Class Zero sent round the island for Britannia Cup and record attempts 2/8/06

Perfect conditions have allowed race officers here at Cowes Week to send the big boats in Class Zero round the island this morning for the Britannia Cup. A good west-north-westerly breeze blowing down the Solent means that the big boats will enjoy a blast out to towards Ryde before heading off on an exciting three-sail reach down towards Bembridge Ledge. This means that if the conditions hold out there could be some serious record-breaking challenges.

Mike Sanderson and his Team ABN AMRO One crew were looking good with their big asymmetric spinnaker ready to go with half a minute before the 1030 start but interestingly they seemed to lose power with just a few seconds to go and ended up carrying out possibly the worst start of the fleet.

Had there been a prize for the best start of the fleet it would have gone to Colm Barrington and team aboard the Ker 50Magic Glove, in clear air they pulled out infront but it didn’t take long for the Irish team to be overhauled by Charles St Clair Brown’sIcap Maximus. This maxiyacht took initial control of the race but Sanderson and team aboard the super-fast VO7O quickly sorted out their initial speed problems and was seen accelerating through the fleet, heading rapidly towards the east of the island.

Another one to watch today in the perfect record-breaking conditions is Jo Richards’ one-off designFull Pelt. Richards and team aboard this incredibly fast ‘big dinghy’ is so badly rated that despite often finishing ahead of his fleet is rarely placed. Yesterday however, was an exception finishing second overall toABN AMRO One.

The record to beat today on the 50nm course is (Monohull Rule 5c) 4h, 8m, 55s. This was set by Mike Slade’s 92ftLeopardsailing an average of 12.05kts on 1 June 2001. The outright record of 2h, 33m, 55s is currently held by Steve Fossett aboard the 125ft flyerPlayStationdoing an average 19.53kts in November 2001.