A round up of all the classes racing on Ladies Day 09/08/07

Skandia Cowes Week – Daily News Report Thursday 9th August

Kate Laven/CCC

It was a case of ‘Gone with the Wind’ as Champagne G.H Mumm Ladies Day at Skandia Cowes Week was marked by shiny flat seas and gentle whispering breezes.

Mike Slade’s 100ft super maxi ICAP Leopard was despatched in around two and a half knots of wind at 1030 as the only entrant in Class Zero IRC but for the next four and a half hours, the guns of the Royal Yacht Squadron remained silent, the frustration increasing with every lowering of the AP (Answering Penant) flag.

Premier Cru wins G.H. Mumm ‘Cordon Rouge Challenge’
Off the water, the celebration of women’s sailing started when Miranda Merron, the round the world yacht racer and one of the most talented sailors in Britain joined the G.H. Mumm team to highlight the Ladies Day G.H. Mumm ‘Cordon Rouge Challenge’ open to all female entrants.

A shortening of the courses meant the award of a celebratory bottle of champagne could not be made on the water but Beth Richardson, campaigning the 1720 Premier Cru, won the draw and received her prize at a special evening reception at the Royal Corinthan Yacht Club.

Some of the most famous female faces in sailing joined in the celebration from 89 year-old Betty Moore from Horsham in West Sussex, who has attended every Skandia Cowes Week regatta since 1947, racing her Solent Sunbeam Why to Dame Ellen Macarthur, who needs no introduction.

Betty chose not to race today but her stand-in skipper David Miller did her proud with an excellent victory in the Sunbeam class, beating Anthony Robinson’s Symphony by one minute and 25 seconds.

Sam Davies, Shirley Robertson, Dee Caffari and the disabled sailor Hilary Lister all lent their support to the festival of women’s sailing while the competitors out on the water whiled away the hours waiting for the sea breeze to kick in or the gradient wind to develop some oomph!

Paddles away!

The crew on the TP52 St James Place grabbed hold of a halyard that was fixed to the mast and a floorboard (where did that come from?) and put on a wake-boarding exhibition which was deeply impressive. Others hauled out their paddles to get some kind of wriggle on.

Chris Tibbs, the weather expert was a man in demand as Principal Race Officer Simon Van der Byl sought his advice on what wind was blowing where in the Solent and eventually a 1.30 start was announced for the RYS, with some of the White Group sent down to the Skandia Barge and some of the Black Group sent down to Berthon for a Committee Vessel start.

Predictably, the wind died and there was another postponement that lasted until 2.35pm when a north-westerly which had been blowing in Chichester in the east and Hurst Castle in the west finally arrived in the Central Solent.

And then they were off!

The Laser SB3s chose to bunch up at the Alpha buoy for some extra breeze and when the gun fired, they hoisted their kites but still crept out of the starting blocks as if they were steeped in treacle.

Amazingly, three boats were OCS (On Course Side) but Bruce Huber went into the lead in Grey Goose and Kit Glover’s Outkri and Glenn Bourke’s Musto were all snapping at his heels.

Class 1 IRC flew their asymmetric spinnakers as soon as they were able and with the wind stronger in the northern channel, roared off on a shortened 16nm course down to the eDigital Research mark.

First win for Cockburn’s Red

The only exception was Cockburn’s Red which opted for a jib though it was Charles Dunstone’s TP52 who picked up the pace to take the New York YC Challenge Cup with a resounding five minute win over Colm Barrington’s Flash Glove.

Their improved performances over the week are set to raise the stakes as Class 1 IRC reaches its climax on Saturday and a few other surprises, arising out the shifting breezes – as much as 100 degrees in some areas – and the shorter courses could also cause a few upsets in the remaining two days of racing.

Harry Evans and Alvine Jacobite were nowhere to be seen on the Class 5 IRC podium today with Tim and Sophie Harrington’s X35 Vortex, David Pinner’s Kiss and X On The Beach, campaigned by Ingo and The Wolfman taking 1-2-3.

It’s hotting up in Class 3 IRC

The sporting rivalry that has characterised racing in Class 3 IRC is fast developing into full blown hostilities as the starting sequence today illustrated, with Holmatro engaged in a luffing match with Runaway and Eclectic to gain the advantage.

By the end, it was Kees Kaan’s Roark, lying third overall who took came in first while Holmatro, Eclectic and the other title contender, Ed Leask’s Swan 42 Uxorious III were all OCS (On Course Side) which could prove extremely costly.

Adam Gosling’s half-tonner Earls Court Boat Show, one of three boats with the same name at this year’s Skandia Cowes Week, is now unbeatable in Class 7 IRC after his sixth podium place in six races.

Everything to play for

Julia Bailey was one of three winning female skippers today, scoring her first win of the week in the Dragon class in Aimee. Liz Savage took the Savage Sailing Team to victory in the J80s and Colette Blair won the IRM class in John Merricks.

A collision at the Committee Vessel start of J109 racing, involving Jumping Jellyfish and Perseverance thankfully claimed no casualties and Michael and Sarah Wallis’ Jahmali left the rest of the fleet in their wake and crossed the finish line with a 13 minute lead ahead of Matt Boyle’s Shiva and remarkably, Perseverance.

Ian Andrew has dominated the RS Elite class in Eclipse all week and today was no exception as he posted his fifth victory in six races, this time by the smallest winning margin of the day of 17 seconds over Mike Tong’s Caio Bella.

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Photo: onEdition