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Cowes Week 2019 - Day 8

by Rupert Holmes / CWL 17 Aug 2019 09:41 PDT 10-17 August 2019
Action in the Redwing Class in the Cowes Town Regatta on final day of Cowes Week 2019 © Paul Wyeth / CWL

The final day of Cowes Week racing is for the Cowes Town Regatta. The historic and prestigious trophies available include the George Oliver Challenge Cup, Royal Cowes Town Regatta Challenge Cup, Sir Godfrey Baring Bowl and Culpan Challenge Cup.

A brisk 18-20 knot west-southwesterly breeze with occasional stronger gusts delivered a great day of Solent racing on classic Cowes Week courses. A theme common to many of today's starts was overly enthusiastic competitors who appeared to have neither noticed the inner distance mark was on the course side of the line, nor negotiated the change between the east-going tidal stream further offshore and the west-going eddy close under the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Race detail

The first premature starter was in the start for IRC Classes 3 and 4, when James Chalmers' J/112E Happy Daize marginally misjudged the speed of the eddy and was almost a length over at the inshore end of the line. Chalmers span around quickly and made a better job of short tacking in the favourable stream to take a lead on the water within three minutes of the gun. He went on to take victory in the three hour race by a considerable margin.

Initially it looked as though surprisingly few competitors were set up to fight for the favoured inner end of the line in the start for IRC Classes 5, 6 and 7, which may have led to some complacency. Ian Handley's Mustang 30 GR8 Banter and Charles Hindson's Trapper 950 Hooligan both attempted an inshore start on port, but James and John Owen's J/99 Jet nailed the start perfectly, having sailed down the line on starboard tack, just above the lay line, arriving at the inner distance mark just before the gun. The smallest boat in these classes, Grieg City Academy's 22ft E-Boat Eros, finished with the lowest corrected time, ahead of GR8 Banter.

The final Black Group start was for Cruising B, C and D divisions. The Dufour 460 Freshfield's Oarsome Dream initially looked as though she would be best placed on the line and powered up at full speed, but was marginally early. This left Keith Harding's Sun Odyssey 35 Reach 4 the Wind as the sole well-placed boat inshore.

Nevertheless, the big Dufour scored the lowest corrected time, ahead of Simon and Julia Bowes' Sun Fast 37 Chatterbox (who won Cruiser Division C) and Reach 4 the Wind. Mark Attrill's Gibert Marine 7.7 Arun Rockall took victory in Division D.

White Group dayboats

The start for the Sportsboat classes saw some of the most successful boats during the regatta coming out to play - a good illustration of the old adage that the more time you spend on the water the more chance you have to improve your sailing and get better results.

Ben Potter's SB20 Abingdon School looked best placed at the inshore end of the line, having started just behind the line. However, when they tacked away from the beach two J/70s, Ted Blowers Lightfoot and Stephen O'Driscoll's RTYC 5, cleared ahead of Potter on starboard tack. RTYC 5 took the winner's gun just over a minute ahead of Lightfoot and Neville Upton's Valkirie

The start line was properly busy for the next fleets in a combined start for Dragons, Etchells and Darings. John and James Hackman's Daring Double Knot mistimed the approach to the start, luffing Eddie and Jon Warwick's Etchells Audrey over the line with 15 seconds to go. Audrey was then followed over by a large bunch of overly keen racers.

As the fleet short-tacked to the west Kim Orchard's Daring Dancer and Rob Goddard's Etchells Rocketman emerged from the melee to be the best placed boats that had not been OCS. Dancer also held the lead at the finish, crossing the line 14 seconds ahead of Bob Gatehouse, Robin Pegna and Carron Snagge's Daring Darling. However, this result is subject to a protest between the two boats. Jeremy Preston's Defender took third place.

In the Dragon class Gavia Wilkinson-Cox's Jerboa won today's two-hour race by a margin of only 30 seconds ahead of Dave Ross's Sanka. Shaun and Emily Frolich's Exabyte was first Etchells, ahead of Tom Abrey's Jolly Roger, and Robby Boyd's Sumo.

The Redwing class was the largest single fleet out today. Again, several boats were over before the start, leading to James Wilson's Quail, the newly crowned overall Cowes Week winner, to dip back into the middle of the pack to avoid risk of starting prematurely. Quail went to take yet another win, ahead of Olav Cole and Nick Woolgar's Goose and Annie, Joe and Bel Robertson's Red Gauntlet ll.

The joint start for Squibs, Sonars and Flying 15s saw 24 boats on the line. After a beat into Gurnard bay they enjoyed a lively spinnaker reach towards the north shore of the Solent, before a series of windward-leeward legs on the Hillhead Plateau.

Alex Downer's Panther was again first Squib, but there was no cannon at the RYS when the next boat - the Gibson brother's Wizard - crossed the line, as she was one of three boats in the fleet scored OCS. This left Richard Sullivan's Clever Dick to take second place, ahead of Georgia Grice and Chris White's Atom.

Sam Chan's Freefire 20 took victory in the Flying 15 fleet, ahead of Peter and Stephen Card's Crews Missile and Alex and Mike Tatlow's Affore the Weak. The Andrew Cassell Foundation's Limbitless scored another first place in the Sonar class, ahead of Rob Pearce's Fiscal and David Peerless's Discard.

James Meaning's XOD Gleam won the George Oliver Challenge Cup by an impressive margin of four minutes ahead of Sarah Ross's Aora, who picks up the Grantham Challenge Cup for second place. Nick Dorley-Brown's Mix was third, 39 seconds after Aora.

The final start of the regatta was for the Mermaid class's passage race. They joined the other dayboats in a first beat into Gurnard Bay, before a long downwind leg to finish at their SeaView Yacht Club home. John Sandisford Haigh's Halluf was first back, in an hour and 47 minutes, ahead of Richard Ambler's Rosemary and Kate Broxham's Adastra.

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