Hail the new Emperor
Jerry Freeman is crowned the 2020 SORC Championship winner

We were hoping to see out the 2020 season with our annual prize-giving but, alas, Covid has got in the way! Before we start the 2021 season we would like to congratulate Jerry Freeman, sailing his evergreen J/105 "Juliette", for winning overall the 2020 season SORC Championship. Jerry is one of the founder Fathers of SORC, previously Petit Bateau, and so it is good to have worthy Champion.


A few words from Jerry, modest as usual, about his Championship winninmg season...

You know that the season is starting late when your first key decision is deck shoes or sea boots?

Friday July 10th, Lymington to Brixham was definitely deck shoes although boots were advised on arrival at  the guano covered dock in Brixham marina at 0100

Going westward is always a good plan, blue sea, easy swell, shorts and sun bloc.....but when Channel Week eventually started from Plymouth we had rain and a long cool beat to the Lizard . Fog descended at sunset which made tacking among the tankers parked at the Lizard more interesting than planned. The following brutal beat of six hours to Wolf Rock was testing and it took several weeks for the neck muscles to recover.

It’s always good to return to Mylor, the generous hosts of our first solo race in 2004, and one benefit of social distancing was the table service at the Chain Locker in Falmouth, where getting a beer would normally be impossible.

Homeward bound and down wind from Falmouth was a J Boat benefit with lots of blue sky and pink spinnaker. Dartmouth was heaving, four boats deep on the quay. Later next day, when the fog cleared we gybed very close in round the Bill and enjoyed the bright sunshine at the Portland finish line.

The hairiest moment of the week was gybing dead down wind in twenty two knots of breeze and big seas toward the North head buoy and its adjacent lee shore , a prudent take down with a mile to run was ordered by the skipper and we all concurred. 

The fleet revisited Portland for three races over the August bank holiday weekend and it is now been promoted to my favourite destination, 2,1,1.

Its has been fifteen years since Paul Peggs organised the first RIOW and the race has become the established favourite in the solo calendar, so many problems, so many solutions, plenty of corners and a lot of hard work-

Solo racing perfection


2020 SORC Championship results


SORC 2020 Offshore Series and Channel Week, by our Class 2 season Champion, Kirsteen Donaldson

The programmes for the 2020 Offshore Series and Celtic Challenge, written by the winter fireside, were ambitious, including Ireland as well as France and the Channel Islands.  But, as the days began to lengthen and the weather seemed encouraging, our world shrank to the size of the back garden, and the first of the offshore races were cancelled. 

When restrictions started to ease in June, we allowed ourselves to hope that we could get back on the water.  The challenge was to plan for evolving changes to the restrictions so we were ready to go as soon as the government and marinas permitted us to overnight on our boats, either at sea or in harbour.  How to maintain social distancing whilst sailing?  That’s easy, do it by yourself!  At least hot bunking isn’t an issue single-handed, and we were the only Solent club to be able to organise events to distant destinations.  The Competitor Start Boat procedure avoided the need for a race officer to travel with the fleet.  Where appropriate, potential shorten course waypoints were set and used. 

However, hopes of going to Ireland quickly faded with the likelihood of quarantine being required on arrival and the Celtic Challenge was replaced by a West Country Channel Week tour, with a feeder race to Brixham (Offshore Series 1), followed by stopovers in Plymouth, Falmouth (via Wolf Rock), Dartmouth and Portland.  An organisational challenge, with many marinas insisting that each boat make an individual advance booking, requiring certainty about getting to destinations, which was inevitably weather dependent.  Unusually, the week was completed as per the revised itinerary.  The weather offered something for everyone, from flat calm to around 25 kts without anything too extreme; a fetch to Brixham, a beat to Wolf Rock, and a run all the way back from Falmouth; and sunshine through misty drizzle to fog (a challenge to the competitor start boat trying to see the fleet).  The dolphins came to play.  Congratulations to Jerry Freeman on Juliette for the series win, and to Pete Newlands on Anticipation, beating Juliette on a tie-break to win the Ana Cup for most firsts on the water. 

The Offshore Series was completed with 3 races on the August Bank Holiday Weekend.  The question was, where to?  Plan A: Guernsey – Round Sark – back?  Plan B: Cherbourg – Dielette – back?  With increasing quarantine requirements likely, Plan C: Cowes – Eastabout round the island to Portland – day race Weymouth Bay – back, seemed the best bet.  But the weather was in cahoots with COVID-19 to upset the best laid plans so Plan C version 2 it was: start 12 hours later to take the shorter route to Portland.  A great call, giving a very fast reach, the whole fleet completing the course in less than 5 ½ hours.  Sunday gave a windward-leeward course in a gentle northerly with a slalom through the anchored cruise ships, Juliette leading the way to Romeo (the turning mark, that is)!  For the return leg we had a gentle zephyr from the east, freeing as the day progressed.  Well done to Juliette (again!) for winning the Offshore Series.

A great season’s sailing (once we started).


And Dave Giddings, our Race Officer writes...

Race management took on changing lockdown rules, quarantine restrictions, reduced berthing capacity and extremes of weather.  A flexible Covid action plan was devised and a good number of events went ahead, albeit not always in the form originally planned.  The experimental two-handed class was a success and the overall Season Championship included a total of 14 races from the Inshore Series, Offshore Series and Channel Week.  A full programme for the coming season has been published.  We are ready to adapt it as circumstances dictate and may even convene the first ever SORC virtual conference!