Skandia Cowes Week served up another day of blazing sunshine, but with a frustrating mid-afternoon wind shift that sent race officers running for their shortened course routines.

If there was just one thing you could say about Skandia Cowes Week, it would be that there are never two days alike. For the first time this week, the wind veered around to the south-west ensuring that all starts to windward gave a challenging beat against the tide, particularly for the smaller classes.

The light breeze didn’t help matters, forcing boats close inshore into slacker tide and causing an unparalleled number of groundings; at one point no less than four boats were aground just off Gurnard with coloured crew shirts swinging off shrouds and bent over rails in a desperate effort to heel their yachts.

In IRC Class 0 racing for the Britannia Cup,Bear of Britainseemed to make a conscious effort to steer well clear of the three big boats (Enigma, the Swan 60Island FlingandShockwave) to ensure that they had a good clean start. AlthoughEnigmawas close, they went left and headed inshore as soon as possible to cheat the strengthening tidal stream. The breeze then started to lift left and that’s really where they started to make the most ground and, with seemingly transformed boatspeed, ledChernikeeffandVolvo For Life Team TonicwhileShockwaveandEnigmastarted to pull out the overall lead on the water.

On the first downwind leg,Aeraincreased her lead and went on to take another class win and with it the Britannia Cup. She also still leads the Black Group but is now on equal points with the X332Crikey V!. Jez Fanstone, skipper ofAera, commented: “I think it’s the first time the owner has won the Britannia Cup and that’s a great feeling to win a very prestigious race like this. But, it’s no different to any other race really; we always go out and do the best we can.”

Meanwhile,Bearmanaged to hold off her nearest rivals to the end and take a well-deserved second overall fromChernikeeff. Speaking to Ross Monson, downwind trimmer aboardBear of Britain, it seems the changes they made to the rig last night following their two-race loss in last night’s match racing event, have made a big difference: “We changed the rig extensively overnight because we had a lot of forestay sag problems. We tightened up the whole rig, went up on jack pressure and it really seemed to pay off today. Basically for the Admiral’s Cup we changed the rig a lot to get speed from our new mainsail but after last night’s disappointing results we changed the rig back to our original settings. The match racing did us a big favour in a way because I don’t think we would have changed anything if we hadn’t done that.”

The Class 2 start was prime example of the larger boats looking for wind with less worry about the tide than smaller classes. Consequently they bunched towards the north end of the Royal Yacht Squadron line for their start shortly after 1100 this morning. Jockeying for position, there were quite a few close calls, with a couple of boats, includingAlice, a Mumm 30, trying a port tack start in a brave attempt to find space. However, after a long, taxing light air race it was Nick Harrison’sChernikeeff 3that squeezed ahead on handicap to take an overall win to add to the two fourths, a third and a second on the first four days. This result improves her overall Black Group position from 24th after yesterday’s race to 12th.

Royal Blue Addict, Paul Handley’s Beneteau 40.7, was the star of the show in Class 3 today snatching victory fromSalvothe overall class leader who has so far not been outside the top three.

After yesterday’s relatively shy start, the Hunter 707 fleet fell victim to several individual recalls. But with a race on between Ian Southworth’sChilli Chaserand Jon Powell’sBettyfor the overall class lead, the scene was set for exciting, close racing. It was a fine balance for the 707s, as well as for the subsequent classes that started inshore, to find the optimum course, trading less wind for less foul tide closer to shore.Chilli Chasertook an early lead as it slowly edged past Gurnard and with skilful short tacking up the shore managed to inch ahead to what was to become a winning lead. MeanwhileBetty, yesterday’s race winner, had to settle for sixth which now leaves her in second place overall, six points adrift ofChilli Chaser. A second place for Kim Vasey’sSpikeputs her in third place overall.

The Darings had an equally slow start, with those choosing to brave the tide and looking for more wind offshore almost imperceptibly nudging ahead of those further inshore.Daring Dowas amongst the first to cross the line, as she has been most days, but currently ranking 24 in the class, her starts appear to be her only forte! A number of Darings that stoically pushed further inshore predictably ended up with their keels bouncing off the bottom. As the fleet ghosted out of sight,Dionysusheld firmly onto the lead, looking to further her current 33 point margin between first and second overall. But it wasDauntless, who’s been clocking up some respectable results including a couple of thirds, who today showed her form by taking a class win, pushing her up to fifth overall.Dionysushowever, still retains her lead at the top of the White Group by just one point from the Seaview MermaidSirena.

