Light winds plagued today's racing, but caused an intresting change in results for Class 0

Despite the light wind forecast, a small breeze filled in during the morning giving the officials on the Royal Yacht Squadron platform the perfect opportunity to commence racing on time. However, as the first of the Black and White fleets bobbed around in preparation for their start there was little to convince anyone that today’s racing would become anything other than a drifting match.

Those classes first off the starting blocks, including IRC Class 0 competing for the New York Challenge Cup, benefited from what looked to be a fairly consistent light breeze as they headed east along the Solent.Alfa Romeo, Neville Crichton’s super maxi, with Adrian Stead on the helm, popped her kite on the long downwind leg and took an early lead leaving the rest of the fleet trailing in her wake before the wind dropped off further leaving the initial leaders in a hole.

For the crew aboardAlfa Romeoit was an incredibly frustrating day. Chatting after the racing Crichton commented: “It was very frustrating, very light air and for a 90 footer that’s designed to go in heavy weather it’s pretty hard to keep it moving. We really just wanted to sail the course as quickly as possible and maintain the lead, but the further we went, the less the wind, so it became pretty difficult. We could see the smaller boats catching up, which in light winds, can sail just as quickly as us.”

Slam, Stephen Fein’s Richards 36 helmed by Jo Richards had its best race of the week today in the light tricky conditions. Richards and his super-hot team sailed an excellent, tactical race notching up second overall. Speaking after the race, Richards commented: “It was an ordinary race with not much excitement – we had a good start in the top two or three across the line. The larger boats overhauled us on the way down to the first mark, but on the way back those in front stopped dead in a hole near Norris, allowing us to sail around them.”

“It’s hard in a 36-footer when you’re competing against boats with twice your sail area. Obviously that’s what your handicap is for, but it doesn’t allow for events such as when you’ve got to sail through another class fleet – the 50-footers can sail straight through, but it’s not as easy for us.”

For Richards and his team this is the last time they will be sailing together on this boat because she’s been sold and will be hoisted out this evening and shipped to Switzerland to her new owner.

Glynn Williams’Wolfthe Europrix 45 was undoubtedly the star of the show today having sailed a solid race and picked up an overall Class 0 win alonng with the New York Challenge Cup. Williams, who also skippers the boat, commented shortly after arriving back on shore: “Today we had a race in which there was more than one option, which we didn’t have yesterday in the Britannia Cup. That was a very one-sided course.” Initially it looked like the option thatWolfwent for was not going to pay off. Williams continued: “From the start we hooked in to a good pressure lane, but two or three of the boats had slightly better breeze towards the mainland shore. At one pointBounder(another Europrix 45) rounded a mark 14 minutes ahead of us which is a hell of a lead.”

ButWolfgradually worked her way up the fleet, electing to sail a longer course in better breeze. “At the penultimate mark we were in a fairly average position but just worked our way through these pressure lanes. The key thing we began to understand was that the westerly sea breeze was going to win so we actually went round the long way, picked up the sea breeze with the spinnaker and then just came in and did a fantastic job,” continued Williams.Wolf’spersistence paid off. Crossing the line five minutes afterSlam, they took them by eight minutes on corrected time. Another Europrix 45,Timberland, took third.

The three Farr 52s,Team Tonic,Bear of BritainandChernikeeffcontinued their week-long battle with not much between them as they approached the first mark. But as the wind dropped,Volvo for Life Team Tonicmanaged to pull ahead ofChernikeeffandBear of Britain, despite having to settle for eighth overall.

Once away from the line, the Hunter 707s with their brightly coloured magenta and blue spinnakers engaged themselves in their usual close battle.Sparkle, sailed by Paul Curtis and team was first to emerge from the melee and, by making the most of the flooding tide, headed for the channel where she was able get just enough clean air to establish a five-boat length lead as they headed to the first mark. However, as the wind dropped and shifted, and the fleet turned itself around, Ian Southworth sailingChilli Chaser, the overall class leader, took his role at the front of the fleet. Although he lost and regained it several times, he managed to take the overall race win by seven and a half minutes. Chris McCloughlinChilli Chasercrew commented: “At 450kg we think we’re the second heaviest crew in the class. We spent much of today with the two heaviest guys sat down below on top of the keel, and the race was no cake walk.” With six firsts behind them they can afford to take it easy tomorrow, and were considering not racing to spend the day on a motor boat watching and learning from the other 707s. However, they’ve decided that not wanting to sail seemed discourteous to the rest of the class, so they will be on the start line again tomorrow.

While those on the eastern end of the Solent were able to enjoy a reasonable sail in what little breeze there was, those back at base were struggling. In scorching sunshine, and zero breeze, the remainder of the White Group fleets yet to start, wallowed around in glassy waters in the hope of a sea breeze filling in. But it wasn’t to be. After what seemed like hours basking in the sun, the race officer finally made the decision at 1400 to abandon leaving the Dragons, Redwings, Flying Fifteens, RS K6s, Sunbeams, Sonars, Sonatas, Squibs, Swallows, Mermaids, Victories and XODs unable to race.

