Temperature in the high 20s, a steady breeze from the south-east, typical Solent tides to add some spice; today was Skandia Cowes Week at its best.

Having spent the first two days of Skandia Cowes Week fighting fickle Solent breezes, competitors were rewarded with a fresh, building south-easterly wind this morning as they made their way to the start line following a short postponement.

For the first time ever in the history of the class the XODs made a decision to forsake the Squadron in favour of a committee boat start just off Osborne Bay, after the option had been offered by Cowes Combined Clubs. Most of the other fleets started as expected, either from the Squadron or from a committee boat in the Western Solent.

Around 10 knots of ESE breeze and a strong flooding tidal stream provided classic Skandia Cowes Week sailing at midday with slightly stronger wind speeds out of the south-east by 1400. Competitors jostled for position, some straying over the line, singularly or in whole batches, necessitating individual and, in some cases, general recalls.

In IRC 0Slam, the Jo Richards designed 36ft flyer, positioned herself at the Squadron end of the line in clear air and on the gun, powered up for what was possibly the best start of the fleet. However,Aera, the Kerr 55, which also had a good start, was able to pull through and take her second win of the week. The Swan 60,Island Fling, which started slightly further down the line in an effort to make the most of the flooding tidal stream, also sailed a good race but had to settle for second. Despite her good startSlamfinished eighth.

Peter Harrison’sChernikeeff 2, Nick Hewson’sVolvo For Life Team Tonicand Kit Hobday’sBear of Britainrevelled in the fresh breeze today, managing to stay locked in a battle for the entire two-and-a-half-hour’s race and finished in that order. Speaking after the racing Hobday said, “I think we were just over 25 seconds behindChernikeeffand we were five or six seconds ahead ofTeam Tonic. You can’t get much closer than that. And going round the first mark there was about a boat’s length between all three of us. I think we lost out when we stayed on the mainland shore in the tide too long whileTonicgybed across early. When we eventually crossed the tide we were two or three boat lengths behindTonicand continued a battle with her whileChernikeeffpulled ahead.”

Accolade for closest race of the day went elsewhere however. After an intimate battle in the Western Solent in up to 14 knots of wind,Victric, Tony De Mulder’s chartered IC45, and Ed Leask’sTimberland Euro Prixcrossed the line together in the Europrix 45 section of the IRM fleet and were unable to be separated on time. Neil Mackley, the trimmer onboardVictric, explained: “We had a really good race with the other IC45s. Once around the mark at Gurnard we had a long run against the tide so it was a case of hitting the mainland shore where there was less tide. We did lose out a bit in the middle of the race but picked up again on the last beat and then on the long run to the finish we were neck and neck withTimberland Euro Prix.”

Elsewhere on the Solent, Richard Loftos’ Swan 65Desperadomade mincemeat of IRC Class 1, which now puts her top of the fleet after three races. After a good start at the pin end of the line this elegant lady powered her way into a lead that she held for 45 minutes, beating the Swan 45s, Corbys and other super-fast flyers. Journalist Bob Fisher was onboard and after the race chatted about his satisfactory day on the Solent. “Today well and truly made up for yesterday’s disastrous race where none of us finished. After our good start today we were rewarded with being first to the weather mark. We beat all of the new Swan 45s down to the next mark too, which was even better. It was inevitable they would overtake us because they have to give us three minutes 36 seconds per hour, so to be ahead of them after 45 minutes of racing was not bad going.”

Tony Mack, owner and skipper of the Swan 45McFlyadded: “The handicap difference between us andDesperadois quite large and that’s why we moved down to second on corrected time, despite our five-and-a-half minute lead.Desperadogoes well in stronger winds, so we’re hoping for a little less wind tomorrow to give us a chance – although I wouldn’t change anything we did today as we sailed a very tidy race.”

As the Hunter 707s approached their start the wind increased further, creating a nasty chop in Cowes Roads. Being careful not to force a general recall the fleet held back from the line in the ever-strengthening flooding tide and as the gun went, were dead on cue for a text book start. Former top class dinghy sailor Ian Southworth, sailingChilli Chaser, had a reasonable start sixth off the line but by the windward mark he had taken control. Southworth commented: “After taking the lead at the weather mark we were able to build on what we had and hold the lead to the finish. I’d say thatBlack Sheepis our main rival within the fleet but because Nigel Smith and I have sailed a lot together and the boat’s set up well, we’re feeling fairly positive right now.”