In the Etchells fleet former national champions Chris Proudlove and team from Lymington scored their first win of the week sailing their borrowed Petticrow boatFuzzy Duck. After a fairly average start they rounded the top mark in 10th, then immediately gybed out in to the tide and took about four boats during the following windward/leeward legs. Proudlove, who handles the tactics and navigation, commented: “We then overtook the boat lying in first and second and by the end of the race had extended our lead to over two minutes.”

After an epic race yesterday when Jonty Sherwill and team aboard the Laser SB3Yachting Worldtook a second place after a string of mishaps (see yesterday’s report), they went on to record another second today after a disastrous start. In the strong east-going tide they started well down the fleet as low as 18th while Chris Hanson’sTurbo Services Internationaltook an amazing lead rounding the windward mark over 20 minutes ahead ofYachting World.

Matthew Sheahan, middleman onYachting Worldcommented: “We managed to work our way up the fleet but were seemingly still miles from the leader. However, a breeze filled in from the south-east and killed the wind coming up from the west leaving the leaders, who were miles ahead, in a hole. For us, well down the fleet, we saw what was happening and simply sailed round the hole in to second place behindHenri-Lloydand retained these positions to the finish.

If today was a tough call in terms of weather and shortened courses then tomorrow is not exactly promising anything easier. A high-pressure system sat just to the west of England will provide a very light gradient wind out of the north or north-west. The morning promises mist that the sun will burn off, but the only hope that race officers and competitors have of any action will come from the development of a sea breeze out of the south-west.

Who would be a meteorologist? You either get caned for missing the unexpected half-a-gale or you get mentally strangled for not whistling up some wind!


Class 0 IRC
1Aera (N. Lykiardopulo)
2Bear Of Britain (Kit Hobday and Tim Louis)
3Chernikeeff 2 (Peter R Harrison)

Euro Prix 45
1Victric (Tony De Mulder)
2Wolf (Glynn Williams)
3Faster K-Yote 2 (Mr David Meagher & Prof O’Connell)

Class 1 IRC
1Minnie The Moocher (Anthony Richards)
2I-Site (Steve Travis)
3Fever (Klaus Diederichs & Grant Gordon)

Class 2 IRC
1Chernikeeff 3 (Nick Harrison)
2Yes! Murphy & Nye (Adam Gosling)
3Holmatro (J J Meijer)

Prima 38
1Firestorm (Jon Perry)
2Longbow (S Sgt Stuart Smith MBE)
3White Knuckles (Mervyn Hughes)

Class 3 IRC
1Royal Blue Addict (Ian HandleyJennie Austin& Andrew Fitton)
2Salvo (Mr and Mrs Peter Morton)
3Assassin (Peter Jackson)

Beneteau 40.7
1Royal Blue Addict (Ian HandleyJennie Austin& Andrew Fitton)
2Shockwave (Dr Nick Lutte)
3Partnership Challenge (St James’s Place)

Class 4 IRC
1Capitali$M (Tim Harrington)
2Two Tribes (Andrew Davey & John Hale)
3Deliverance (Russell Hodgson)

HOD 35
1Capitali$M (Tim Harrington)
2Owl (Peter Bruce)

Class 5 IRC
1Electra (Michael Tattersall)
2Jalicia (J. De Trafford & N. Kirkman)
3Beluga II (Steve Thompson)

Class 6 IRC
1Sod – Spirit Of Defiance (Mark Jephcott)
2Software Mistress (Ian Maclean)
3Kit Off (Stuart Edmundson & David Alkinson)

Class 7 IRC
1Disko Trooper (Rob GarlickWill Hamilton & Jules Hall)
2Google-Eye (Pat Stables & Nigel Hunter)
3White Mischief (Andy Hind)

Class 8 ISC
1Antilope (Willem Wester)
2Sky Hunter (Peter Bainbridge)
3Hotwatch II (David Clementi)

Class 9 ISC
1Witchcraft (David McDonald)
2Drakes Drum (Terry Rowe)
3Tudor Rose (Richard Cooke)

