by Andy Phelps
With 42 boats entered in the JOG Cowes to Cherbourg Race, the fleet started at Gurnard and headed for the Needles before turning South to Cherbourg.
The light Westerly wind made initial progress very slow as the fleet short tacked along the Island shore. Then as the early boats turned south at the Needles they were able to look back on an amazing display of red and green lights from the boats behind. There then followed a lovely night sail, with the fleet arriving in Cherbourg a couple of hours after sunrise.
The First yacht to finish, was Floating Voter at 6.30 but Class 3 was won on handicap by a newcomer to the fleet, the Swan 46, Mynx. With the rest of the fleet finishing close behind there was plenty of time to catch-up on sleep or sample the delights of Cherbourg in the sun.
After some great French cuisine and a good night the fleet were back on the start line on Sunday for the race back to Cowes. The winds were again very light and fluky making the short start line very tricky. The wind continued to be fickle throughout the night with many boats changing position across the channel and back through the Solent.
A few of the lead boats just made it through the finish before the wind dropped, leaving the rest of the fleet seeking out eddies close inshore to help them finally pass Gurnard.
Winners Cowes to Cherbourg: (Class, Trophy, Boat, Skipper)
Class 3, Maid of Mallam Trophy, Mynx, Alex Robinson
Class 4, Myth of Malham Trophy, Longue Pierre, David Cooper & Paul England
Class 5, Mynx of Malham Trophy, Alchemist, Mark Wynter
Winners: Cherbourg to Cowes: (Class, Trophy, Boat, Skipper)
Class 3, Gary Weller Trophy, Floating Voter, Jon Sanders
Class 4, Blue Sabre Trophy, Longue Pierre, David Cooper & Paul England
Class 5, Theta Trophy, Xara, Jonathan & Anne Rolls
The next race will be Saturday 17th May, Cowes to Yarmouth and back on Sunday, and next Offshore to Deauville starts on Friday 23rd May. For further details and individual race reports please visit www.jog.org.uk