Competitors and spectators enjoyed simply stunning weather on the penultimate day of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. The Isle of Wight and Solent were bathed with unbroken sun, while the westerly wind slowly swung into the south west and increased from 6-9 knots to reach 15 knots at lunchtime, before giving gusts of 20 knots in the afternoon.
The first start from the Bramble line was for IRC Class 3. Adam Gosling’s new JPK10.80 Yes! started the day counting a clean run of first places, putting him seven points ahead of Peter Morton’s JND35 Salvo. Three boats were in contention for third place overall, with Ed Fishwick’s JPK10.80 Redshift on 19 points, Tony Lowe’s First 40.7 Incognito on 20 points and yet another JPK10.80, Niall and Olivia Dowling’s Audrey, on 23 points.
At the start Gosling was uncharacteristically buried among his competitors, but still managed to pull ahead of the fleet to take line honours and an impressive sixth race win on corrected time. With the series for Black Group yachts concluding today it was a performance that earned him a class win and victory in Black Group overall, for the fourth consecutive year. Third place today for Salvo saw her secure second overall, while a fourth for Redshift similarly cemented her third place at the end of the series.
“Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week is everything to us,” said Gosling. “We always focus our year on this week so to win Black Group is everything we ever want – it is absolutely fantastic. This is a brand-new boat, we’ve only done three regattas so far, and are still learning how to make the boat go better, so we really didn’t expect to win again.”
In the grand-prix FAST40+ class, Peter Morton’s Carkeek 40 Girls on Film started the day on 9 points, Sir Keith Mill’s Ker 40+Invictus 10 points and Bill Coates’ Ker 43 Ortra Vez on 12 points. As well as the overall regatta title, today they were also racing for the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup.
The first start today, from the Black Group Committee Boat in the western Solent, was subject to a general recall. In the restart yesterday’s winner, Otra Vez, was buried at the back of the fleet. However, Coates’ team fought back and by the first bottom mark they were in second place on the water, only a few lengths behind Girls on Film. Otra Vez went on to finish 24 seconds ahead of Girls on Film to claim a second major trophy in two days and secure second overall in the class.
“This is my first Cowes Week, and to be honest I had no idea how important these two trophies were,” said Coates, “but now I fully appreciate the importance and to win both the Britannia Cup and the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup is extraordinary.”
Morton’s second place today was sufficient to secure an overall win in the class, by a margin of two points. Sir Keith Mills’ Ker 40+ took third overall, just one point behind Otra Vez.
Going into the final race in IRC Class 0 James Bolingbroke’s Ker 46 Lady Mariposa R led the overall standings by a comfortable six points ahead of veteran Dutch sailor Piet Vroon’s Ker 51Tonnerre 4, with Leeloo, Harold Vermeulen’s MAT1180 four points further adrift in third overall.
Another MAT1180, Eamonn Rohan’s Tschuss won today’s race ahead of Bolingbroke and another Ker 46, Gorm Gondesen’sShakti. However, this didn’t change the shape of the overall podium.
The top two boats in IRC Class 1, James Gair’s Mills 39 Zero lland Bruce and James Douglas’ J/133 Spirit of Jacana started the day tied on 10 points, well ahead of Mike Greville’s Ker 39Erivale lll in third place. A win today for Spirit of Jacanacemented her overall victory, while third place for Zero llenabled her to comfortably hold onto second, nine points ahead of Erivale lll.
The final result of IRC Class 2 also went to the wire. Two First 40s topped the leaderboard overnight, with Andrew McIrvine’sLa Reponse three points ahead of Tor McLaren’s Gallivanter, and superyacht designer Bernard Olesinski’s X-40 Xinska just one point adrift in third place. A win for Xinska today lifted her to second overall, just one place behind La Reponse, who had to count today’s fourth place. Gallivanter finished sixth today, but still held onto an overall podium position in third place.
IRC Class 4 saw different boats win the first three races before Louis-Marie Dussère’s JPK10.10 Raging Bee slowly emerged as class leader by a narrow margin. With three wins and a second place in the second half of the week, he went into the final day two points ahead of Philippe Bourgeois’ Dunkerque-les Dunes de Flandre.
