Prediction time in the IRC 2 Class.

Winning the IRC 2 Class on the opening day is a good indication of who will be challenging for honours during the rest of Skandia Cowes Week. This year it appears the Commodores’ Cup boats are all in top form.

Despite high expectations from Adam Gosling on his Corby 37Yes! Murphy and Nye, it was Francois Goubau’s Beneteau First 47.7Moanawho were the winners of the day, taking the Vanduara Bowl trophy.Moanabeat Stewart Hawthorn’s J/133Jumpon the water and on corrected time, finishing yesterday at 15:49:48 in 5h 37m 17s, withJumpjust two minutes behind on corrected time.

The Belgium-owned Beneteau First 47.7Moanais no stranger to Cowes Week and is one to look out for as she is the only boat competing this year who placed in the top three of 2005 IRC Class 2, finishing second overall last year.Moanaalso competed in the Commodores’ Cup 2006 sailing for Belgium finishing eighth in class 1.

Stewart Hawthorn’s J/133Jumphas a history of top results in the J-class, as well as winning the Garmin Hamble Winter Series 2005 in IRC 1 class.

In third place was David Dwyer’s Mills, part of the firing Irish Team in the Commodores’ Cup competitor who placed equal fourth in Class 1 for Ireland, as well as winning the UK IRC Nationals.

One of the British teams competing in the Commodores’ Cup was Ian McClean’sSoftware Mistress, skippered by Robin Richardson. Finishing in the middle of the fleet at 17th yesterday, the Ker 36 is still warming up for her best results.

Speaking to, crewman David Allak commented about the race: “We did as well as we expected I think – it was pretty good, a very long race – about 33 miles in all. We went all the way up to the Needles.”

David expects the crew to do better in the next few days as they adjust to their new roles on the boat. “We’ve got quite a few people in new positions, we’re training crew as well – so we’re constantly learning how to sail the boat fast again.”

The crew ofSoftware Mistressall work for the boat’s owner Ian McClean, for his company in Birmingham called Computer Bookshops – that distributes e-books all over Europe.

Software Mistresshas raced in most of the RORC races this year, and made it into the esteemed Commodores’ Cup representing Britain. Finishing 12th overall, David reflects: “We were really happy with our results. And all things considered the Irish were very very fast and the French did really well as well.”

During the Commodores’ Cup, theSoftware Mistresscrew had a couple of professional sailors onboard who are not sailing for Cowes Week, hence the reshuffle of positions.

Being their second year at Cowes on the Ker 36, the crew are treating this week as a training week as they plan to do the winter series. As David said: “At Skandia Cowes Week last year we were 14th overall, which wasn’t too bad considering it’s a brand new boat. We all come from a Class 6 boat that is a Sigma 362 that most of us learnt on for about 20 years. Stepping up to this boat means it’s much harder to sail, much quicker and the competition is much harder.”