Day four affects leaderboard in some classes due to boisterous conditions causing damage and accidents

I hate to sound repetitive, but guess what? it was blowing 20-25 knot Easterlies again today with the sun beating down on the 140 boats racing in Sailing Week.

But I fear I may have jinxed a few boats with yesterday’s report stating how the ‘winners kept winning’ – because most then didn’t today! Okay, the Team Origin guys aboard TP52 Rio won for the fifth time ahead of Yeoman, and the impressively professional crew onboard Swan 44 Crescendo have also kept a clean slate with another two bullets today, but elsewhere the larger seas played their part in a fair few retirements.

The most alarming of which was aboard Spirit of Monpelier, the Oyster 72 with Oyster founder Richard Matthews onboard. According to skipper David Yelloly, Matthews’ partner Dinette Wilkinson was down below to pull the kite through after rounding the final mark, when a gust caught the sail, lifting it back out. A sheet got caught round her leg and she was taken with it, until the crew could cut the sheet free. ‘With 2m long burn marks on the sheets from rubbing on the hatch, she was very very lucky not to lose her leg.’ The sobering accident was serious enough to require an immediate hospital evacuation. So despite recording an astonishing 19knots today, and leading the field by a good margin until a minute from the line, Montpelier was forced to retire and perhaps hamper her dominance at the top of the Cruiser 1 fleet.

It was another boom breakage that has forced a local favourite Jamie Dobbs out of contention on his J122 Lost Horizon. Dobbs, who shares his time between here and Cowes, and is sailing with local crew onboard, had dominated the Racing 4 fleet with three 1sts until today, but like ICAP Leopard earlier in the week is now ‘boom and bust’. And just when we thought the sexy S&S red hull of Pavlova II was romping home in Performance Cruiser 3, the equally eye-catching local blue six meter belonging to Geoffrey Pidduck’s slipped in to scored two bullets today, keeping competition tense.

Elsewhere Clive Llewellyn’s Grand Soleil 50 Mad IV continues to dominate Performance Cruiser 1 and out of the four Bareboat fleets, it’s Mr Wenzlaff and crew onboard Nifty who are making the boldest statement with three wins out of three.

Tomorrow sees the third and final race of the Ocean Series for the racing fleet, with the Around Redonda race – an 80nm down and up race which could see Sojana pick up her second record of the week. The 90% of the fleet in Division B however will race round to Jolly Harbour on the West coast.

The picture shows the Oyster 72 Spirit of Montpelier, before her accident aboard.
Photo: Tim Wright