the lure of the series was increased by the attraction of the 50th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race with a record entry of 452 boats. Dating back to 1925, the famous race is the foundation of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, but the RORC Season's Points Championship is not about one race, each stand-alone race is a worthy contest. For the RORC Season's Points Championship winning your IRC Class or IRC Overall is difficult in the extreme, especially in a Rolex Fastnet Race year.

The 12-month series comprised of 15 separate races, over 500 different boats took part, including well over 100 teams in IRC Two-Handed, the largest double-handed fleet in existence. Over 1,500 race entries raced in five IRC Classes, plus the world's fastest Multihulls racing under MOCRA, and 30 Class40 teams under their own class rules.

IRC Overall - Bellino

Rob Craigie's Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with RORC Rear Commodore Deb Fish was the overall winner under IRC for the 2023 RORC Season's Points Championship. RORC Vice Commodore Eric de Turckheim's NMD54 Teasing Machine was runner-up and Sun Fast 3200 Cora, raced Two-Handed by Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews was third. This was the first time Bellino has won the RORC Championship overall, having come third in 2022 and second in 2019.

"The real pressure was on the last race where we needed 33 points to clinch it," explained Bellino's Rob Craigie. "It was a really drifty race, and when we finished at 4am, we looked at each other and said, 'where's the beer?' because we always take two beers to celebrate the finish a race. Deb replied, 'I didn't bring it, it was too heavy!' We had taken everything off the boat that we legally could as it was a light airs race."

"I am pleased that the Championship can be won by a team that is amateur and without a huge budget," continued Craigie.

Rob and Deb both have careers outside of sailing and Bellino travels on her keel to every race start. "What next?" commented Rob rhetorically. "We can't ship the boat to Australia or places like the Caribbean, but we don't need to; we are racing in the best series in the world!"

Deb Fish, Bellino's co-skipper started racing offshore in 1999 and has been Two-Handed racing with Rob Craigie since 2012. "The 50th Rolex Fastnet will stay in the memory for a long time," commented Deb. "Making it through the first night was an achievement with gusts of 40 knots, big seas, and a series of Mayday calls on the VHF. While the last night was wet and wild as we surfed past Alderney and Cap de La Hague, I remember helming as the boat speed built to 24 knots before the instruments disappeared in a wall of water." Deb Fish was full of praise for Rob Craigie. "We put a lot of effort into boat preparation and preparing for each race. Rob knows the boat inside out so can fix most things that go wrong, which was invaluable when the electronics failed as they did on the Fastnet! We've both done a lot of solo racing, so if push comes to shove either of us can sail the boat competitively on our own for as long as needed."

IRC Zero - Teasing Machine

RORC Vice Commodore Eric de Turckheim had a spectacular season with his NMD 54 Teasing Machine winning the red-hot IRC Zero Class and came desperately close to winning the series overall. Second in IRC Zero was Niklas Zennstrom's CF 520 Rán. Third was RORC Commodore James Neville with his new Carkeek 45 Ino Noir.

IRC Super Zero - I Love Poland

The Polish National Foundation's Volvo 70 I Love Poland, skippered by Grzegorz Baranowski was the winner of IRC Super Zero. Notably taking the class win and the IMA Transatlantic Trophy for Monohull Line Honours in the RORC Transatlantic Race. I Love Poland's crew had 10 sailors under 35 years of age, many of which have become RORC members. Second in IRC Zero for the series was Peter Morton's Maxi72 Notorious. Third was Fundacja Sailing Poland's VO65 Wind Whisper, sailed by Marcin Sutkowski.

MOCRA - Zoulou

MOD70 Zoulou sailed by Erik Maris was the winner of the MOCRA Class, ahead of Giovanni Soldini's Multi70 Maserati. Third was Gunboat 68 Tosca, co-skippered by Ken Howery & Alex Thompson. Zoulou competed in the 'big four' of the season; Rolex Middle Sea Race, RORC Transatlantic Race, RORC Caribbean 600, and Rolex Fastnet Race. At least four 70ft trimarans are expected for the 2024 RORC Transatlantic Race which would be the first occasion in the 15 year history of the 3,000-mile race.

