VIDEO: Powerplay & Pace inseparable whilst the White Group stay at home

Today’s big boat fleet prize, the New York Yacht Club Trophy, looks set
to be shared between Johnny Vincent’s Pace and Peter Cunningham’s Powerplay,
after time correction for the two TP52s could not be separated, despite racing
for four hours in the Solent.

“The wind was all over the place today, flat water but very gusty
conditions and boat handling definitely came into play,” said Pace’s Tactician
Jeremy Robinson. “We didn’t sail faultlessly but a couple of mistakes by Powerplay with sail
choice and handling cost them and allowed us to get right into them. On the
last leg, the wind swung right around to the to the west and rain squalls with
big gusts made for a wet finish to the race.

“We are all amazed to see that after time correction we have exactly the
same time as Powerplay. Winning The Britannia cup and the New York Yacht Club
Trophy over the last two days isn’t a bad way to enjoy Cowes Week!”

In Class IRC 2 there was another sensational finish; current class
leader, Peter Rutter’s Grande Soleil 46 Trustmarque Quokka, corrected out to
win by just one second ahead of Andrew McIrvine’s First 40 La Reponse. Both
owners are good friends and passed Commodore’s of the Royal Ocean Racing Club;
no doubt they will have much to talk about at the RORC Annual Cocktail party

Whilst the Black Group enjoyed some excellent racing, all competitors in
the White Group found that racing was abandoned this morning due to the
forecast conditions. However the wind speed in the central Solent was only 15
knots gusting 20 knots all day. After 2pm a cold front did come through with 25
knots of wind and gusting 30.

Stuart Quarrie, CEO of AAM Cowes Week explained the thought process that
went into the decision: “Prior to abandoning racing for these classes we were
looking at a forecast, which showed three different fronts coming into The
Solent. Timing their arrival was very difficult but all the indicators were
suggesting that the cold front would bring gusts of up to 30 knots and we
decided to err on the side of caution, especially as we did have a little bit
of negative feedback after racing in strong winds on Saturday.

“We did look at the idea of sending out some of the White group but that
would in itself cause some issues. Firstly, there may well be competitors that
can handle those conditions but if we decide to give that fleet a race, the
reality is that it will encourage people to race who are not up to it. Also, by
sending out some of the White Group, it can have a problematic effect on who
will be the group winner at the end of the week.”

Quarrie added: “We felt that rather than have competitors hanging around
pontoons in foul weather gear, an early decision was far more competitive
friendly. We have lost a day’s racing which quite frankly would have not be
ideal racing anyway. With big shifts and big gusts and rain, conditions for the
races would not have been as good as they have for the last four days.”

Shaun Frohlich, racing Exabyte 5, is the reigning European Etchells
Champion. He said he was disappointed that racing was abandoned: “I was very
surprised to get a text message at 9:15; I thought it was very early to make
the decision. I recognise and fully respect that certain classes would not have
been able to handle the forecast conditions but I believe that all of the
Etchells Fleet would have been fine. Even if the forecast was right, we have
raced in 30 knots before so it wouldn’t have been a problem. I spent the
morning watching the Black Group racing and I have to say I was very
disappointed that we missed a day’s racing.

“I have a home in Hamble, so it was easy for me to make alternative
arrangements, but I feel for people who have travelled a long way to race and
have just ended up in the pub or the coffee shops in Cowes. I must agree with
the race committee to err on the side of caution but by binning the race so
early and finding that the forecast big breeze didn’t come in until 2pm makes
me feel let down.”

Chris Brittain is racing Bear in the Dragon Class. Originally from the
East Coast, Chris has been racing Dragons at Cowes for the last ten years. This
week Bear scored two podium finishes in the breezy first two days but didn’t
fair so well in the light.

“At the time the decision to abandon looked right from a forecast point
of view,” Brittain said. “But you have to sympathise with the race officers -
they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

“I can appreciate that classes such as Dragons, Darings and Etchells may
be feeling a bit bad about the decision but they are not as susceptible as say
the X One Design Class. If they had gone out there and it blew 30 knots there
would have been utter carnage. It is a shame to lose a day but I got a few jobs
done around Cowes and now that it is raining I am at home with my feet up
having a nice cup of tea.”

Cowes Week’s Stuart Quarrie said the weather is likely to be settled for
the rest of the week. “We are confident that Cowes Week will continue on
schedule,” he explained.