Yachting World Editorial Assistant Christina Sampson and Picture Editor Vanda Woolsey were aboard Swan 55 Valhalla for a classic day's racing in Class 3 at Cowes Week
Yachting World Editorial Assistant Christina Sampson and Picture Editor Vanda Woolsey were aboard Swan 55 Valhalla for a classic day’s racing in Class 3 at Cowes Week.
The wind freshened just enough to give a good start but, like many of the other classes out on the water today, most were too eager and over the line, bringing the entire fleet back for a general recall. On the restart we left sistership Swan Galliana back in the fleet as Valhalla cruised ahead.
Vanda and I positioned ourselves at the stern in charge of the mizzen. With 22 aboard even at 55ft she was a little overcrowded giving helmsman Jeremy Pocock the added difficulty of not being able to see the bow most of the time.
As we neared the second mark, spinnakers flying, several boats boxed us in from either side, but stewardess Ruth Verrier Jones used her team racing skills, shouting to those around that they had no rights for water. A disgruntled skipper on our port side muttered something about a protest and we cleared ahead of him to get a good rounding.
Back up the second beat and everyone was now used to their slot on the rail, all pleased that we were ahead of Galliana, the rest of the race was a tactical one to make sure it stayed that way and everyone worked hard despite the occasional requests for refreshments.
As the wind increased to 16kts, the sight of Galliana gaining ground on us gave crewmember Danny Brookes his newly appointed role as leader. He continued to keep everyone involved and made sure the spinnaker was trimmed to perfection.
The final beat back up to Ryde saw Galliana stick to the Portsmouth side staying out of the stronger currents in the middle of the Solent. Despite a tactical move, they never quite gained and on the final run back to the finish the wind eased as we gybed our way down to cross the finish a good five minutes ahead. Victory at least against Galliana even if not top of the class!