RORC Offshore Race Cowes to Dinard St Malo

Other Events

Other Events

RORC Offshore Race Cowes to Dinard St Malo

Girls for Sail Verdict

This 3 day race is one of the most popular RORC races - a race across The Channel to the wonderful walled port of St Malo in France where, race finish time permitting, we enjoy a lovely evening ashore in this beautiful old French town. 

Starts: THURSDAY -19:30, Shepards Wharf Marina 

Finishes: Sunday - time TBC


About The Event

This 170 mile race pre-dates the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) by almost 20 years, with the overall winner taking the impressive gold plated King Edward VII Cup, presented by the British Monarch to the Club Nautique de la Rance at Dinard in 1906. The Cowes Dinard St Malo Race is the ninth race of the 13 race series for the RORC Season’s Points Championship and with the exception of the Rolex Fastnet Race, is likely to have the largest entry of the RORC season.

The race starts at 11am on Friday morning so expect an early meet on Thursday evening to allow time for a crew dinner in the evening and an early safety brief and shake down sail before the race. The organisers late course decision can provide a huge headache for navigators and tacticians as no-one even knows which way they will even be departing from the Solent until a couple of minutes prior to departure and you can bet your life that the challenging race committee will provide a few headaches along the way!

Starting on Friday morning you'll be fired out into the English Channel for a spot of freighter dodging, which is a great way to get your head in the game if nothing else! Racing through the night as you pass the Casquets lighthouse we should hopefully arrive into St Malo Saturday afternoon/evening.  The race nearly always involves some challenging wind conditions around the Channel Islands! If we have time we can have a celebratory dinner ashore before departing early Sunday morning* for the delivery sail back to Cowes, arriving late Sunday. Approx 175 miles + cruise back.

Despite the intense nature of the race, the Friday departure ensures that you should get a bit of time over the weekend to enjoy the delights of the stopover. On the water there are challenges enough to keep your skills well-honed, not least a race through the night which will give any novice to offshore racing a great taste of the thrill and spills of this exciting sport. 

For many boats that are competing in the Rolex Fastnet race (**NEXT ONE 2017 - join us now!) this race is a good shakedown sail for the team to get ready for the forthcoming season. If you are considering a Fastnet in the future – or just want to see how much fun offshore races are then this is a great race to test out that desire!

The timing of the race coincides with the celebration of the storming of the Bastille in 1789, a symbol of the uprising of the modern French nation. Bastille Day is one of the biggest celebrations throughout France and the fortress village of St Malo will be a hive of festivities and cultural celebrations.

On our exciting delivery sail back to Cowes we are usually able to make use of the Alderney race to propel us quickly up along the Cherbourg peninsula!


What to expect/itinerary

Offshore races are exciting - especially at the start - and success relies on the team working together and creating a watch system as you'll be unlikely to be able to stay awake and focused for the whole of the race! This, and sailing at night are the main challenges for the skipper and crew, as well as maintaining that all important concentration. Expect to be active for periods and involved in all aspects of looking after fellow crew onboard.

Last year we had a hard-fought race which required more than a little skill to succeed in. As we raced across the Channel we enjoyed a close fought race with our rivals all the while keeping a weather eye on the tides and the tricky Traffic Separation Scheme along the way.  Even without separation schemes to keep you busy, there are plenty of challenges to keep your skills well honed, not least a race through the night which will give any novice to offshore racing a great taste of the thrill and spills of this exciting sport. 

You can expect to enjoy Saturday dinner ashore at the destination, followed by an overnight sail back to arrive late afternoon/early evening on Sunday.*We like to think we will go ashore at the end of a race although we cannot always promise this if the weather forecast doesn’t allow. We do have to get back to Cowes and this may mean we turn around straight away. The skipper will make this decision based on weather forecast and crew capability as safety of the yacht and crew is the priority!

Pre course requirements

Whilst you don't need any sailing experience to take part in this event, we do recommend that some previous experience including some night sailing is a great advantage for all concerned. Good awareness of sea sickness is advisable before a channel crossing – if you do suspect you may get sick it is advisable to read our info about precautions in our joining instructions and start taking tablets before you step onboard.

Whilst it is not a requirement, we recommend that you ensure that you have an up-to-date RYA Sea Survival and ISAF Offshore Safety certificate, before taking part in these races. 

You can undertake a DAY SAIL or a weekend or even a course to be ready for this adventure but it's not essential - or consider booking our Sail Trimming and Spinnaker weekend and we'll discount this race by £50!


The boat

We mostly coach on yachts of between 37 and 41ft. Our yachts have been specifically chosen as they are easy to handle, great for learning! There is no denying us girls sometimes don't have the physical strength of the boys but with our technical ability and a well-chosen yacht we can do just as well. You will usually find yourself aboard an Élan 37, Jeanneau 37 or a Beneteau 40.7. All of your time will be spent living as crew-mates on your yacht.  Most of the yachts have 9/10 berths with 3 cabins and a saloon so the boats will normally have 2 persons in each cabin i.e. 6 - this is always the case for an RYA course, MAX 6 persons on-board. On some events e.g. races we use the saloon which can sleep an additional 2-4 person. 

Additional Info

What's included?

  • Fully coded yacht with safety equipment
  • Fully qualified RYA skipper
  • All safety equipment
  • Accommodation on board*
  • Diesel, water, electricity
  • FUN, FUN, FUN!!

What's excluded?

  • Transport to and from meeting points
  • Flights
  • Alcoholic drinks and evening meals
  • Mooring fees
  • Departure taxes/customs entries per person
  • Any clothing
  • *Accommodation upgrades where available

Why choose Girls for Sail?

  • First of all we want to give you some freedom, we want you to feel absolutely able to do anything onboard, so we will greet you, make you feel welcome, confident and safe, and of course you won't have anyone rushing you! You can learn at your own pace with our skippers and feel the benefit of this in your handling of our yacht!
  • We pride ourselves on our levels of tuition.  There's no such thing as a 'silly' question!  There's no shouting onboard and as it's also your holiday, we want you to have fun and go home relaxed and satisfied with your time here! Not to mention you get to meet new lifelong friends! 

Our values are simple: Encourage, Support, Challenge and Respect!

How to book?

Click on the link above to view available dates - or if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with us!

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