A light air start for the JOG fleet as they set off for the 43rd JOG Cowes-Deauville race last Friday

On what was to be the hottest day of 2005 so far, the 43rd JOG Cowes-Deauville race got away at 1900 hrs off the Royal London Yacht Club start line last Friday.

Class 5 starters were first away, although a slight confusion with flags before the preparatory signal, nearly saw the fleet split in two opposite directions (west towards the Needles, and east towards the Forts). The wind in the Solent was a light southerly veering to the south-west, so it was light kites to the Forts.

The wind off Norris being its usual fickle self, and places changed like bars on a fruit machine. Off Ryde there was more pressure, and the asymmetric boats had the edge. At the Forts the wind died, and the fleet could be seen holding various course angles and tacks, as they chased zephyrs of wind, and picked their way through wind holes. This task made much harder as night fell. Those yachts that could break away from the ‘car park’ off Bembridge and Sandown Bay helped their cause a great deal in getting on the podium.

The wind across the Channel behaved as forecasted, veering from south to south-west, giving a pleasant reach in 9-15kts of breeze. By dawn the wind had veered further, and a quick kite run in to the Deauville finish.

Most of the fleet completed the 100-mile course in 15-18 hours, and an afternooon of beers in the Deauville Yacht Club in warm sunshine. ‘Independent Bear’ in Class 3 was the first to cross the line on Saturday at 1104, but it was Ed Holton’s J/110 ‘Shades of Blue’ that won Class 3 on corrected time by a significant margin.

In the hotly contested Class 4 fleet Steve Blake’s X-332, ‘X-Ploiter’ led the fleet over the finish at 1214, but was bumped to third on corrected. It was the MG335 ‘Amigos’ (Keith Bridges) that took the class win, and was the fastest boat of the fleet on corrected to take the Coupe de Normandie trophy for best JOG yacht.

Overall Results

Class 3


2. JAHMALI Mike and Sarah Walliss

3. OLD MOTHER GUN Humphrys One-Off Phil Farrands

Class 4

1. AMIGOS Keith Bridges

2. XARA Jonathan Rolls

3. X-PLOITER Steve Blake

Class 5

1. ALCHEMIST Mark Wynter

2. EXEAT Guy McBride

3. AQUILA Tony Short