Despite a delayed start, a stiff south-westerly breeze made the first races of Skandia Cowes Week an exciting challenge for the fleets

Variable winds delayed the start of the first day’s racing at Skandia Cowes Week, leaving a melée of yachts jostling for space in the crowded waters off Cowes. As the weather settled into a stiff south-westerly, racing kicked off at 1050 with IRC Class 0 heading west down the Solent to round Berthon buoy off Lymington. The multihull fleet took the first start from the Committee vessel start line, heading east to the DCMS Ltd mark adjacent to Spit Sand fort.

Making the most of the breeze in the western Solent was the Laser SB3 fleet, at the beginning of a challenging course taking stretching from the Elephant mark opposite Beaulieu Spit to a point on the eastern edge of Southampton Water. Enjoying a three-sail broad reach as they headed north in a welter of spray, the occasional broach did little to dampen the spirits of the already damp crews.

The SB3s are the first fleet expected home, with the estimated finishing time for the first boat set at 1329. A few technical problems such as the failure of the course texting service have done little to affect the crews’ morale, with superb wind making this a promising start to Skandia Cowes Week 2005.