Panerai British Classic Week - Glorious sunshine and balmy breezes

Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge 2013
Panerai
On Day 3 of Panerai British Classic Week in Cowes more glorious sunshine and balmy breezes ensured that competitors came home relaxed and glowing with health and happiness. The day featured races two and three of the regatta series, and the Ladies Race, which was run in conjunction with race two.

The wind was light and patchy throughout the day starting off from the northeast and going easterly during the afternoon. With a strong ebb tide running conditions were challenging to say the least giving navigators and tacticians plenty to keep them occupied. Race Officer Tony Lovell set a lengthy course running back and forth from Osborne Bay to the Lea On Solent shore for race two. The faster boats took on the challenge and came through fairly well but the wind dropped off significantly towards the end of the race and a number of boats were unable to finish within the time limit. Fortunately the wind rallied again and after a short delay race three was underway with all the competitors able to complete the course this time around.

In Class One for the modern classics, which incorporates the Spirit yachts and yachts considered to have the appearance of 'a classic', Stephen Jones’ Meteor was once again on form adding a first and a third to her card to give her an overall lead of four points. Brain Scowcroft’s Phantom and Sean McMillan’s Flight of Ufford are now both tied on nine points with Phantom claiming second place on count back thanks to their win in the third race.

Thanks to a superior ability to navigate around the course, Murdoch McKillop’s 1931 Fife 8 Metre Saskia dominated Class Two with a pair of wins, giving them five points overall and a two-point lead on nearest rival Athena owned by Lord Cork and David Glasgow. One point further back is Stiren, owned by Gildas Rostain, with David Murrin’s 1948 Laurent Giles 48 footer Cetewayo in fourth.

Sam Laidlaw and Rob Gray’s Clarionet continued her running streak in Class Three with Andy King’s Gluckauf hard on her heels all day. Clarionet now counts three points and Gluckauf six with Martin Thomas’s Charm of Rhu, an Archie MacMillan eight-meter cruiser racer, seven points adrift in third.

Cereste, owned by Jonathan and Scilla Dyke, continues to lead Class Four thanks to a win followed by a third place. In fact Cereste was the only boat in her class to finish race two giving her a significant points advantage until the discard kicks in. Richard Wallrock’s Beeleigh retains second place overall thanks to a second place in race three which was won by Robert Veale’s Danegeld, which now lies in third overall. Danegeld is something of a Cowes legend having been conceived and built in 1958 by David Cheverton for well-known local sailor Bobby Lowein. In her first full season of 1959 she took 15 winds from 22 starts, two seconds and fourth thirds including winning the Round The Island Race outright and her class in the Fastnet Race. She was named Yacht of the Year and Bobby Lowein was made Yachtsman of the Year in recognition of this success.

The Ladies Race attracted 13 entries and came down to a close battle between Louise Morton, helming Clarionet, and Reka Tuss, sailing Gluckauf. After a fraught race where it was essential to keep speed on, avoid the light patches and play the tide, Louise and Clarionet claimed victory by just over a minute with Reka and her team in Gluckauf second and Chloë French sailing her namesake Chloë, a Spirit modern Classic owned by Michael Hough, in third. Louise was delighted with their victory saying, 'I was thrilled to be asked and loved every minute of it. She’s a stunning boat and it was a joy to sail with such a great team.'

Back ashore the crews are enjoying the Open Yachts Pontoon Party where the sailors get to inspect each other boats while enjoying drinks on the dock. Today the fleet is also celebrating the fiftieth birthday of British Classic Yacht Club Rear Commodore David Orton’s delightful Illingworth and Primrose designed 40 footer St David’s Light, which was built by Souter in 1963. Originally built for de Forest Trimmingham, whose family owned the largest department store in Bermuda, she is named after a Bermudan lighthouse and was initially optimised for the Bermuda Race. Thanks to the love and attention that David and his wife Chris lavish on her, she is now in concours d’elegance condition.

Tomorrow, forecasters are promising a little more wind and a single race starting at 11.00 is planned, followed by judging for the 'Je ne sais quoi' competition in the marina, where the competitors vote for the yacht with that certain something. The evening’s entertainment will feature a Pirates of Penzance themed Crew Party in the Haven Events Centre.
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