Cowes Week - XOD fleet youth and rivalry prevail

XOD action
Rick Tomlinson/CWL
At Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, the XOD class are readying to enter into their final day of racing tomorrow with young university match racing star Andrew Shaw who is now unbeatable following a 17th place today in X186 Phoenix in a race that enjoyed a marked improvement in weather conditions, with soft south westerly breezes.

Along with his three first places, an astounding achievement in a class of 140-plus identical boats, a thirteenth and sixteenth have helped Andy and his crew to secure their victory.

However today’s trophy went to eight times Cowes Week winner Stuart Jardine in X119 Lone Star, after skillfully manoeuvring past a tough and close batch of some five front runners to finally take the lead in the last 50 yards of the race. Sailing with his son Mark, and long time crew Christian Brewer, Stuart has never not won at least one XOD race during Cowes Week. He also narrowly beat his equally successful twin brother Ado, sailing X140 Lucrezia, who took third place.The Jardine twins, who are in their 70s and have many decades of XOD wins under their respective belts, show no sign of slowing up just yet.

The course from the Royal Yacht Squadron line took the fleet on a beat to the west to Saltmead, off Newtown, followed by run back along the island shore. The breeze was sometimes a little too light to power through a sloppy sea but this did not deter some great performances amongst the front runners. John Tremlett’s X50 Xcitation pulled away into a long lead for the first part of the race but lost out as he took a run too far out into foul tide allowing Lone Star, along with X26 Catherine (Steve and Peter Lawrence) and X177 Relaxation (John Long) to line up into a neck and neck formation for much of the final leg to the finish.

As the boats closed into the island shore, watched by thousands of spectators, the tide started to turn, and much of the fleet was starting to condense. However, Stuart spotted his moment to gybe out into the wind and tide, capturing the lead in the very last 50 yards before crossing the Squadron line in a thrilling and close finish. Brother Ado was quick to spot the advantage, and followed suit allowing him to secure third place. The win was helped by last minute dramas for Relaxation and Xcitation who both grounded on rocks just before the finish line, and had to settle for a 14th and fifth place respectively.

It was almost inevitable that Andy Shaw would win the Captain’s Cup, the overall trophy for the XODs at AAM Cowes Week. He came fifth at Cowes in the XOD fleet in 2009 and third in 2010. His climb up the XOD fleet, the largest by far at AAM Cowes Week is an apprenticeship well served for a rising star who is worth watching in the future. Andy is the current Youth Match Racing World Champion and World RS200 champion.

Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week website
http://www.sail-world.com/87198