Lighter winds greeted the four committee boat race areas in the mid-Solent this morning as they prepared their windward leeward courses for the first race of the day for the one design classic keelboats taking part in Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week.
The XODs – and their race team – certainly had their work cut out today. A different course for each of the three races had to be laid to reflect changing conditions and time constraints due to “The over eagerness the fleet today!” according to Race Officer Bob Milner. “We had a general recall in each race and a U flag for the second starts, while in the final race we had to go to a black flag start to really keep the fleet back.” Wins were shared out amongst the fleet today to Roger Yeoman in X50 Xcitation, Jeremy Baker and Max Crowe in X33 Clair de Lune, and in an astonishing coup amongst the 60-strong fleet, identical twins and stars of the XOD fleet Adrian and Stuart Jardine came first and second respectively in their yachts X140 Lucrezia and X119 Lone Star.
A short postponement was in place on the start line for the six vintage 6 metres, waiting for the breeze to steady, but once under way the class was quickly dominated once again by Fenton Burgin, in Sioma who has been enjoying a clean sweep of races through the week.
Just behind them in the starting sequence the Daring Class got the first of three races of the day underway. Course legs were slightly shorter to reflect the lighter airs and a second race was under way in no time, allowing Magnus Wheatley in Destroyer to consolidate his position with two wins and a 4th, putting him one place behind Richard Ottaway’s Decoy who holds onto first position overall after seven races.
For one day only the Seaview Mermaids paid a visit to the event, cruising the short distance to Cowes from their home port at the east of the Island. Each has their distinctive and exclusive bright hull colour, and the fleet has been racing in the Solent for over 100 years. All 13 yachts of the current fleet whose home is at the Seaview Yacht Club, came to the start line today, and the club members, who charter the boats, clearly race keenly and regularly judging by the closeness of the fleet.
Jo and Cathy Burnie in their Solent Sunbeam Fleury have been repeating their winning ways of last year’s event. The one-design, which was designed in 1923, has a very active and optimised fleet based at Itchenor Sailing Club. Two wins today in the first two races added to their straight first places of the event so far, with a 2nd in today’s last race. Jo, who helms the boat, said “We’ve had some challenging conditions this week but today’s racing was steadier in terms of wind strength.” He adds “We are coming off the line fast. Positioning ourselves early at the port hand end and bagging our spot seems to pay off. With a fleet that has such an even speed, this really makes a difference.”
Once again a shore line at the organising Royal London Yacht Club was the start area for two non-one design classic classes, and one of the two gaffer classes. Race Officer Derek Hodd reported a 20 degree windshift just before the starting sequence began, necessitating a hasty change in the planned course, but the new wind set in to stay for all three classes. The 55ft Quailo and Nicholson 32 Beltana were both over the line at their Red Fleet start but quickly returned while Caroline Aisher’s Lennie and Ted Fort OBE’s Pippa, both in Spirit of Tradition Tofinous were first and second respectively.
A downwind start in the direction of East Bramble meant a slow beat against the tide for the Blue Fleet but with only one race in the day victory was soon assured to Bob Fisher and Barry Dunning’s 120-old Rosenn once again. “The course was quite tactical and competitors really had to pay attention to the tides,” said Derek.
Thanks go to title sponsor Charles Stanley and supporting sponsors Hudson Wight, Harken, Haines Boatyard, Winkworth, Cowes Harbour Commission, nms marketing, Kendalls, The Yachting Studio, and Classic Boat Magazine.
Racing continues tomorrow (Friday).
Picture galleries of all the racing here.
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Photo credit; Tim Jeffreys.
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Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week Press Officer
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Telephone: 07774 623 539