Spectators on the Green last night hoped to see a little match racing - but are the boats really 'matched'?

As other Skandia Cowes crews chucked on the sailcover, shut the hatches and headed for the bar, theChernikeeff 2andBear of Britainboys headed back out into the Solent for a little friendly match racing.

The two boats are not exactly matched. They both started as Farr 52 One-Designs, but while Kit Hobday has keptBear’s one-design spec, Peter Harrison has tweakedChernikeeff’s performance with a trim tab on the keel and a short bowsprit. She’s also sailing with a non one-design IRM optimised main sail.

Hobday is pragmatic about the results. “We won Tuesday, they won last night. There’s another event this evening. She’s not using her trim tab or her bowsprit, but she is using her IRM mainsail.”

Despite the differences, the match race looks like it’ll become a regular feature of Skandia Cowes Week, though possibly not between these boats. Hobday explained his plans: “We’ve bought a second, red boat (Farr 52Red Bear). She’s being optimised to be exactly the same as the otherBearfor match racing.” He went on: “We’re going to be building an international match racing circuit using these boats. It’s sponsored by JP Morgan and the crews are coming from the Skandia yachting academy.”

Referring toChernikeeff’s solid performance within the Skandia Cowes Week IRM fleet, an annoyed Hobday said “The reason they beat us on the water of course is that bloody trim tab. There’s a three point difference between our ratings. There should be a 30 point difference. This winter they’ll either penalise the thing or outlaw it to hell.”