Rick Tomlinson Photography / www.rick-tomlinson.com

Belgium victory in Myth of Malham

Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout's MC34 Azawakh claims honours

Wednesday May 28th 2014, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom

The RORC Myth of Malham Race started from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line under grey skies and a southwesterly wind of ten knots.

All 40 yachts got away to a good start, with the Royal Armoured Corps Yacht Club's J/109 White Knight 7 and Christopher Palmer's J/109 J-T'Aime judging the line to perfection.

In the second start Chris Radford's J/122 Relentless on Jellyfish and Mark Emerson's Rodman 42 Phosphorus also got away well. Ahead of the fleet was a beat of well over 100 miles to the Eddystone Rock and the somewhat gentle conditions at the start were later replaced by a strong breeze with foul tide causing a significant swell, especially on the first night near Poole Bay. However the fleet enjoyed a blistering run back to the Solent, with big breeze and warm sunshine providing wonderful conditions.

Belgians Vincent Willemart and Eric Van Campenhout's MC34 Azawakh had a great race correcting out to win the Myth of Malham Cup and go to top of the leaderboard for the RORC Season's Points Championship. Two previous winners of the Myth of Malham Cup claimed second and third overall: Noel Racine's French JPK 10.10 Foggy Dew was second and the clear winner in IRC Four. RORC Commodore Mike Greville's Ker 39 Erivale III was third and the winner of IRC One.

"It was a tough, tough beat for us to Eddystone," commented Van Campenhout. "With the biggest waves we were launching off and coming down with a big bump, which slowed our progress but what a fantastic run back! Azawakh reached a top speed of 20 knots and 18 knots was often our speed. We passed Cracklin' Rosie at Start Point and we knew by that we were doing well."

Willemart added: "We have raced many times against Noel Racine's Foggy Dew and they are an excellent team. Noel knows this course so well, so we knew he would be tough to beat. As a team we would have been happy with a top three finish but to win overall is fantastic. This is a good win and we will definitely be celebrating but we know that to win the series we will have to sail well all season."

The IMOCA 60 Artemis-Team Endeavour, crewed by a combination of yacht professionals like Jules Verne Trophy record holder Brian Thompson and several injured servicemen, took line honours and the win in IRC Canting Keel, completing the race in just over 20 hours. This compares with Louis-Marie Dussere's JPK 10.10 Raging Bee, which took 32 hours to complete the 230 mile course winning the highly competitive Two-Handed Class and IRC Three.

"We are so happy with the win!" smiled Louis-Marie Dussere. "I change my co-skipper for every race, but this time I was with Thierry Lacour, who is an incredible sailor. We will be taking part in a Transatlantic Race together in July, so this was a great feeling. The first night was very tough, 25 knots of wind, sometimes as much as 30 and big waves so it was very hard to steer. We kept a watch system of 90 minutes each and we kept that up the whole race unless we were changing sails. We feel it is very important to get rest, as it improves performance. At Eddystone we had a problem with our Code Zero and we probably lost three miles to the competition, which was a worry but it focused our attention on sailing fast with the spinnaker, for a fast ride home - formidable!"

Mike Greville was taking part in his seventh Myth of Malham Race. The RORC Commodores commented: "The beat was slightly testing near the start in about 15-20 knots but later we saw up to 24 knots on the beat, which was hard work but that was worth it for a very quick reach home in about 12 hours from Eddystone to the finish. We had foul tide from Portland on the return and to escape the current at St Albans Head we were just 200 yards from the cliffs surfing the overfalls in 20 knots of wind. I really enjoy this race, I think I have only missed one since the RORC started running it. It is usually a tactical race out to Eddystone and more often than not we have a fast run or reach home in waves and interesting tides which make it memorable. All in all making a classic race, as strong as St Malo and in a number of respects better, and certainly worth taking part in."

Photos from Rick Tomlinson / www.rick-tomlinson.com




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