However, the leaderboard was shuffled again today, with another Archambault 35, Oliver Legrain’s IBA Sailing Teamwinning ahead of Dunkerque-les Dunes de Flandre, and Willem Wester’s Grand Soleil 37 Antilope taking third, while Raging Beelanguished in fifth place. Dunkerque-les Dunes de Flandre is overall winner, one point ahead of Raging Bee, with IBA Sailing Team third overall, one point ahead of another JPK10.10, David Franks’ Strait Dealer.
Ian Braham’s MG346 Haven K-J Enigma started the day with an eight point cushion at the head of the IRC Class 5 fleet, while five boats were in strong contention for second place. There was plenty of loud action on the start line today, with a number of port/starboard incidents, including a brave competitor attempting a port tack flyer at the southern end of the line who was forced to bail out at the last minute. Braham was somewhat boxed in, as was Harry Heijst’s Sparkman and Stephens 41Winsome. This allowed two J/92s, Robin Stevenson’s Upstartand Brian Malone’s Blue Diamond Dodjer get away into clean air.
Winsome won today’s race, ahead of Andy Howe’s J/97Blackjack ll and Niek Spiljard’s X-332 Vanilla. Haven K-J Enigmawas sixth but had a big enough cushion to retain the overall class win. Winsome’s result today lifted her up to second overall, one pint ahead of Vanilla.
A win today for Sam Laidlaw’s Quarter Tonner Aquila sealed his overall class win, three points ahead of Tony Hayward’sBlackfun. Louise Morton’s Bullit took second place today, her fifth podium result of the week, but it was not enough to lift her into second overall and she finished the series two points behind Hayward.
The first four Sigma 33s started the day only four points apart, giving each boat the possibility of taking the class title, although with a discard kicking in Toby Gorman’s Stan the Boat was able to discard nine points picked up when he retired on Monday. A win today therefore cemented his overall win, ahead of David Sanger’s Blues and Jeff Worboys’ Workout.
Chris and Roger Frost’s classic Swan 36 Finola started the day with a clear lead at the head of IRC Class 6, having sailed an impressively consistent regatta. Her second place finish today would have stretched her lead even further had she not subsequently been disqualified in the protest room. However,Finola remained as class winner even after discarding today’s result.
Third place today helped Simon Cory’s Cory Yachts 290 Icom Cool Blue into second place overall, while one of the seven Impala 28s, Sam Flint and Oliver Love’s Too Frank took third. A win in today’s race for Dudley Stock’s X-302 Xtract, saw him lifted into fourth place overall, ahead of Stuart Greenfield’s Half Tonner Silver Shamrock.
IRC 7 is a smaller class, both in terms of numbers and boats, and includes several Folkboats, a beautiful wooden Stella and a pair of H-Boats. One of the latter, Jo Richards’ Woof again had a commanding lead on his competitors, with an almost complete sweep of race wins during the regatta. However, there was a tight three-way fight for second place between John Mulcahy’s Stella 26 Estrella, Ed and Bella Donald’s Folkboat Madelaine,and Paul Dunstan’s Folkboat Mandarin. The latter’s second place today lifted him into third overall, two points behind second-placed Madelaine and two ahead of Estrella.
The Sigma 38 class also has a convincing winner – Chris and Vanessa Choule’s With Alacrity counted six race wins. However, the competition for second overall was much closer, with Peter Hopps, Hilary Cook and Serena Alexander’s Sam finishing the series just two points ahead of Andrew Gordon’s third placedQuatrosolutions Pandanova.
Two boats have dominated the front of the Contessa 32 class all week – Ray Rouse’s Blanco and Eldred Himsworth’s Drumbeat, with the latter leading by just two points at the start of their final race. A fifth win for Himsworth sealed his position as overall winner, with a three-point margin. Rob Duke and Oli Donaghy’s Gualin took third overall, 13 points behind Blanco.
The J/109 class has enjoyed a high-scoring series, with six different race winners and 11 of the 25-strong fleet scoring at least one podium result. David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfishstarted the day at the top of the leaderboard, but a disappointing sixth place, after accepting a time penalty that cost three places, saw him finish the series in second place, three points behind overall winner Neil McGrigor’s Boo. A win in today’s race for Nick Burns’ Team Mandrake saw him take third overall, just one point behind Jumping Jellyfish and one point ahead of Christopher Sharples, Richard Acland and Patrick Tolhurst’s Jukebox.
