Pace wins The Britannia Cup
A beautiful dawn announced champagne conditions for the fourth day of racing at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. The 10-15 knots of breeze from the southeast coupled with the sunshine bursting through the clouds provided yet another day of tremendous racing in The Solent.
The winner of today’s IRC 0 race earned the prestigious Britannia Cup. The solid silver cup was first awarded in 1951, exactly 100 years after the Americas Cup was taken back across the Atlantic. The prize is without doubt the most highly regarded trophy at Cowes Week.
Johnny Vincent’s TP52 Pace has not had the best start to the regatta; two bouts of gear failure have led to poor results but Vincent was absolutely delighted today as he learnt that The Britannia Cup was his glittering prize.
“We have had a tough few days, yesterday we were pretty dark,” said Vincent. “However, this morning, we decided to go out there with a clean sheet of paper and do our best and the team work today was impeccable; no errors at all. The Britannia Cup is the most prestigious trophy I have ever won. I am so excited, it has been a fantastic boost to our spirits. Winning the cup is about as good as it gets.”
Pace‘s tactician Jeremy Robinson won The Britannia Cup ten years ago. He said their rival’s mistake helped the team win the cup this year: “The team did a great job today, our start was okay but Powerplay‘s was better and we needed something to get back into it. On the downwind leg Powerplay got a shift wrong and we called it right.
“We didn’t cross them but it was enough to put us ahead after time correction and we managed to hold our time on them to the finish. Personally this has been a great achievement for me, I have won the cup before but on this occasion I was very much calling the tactics, so it is a special win and obviously I am delighted for Johnny (Vincent) especially after the last few days.”
Calvin Reed, skipper of Elandra
In the First 40.7 Class Elandra stamped their authority on the regatta with their fourth straight bullet. Skipper Calvin Reed hails from Tampa, Florida, and is making his AAM Cowes Week debut. Reed is a regular on the Caribbean racing circuit for the last five years; Elandra has won class for the past two years at Antigua Sailing Week winning a phenomenal 15 out of 16 races.
“We met a lot of British sailors racing out in Antigua and we decided that we would come to Cowes Week,” said Reed. “It is probably the premier race week in the world and over the years so many people have told me what a great regatta this is. I have not been disappointed; the town is great and we are having a good time.
“The racing has been extremely competitive and we have had good winds and nice sunshine! We know a couple of the competitors but many are new to us and I have to say there about six boats in our class who are all capable of winning every race. This will be my last regatta with Elandra. The boat originally comes from Hamble and it has returned home for its swansong event.”
The first J/70 in Europe
In the Sportsboat Class, Charlie Esse’s J/80 Darwin Property is the leader after four races. Charlie and his brother Anthony have won the class twice before but, hidden amongst the myriad of pocket rockets in the Sportsboat class, is a new kid on the block. The J/70 Jenga 8 is the first of its kind in Europe, although over 100 have been sold in the United States. The J/70 is far cheaper than the J/80 and with a carbon boom and mast and less structure it is close to half the weight. After its success in the States, it will be interesting to see how the latest import from the Johnson brothers will go this side of the Atlantic.
Looking at tomorrow’s forecast, you could almost write the headline today. ‘Big Wednesday’ at AAM Cowes Week is predicted to produce gusts of up to 30 knots of wind.