The second day brings some of the most challenging conditions the Solent can deliver

With a rapidly shifting and gusting wind from the North East quarter fluctuating in strength from single figures up towards 20 knots, plus a strong spring tide which changed direction in the middle of racing the 35 competing boats had their work cut out. ‘The cream of the tacticians certainly rose to the top today!’ Quarter Ton Class Secretary and skipper of Espada Louise Morton commented wryly after sailing, “I can’t quite believe that we have 35 boats competing, although it feels like a hundred when you have to cross behind them all on port, which is what we had to do today.”

To see images of the tough sailing day, courtesy of Paul Wyeth/, CLICK HERE.

PRO Bob Milner and his team were on a mission and had forewarned the competitors of their intention to run four races today to catch up the schedule following the abandonment of yesterday’s attempted third race. Good to their word they laid on three windward leeward races in the Hill Head area of the central Solent followed by a final round the cans race taking the competitors back to finish off Cowes.

With six races completed it’s been snakes and ladders on the leader board and with the discard still to kick in (it comes into play after seven races) there’s still plenty more climbing and sliding to come on tomorrow’s final day. Peter Morton sailing the 1976 Farr designed Anchor Challenge with bowman Jason Carrington, pitman Kelvin Rawlings, trimmer John Newnham and tactician Stuart Childerley has jumped into a 1.5 point lead thanks to an outstanding day with a 1, 3.5, 1, 1 scoreline.

Lying in second place on 17 points having added 3, 1, 3, 2 to their score is Darren Marston and Olly Ophaus’s 1990 Gonzalez design Cote with tactician Dave Lenz, trimmer Rob Dyer and pitman Chris Cooper (Darren helms and Olly does the bow). Although they had an excellent day afloat the boys joined the emergency boat repair club tonight as they affected repairs to the anchor points on their pushpits which were starting to give way (we’re not sure if this is because they are hiking harder than everyone else or just that they’ve eaten more pies!).

Currently in third place on 34 points, but looking forward to the completion of race seven and the instigation of the discard,as they are counting a 16th place thanks to a Z flag penalty, is John Greenwood and his crew of tactician David Howlett, Andy McClelland, Brett Aarons and Dan Gottz sailing Rob Gray’s 1990 Vrolick design Aquila. Alongside the Z-flag their other scores today were 2, 2, 2, 11 which moved them nicely up from last night’s sixth overall.

Louise Morton and her all girl crew of Josie Gibson, Vicky Lenz, Charlotte Lawrence, Collette Blair and Nicky McGregor had a very consistent day and have moved up from fifth into fourth on 47 points. They got the day off to a fair start with a ninth in race three but stumbled in race four where they could only manage joint 20th, largely thanks to that bad start Louise mentioned in our opening paragraph, before recovering a little to finish sixth and eighth to close the day.

Overnight leader Whiskers is another boat that can’t wait for the discard to kick in after they were OCS and also blew up a jib track in the third race. forcing them to withdraw and get the toolbox on deck once again They subsequently went on to score 6, 5, 5 so while they have currently dropped down into sixth place overall on 58 points if they can do well tomorrow and drop that DNF/36 they are still in with a good chance of making the podium.

For Howard Sellars and Mike Till aboard Bullet, a 1978 Fauroux, it was a day of mixed fortunes. Having gone into the day lying second they now find themselves in fifth, seven and a half points ahead of Whiskers. Tactician Henry Bagnall summed things up perfectly saying: “It just wasn’t our day, we just couldn’t seem to find a clear lane and when ever we wanted to go somewhere we found someone else had got there just before us. It was definitely one of the toughest Solent days I’ve seen.”

The regatta concludes today, and with good winds forecast and plenty more races to come (the NOR allows for up to 12 races) we can expect a nail biting finish.

Provisional Overall Top Five After Six Races

1. GBR506$ – Anchor Challenge – Peter Morton – 5, 4, 1, 3.5, 1, 1 = 15.5
2. ESP3090 – Cote – Darren Marsto/Olly Ophaus – 6, 2, 3, 1, 3, 2 = 17
3. GBR8414 Aquila – Rob Gray/John Greenwood – 16/ZFP, 1, 2, 2, 2, 11 = 34
4. GBR50R – Espada – Louise Morton – 8, 8, 5, 12, 7, 7 = 47
5. GBR7775 – Bullet – Howard Sellars/Mike Till – 2, 5, 9, 20.5, 6, 8 = 50.5

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