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Six Metre World Championship 2023 at the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes - Day 3

by Fiona Brown 6 Sep 18:46 PDT 31 August - 8 September 2023

Conditions were extremely light on the third day of the International Six Metre World Championship in Cowes. With strong spring tides to consider the Royal Yacht Squadron Race Committee knew they had just a narrow window of opportunity to run a race during the slack water period.

They postponed the race for an hour initially, but then called the teams out to the race area to await wind. Fortunately, their patience paid off and five to seven knots filled in from the south-east for just long enough to allow a single two lap race for both divisions to be completed.

With the breeze coming down the course in variable bands it was a tough day for the sailors despite the relatively benign (by Solent standards) current, which fortunately was against the boats upwind increasing the apparent wind and helping them to make progress over it. The late summer sun continued to shine and once again the fleet made a spectacular sight spread out against the Hillhead shore.

In the Open Division, race victory went to Dieter Schoen's Momo, with Jamie Hilton's Scoundrel second and Jan Eckert's GinkgoToo third. In the overall Open standings Scoundrel has now moved up into first place, two points ahead of overnight leader Violeta Alvarez' Stella, who finished sixth and now counts 18 points. Momo's win puts her into third place, but she is tied on 25 points with Jeremy Thorp's fourth placed Battlecry.

In the Classic Division the French were showing plenty of flair as reigning World Champion Dix Août, with Gery Trentesaux at the helm, took her third race win of the series. Dix Août's owner Louis Heckly is instead sailing Fun this week and followed Dix Août across the line for second, their best result of the regatta so far. Mauricio Sanchez-Bella's Titia finished third and His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain's Bribon, being helmed by Ross McDonald, fourth.

Going into the day three boats were tied at the top of the Classic Division, Today's result means that Dix Août has taken the lead by three points from Bribon, while Titia moves up into third from fourth. Patrick Sandman's May Be VI had another good day with a fifth and moves from fifth into fourth. But for Simon Williams and his crew aboard Silvervingen a ninth in the race sees them drop from third overall to fifth, but still on equal points with May Be VI.

In the Corinthian Division for amateur crews (note - in this division each vessel may carry one professional Category 3 sailor who must not be the helmsman) the Open ranking is now being led by Philippe Durr and Rainer Muller's Junior, who leads Reigh North's Duclop and Bob Gatehouse's Bravade. In the Classic Corinthian Division the overall leader if Patrick Sandman's May Be VI, with Andy and Jan Short's Nancy second and Thomas Kuhmann's GER96 Hanko III third.

The minimum required number of five races have now been completed and there are three races remaining to be sailed between now and Friday 8 September. Once the sixth race is completed the single scoring discard will be introduced. The forecast for the penultimate day of racing looks promising with eight to fourteen knots from the east-south-east anticipated. Unfortunately, Friday's forecast is very light again, so the Race Committee has announced that it will bring the start of Thursday's racing forward half an hour to 11:00 and may elect to run all three remaining races to secure the championship.

Whilst racing may be the primary objective of this World Championship, it is also a celebration of the amazing history of the Six Metre Class. The boats participating represent almost a century of yachting history and for the owners, particularly those in the Classics, maintaining and enjoying that history and keeping the boats alive and racing is as important as the results.

The oldest boat competing is Fenton Burgin's GBR17 Sioma, which was designed by Johan Anker in 1926 and built by his Anker & Jensen boatyard for Mr Claud Allan, a Swedish shipping magnate, who raced her on the Clyde, which was then a hotbed of yacht racing activity. She was converted for ocean racing in the early 1930's and raced under the name of Sona as one of the Royal Yachting Association Offshore Class, based at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. She eventually made her way into the hands of Jonathan Fairchild and Roger Baker who commissioned Clare Lallow's yard in Cowes to undertake a massive rebuild and modernisation. This included a new Ian Howlett designed rig and considerable strengthening to take the resulting increase in rig tension. She was relaunched in 1997 and went on to win the 1998 European Classic Championship at Cowes. She was purchased by her current owner in 2008, who has continued to maintain her in superb condition and races her regularly with the British fleet.

Fenton Burgin explained the differences between sailing a Classic and a Modern Six. "The main differences are really around the rig tensions you can run, how hard you can push the boat. The Classics are much more a boat that needs care and tender loving. You need to think that this is 100 years old nearly and treat it as a piece of equipment that's got some age to it."

At the other end of the spectrum, we have Henrik Andersin's FIN81 Oiva, an Allan Svolainen design built by Red Sky Yachts in Finland and launched in 2022. Henrik is an experienced Six Metre owner who has already owned several Classic and Modern Sixes and wanted a new build challenge. The design and build utilised the very latest technology and after eight months under construction Oiva, which translates to English at "Fantastic" hit the water on 28 September 2022 for a brief period of pre-winter training. Since then, she and her crew have been preparing for this, their first World Championship. To read more about the construction of Oiva click here.

Anderin and his team are still on a steep learing curve as he explained, "We have about 20 days of sailing on her so it's really new for us still, but it's so much different than the old Moderns. There are much more electronics on board. We have ten sensors on board so we can collect data and maybe learn a little faster!".

Also, very dear to any Six Metre sailor's heart is a good party! Wednesday evening saw the crews gather at the Cowes Yacht Haven Events Centre for the Regatta Dinner. The evening featured sunset drinks on the balcony, a delicious three course dinner, a speech by the Class's always entertaining President Louis Heckly, and a truly mesmerising performance by a professional circus performer.

The regatta continues until Friday 8 September with up to three more races still to be sailed. A single discard will be introduced once six races have been sailed. No warning signal will be made after 15:00 on the final day of racing.

Additional information about the 2023 International Six Metre World Championship, including a list of entries with details of each boat is available at

Provisional Results after Day 3: (top five, 5 races)

Open Division
1st Scoundrel, USA123, Jamie Hilton - 1, 3, 7, 3, 2 = 16pts
2nd Stella, GBR112, Violeta Alvarez - 5, 2, 1, 4, 6 = 18pts
3rd Momo, SUI143, Dieter Schoen - 9, 5, 8, 2, 1 - 25pts
4th Battlecry, GBR89, Jeremy Thorp - 8, 4, 3, 5, 5 = 25pts
5th Junior, SUI77, Philippe Durr and Rainer Muller - 6, 9, 4, 1, 11 = 31pts

Classic Division
1st Dix Août, FRA111, Louis Heckly and Gery Trentesaux - 1, 14, 1, 4, 1 = 21pts
2nd Bribon, ESP16, His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain - 3, 12, 4, 1, 4 = 24pts
3rd Titia, ESP72, Mauricio Sanchez-Bella - 11, 1, 5, 7, 3 = 27pts
4th May Be VI, FIN51, Patrick Sandman - 9, 7, 2, 6, 5 = 29pts
5th Silvervingen, GBR31, Simon Williams - 7, 3, 7, 3, 9 = 29pts

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