Interestingly, not far away just over to the mainland shore, there was just enough breeze for the race officer to keep the Black Group starts rolling, albeit incredibly slowly. One by one each class drifted its way over the start line with the help of the strong flooding tidal stream. Class 8, the mixed fleet including Sigma 41s, Bavaria 43s, Dufours, Dehler 41s and a Sweden 38 had one of the closest starts with the team aboardAssociate, Chris Russell’s Sweden 38, first to pop their kite. Jessica Daw IPC Marine Media’s publisher crewing on boardAssociatechatted about the race: “It seemed to take forever to reach the first mark and then the lack of wind turned in to a drama after we rounded DB marine. Everyone was bunching up and drifting in to each other and, with the tide increasing in strength, it was time to drop the anchor and wait for the wind to fill in. The Maxi 1050, Oshun turned on her engine in an effort to avoid our anchor chain and immediately retired from the race. The race was then shortened and we headed back to shore for a well-earned G&T.”

Unfortunately as the day progressed there was little in the way of improvement and no sign of a stable sea breeze. The race officers therefore finally made a decision shorten all the Black Group fleets at West Lepe.

The bad news is that there’s not much change to the weather tomorrow. The hot sunny weather will continue as the high pressure dominates the area. Winds will again be light in the morning, with just 1-3 knots expected from the east, gradually veering to the south and (hopefully) increasing to 4-6 knots through the day.

Class 0 IRC
1Wolf (Glynn Williams)
2Full Pelt/Slam (Stephen Fein)
3Timberland Euro Prix (Edward Leask)

Euro Prix 45
1Wolf (Glynn Williams)
2Timberland Euro Prix (Edward Leask)
3Victric (Tony De Mulder)

Class 1 IRC
1Alvine Xiii (Harry Evans)
2Too Steamy (Nick & Anne Haigh)
3Minnie The Moocher (Anthony Richards)

Class 2 IRC
1Longbow (S Sgt Stuart Smith MBE)
2Kylidh (Guy Spurr)
3Yes! Murphy & Nye (Adam Gosling)

Prima 38
1Longbow (S Sgt Stuart Smith MBE)
2Kylidh (Guy Spurr)
3Mostly Harmless (Tom Hayhoe & Natalie Jobling)

Class 3 IRC
1Freya Of Rhu (R Napier & A Hogg)
2First Challenger (Matt Jess)
3Grand Cru II (Robin Dollar)

Beneteau 40.7
1First Challenger (Matt Jess)
2Grand Cru II (Robin Dollar)
3Ortac (Linklaters)

Class 4 IRC
1Tdb (RedmanTaylor & Warner)
2Extra Djinn (Neville Hodkin)
3The Office (Nigel Musto)

HOD 35
1Capitali$M (Tim Harrington)
2Zarafa (Major Peter Scholfield)
3Owl (Peter Bruce)

Class 5 IRC
1Sleeper (Jonty Layfield)

1Jazolo (Robert Shaw)
2Jahmali (Mike & Sarah Wallis)
3Intercea Proactive Hosting (Intercea Proactive Hosting)

Mumm 30
1Monkey Business (David Wilkinson & Ian Poynton)
2Pogo Bogo (David Knight)
3Moonshine (Jack Kelly)

Sigma 38
1Big Deal (Jacco De Zeeuw & Arjen De Zeeuw)
2Mefisto (Kevin Sussmilch)
3Supercharger (Peter Langford-Wood)

Sunsail 37
1Sunsail 66 (Felpham Sailing Club)
2Sunsail 63 (MDM Citroen)
3Sunsail 58 (KPMG)

Sunsail 36
1Sunsail 40 (Team Sunsail)
2Sunsail 11 (Team Imperial College)
3Sunsail 13 (Team Endeavour)

1Crikey V! (Nigel Theadom)
2Mardi Gras (Flying Fish)
3Tundra – Specsavers (Donald Sharp)

1Proctor Winning Masts (Robin Kenyon)
2Boats.Com (Ian Atkins)
3Mad Cow (Darren Baker)

1Decanter (Jeremy Preston)
2Dionysus (Bruce Huber)
3Medina II (D ByattT GuinessG MacanN Williams & H Speare-Cole)

Hunter 707
1Chilli Chaser (Ian Southworth & Nigel Smith)
2Charlie Fish (Iain May)
3The Ant Hill Mob (Russell Mead)

International Etchells
1007 (Mike Sparks)
2Best Mate (Chris Torrens)
3Snatch (Andrew Oddie & Justin Lede)

Laser SB3
1Yachting World (Matthew Sheahan)
2Henri Lloyd (David Ellis)
3Turbo Services International (Chris HansonCathy Hunt & Sam Strover)

1Verve (Mr Christopher Brooks & Family)
2Redshift (Edward Fishwick)
3Abstension II (Kevin Downer)

Bull 7000
1Bullwinkle (John Sheldrake)
2Bimbull (Ron Fry)
3Hullabulloo (Martin Forster)

Further information at