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ICAP Maximus sets new Round the Island race record

by Magnus Wheatley on 4 Aug 2006
Maximus at the start of her record breaking Round the Island run onEdition
With Skandia Cowes Week celebrating its first ever Ladies Day on this, the sixth day of the 180th anniversary of the regatta, there was some disappointment for eleven of the inshore White Group dayboats as Race Officer Ian Lallow decided that the gusty force 5-6 north-north westerly winds were just too tough to send the fleets out.

The Medina River was proving tough to navigate as the wind funnelled down in the early morning across the Solent, so wisely a decision was taken to postpone racing for a little over an hour and a half as event meteorologist Chris Tibbs predicted a slight abatement in the wind strength from midday onwards.

Almost bang on cue, the clouds cleared and the wind dropped to a manageable 15-18 knots that provided superb sunshine and spray sailing for the whole of the offshore Black Group and the six remaining classes of the White Group.

The headline grabbing story however came outside of the auspices of Skandia Cowes Week as the super-maxi ICAP Maximus eschewed the chance of racing for the coveted New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup in Class Zero today and elected to attempt the round the Island race record that they narrowly missed yesterday. ICAP Maximus’ skipper Harold Cudmore requested a timing from the Black Group start line off the Royal Yacht Squadron and at 11.17am she blasted off, accompanied by a whole host of spectator crowds and watched by a heaving throng of spectators along the Green.

The awesome sight of the 98-foot super-maxi had everyone in awe of its breathtaking speed as she blasted westwards around the Island to totally smash the existing record by some 48 minutes and 46 seconds. The new benchmark time for the monohulls now stands at 3 hours 20 minutes and 9 seconds – a fantastic achievement bettering the old record by some 19% with an average speed of 15.8 knots.

Aside from this show-stopping feat it was a terrific day of racing that kicked started just after 1.00pm with a blanket start on the inshore White Group line by the Laser SB3’s who streaked away, two sail reaching down to the eastern Solent. A classic battle unfurled at the top of the fleet after the first mark with Russell Peters on Selden Seen and Glenn Bourke on Musto enjoying a titanic struggle all the way around a 12.31 nautical mile course that proved to be a test of boatspeed, boat handling and nerve.


The two leaders fought tack by tack and gybe by gybe around the course with Peters shading the final victory by a margin of just 10 seconds. Geoff Carveth led the rest of the fleet home nearly a minute and a half adrift of the leaders to take a marvellous third place but the story of the day was just how well the leading lights of the SB3 fleet coped with the tricky conditions. One minor aside however is the fact that several of the top boats’ results are subject to protest so the outcome of the jury’s decisions will be keenly anticipated tonight.

Fittingly for Ladies Day, there appeared to be a notable win in the International Dragon class for Gavia Wilkinson-Cox sailing Jerboa who emerged from a gaggle of three boats who all finished within just 16 seconds of each other right at the death. However a mix-up at the finish line by Jerboa meant that they were forced to take a penalty that dropped them to third so Len Jones sailing Rumours was the big beneficiary taking first place, seven seconds ahead of Chris Brittain’s Caramba with the luckless Jerboa in third.

In the International Etchells fleet it was again the turn of Graham Bailey sailing Arbitrator to collect the winning gun despite a very conservative start to extend out his Skandia Cowes week record to five wins and a second place. Bailey now stands clear at the top of the White Group in the overall standings and his 2 minute 5 second victory today takes him another step closer to claiming the title and strapping on the prize of a Corum watch courtesy of the sponsors – a fantastic performance.

Bailey was modest about his performance saying, 'sometimes your name’s just on the trophy and this week it feels like everything is going so well. We were first around the first mark today and just hung on…it’s a nice feeling but I’m still not convinced I’m going to win overall!'

The offshore Black Groups were split today with the glamour classes of IRC Zero to IRC 3 starting off a committee vessel line anchored south of Mother Bank in the eastern Solent. Class Zero got away after a general recall at 2pm to enjoy a 27.19 nautical mile course that encompassed the No Man’s Land Fort to the east before a long beat back into the western Solent. Mike Sanderson’s Volvo 70 ABN Amro One proved once again what a potent weapon she is, even on what this round the world thoroughbred would consider a short course, as she dominated the fleet to lift the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup ahead of the TP52 Panthera of Benny Kelly and Colm Barrington’s Ker 50 Magic Glove.

ABN’s on the water performance and superb PR by her skipper Mike ‘Moose’ Sanderson off the water have proven to be a welcome addition to Skandia Cowes Week 2006. She now stands with a record of five wins and a second place in the regatta and is pushing hard for overall Black Group honours – how the crew must be ruing that navigational error on Monday that cost a guaranteed first place!

Starting off the Squadron line, Class 3 IRC were led away by Peter Newlands Beneteau 40.7 Anticipation who had a fabulous afternoon of racing to bring the fleet home both on the water and on corrected time. Class 3 IRC is dominated by the 40.7’s who are looking to have their own class start in 2007 and today the top four were all from the same production line. Newlands won by a convincing 3 minutes 4 seconds from Tim Spalding’s Amey Love Shack with Gareth Williams completing the podium places in third aboard Beechwood Homes some 1 minute 47 seconds adrift.

The blustery conditions today certainly favoured the outstanding performer of Class 4 IRC, the Harry Evans chartered Alvine Jacobite who pulled into the lead straight after the start and led Jim Macgregor’s Flair IV down to the first mark off the Hill Head shoreline. Alvine Jacobite used her 48 foot overall length to great effect around a course just shy of 18 miles and recorded her fifth straight win of the regatta and looks certain for the overall class crown.

However at the top of the Black Group standings going into the final two days of racing is the Class 5 IRC leader Winsome of Harry Heijst who again scored a victory today to take his tally for the regatta to five race wins. Heijst has been the class act of the fleet as he warms up for next week’s RORC Round Britain and Ireland Race and has brought this well-prepared Sparkman & Stephens designed one-off to the regatta in tip-top condition with a superb crew. Pushing Winsome hard as we enter the final phase of this classic Skandia Cowes Week is the Class 1 IRC leader Fair Do’s VII of Professor John Shepherd who again won on corrected time by some 5 minutes 44 seconds. Fair Do’s VII also shares the same record of Winsome in Class 5 IRC of five race wins and a second place but owing to an increased number of entries the scoring weights the advantage to the class with the biggest fleet and if Winsome can keep winning she will secure the top overall spot.

Another team that have proven just too good for their fleet is the MG346 Dean & Dyball Enigma of Ian Braham in Class 6 IRC who timed a perfect run into the start line today to lead the fleet away. Eventually Enigma was chased down by the X99 Electra of Mike Tattersall who crossed the finish line ahead by some 56 seconds but it was not enough on corrected time as Braham took his fourth win of the regatta.

It was business as usual in the multihull fleet who shot around their course in a little over th

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