1Alice Of Five Star (Five Star Sailing)
2Jahmali (Mike & Sarah Wallis)
3Jazolo (Robert Shaw)

Contessa 32
1Equator (Kay & Simon Porter)
2Blanco (Ray RouseTerry Vanner & Dave Richards)
3Roulette Of Beaulieu (Jan Matthews & John Doree)

Mumm 30
1Bushfire (Cian O’Carroll and Tom Hill)
2E1 Business / Mumbo Jumbo (Geof Gibbons)
3Sardonyx VI (William Edwards)

Sigma 33
1Whippa Snappa (Richard J Puddifoot)
2Hooligan (Steve Sault)
3Oxygen (Michael Birmingham)

Sigma 38
1Mefisto (Kevin Sussmilch)
2Red Macaw (John & Jackie Edwards)
3Alliance (John Brantley)

Sunsail 37
1Sunsail 57 (Phoenix IT Services)
2Sunsail 80 (Polypipe plc)
3Sunsail 71 (The Wight Knights)

Sunsail 36
1Sunsail 11 (Team Imperial College)
2Sunsail 40 (Team Sunsail)
3Sunsail 19 (Team Shamrock)

1Crikey V! (Nigel Theadom)
2Tundra – Specsavers (Donald Sharp)
3Pittolo Bill (Ian Smyth)

1Crescendo (James W. Flynn O.B.E)
2Polyphagus (Stephen Porter)
3Mad Cow (Darren Baker)

1Dauntless (M B Carver & G A Peckham)
2Dionysus (Bruce Huber)
3Dolphin (David N Gower & Christopher Miers)

Hunter 707
1Chilli Chaser (Ian Southworth & Nigel Smith)
2Spike!!! (Kim Vasey)
3The Ant Hill Mob (Russell Mead)

International Dragon
1Ecstatic (Eric Williams)
2Rackham (Rob Gray)
3Chaotic (Richard Jordan)

International Etchells
1Fuzzy Duck IV (WoodmanProudlove & Ford)
2Best Mate (Chris Torrens)
3Claudia III (P Andreae & D Shanks)

International Flying Fifteen
1Friendly Fire (Barry Rolfe)
2Cruella (Jonathan Hill)
3Affore The Week (Nick & Estelle Clarke)

Laser SB3
1Henri Lloyd (David Ellis)
2Yachting World (Matthew Sheahan)
3Full Chat (Mark Richards)

National Sonata
1Sequoia (Philip Williams)
2Pizzicato (Tom White)
3Crisis (Giles Palin)

National Squib
1Firecracker Too (Andrew Porteous)
2Kew Dee Three (Mrs Margaret Barsby)
3Firestreak (Miss Sarah Everitt)

National Swallow
1Curlew (Malcolm Green)
2Solitude (A J Lunch & A M Reid)
3Avocet (Mr & Mrs J A Houghton)

1Flamingo (Mr & Mrs John Cleaveand Mr & Mrs Mark Konig)
2Lady Laetitia (William F CleggWilliam H Clegg & Erik Cole)
3Toucan (Peter & Lynne Romer Lee and Colin & Becky Samuelson)

1Take Two (Jonathan Calascione)
2Fat Face (Paul Rudling)
3The Wright Team (Phil Wright)

Seaview Mermaid
1Sheen (Simon Lloyd & Martin White)
2Sirena (Noel DobbsRichard Dobbs & Alexander Dobbs)
3Dragonfly (A RobertsD Rowley & D Stevens)

Solent Sunbeam
1Polly (Jonathan Money)
2Fay (Kirk Webster & Richard Pearson)
3Fleury (John & Valerie Davis)

1Puff Pirate (D Bates & P Bowen)
2Yachts And Yachting (James Day & Jamie Reid)
3Dolphin (Andy Cassell)

1Redshift (Edward Fishwick)
2Abstension II (Kevin Downer)
3Just Savage (Liz Savage)

Bull 7000
1Hullabulloo (Martin Forster)
2Cow’S Rig (David Neate)
3Bimbull (Ron Fry)

1Woozle (Nigel Sefton-Smith & D Price)
2Steadfast (Dr Roddy Bowerman)
3Variety (Janet Dee & Robert Parkin)

X One Design
1Lucrezia (Adrian (Ado) Jardine)
2Lone Star (Stuart Jardine)
3Palassie (Peter Baines)