The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Easter Challenge is an annual event on the Solent off of Cowes, UK. North Sails is proud to sponsor the regatta and was thrilled to offer the Regatta Services program for the third year in a row, including on the water coaching and organized fleet debriefs.
The event was composed of three race days, kicking off with a high of 20 knot winds on Day 1. Temperatures were around 15-18 degrees celsius, which made for pleasant sailing conditions, and the pressure was pretty consistent in terms of speed from the Southeast. As day two came along, the breeze shifted toward the North and became significantly lighter. This made it very shifty and the water became much flatter. The fleet was postponed on Day 3 with WNW winds making for flat conditions again, yet so shifty it was nearly impossible to set an accurate course. Finally, the pressure filled in and was more consistent, allowing the RC to get races off in the best sailing conditions possible.
Tide has a major effect on the racing in this area. Race strategy is a huge part of pre-race set up and practice, which makes it key to get on the water a little early to figure things out. Starts are very important as it is very hard to catch up in a fleet like this. There are lots of experienced local sailors that compete at this event each year, which is obvious in the races as the competition is quite tough, and teams really know their way around this area with the crazy tides and current!
The fleet completed windward-leeward style races with three longer distance races around buoys that toured the Solent. Not the typical conventional racing, but it kept things interesting and was a lot of fun to sail all around the Solent. The event concluded with 8 total races, making for a successful finish for North Sails clients who secured places in the top five in all divisions.