Bellino wins Myth of Malham

The overall winner under IRC time correction was Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with RORC Commodore Deb Fish. © Rick Tomlinson/RORC
The overall winner under IRC time correction was Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with RORC Commodore Deb Fish. © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

The overall winner of RORC Myth of Malham Race, after IRC time correction, was Rob Craigie’s Sun Fast 3600 Bellino, racing Two-Handed with RORC Commodore Deb Fish. 

Bellino © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

Myth of Malham Results

Eric de Turckheim’s NMD 54 Teasing Machine blasted round the 235 mile course to take line honours by a huge margin in the RORC Myth of Malham Race that provided plenty of tactical challenges for navigators, along with remarkably close competition for many. 

Teasing Machine © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

Despite the earlier timing than usual – on the early May bank holiday – conditions were largely very pleasant, including a long downwind leg from the start at Cowes to the Eddystone light house, south of Plymouth in around 10 knots of breeze. However, competitors had to negotiate complex weather patterns associated with a small area of low pressure in the west of the English Channel, including a front off the coast of South Devon. 

This timing and intensity of this was “massively uncertain” according to Deb Fish and Rob Craigie, co-skipper on Bellino. “The big question was about the timing, so it was quite challenging to work out where to position yourself. 

Teasing Machine’s elapsed time of 25.5 hours represents an impressive average speed made good of just over 9 knots. On the other hand, some of the smaller entries, a few of which didn’t finish until almost 24 hours after the big French boat, had a different experience, including a long shut down on their final night at sea.

Early challenges included a hole in the wind in the Needles Channel, less than 15 miles from the start. Bellino gained an early advantage here: “We had been trying to stay out the pack and could see there was more pressure towards the island shore,” says Fish. “We were nearer to that than a lot of the other boats and managed go our own way.” 

Cora © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

From there it was a matter of playing the wind shifts to maximise gains. Bellino opted to go north of the rhumb line whenever possible, while Tim Goodhew and Kelvin Matthews’ Sun Fast 3200 Cora tended to keep in the middle and Gareth Edmundson’s JPK 10.30 Insert Coin initially to the south and then further north. 

“The run down to the Eddystone was really tactical and interesting,” says Goodhew. “Boats that did well in our size bracket all did different things – that showed it was super complicated, because there wasn't one strategy dominating the race, which is not often the case.”

Bellino reached the Eddystone at much the same time as the front, in which the wind speed picked up to 18 knots, with the wind shift turning the leg home into a reach largely under Code 0, rather than a beat. “We were expecting a very slow wind shift, allowing us to sail to the lay line,” says Fish, “but then we saw boats converging from the south sailing on a completely different wind angle. It was a race for both watching the AIS and keeping your eyes out the boat and trying to work out what was happening, which makes it very interesting.”

At the half way point Cora held the overall lead after time correction, according to Bellino’s Rob Craigie, and it was only in the later stages of the race that the smaller boat slipped back. “The wind faded from the west, and ultimately shut down for the boats behind us, but we could see Bellino still going well when we had only 6-7 seven knots of breeze at times,” adds Goodhew. 

Cora © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

“We could see it slipping away quite convincingly in the last 15-20 miles of the race, when the real challenge for us was to keep the boat going and try to keep up with the breeze before it shut down.” Nevertheless, Cora won IRC Class 3 and took second overall as well as second in the double handed fleet.

Mzungu! © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

Craigie and Fish on Bellino spent the second half of the race looking over their shoulders at Sam White and Sam North on the JPK 10.80 Mzungu!, winners of both IRC 2 and double handed last year. At the finish Bellino was just six minutes ahead of Mzungu! and took overall victory 18 minutes ahead of Cora after IRC time correction.

Garm © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

The battle for the final podium place in the overall standings could not have been closer – with three boats finishing inside 45 seconds after IRC time correction. Per Roman’s Swedish JPK 11.80 Garm took third overall, just 8 seconds ahead of Insert Coin, and Mzungu! fifth. The latter two boats took second and third places respectively in IRC2.

Baraka GP © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

In the past few years the Myth of Malham has tended to favour larger boats, but in this edition Teasing Machine slipped to ninth in the overall standings. However, she retained the lead in IRC Zero, ahead of Mark Emerson’s A 13 Phosphorus ll and the de Graaf family’s Ker 43 Baraka GP.

Derek Shakespeare’s J/122 Bulldog finished approximately half an hour later than Garm after IRC time correction, to take second place in IRC1, with Michael O’Donnell’s J/121 Darkwood third in that class.

Jean-Lin’s J/99 Yalla! finished second in IRC3, an hour behind Cora. However, these were the only two boats to escape the shutdown on the second evening of racing and the third placed boat, Philippe Beneben’s Sun Fast 3200 Platypus didn’t finish until eight hours later. 

The sole entry in IRC4, Henry and Edward Clay’s Contessa 38 Flycatcher of Yar, finished with an elapsed time only fractionally shorter than 48 hours, but was only two places behind Platypus in the overall standings.

Cap Sela © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

Two of the new Sun Fast 30 one designs racing were crewed by young sailors from RORC’s Griffin Project. Rosie Hill’s team on Cap Sela finished with a commanding lead on Charlie Muldoon’s Cap Polaris, and Kevin Armstrong’s third placed Cap Altair.

Cap Polaris © Rick Tomlinson/RORC

RORC’s next event is the North Sea Race from Harwich to Scheveningen on May 10. Organised in the UK in association with the Royal Harwich Yacht Club and EAORA and in The Netherlands with the Yacht Club Scheveningen and the North Sea Regatta. 

On-Line Entry for North Sea Race 

Phosphorous II © Rick Tomlinson

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