Myth of Malham (Round Eddystone) Race

by RORC 
Mike Greville’s Ker 39, Erivale III, in the 2009 IRC National Championships.
RORC/Paul Wyeth
Myth of Malham Race (Round Eddystone) is set to have its first start 0800 27th May and will be organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with the Royal Yacht Squadron.

The RORC Season's Points Championship goes from strength to strength with 140 yachts entered for the forthcoming Myth of Malham Race. The 230-mile race, around the Eddystone Lighthouse, mirrors the start of this year's Rolex Fastnet Race, which is definitely a big factor in such an impressive turn out.

The Myth of Malham is one of the longest races in the RORC calendar. It is a test of endurance and concentration and is extremely tactical, especially with regards to the strong tides that flow along the south west coast of England. The race also carries a weighted points factor, making it even more important for the RORC Season's Points Championship.

The holder of the Myth of Malham Trophy is Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens, which was in fine form last time out, winning the De Guingand Bowl. However, there will be the biggest RORC fleet so far this season looking to win the coveted prize. Jonathan Goring's brand new Ker 40, Keronimo, is set to make its long awaited race debut.

As does Ian Smyth's Grand Soleil 46, Bella Donna and Edward Broadway's First 40, Carpe Diem. Three Class 40s are also entered, Mark Denton's Class 40, MAXVMG will be taking on Catherine Pourre's Eärwen and Richard Crossley, sailing Les Conquerants de Normandie.

Mike Greville's Ker 39, Erivale III, won the Myth of Malham Trophy in 2008; a year that typified the wide variety of conditions in late May.

'We went through just about every sail in the locker,' commented Mike Greville at the time. 'We saw 20 knots at the start which gradually built during the day to 30 knots plus by the evening, the highest gust was 46 knots. On Sunday morning conditions had eased to about 10 knots and we finished the race in only five knots of breeze.'

There are no less than 14 First 40.7's entered this year, which should produce some very close competition in IRC Two. Peter Robson's Trustmarque Playing Around and Steve Anderson's Encore, placed well in last year's race. Neil Kipling's J/122, Joopster were second in class last year and will be looking to go one better. One to watch may well be Ross Applebey's Oyster 48, Scarlett Oyster. She is returning to racing after several years in retirement but the yacht won its class in the very windy 2007 Rolex Fastnet Race and Ross usually has a well tuned up crew.

In IRC Three, Noel Racine's JPK10.10, Foggy Dew won her class in last year's event and will be back looking to repeat the win. IRC Three exemplifies the wide variety of yachts racing; Kenneth Newman's Swan 46, Marinero is the largest yacht and Philip Farrands' Humphreys 40, Old Mother Gun, probably the oldest. There are also nine examples of J/109 racing around the Eddystone Lighthouse, which should produce a close boat-on-boat tussle within the class.

IRC Four is the largest class with 46 yachts entered. Jean Yves Chateau's Nicholson 33, Iromiguy has won her class for the Myth of Malham on several occasions, including last year, and will be on the Squadron Line start this Bank Holiday. Trevor Nicholls' Starlight 39, Spellbinder of Wytch was third in class last year, owned by the Phoenix Yacht Club, based in Portsmouth Harbour; the yacht has a core crew of eight with sailing skills ranging from Ocean Yachtmaster to absolute beginners.

The J/97, Jika Jika is one of 24 yachts racing in the ever growing Two Handed Class. Jamie Holmes and Tom Whicher are both in their twenties and very new to the discipline. 'We both fancied having a go at some two handed sailing as it completely contrasts the sailing we've done before,' explained Jaime Holmes.

'The Rolex Fastnet double-handed seemed a suitable challenge and so we are competing in the Myth of Malham, amongst others, as a qualifier race and also hopefully to get our mistakes out the way before the Fastnet. Jika Jika is being kindly (and bravely!) loaned to us by my Dad, Mike Holmes for the double handed RORC series. For the rest of the time, Dad and I campaign the boat together and with friends.'

The RORC Myth of Malham Race starts at 0800 on Friday 27th May. With such a large fleet of yachts jostling for position it will be a great spectacle from the sea front promenade at Cowes on the Isle of Wight and vantage points along the western Solent.

For more information, go to the Royal Ocean Racing Club web site. Late entry is available up to 0800 26th May.