Andy Rice reports from Crosshaven

Roy Disney helmed his Pyewacket to victory over rival Maxi Z86 Morning Glory in the first race of Cork Week (see photo). Morning Glory made a poor start, yielding an immediate deficit of six boatlengths to the American boat, which then extended to a very comfortable distance as the Maxis made their way back up the harbour towards Cobh town.

As the wind empied from the harbour, even the apparent-wind generating abilities of the Z86s couldn’t save them as they drifted to a stop for what must have seemed an age. But exiting the harbour for the second and final time, they hooked into a new onshore breeze of 14 knots that finally sent the Maxis powering on their way. Pyewacket’s lead remained very healthy until the final few hundred yards of the 35-mile race, when a slow gybe allowed Morning Glory the chance to close to within two boatlengths.

But it was all too late, and Pyewacket crossed the line first. Disney, who lives for much of the year in his castle nearby, will be delighted to win in what he almost regards as home waters. The mood on Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory was much darker, and the German yacht will be looking for revenge today.

So too will Farr 52 Bear of Britain, after being protested out of the race by arch rivals on Chernikeeff 2. Peter Harrison’s crew claimed there was contact when Chernikeeff luffed Kit Hobday’s boat. “Their spinnaker brushed across our shroud and forestay,” said Chernikeeff helmsman Ian Budgen.

While Bear was sent to the back of the class, Chernikeeff 2 finished second in the IRM division, behind the IC45 Rebel from Royal Malta Yacht Club. Rebel made the most of the fickle breezes at the top of the harbour by Cobh – to sniggle her way past her similar sized rivals and stretch to an unassailable lead over the other 45-footers.

Out to sea on the other four courses, the breeze was also playing funny games until it finally settled down into a steady southerly at around 1500. This allowed only for one race, and for some a long sail back to the beer tents of Crosshaven.

The forecast today is for light winds and rain, but so far it is taking more than dreary weather to dampen the spirits of the 500-plus crews gathered here in Cork.