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F-9AX TRIOHE Again Wins Multihull Class in The
2005 RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race

by crew member Simon Forbes, July, 2005

Richard Roscoe's F-9AX TRIOHE pictured in the in the 2003 Fastnet race, and
about to overtake the Farr 65 SPIRIT OF JUNO, after 608 miles or racing, and
having started 40 minutes behind.

The  RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo race saw a big entry this year as 222 boats entered this traditional race which celebrates its centenary next year. Friday 1st July saw the fleet set away on the 180-mile race to St Malo. Starting on the RYS line under an overcast sky and a South Westerly force 3-4 breeze. Multihull entries included Joel Malardel’s Normanni 33ft trimaran, Tim Dawson’s Athena 38 catamaran ‘G&T’, ‘Triohe’ Richard Roscoe’s Farrier 9AX, Mike Millerchip’s ‘Triple Fantasy’ Kelsall 35ft trimaran, Brian Haynes’ Farrier 33 ‘Carbon Tiger II’ and Mike Butterfield’s 40ft cat ‘Dazzle’.

The multihulls started last at 1240, the two Farrier trimarans Triohe and Carbon Tiger led the charge, Triohe further to leeward gaining the advantage after a mile as the slower Challenge 67ft monohulls were negotiated. Trying to get through the lee of these big buses was difficult and Triohe ended up ragging the spinnaker to climb above the most windward one. Carbon Tiger II tried nipping through a small gap which nearly proved costly as she lost speed in the wind shadow and the pursuing Challenge 67 straining under spinnaker had to bear away sharply to avoid running into the stern of the trimaran.  

Spinnakers were dropped near the Forts followed by a jib reach to Bembridge Ledge which saw Carbon Tiger II overtake Triohe. Rounding Bembridge Ledge buoy in a huge raft of monohulls Carbon Tiger continued on starboard tack, whilst Triohe tacked in shore and made a few hitches up the beach until laying the West Princessa Buoy.  Again tacking to the beach in Sandown Bay, Triohe worked to St. Catherines Point short tacking close inshore amongst the pack. At St. Catherines Triohe tacked onto port and sailed deliberately low and fast to the West.  The visibility steadily deteriorated until Triohe could not see the land or any competitors, and finally tacked onto starboard at Durlston Head just after Swanage.  Triohe’s crew saw very few navigation lights during the night, and finally arrived less than a mile to the east of the Casquets, which was rounded at 0200. The wind started to lighten on the leg to Les Hanois on the west side of Guernsey, which was rounded at about 0640.  

Finally able to ease sheets Triohe started to gain on the blue monohull ahead which turned out to be ‘Cutting Edge’ a Farr 45 which under its previous name of ‘Bounder’ was the only boat to finish ahead of Triohe in the 2004 race. Unfortunately after half an hour the wind progressively dropped prompting the hoisting of a furling screecher but the breeze soon headed and finally departed altogether before midday, leaving the windex rotating at the masthead, and the mainsail battens refusing to be tacked.

Concern was then turned to whether the east-setting tide would sweep Triohe to the wrong side of the Minquiers buoys which were required to be left to port. The Farr 45 got past in the zephyrs but a light breeze arrived from the east, and lasted until the finishing line was crossed at 1446.  Having seen hardly any yachts since St. Cats, it was the usual worry of not knowing whether you are down the pan, so Triohe’s crew were pleasantly surprised to find that only 10 boats out of the entire fleet of 222 had better elapsed times in a race almost entirely to windward. With a crew of four some of whom were able to get over four hours sleep, and did not even get woken up to move to a windward berth - No sitting on the rail getting cold and trying to keep awake is a definite plus for a multihull crew.

First to finish was Charles Dunstone’s Reichel Pugh 76ft Nokia the other boats ahead of Triohe at the finish were four Farr designs: a 65,a 52 two 45s, a Swan 601, a Nacira 60, a Ker 55 and two DK 46s.

Brian Haynes on Carbon Tiger II on their first offshore felt they were in fourth place off the Isle of Wight. Just before dark they tucked a reef in their mainsail – approaching the Casquets around 0230 they identified a problem with the mainsail head car and batten sliders and dropped the mainsail and continued on under jib until daylight facilitated repair of the cars. Les Hanois was abeam around 0900 but light winds and adverse tide did not let Carbon Tiger cross the finishing line until 2131, 40th boat to finish.  

Triple Fantasy was over the line at the start and lost time returning to start correctly and overtook G&T off Ryde. Mike Millerchip reported: “We chased Tancrede and Dazzle on the first tack south out to sea from Bembridge Ledge but although we could follow Dazzle we couldn't point as high as Tancrede although it looked like our speeds were similar.  Around 2200 the forestay started sagging wildly off to leeward by 2 feet so we had to retire, mid channel, in order to save loosing the rig. “

Diana Holder on Mke Butterfield’s 40ft Dazcat Dazzle reported: “We were ten miles outside the forts when we noticed a rigging tension issue with the newly repaired mast so turned around back to Bembridge to anchor in the lee of the Isle of Wight and try to sort it out. A mast climb by Mark Stenhouse and some adjustments later, we set off again in pursuit of the fleet. After a night of beating into a choppy sea and a SW F5 - 6, the problem had re-emerged and we decided to tempt fate no further and retired to Alderney arriving on Saturday late morning.

French trimaran Tancrede was forced to retire after tearing her genoa off the Casquets at 0900 on Saturday.

Triohe took the Francis Prout trophy for best corrected time – for the fourth year running.


1st Triohe, Farrier 9AX tri – 26:06:56 - Richard Roscoe, George Stead, Simon Forbes, Mark Dickinson.

2nd Carbon Tiger 2, Farrier 33 tri – 32:51:23 - Brian Haynes, Keith Bliss, Martin Harvey

RET Tancrede, Nomanni 33 tri – Joël Malardel, Michel Fortin, Henri Magnan, Sebastien Mainguet

RET  Triple Fantasy, Kelsall 35 tri –Mike Millerchip, Ken Bone, Mike Barnsley

RET  Dazzle, Dazcat 12m cat – Mike Butterfield, Guy Gibbins, Diana Holder, Mark Stenhouse, Suzanne Parry, Rob Denney

RET G&T, F-P Athena 38 cat - Tim Dawson

TRIOHE is a beautifully built Farrier F-9AX, with many modifications by builder Ricard Roscoe (with designers approval), 32ft overall with a beam of 24ft and displacing about 2 tons. Richard says it is interesting to note that many of the monos in the St. Malo race have cost more in sails this year than his entire budget from start of building!

An Interesting Comparison