Oman Sail Masirah has led the fleet back to Cowes in the JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race as well as taking line honours in the Extreme 40 class. It was a nail-biting finish, with a provisional 29 seconds separating the Omani boat from Russell Coutts helming Team Aqua.
Pete Cumming, skipper of Oman Sail Masirah said:
'We were behind Team Aqua right up to Yarmouth but once round The Needles it was true champagne sailing. At St Catherine’s we out-gybed Team Aqua and extended our lead to 22 minutes at Bembridge. We thought we might be able to cruise back to Cowes but then the wind started to go light.'
'Once in the Solent it was even lighter and it shut down completely. We could see Team Aqua and Team Origin (Ben Ainslie) trying to short tack out of the tide. We decided to stick in the middle. It was a case of holding your nerve and covering Team Aqua. It’s always good to have a close race but to go from a 22 minute lead down to a 29 second win, that’s really something.'
The winning team comprised Olympic 49er silver medallist Chris Draper on helm, Pete Cumming trimmer with Mark Bulkeley, Olympic Tornado sailor on mainsheet. David 'Freddie' Carr and Khamis al Anbouri shared the bow.
Meanwhile, the leading monohulls were back in the eastern Solent.
ICAP Leopard (Mike Slade) led from Liara (Tony Todd) followed by Sebastien Josse and Ellen MacArthur on the Open 60 BT. These boats were hugging the mainland shore whilst the TP52s Cutting Edge and John Merricks II favoured the Island side and might just have the advantage on handicap.
'Rebecca will you marry me?' was the message on the spinnaker of Pavlova (Sigma 38) spotted south of the Island. Who is Rebecca and will she say 'Yes'? One couple returned from honeymoon early to take part in the race this year. Will the same apply to Pavlova next year?