A narrow win today for Martin Dent’s J/111 Jelvis, 35 seconds ahead of Paul van Driel’s Sweeny, narrowed the scores at the top of the leaderboard. However, third place today for Tony Mack’s McFly was still sufficient to secure his overall win, one point ahead of Jelvis. Sweeny ended the series in third overall, two points adrift of Jelvis’ score.
CyberArk and Sailing Forever started the day on equal points at the head of the Sunsail Match F40 fleet. A fourth consecutive win for the former saw the take overall victory, three points ahead of Sailing Forever, with Red Funnel in third place, just two points behind.
Both Cruiser divisions have been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years. Cruiser Division A saw close competition between Rob Denning’s Swan 46 Bewick of Cowesand Graham Nixon’s Elan 40 Magic, with the two boats just three points apart going into the final day. Second place in today’s race secured victory for Denning, two points ahead of Nixon. Third overall went to another Elan 40, Nik Atkinson and Frazer Venters’ Caveman.
Three very different boats rose to the top of Cruiser Division A.Peter Bainbridge’s modern classic Rustler 33 Whisper won by a comfortable margin, finishing the event with four race wins and only one result outside the top three. Jonathan and Pippa Wallis’ 1969 Swan 36 Sheevra took second overall, three points ahead of Ian Cooke’s 20ft Hunter Medina Tudor Rose.
The series points for most of the White Group dayboats finishes tomorrow, however four classes had their final race today. Kevin Sproul and Chris Taylor’s JAT started the day at the top the J/80leaderboard, ahead of Chris Body’s Mocking Jay and Jon Powell’sBetty.
JAT and Mocking Jay again led away from the start, followed by Terence O’Neill’s Aqua J and Betty. JAT took her fourth consecutive win, 45 seconds ahead of Mike Lewis’ Jester, withBetty in third place only 18 seconds later. Mocking Jay finished in seventh place more than five minutes later, a result she was able to discard to remain in second place overall, two points ahead of Betty.
In the 20-strong RS Elite class Russell Peters’ Riff Raff started the day with a commanding lead over two boats vying for second overall, Ossie Stewart’s Aeolius and Nick Peters’ Way to Blue.The start of today’s race could not have been closer, with the bows of the 10 front-row boats all perfectly aligned. Of the small group of boats inshore Peter Smith’s Musto and Robert Holbrook and Jamie Berry’s Centurion were doing well, with Mike McIntyre’s Foudafafa and Paul Fisk’s Legs Eleven holding a narrow lead on a much bigger group of boats further offshore.
Nevertheless, Peters again rose to the front, notching up his fourth win of the regatta to finish on only 10 points. A fifth place today for Stewart saw him retain second overall on 26 points, while second place for Colin and Paul Smith’s Shaken not Stirred saw them rise to third overall on 30 points.
Roger Wickens’ Sunbeam Danny again led the fleet by a large margin going into the final race, but there was a tight three-way fight for second place. Stewart Reed’s Firefly led the fleet into the line today with a half length advantage at the gun, although Peter Nicholson’s Dainty had better boat speed and was able to overtake to leeward. Humphrey Van der Klugt’s Misty was also well placed, on Firefly’s windward quarter, while Danny was distinctly buried in the second row.
Nevertheless, Danny escaped from her slow start to win, 55 seconds ahead of Misty, with John Ford’s Melody taking third place 37 seconds later. Melody’s result was sufficient to secure second overall, three points ahead of Richard Pearson’s Fay.
In the Victory class Mark and Joanna Dennington and Jim Downing’s Ziva went into the final race with a clear overall lead ahead of John Scammell and Maxine Reeves’ Zinnia, with Hugh Pringle’s Pelican third. However, with the discard only kicking in today, both Zinnia and Pelican were able to discard eighth places, while Ziva’s worst score was a fourth.
Zinnia won today’s race, with Duncan Evans’ Peregrine the second boat across the line. However, Evans took a time penalty for a rule infringement, which lifted Ziva into second place in today’s race. It was a decisive event that gave Ziva the overall class win, one point ahead of Zinnia. Pelican had a disappointing final race, finishing sixth, but still held on to third overall, one point ahead of Russell Mead’s Shearwater ll.
Racing continues tomorrow to conclude the series for the bulk of the White Group dayboat classes. Black Group yachts will also be on the water, competing for individual daily trophies.