Arthur Robb's Daring one-design could arguably be called the home team at Skandia Life Cowes Week, with all of the 31 boats in existence based here through the year.
Arthur Robb’s Daring one-design could arguably be called the home team at Skandia Life Cowes Week, with all of the 31 boats in existence based here through the year.
At 33ft, these open, day-racing keelboats are not particularly small, despite their deceptively low-slung lines. Typically sailed by a crew of three, each carries a distinctive chevron sail logo, is sloop-rigged and carries a large kite. Many Darings are owned by syndicates of three or four people and a total of 28 are racing this week. Strict controls are in place regarding the design, equipment and maintenance of these craft; not only does that cap annual expenditure but it also ensures that any one of the boats is capable of winning races.
Given these constraints, sailing ability has a chance to play a major factor in results. Certainly the crew of Dionysus would have you believe this to be true. Currently lying first overall in their class, the team have had sixth, second and two first place finishes if today’s provisional result is confirmed.
American-born Skipper Bruce Huber noted, “We’re normally in the top five, though the conditions have been tough work and we’ve had to stay on our toes.”
Having sailed Darings for a decade, and competing for the 10th year running at Skandia Life Cowes Week, Bruce is well-placed to comment on the racing so far this week. “It’s been very different to what we call ‘Solent orienteering’ where racing is simply a matter of going from one buoy to the next. It has been a tactical race so far and you have to watch the shifts.”
Without revealing the secret to their winning form, tactician Jonathan Goodwin indicated how best to make use of the conditions. “With the tide running with you at the start, you have to be very careful not to get swept over the line. Find some clear air and when the gun goes get across the line at speed, and then try not to run aground on the north shore!”