Although Southworth is starting to build up a consistent string of results which include first, second and third placings, there are several other 707 teams in addition toBlack Sheepthat deserve to be monitored including local Warsash Sailing Club member Jon Powell sailingBetty, who won yesterday’s light winds race and finished third today. The first day’s winnerCharlie Fish, helmed by Iain May, is another one to watch, in addition to last year’s 707 class winners sailingDoh!

In the 22-strong Laser SB3 class Jonty Sherwill tookYachting Worldto her first win of the week, beating the super-fastStress Bunnyteam helmed by former J/24 sailor Colin Simonds by over three minutes. A relieved Matthew Sheahan, middleman onboardYachting World, talked about today’s win: “We won at last which has made up for the previous two dreadful days where we didn’t actually score a result. Despite crossing the line third on Saturday we signed off too late. And yesterday, we just missed the time limit. Today was much better, excellent racing in a good breeze. We started right out on the pin end of the line, had a good beat to Peel Bank and then had a downwind blast right over to the River Hamble doing 16 knots across the Solent.” SB3s might lose out to the 1720s upwind but their ability to plane downwind makes for extremely exciting sailing. Sheahan, rubbing hands polished by much rope handling, ruefully conceded that crewing such craft competitively requires a lot of energy.

Yachting World’s technical editor also commented that it was nice to get back to Cowes a bit earlier in the day, an observation no doubt reflected by many others. Tomorrow they should get back just that bit earlier again, unless they don’t make it at all, as the forecast promises decent wind out of the south-east that just might perform a dying swan impression as the day wears on. Meantime we face the possibility of a shower tonight from building low cloud but as the heat of the day drops away no-one appears to be complaining.

Results as of 1800

Class 0 IRC
1Aera (N. Lykiardopulo)
2Island Fling (Mr Paul Winkelman)
3Flirt (R Matthews & J Alvarez)

Class 1 IRC
1Desperado (Richard Loftos)
2McFly (Tony Mack)
3Fever (Klaus Diederichs & Grant Gordon)

Class 2 IRC
1Holmatro (J J Meijer)
2Yes! Murphy & Nye (Adam Gosling)
3Centurion / Ray Marine (Jimmy Paliun)

Prima 38
1Firestorm (Jon Perry)
2Longbow (S Sgt Stuart Smith MBE)
3White Knuckles (Mervyn Hughes)

Class 3 IRC
1Salvo (Mr and Mrs Peter Morton)
2Royal Blue Addict (Ian Handley, Jennie Austin, & Andrew Fitton)
3Partnership Challenge (St James’s Place)

Beneteau 40.7
1Royal Blue Addict (Ian Handley, Jennie Austin, & Andrew Fitton)
2Partnership Challenge (St James’s Place)
3First Challenger (Matt Jess)

Class 4 IRC
1Passion (Paul Jones & Nick Jones)
2Flair IV (Jim MacGregor)
3Deliverance (Russell Hodgson)

HOD 35
1Capitali$M (Tim Harrington)
2Zarafa (Major Peter Scholfield)
3Owl (Peter Bruce)

Class 5 IRC
1Winsome (Harry J Heijst)
2Great Scot II (Eurof Phillips & Barbara Mackay)
3Sleeper (Jonty Layfield)

Class 6 IRC
1Software Mistress (Ian Maclean)
2Prime Cut (Peter Parker)
3Sod – Spirit Of Defiance (Mark Jephcott)

Class 7 IRC
1Mikado (Michael Briggs)
2White Mischief (Andy Hind)
3Disko Trooper (Rob Garlick, Will Hamilton & Jules Hall)

Class 8 ISC
1Sky Hunter (Peter Bainbridge)
2Antidote (Colin Bishop)
3Great Escape Of Southampton (Philip Munday)

Class 9 ISC
1Merganser (Catherine Munro Kerr)
2Drakes Drum (Terry Rowe)
3Witchcraft (David McDonald)

1Chernikeeff 2 (Peter R Harrison)
2Volvo For Life Team Tonic (Nick Hewson)
3Bear Of Britain (Kit Hobday and Tim Louis)

Euro Prix 45
1Victric (Tony De Mulder)
1Timberland Euro Prix (Edward Leask)
3Wolf (Glynn Williams)

1Jazolo (Robert Shaw)
2Intercea Proactive Hosting (Intercea Proactive Hosting)
3Jahmali (Mike & Sarah Wallis)

