The breeze abates at last at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
The penultimate day of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week was a more gentle day than those earlier in the week, starting with bright sun and a gentle breeze that built to 15-18 knots. It also saw incredibly tight racing across dozens of classes and a surprise early winner in the XOD class.
The overall winner of IRC Class 0 was decided by a margin of just one second, while today’s race for the Victory class was also incredibly close, with the first nine boats finishing within 95 seconds.
Similarly, just 49 seconds separated the first three boats in IRC Class 3 on corrected time at the end of their three-hour race. David Franks’ Mat 1010 Matilda revelled in the lighter conditions, taking her first win of the regatta, “We had a good position on the start and then had freedom to go almost exactly where we wanted – tactician Graham Sunderland did a superb job,” he said. “Matilda is a fast boat in light airs and we could see we were doing well, which gave us the encouragement to carry on pressing hard.”
The racing for overall points for Black Group classes ended today, allowing those starting the 605-mile Rolex Fastnet Race on Sunday to have a day clear to prepare. The week’s closest racing has arguably been in IRC Class 0, where half the boats in the fleet have scored podium finishes and only six points separated the top five boats going into the final race.
Two TP52s -Charles Dunstone’s Team Origin and Johnny Vincent’s Pace – were first and second over the line, with Pace holding a 41 second advantage on corrected time. For a few minutes it looked as though that would secure the overall class win over Team Origin, on a complex countback. However, the fifth boat across the line, Piet Vroon’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens, finished one second ahead of Pace on corrected time. That still left Pace and Team Origin tied on points, but Dunstone’s firsts against Vincent’s single win left Team Origin as the overall winner.
A class act
IRC Class 1 was similarly tight at the top – with the first three places separated by three points at the start of their final race and nine of the 24 entries having scored a podium result at some point during the week. Today the Leask Family’s Swan 42 Magical Mystery Tour was first to finish, but Michael Bartholomew’s lower rated King 40 Tokoloshe pipped them to first place by four seconds on corrected time. Bartholomew’s third win of the event secured the overall win, two points ahead of Bernard Gouy’s Ker 39 Inis Mor, who took third place today, 47 seconds behind Magical Mystery Tour.
The top of Class 2 turned into a super-tight battle between three J-Boats. The start of the day saw Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas’s new J/111 Shmokin’ Joe on 10 points, Ian Matthews’ J/122 Jinga on 11 and another J/111, Paul Heys’ Jenga 7, on 12 points. These three boats took the top three places in the class in today’s race, in exactly that order on corrected time
Today’s third place for Iain Kirkpatrick’s X37 Fatjax in IRC Class 3 was sufficient to hang on to first place overall by two points, ahead of Bernard Olesinski’s X40 Xinska, who finished second today. The Layfield family’s J/39 Sleeper was able to discard today’s 11th place and take third overall.
In Class 4 Tom Snowball’s First 34.7 Mongoose held a three-point lead over Peter Schofield’s HOD 35 Zarafa at the start of the day. However Mongoose and Zarafa scored seventh and eighth places respectively, although the former held her overall lead. A third for John Howell’s Dehler 36 Alaris lifted her to the same overall score as Zarafa, with the latter taking second place on countback. Adam Gosling’s Corby 30 Yes! took Class 5 with a day to spare, having kept the boat in one piece despite the challenging weather. His worst result was Tuesday’s third place.
Class 6 was wide open at the start of the day, with Rory Fitzwilliams’ Three-Quarter Tonner Simplicity on 10 points, ahead of Phil Eagleton’s Half Tonner Sevcon Team Chia Chia on 12 and Stephen James’ much larger Swan 38 Jacobite on 16 points. Although Sevcon Team Chia Chia posted eighth today, she was able discard this and the overall placings were unchanged at the end of the race.
Class 7 became depleted by almost half as the week progressed, although more boats were out today, with Kevin Downer, Graham Law, Tim Eccles and Robin Chubb’s Mini Tonner Magic Bus winning on corrected time. Jo Richards’ Moo started the day with a comfortable five-point cushion over Madelaine and Isobella Donald’s Madelaine. Richards posted his worst result of the week, an eighth place that he was able to discard.
Madelaine finished in a time that should have given her a win on corrected time today, but she had been over the line at the start and didn’t return. Moo therefore retained her overall lead, with Ed Brand’s Fianchetto taking second and Paul Dunstan’s Folkboat Mandarin moving up to third.
An almost clean sweep
Phil Cotton’s Seacart 30 Buzz has enjoyed an almost clean sweep of first places, apart from a second on Monday. He didn’t compete on Thursday but another first place today saw him secure the overall title. Nigel Talbot’s new Corsair Dash 750 Nitric failed to finish on the opening day, but then had a consistent run of results to end the week tied on 18 points with Calle Hennix’s www.seacart26.com. Hennix, who won the two races that Buzz didn’t win, took second overall on countback.
On the design’s 40th anniversary, Ray Rouse’s Blanco again won the Contessa 32 class with a day to spare. However, Eldred Himsworth’s Drumbeat and Simon and Kay Porter’s Equator started the day tied on 11 points in the battle for second place. Equator took her first win today, to secure second place with a margin of two points.
