The new Grand Prix Zero Class for high performance IRC boats, enjoyed exhilarating racing at their debut regatta, the Royal Ocean Racing Club Vice Admiral’s Cup.
Eight races were held over three days of competition. Niklas Zennström’s Carkeek 40+ Ràn scored eight bullets but the devil is in the detail.
Five of the races were won by less than a minute after IRC time correction. Ian Atkins’ GP42 Dark N Stormy was runner up and there was a tie for third between RORC Commodore James Neville HH42 INO XXX and Harmen Jan de Graaf’s Ker 43 Baraka GP. INO XXX made the GP Zero podium by countback. Bertie Bicket’s modified IC37 Fargo scored three podium race finishes, proving that every boat in the Grand Prix Zero Class enjoyed close racing. The fleet were tested in every wind strength from five to 25 knots. RORC Race Officer Stuart Childerley and his team provided outstanding windward leeward race tracks, and round the cans racing, testing every point of sail.
Team Rán helm Niklas Zennström commented: “Great fun to have the Rán team out racing and with five races decided by less than a minute, the competition may have been in a small fleet, but it was very close for most of the weekend. We believe more boats will be competing in the class this season and the Rán team will be looking forward to more of the same. Thank you to the RORC for organising a great regatta.”
GP Zero Class President, Ian Atkins, runner up for the regatta with GP42 Dark N Stormy commented: “Five boats in the first regatta, dominated by Rán as everyone expected, but it was five boats going over the start and finish line together, it is as close as you will get to one-design racing in high-performance boats of about 40ft. It is the most we could have wished for in our first event. I can’t wait for the IRC Nationals, we have maybe seven or eight boats and twelve owners have expressed their interest to race in the GP Zero Class. This is a way to get high-performance IRC boats together in a single class for big events. Owners of these boats have experienced that the chances of racing together had gone for a while.GP Zero is a way to tell them that their chances are back!”
RORC Commodore James Neville was at the helm of his HH42 INO XXX: “The first day we had 25 knots and Ino really lights up, pushing as hard as we could downwind, we had 22 knots of boat speed with water everywhere. It’s been super-competitive, with windward leewards set up really nicely with plenty of shifts and tides, the Vice Admiral’s Cup produced plenty of good competition.”
Dutch Ker 43 Baraka GP was driven by Dirk de Graaf: “We are really happy to be here, it has been even better competition than the Easter Challenge. If you can get a good start and keep up the pace you can be one of the best boats. Baraka is very happy to be here!”
The next GP Zero regatta will be the RORC IRC National Championships 10-12 June. Seven, possibly eight boats, are expected. For more information go to RORC IRC Nationals events page.