With only a few races left to run, we look at the likely trophy winners at Skandia Cowes Week

Traditionally the yachts competing at Cowes are divided into the Black and White fleets, but at first glance the scoring is a mystery – why should a boat that has won all every race in their class have a better overall result than another with the same number of wins?

Julian Hocken, Media Relations officer at Skandia Cowes Week, explained: “The boats are split into two groups, Black and White. The White Group contains all the dayboats, while the Black Group is formed of the IRC fleets and cruiser-racers – basically anything with a cabin. The problem is that a boat which has won every race in a class of 10 isn’t equal to one that has had to beat 70 other boats to get their win, so we use a weighting system to make it fairer.”

Quoted in the sailing instructions, the weighting system is fairly simple. There are eight possible races each Cowes Week, and the best six results are added together to give an overall score for each boat. A weighting is then added, calculated as 1 – (0.01 x the number of entries to the class on the Friday preceding the regatta). Hence a boat from a fleet of 10 will have 0.9 added to their score, while a boat from a fleet of 50 will only have 0.5 added.

This weighting is often the deciding factor as to who wins the Group trophies, and this year is no exception. At the end of yesterday’s racing Professor John Shepherd’s IRC Class 1 rated Ker 46Fair Do’s VIIand Mike Ewart-Smith and Ben Richards’ J/109Zeldawere heading the Black Group with only 0.01 between them, so the pressure is on forFair Do’sto gain another win in today’s race to retain her position. The White Group is more settled with 1.16 points between Graham and Stephen Bailey’s EtchellsArbitratorand Rupert and John Mander’s Flying FifteenMen Behaving Badly, with the weighting guaranteeing the Bailey family the trophy regardless of today’s result.

In the IRM fleet, the Delta Trophy is in the bag for Benny Kelly’s TP52Pantheraeven if runners-upBear of Britaintake today’s race, while Moose Sanderson was the week’s hero at last night’s Royal Yacht Squadron prizegiving after taking the IRC Class Zero hat-trick in the VO70ABN Amro One- Britannia Cup, Queen’s Cup and New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup.