The penultimate day of the Vice Admiral's Cup dogged by light airs. More wind expected today 4/6/07

The second day of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club’s Vice Admiral’s Cup was dogged by light airs. Fortunately for the Quarter Tonners (Class 4), Race Officer Robin Oakley and his team were on excellent form and did an impressive job of tracking what little breeze there was up on the Lee On The Solent shore to run three great short but challenging races. Sadly for Bob Milner, Race Officer for Class 0 and Class 1, the deep draft of many of the boats in this group made it impossible for him to take advantage of this narrow band of wind near the mainland shore and after several hours delay the big boat racing had to be cancelled for the day.

Paul Kelsey’s Runaway Bus, helmed by Peter Williams seemed to revel in the light airs of race four and five and, despite some very stiff competition from Chris Frost and Kevin George’s Tom Bombadil, won both races by the narrowest of margines.

Race 4 was extremely light with a tricky 5-7 knots from the 145 degrees. From the off it was as much about spotting where the stronger patches of wind were than anything else and a momentary loss of concentration could spell disaster. Ultimately it was Tony Dodd’s legendary Purple Haze team that took third place being Runaway Bus and Tom Bombadil with Louise Morton and the Super Q girls in fourth.

By the start of race five the wind had increased a little but was still extremely fickle. Runaway Bus got the best of the start but Tom Bombadil was hard on her heels and the two boats battled the entire way round the course. On corrected time it was Bus who took the laurels by just five seconds. The battle for third was another duel between Super Q and Purple Haze but this time the girls on Super Q had the upper hand and Haze had to be content with fourth.

As race five came to a close the south-easterly breeze was dying and Robin Oakley made a wise decision to move the race course north and into the new sea breeze filling in from the western Solent. After a short delay the course was set and race six was started in a building 10 knots from 245 degrees. Tom Bombadil looked to have thrown the race away in the opening moments as they were pushed out at the leeward end and forced to spin around for a second go. As the fleet went off to the left Tom Bombadil took the only alternative and headed off to the right-hand corner across their transoms.

As the fleet approached the weather mark it became clear that Bombadil’s move had payed off and they were back in contention. Purple Haze led the fleet round the first mark and away down the run but Runaway Bus was on her transom and slowly crawled through to leeward. At the gybe Haze, whose crew work is normally exemplary, collapsed the kite momentarily which was enough to allow Bus through.

On the run Bombadil had made up yet more ground and they rounded just 2 feet from Bus’s transom. On the second beat they went into overdrive and by the final weather mark they had snatched the lead, going on to win the race by just nine seconds. In the melee behind them Purple Haze just held off Super Q by ten seconds with Runaway Bus in fourth.

In the overall standings for the Quarter Tonners (Class 4) Tom Bombadil now leads on 9 points. Runaway Bus has moved up into second with 11 points, Purple Haze is fourth on 17 points and Super Q is just one point beind her on 18. With two more races to go tomorrow we’re all set for a great Quarter Ton final showdown.

For Quarter Ton newbie Paul Kelsey and the Runaway Bus crew it was a particularly rewarding day.

With no racing yesterday the Class 0 and Class 1 overall results remain unchanged with Colm Barrington’s Flash Glove leading Benny Kelly’s Panthera and Charles Dunstone’s Red in Class 0, and Jerry Otter’s Werewolf leading Agne Nilssson’s Fortis Excel and Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte Four in Class 1.

Going into the final day today Glynn William’s WISC leads Grant Gordon and Klaus Diederich’s Fever by just one point.

Click here for results.