Three Sigma 33s have taken all but three podium finishes all week – Richard Puddifoot’s Whippa Snappa, Andy Johns and David Rolfe’s Shadowfax and Jeff Worboys’ Workout. With five first places in seven races Whippa Snappa took first overall for the third year in succession, with Shadowfax second and Workout third.
In the J/109 fleet Adam and Helen Wright’s Velvet Elvis has again been the boat to beat this year. Starting the day only three points behind Velvet Elvis, the Calascione/Ripard family’s Yeoman had the opportunity to beat her for the overall class win today. However, Stanley, Walker and Williams’ Levante won by a substantial margin, with Yeoman second. Velvet Elvis finished fourth, just 8 seconds ahead of M Boyle’s Shiva, to retain the overall lead by just one point.
It was also tight at the top of the Quarter Ton class, with Mark Lees’ Panic starting the day two points ahead of Liz Rushall’s Whiskers, despite Panic having been forced to retire with a broken rudder on Sunday. Today was a good one for Rushall, who took her third win of the week, but a second place for Lees saw him retain the overall lead.
In the Sigma 38 class Kevin Sussmilch’s Mefsito won every race apart from Tuesday’s, when she finished fourth, taking the Sigma 38 overall title with a day to spare. She also raced today, taking second place to Max Walker’s Pavlova lll by 13 seconds. Walker took second overall, with third place going to Chris and Vanessa Choules’ With Alacrity.
At the top of First 40.7 class, Paul McNamara and Tony Lowe’s Incognito started the final day tied on seven points with Nicolas Gaumont-Prat’s Tradition Philosophie lV. These two boats were first and second today, with Tradition Philosophie finishing one minute 13 seconds ahead to claim overall victory.
Today was also the final day for Sunsail’s large fleet of 40ft race boats. Islas Canarias-Lanzarote started with day with a six point lead over Neville Upton’s The Listening Company. The Spanish team won again today, by just seven seconds over Aberdeen 2, one of five boats that started the day separated by only two points. Speaking of his second win of the week Aberdeen skipper Ed Mockridge said, “We hooked into a massive wind shift that took us from 18th place to finish just behind the winner.” The result lifted his boat three places to fifth overall. A third place today for The Listening Company saw them retain second place overall, with Cazenove Dynamic taking third.
James Stableford’s Mumm 36 Panther dominated the ISCRS class, with a string of top-three results. Minka Armitage’s Grand Soleil 34.3 Gazelle similarly scored podium only results, but with fewer wins, to take second overall, three points behind Panther, while David Miller’s classic Swan 44 White Heather took third.
Also ending today in White Group were the RS Elite, Victory and Laser SB3 classes. In common with other White Group classes, today’s finish was along the Green and against the tide, providing a great spectacle for the crowds onshore.
The Laser SB3s had an incredibly close finish at the end of their 16.7 mile race, with a number of boats grouped in tight bunches of 4-6 craft. Nicholas Thompson’s Red Rocket took a comfortable win today, but it was not enough to lift it above Mark Stokes’ Eau No!, who was second today and took first overall by 1.5 points. Sarah Gill’s Gill recorded her worst finish of the week – 12th place – but held on to third overall by just one point over the Simonds family’s Doolalli.
RS Elites have traditionally been one of the most tightly fought classes at Cowes, however this year Martin Wadham’s RSSailing.com pulled out a six point lead at the front of the fleet, securing victory ahead of the final race. Jono Brown’s Aeolus scored a consistent run of good results to take second overall, two points ahead of Steve Powell’s E’Tu.
In the Victory class the door was open for a new class winner as John Tremlett and Jeremy Lear, who’ve won overall for the past five years, are racing an XOD this week. After a sixth place on the opening day, Mark and Joanna Dennington’s Ziva scored only podium positions on the next five days to take a lead of four points over Russell Mead’s Shearwater at the start of their final day. In today’s race, Ziva finished 77 seconds behind Shearwater, to take fifth place, leading a group of four boats that crossed the line in seven seconds. It was enough for Ziva to retain the overall lead by two points from Shearwater, with Geoff Dixon’s Zelia third overall.
The record breaking 145-strong XOD class will continue racing tomorrow. Chris Froy, Andrew Shaw and Alan Roberts’ Phoenix, who led the fleet overall at the end of yesterday’s race, scored their worst result of the week today – a 17th place. However, it was enough to secure overall victory with a day to spare – an astonishing achievement given the size of the fleet and standard of competition.
Adrian Summers, Ian Paton, Johnny Mordant and Edd Fitzgerald’s Excalibur is currently second overall, but seven other boats have a chance of taking the runner’s up spot tomorrow, while a further three could take third – there’s still all to play for.
Local sailor wins Extreme Sailing Series at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week
Sailing in his home waters, Leigh McMillan, skipper of The Wave Muscat, won Act 5 of the Extreme Sailing Series in a day of fast-paced action, thrills and spectacular spills.
Standings as crews came ashore at the end of the last race:
1 The Wave, Muscat- 236 points
2 Luna Rossa – 228.8 points
3 Alinghi – 214 points
4 Red Bull Extreme Sailing – 188 points
5 OmanAir – 179 points
6 Team GAC Pindar – 160 points
7 Emirates Team New Zealand- 139 points
8 Groupe Edmond de Rothschild – 135 points
9 Niceforyou – 132 points
10 Aberdeen Asset Management – 126 points
11 Team Extreme – 71 points
12 Artemis Racing – 23 points