A classic start to Cowes Week 2010 and a spectacle on and off the water!

The picture shows the South African Landmark 43 Windpower in IRC Class 1 proving that no matter how shiny and new your boat is or how slick your crew, a South Cardinal is there for a very good reason, and that you can’t just come to Cowes and mess with the tides! With five crew hiking out on the carbon boom, they made a valiant effort to free themselves from the clutches of Lepe Spit, but were pushed on further by the flood and spent around seven inglorious minutes marking the hazard for the passing multihull and Beneteau 40.7 fleets, while attracting photographers like flies to jam!

It’s nice to know that the big boys still get it wrong. On the first beat up past Beaulieu trying to keep out of the tide in the light winds, it was only ten minutes before that we witnessed local Farr 52 Bob in Class 0 hit the same bank. Simultaneously, the quickest boat in the regatta, Sir Peter Ogden’s stealth-looking JV60 mini-maxi Jethou walked a tight line by making the TP52 Pace luff up (both boats pictured), before the latter then fouled Jethou on a plain port/starboard encounter, forcing one of the first red flag protests of the regatta.

Yes, Lepe Spit makes a great vantage point in the light SW-W breeze and easterly tidal conditions, but the same shenanigans were also obviously happening on the Island side as the Extreme 40’s learnt that rocks fare better than their carbon daggerboards as they fought to the tide in the fickle breeze, and a Daring was unlucky enough to get stuck hard inshore of Grantham. All was in full view of those flocking to the shoreline as the sun and breeze emerged, proving that Cowes Week can be just as entertaining for the spectator.

Pictures by Richard Langdon, Ocean Images