It’s been a heavy weather week during which some boats have thrived while others have struggled, but could tomorrow’s forecast yet undo the wet and wild sections of the fleet?
As Skandia Life Cowes Week draws to a tattered, battered end, the favourites in each class are plain to se. But tomorrow’s forecast northwesterly Force 4-5, later backing 3-4, could yet upset some hotly tipped applecarts.
In Class 0 IRC, Peter Ogden’s Swan 60 Spirit of Jethou is a shoe-in. Her worst result has been fifth place, carded on Wednesday but with a miserly total of eight points, 12 points ahead of second-placed David Lowe’s Farr 52 Loco, Jethou could go horribly wrong in the next two races and still take home the silverware. She demonstrated her prowess in light airs at the recent Swan Europeans so the gentler forecast can bring little encouragement to her rivals. This one is a wrap.
Class 1 IRC is a scrap. Nick Hewson’s Farr 47.7 Team Tonic, on 24 points overall, leads the class by just three points after six races, ahead of Charles Dunstone’s Corby 41.5 Nokia. These two are well clear of third placed Tony Mack’s First 47.7 McFly and should settle class honours between themselves. The Corby 38 Gloves Off, last year’s big story, is fifth but well off the pace pointswise.
David Walters’ J-39 Jackdaw is positioned to swoop on the Class 2 IRC honours. After six races of the eight-race series, she has 16 points, 11 clear of second placed Keith Passmore’s Reflex 38 T&G.
Class 3 IRC has featured some of the best racing at this year’s regatta. Solent sage Peter Bruce’s HOD 35 Owl has been knocked off its customary perch at the top of the table and landed in fifth place. Another HOD 35, Delacave and Scholfield’s Zarafa, has cobbled together an excellent series, once again with fifth as her worst result. Jim MacGregor’s Elan 333 Triple with a Flair is still managing to hold off the Deegans’ challenge in their Swan 441 Menenes for second place but with just two points between them and another three boats within five points of third place, there is a five-way race for the runner up spot.
James Baxter’s Cork 1720 Optimum Risk has all but sewn up the Sportsboat class, ahead of Risk’s sistership, Philip Allen’s Boondoggle and James Ives’ Projection 762 Rattle and Hum while in the Bowsprit Class 10 IRC, John Taylor’s J-105 J-Go has J-Gone. Her sixth place today mars a sensational week so far – four firsts and a second – but more importantly drops her to fifth in the overall Skandia Life Cowes Week standings. The Class gong is in J-Go’s bag but the overall black group title now looks set to go to either Rory Paton’s South Haze or Ray Pouse’s Blanco, both Contessa 32s with three wins and three seconds to their credit.