The first day's racing is over and here are the results so far…
Volvo 70 ABN AMRO One streaked around the Solent at breathtaking speeds held the thousands of shoreside spectators in awe at the sheer power of these super charged yachts as she cruised to line honours in IRC Class Zero clear ahead of the rest of the fleet by just under an hour!
The main action and talking point of the morning starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron inshore line however was the almost inevitable general recall of the 85-strong Laser SB3 fleet who were all pushing hard for the front row of the grid. With some twenty or more boats clearly over the line early, Principal Race Officer Malcolm McKeag representing the first Triumvirate of the Royal Thames, Royal London and Royal Southampton yacht clubs had no choice but to Black Flag the fleet for the second start. Luckily the eager helms in this, the biggest class at Skandia Cowes Week, played fair and the fleet got underway to the west for a 20 mile course that brought them back to the Central Solent around the tricky tidal waters of the Bramble Bank and Hill Head Shore.
At the head of the fleet an old rivalry was ignited with ex-Olympian Russell Peters and Volvo Race CEO Glenn Bourke enjoying a hard fought tussle for the lead with Peters just edging ahead at the end of the race to snatch an early advantage by just 51 seconds. This rivalry promises to be one of the talking points of the regatta and will be a fascinating unfolding drama as the rest of the fleet look to get up to the lead boats impressive standard. Jono Shelley was third today on Price Waterhouse Coopers over five minutes astern of Peters and Bourke highlighting just how tough it will be to catch the leaders.
The rest of the inshore White Group fleets got away with just individual recalls whilst the offshore Black Group showed some serious ring rust with few boats judging the start line to perfection. The competitive Class Zero got away cleanly with the late Kit Hobday’s Bear of Britain leading away at the Alpha buoy before ABN Amro One released the hounds and scorched away from the fleet. The TP52’s of Charles Dunstone’s Red and Benny Kelly’s Panthera jostled for position up the first beat out towards the Needles whilst Richard Loftus’s Hotel California and the new Danebury of Sebastian Piech enjoyed a private battle of their own. However the big winner was ABN AMRO One with its all-star crew of Volvo Race winners who totally outshone the rest of the fleet and provided some picture-perfect manoeuvres around the 38.3 nautical mile course to win the first major piece of silverware of Skandia Cowes Week 2006 in the Queen’s Cup.
One of the most competitive fleets at Skandia Cowes Week 2006 is the
International Etchells fleet who are warming up for their class World Championships in Cowes in 2007. This year the regatta has attracted a quality field of 24 boats that saw Isle of Wight boat builder Nigel Harley shade a very tight race by just 16 seconds in Mac a Do ahead of Andrew Cooper’s hard driving
China White. Graham and Stephen Bailey’s Arbitrator grabbed third spot just
over 30 seconds behind as the top five filtered across the line within just one minute of the leader! We can expect to see fireworks in this fleet as the week progresses and for sure, consistency will be the key to winning the regatta overall.
One boat that has traditionally finished near the top of the White Group overall standings is the Flying Fifteen of Rupert and John Mander, Men Behaving Badly who today suffered a rare defeat at the hands of Jo Mayes in Last Fling. The Fifteens have attracted some serious competition this year with a host of new boats competing for the top spot so the Mander’s know that they’re in for a tough battle to defend the crown that they’ve won for the last two years. Another familiar face appeared at the head of the J/80 fleet as Liz Savage guided Savage Sailing cleanly away from the start line amidst the Sportsboat fleet and recorded a healthy 3 minutes 12 second victory over Robert and Jonathan Fox aboard Jevan. In the Redwings it was the familiar story of James Wilson bringing Quail across the finish line to score his first bullet of the regatta with a healthy 38 second victory over Nicholas Robertson’s Musicus despite having running backstay problems throughout the race.
The ever competitive Victory fleet were the last away from the Squadron line just before 12.30pm and once again Jeremy Lear’s Zinnia showed a very clean pair of heels with Solent legend John Tremlett on the helm to score a 2 minute 45 second victory over Roddy Bowerman’s Steadfast. Meanwhile in the Dragon fleet, David Palmer brought Princess Jalina home some 3 minutes 32 seconds ahead of this very tough fleet. Ex-Etchells sailor Milo Carver scored a handy win in the Daring fleet whilst Nick Emery won a very hard fought race in the 33-strong National Squib fleet and looks good to repeat his 2003 regatta win in the class. The National Swallows had four boats scored as OCS but it was Neville Upton who scored the victory today by over 2 minutes and is looking good to avenge his second place of last year aboard Goosander.
The IRC fleets enjoyed some tactical racing in the western and central Solent with Class 1 IRC notching up a five hour plus race over 33 miles that saw Professor John Shepherd’s Ker 46 Fair Do’s VII score a big corrected time win over Glyn Williams’s Swan 45 Wisc. Olympic 470 silver medallist Nick Rogers guided the Farr 45 Team Volvo into third place in this 17-strong fleet. Harry Heijst meanwhile brought the beautiful Sparkman & Stephens designed Winsome across the line to record a 2 minute 42 second corrected time victory over David Clementi’s Hotwatch II in Class 5 IRC whilst the oldest boat in the regatta at 101 years old, the Clyde 30 Mikado used her enormous waterline length to good advantage to win Class 7 IRC. Simon Osgood led from start to finish in Class 9 ISC aboard his Folkboat So! and will be tough to beat this week as Mike Tattersall’s Beneteau 31.7 Electra narrowly edged a 12 second corrected time victory in Class 6 IRC from the MG346 Dean & Dyball Enigma of Ian Braham. In Class 2 IRC the hotly anticipated Corby 37 of Adam Gosling was soundly humbled by the class production yachtsFrancois Goubau’s Beneteau First 47.7 Moana secured first place, the J/133 of Stewart Hawthorn Jump came second.
In the 29-strong Sunsail 37 fleet, which truly shows the spirit of sailing for all, the Fort Vale Engineering team from Portsmouth overturned an early deficit to score a big 2 minute 37 second victory ahead of the Bank of Scotland team whilst in the huge XOD fleet (67 entries) Solent ace Peter Baines brought Caprice home just under three minutes ahead of a very competitive fleet. It was business as usual in the Contessa 32’s with Ray Rouse guiding the evergreen Blanco to victory whilst at the other end of the speed scale Ben Goodland ripped around the multihulls 30 nautical mile course aboard Team Eberspacher to score a 47 second victory over Grant Kelly’s Velox.