Class40 - The 3 Bros

Renaud Courbon's The 3 Bros was the Class40 Division winner for 2023. Renaud Courbon's 14 year old son Tual and brother Gilles were the core of The 3 Bros crew. Two of the top Italian skippers in the Class40 circuit made up the podium; Albi Bona's IBSA, winner of the RORC Caribbean 600, was second for the season. Ambrogio Beccaria's Alla Grande-Pirelli completed the podium.

IRC One - Dawn Treader

Ed Bell's JPK 1180 Dawn Treader was the winner of IRC One by less than nine points from Gilles Fournier & Corinne Migraine's J/133 Pintia. Michael O'Donnell's J/121 Darkwood was third in class. Dawn Treader was also the winner of the Performance 40 Offshore Series ahead of Richard Powell's First 40 Rogan Josh.

"The 2023 Rolex Fastnet was a classic," commented Ed Bell. "We had a great crew including my son George and some old friends. The first 18 hrs were more than memorable. Rounding the Rock, hoisting the kite, hitting our all-time boat speed record and cracking open the whiskey was a wonderful spell. We finished third out of 100 entries in class behind Pintia and Sunrise, both hugely successful teams, and ahead of the French and Swedish JPK 1180s, as well as many great teams and famous names."

IRC Two-Handed & IRC Three - Cora

Tim Goodhew & Kelvin Matthews racing Sun Fast 3200 Cora had a fantastic season, winning IRC Two-Handed, IRC Three and the stand alone RORC Double Handed National Championship. In IRC Two Handed, second for the RORC Season's Points Championship was Bellino. Nick Martin's Sun Fast 3600 Diablo, racing with Cal Finlayson was third - their season was curtailed by a dismast in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Mike Yates' J/109 JAGO, racing double-handed with Will Holland, was less than three points off the podium in fourth.

"We have been the 'bridesmaid' in the past, not quite good enough, but this year it has all fallen into place, "commented Tim Goodhew. "Kelvin and I have our different skill sets and we have improved each other as sailors; our roles on board are now much more blurred. Preparation has been key, we talk about the weather and the navigation in the week before the race, and that process is being continually refined. What has been there for us the whole time is our chemistry; we find ourselves sharing the same thoughts a lot of the time, and that doesn't happen with everyone. There is never any disagreement but there is persistent improvement in getting around the race track."


Ross Applebey's Oyster 48 Scarlet Oyster was the winner of IRC Two. Bellino was second and Jim & Ellie Driver's Chilli Pepper was third and best of 11 Sun Fast 3300s.

"This is only the second time Scarlet Oyster has won class, we have been runner up on numerous occasions," commented Ross Applebey. "This year the 'memorable' moment was when we realised our Fastnet race was effectively over only a few hours in!" referring to sail damage just after the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race. "We did have the fortune of several races going well for us, usually in a series, just a few correct decisions can bring the best results. We have a well-established team that know the boat and each other well; they all appreciate that results come largely from hard work and resilience."

IRC Four

Chris & Vanessa Choules' Sigma 38 With Alacrity was the winner of IRC Four. Runner-up was Marc Willame's JPK 960 Elma, just five points ahead of Henry & Edward Clay's Contessa 38 Flycatcher of Yar. In fourth by just one point was Samuel Duménil JPK 960 Casamyas.

The 2024 RORC Season's Points Championship starts with the Rolex Middle Sea Race in October 2023. The series has other notable international races including the RORC Transatlantic Race, the RORC Caribbean 600, the SSE Renewables Round Ireland, and the second edition of the Roschier Baltic Sea Race. The majority of the series is held in European waters with the Myth of Malham (around Eddystone) and the Cowes Dinard St Malo being ever popular.

For more information about the RORC Season's Points Championship, go to the Royal Ocean Racing Club website:

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