Favourites emerging

With a shifty southerly wind direction, today’s action at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week was far more tactically challenging. In the big boat class there was a noteworthy retirement due to gear failure. The headstay on Johnny Vincent’s TP52 Pace broke close to the finish; it could have been catastrophic
but smart work by the crew avoided a major rig failure and the shore crew hope
to affect a full repair overnight. Piet Vroon’s Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens (pictured above) could not match Peter Cunningham’s Powerplay. The carbon fibre TP52 streaked away to their third
win in a row with Tonnerre de Breskens‘ second place lifting them to second overall.

“We got a cracking start,
which was crucial today,” said Tonnerre de Breskens navigator Will Best. “We started just away from the
pack fighting for the favoured end and we had clear air and room to manoeuvre.
Second was a great result today, we could have made up the two or so minutes on
Powerplay but I would have thought
they could improve as well. It is going to be tough to beat the TP52s but we
will be looking to concentrate on our own performance; that is the only area we
can really influence.”

IRC One produced some
incredibly close racing today with the top five boats finishing less than two
minutes apart after time correction. Willem Wester’s Grande Soleil 46 Antilope charged up the leader board as they took their second
win of the series. Nigel Passmore’s Ker 40 Apollo is the new leader after Mike Bartholomew’s King 40 Tokoloshe could only manage fourth today.

Tristan Nelson

Tristan Nelson, navigator for
Antilope, spoke candidly about the
team from Holland:

“I was a last minute addition
and I have not sailed on Antilope
before but I have been very impressed by the slick crew work and the amount of
preparation that has gone into the boat. Our seventh on the first day was
really down to a bad start. Today we got away well but could only watch as the
two Ker 40s reached away at the start.

“To be honest the biggest
factor in our win today was a rather large orange container ship. The two Kers
couldn’t cross her bow legally and had to duck a good 200 meters. Behind us the
XOD fleet was slowing the rest of the fleet up but we managed to stay out of
trouble. I guess you could say we played our ‘get out of jail free’ today but I
am really enjoying sailing with Antilope, they are a great bunch of guys and top class sailors.”


An intense battle is
developing in the J/109 Class; after three races the class leader is Calascione and Goodwin’s Harlequin. “The J/109 Class is very competitive and to be
honest, we are back this year because we came so close to winning at Cowes last
year, losing out by a single point,” said Johnny Calascione.

“The class has also been
strengthened by a fine initiative from members of the Royal Yacht Squadron.
Back in April the club hosted an event designed for young sailors to learn how
to sail J/109s and the best crew are here, racing in the fleet with Squadron members
and others. We are delighted to be winning at the moment but getting good young
sailors into sailing is just as important to us.”

Tuesday will see the big boat
class compete for one of Cowes Week’s most prestigious trophies, The Britannia
Cup, which was presented to the RYA by King George VI in 1950.

The weather forecast predicts
much the same conditions as today, which will make for tricky conditions for all