1Neilson Redeye (Neilson Active Holidays)
2Big Wednesday (Roger Mavity)
3Vampire (David Moore)

Contessa 32
1Drumbeat (Eldred Himsworth)
2Fresh Herring (J Corden & A Merryweather)
3Blanco (Ray Rouse, Terry Vanner & Dave Richards)

Mumm 30
1Pogo Bogo (David Knight)
2Monkey Business (David Wilkinson & Ian Poynton)
3E1 Business / Mumbo Jumbo (Geof Gibbons)

Sigma 33
1Honey Of Bosham (Joanna Brigg)
2Workout (Jeff Worboys)
3Bounce Back (Martin Thompson)

Sigma 38
1Big Deal (Jacco De Zeeuw & Arjen De Zeeuw)
2Alliance (John Brantley)
3Red Macaw (John & Jackie Edwards)

Sunsail 37
1Sunsail 58 (KPMG)
2Sunsail 65 (BDO Stoy Hayward)
3Sunsail 80 (Polypipe plc)

Sunsail 36
1Sunsail 11 (Team Imperial College)
2Sunsail 13 (Team Endeavour)
3Sunsail 19 (Team Shamrock)

1Crikey V! (Nigel Theadom)
2Pittolo Bill (Ian Smyth)
3Yellow Rose (Marten Jan Ringers)

1Proctor Winning Masts (Robin Kenyon)
2Boats.Com (Ian Atkins)
3Twister (Saunders & Smith)

1Dionysus (Bruce Huber)
2Loup Garou Viii (Jamie Clark & Brian Saffery-Cooper)
3Dauntless (M B Carver & G A Peckham)

Hunter 707
1Chilli Chaser (Ian Southworth & Nigel Smith)
2Black Sheep (James Ross, Fisher & Phillips)
3Betty (Jon Powell)

International Dragon
1Aimee (Julia Bailey)
2Ecstatic (Eric Williams)
3Saphire (Neil Payne)

International Etchells
1007 (Mike Sparks)
2Fuzzy Duck IV (Woodman, Proudlove & Ford)
3El Toro (Messers Hayden, Watson & Williamson)

International Flying Fifteen
1Affore The Week (Nick & Estelle Clarke)
2Friendly Fire (Barry Rolfe)
3Dusty IV (Tony Bedingfield & Paul Wills)

Laser SB3
1Yachting World (Matthew Sheahan)
2Stress Bunny (Colin Simonds)
3Henri Lloyd (David Ellis)

National Sonata
1Sequoia (Philip Williams)
2Missred (Toby Gorman)
3Pizzicato (Tom White)

National Squib
1Firecracker Too (Andrew Porteous)
2Artful Dodger (Nick Emery)
3Firestreak (Miss Sarah Everitt)

National Swallow
1Darter (Tony Glover)
2Migrant (Richard & Carol Thompson and Charles Fisher)
3Serenade (Mr & Mrs Hugh Kemlo)

1Quail (Edmund Peel & James Wilson)
2Lady Laetitia (William F Clegg, William H Clegg & Erik Cole)
3Capella II (Dr J Cuddigan & Mr H Cuddigan)

1Fat Face (Paul Rudling)
2Take Two (Jonathan Calascione)
3Kalamity (Richard Sullivan)

Seaview Mermaid
1Sirena (Noel Dobbs, Richard Dobbs & Alexander Dobbs)
2Cynthia (John Sandiford-Haigh)
3Jade (Will Caws & John Betchley)

Solent Sunbeam
1Polly (Jonathan Money)
2Fleury (John & Valerie Davis)
3Query (Tim Hill)

1Puff Pirate (D Bates & P Bowen)
2Scintillate (R A H Perkins)
3Dolphin (Andy Cassell)

1Skandia Contribution (John Roberson & Andrew Thorpe)
2Abstension II (Kevin Downer)
3Redshift (Edward Fishwick)

Bull 7000
1Rampage (Russ Fairman)
2Bimbull (Ron Fry)
3Cow’S Rig (David Neate)

1Unity (J R Lear & S Spraggs)
2Woozle (Nigel Sefton-Smith & D Price)
3Ripple (Evans Dolan & Stone)

X One Design
1Palassie (Peter Baines)
2Lass (Simon Russell, Darren Maple & Leanne Akhurst)
3Lucrezia (Adrian (Ado) Jardine)