A day of light winds dominate Friday at Cowes week.
Racing got underway on time with the Laser SB3s living up to their reputation of being the hardest charging of all the fleets with a general recall followed by a black flag start. Crowds of spectators lined the canon hustings of the Royal Yacht Squadron to view the amazing sight of the SB3s second start that got away on a reaching leg down to the eastern Solent. A blanket of asymmetric spinnakers flopped across the mouth of the Medina River with Glenn Bourke onboard Musto wriggling through the moored dayboats parked on Cowes Roads to emerge as the front-runner. Bourke sailed a blinding race on this, the last day of the series for the SB3s and held off the fast-charging Price Waterhouse Coopers of Jono Shelley and the triple race winner Russell Peters on Selden Seen to win by some 29 seconds. After discard has been applied, Russell Peters takes the best of five race series from Jono Shelley with Bourke sneaking into third spot. It’s been a brilliant week of sailing for the SB3s who have handsomely repaid their fleet sponsor Volkswagen and provided acres of newspaper and newsreel coverage for the world’s media as well as being one of the talking points of Skandia Cowes Week.
Across the fleets there were some new names at the top of the race results as the light conditions favoured the lighter displacement boats in the IRC divisions and mixed up the results in the one designs. Class Zero IRC got away in just 8 knots of breeze to the eastern Solent under huge asymmetric and code zero kites with the Volvo 70 ABN Amro One streaking into its customary massive lead by the first mark. However, today was not to be theirs as the rest of the fleet took advantage of this ocean thoroughbred’s light air misgivings and relegated her to last place on corrected time. Colm Barrington’s Magic Glove secured her first win of the regatta by the huge margin of 6 minutes 53 seconds on corrected time from the late Kit Hobday’s Farr 52 Bear of Britain with the TP52 Panthera of Benny Kelly making up the podium in third. Barrington’s beautiful Ker 50 was the class act of today displaying crew work honed through a very successful first season and some excellent light-air boatspeed that pulled Magic Glove through the patchy breezes of the eastern Solent.
Class 3 IRC also saw a new name at the top with the X35 Yellow Rose of Marten Jan Ringers from the Netherlands scoring the race win from overall leader Peter Newlands on Anticipation. Newlands extends his lead in the overall standings going into the last day of racing and has been the stand-out performer in the fleet from a whole host of Beneteau First 40.7s. In Class 2 IRC the Belgian entry of Ship Shop Aquaholic, a Beneteau 34.7 made all the running as she scored a healthy 2 minute 52 second corrected time win over Chris and Hannah Neve’s No Doubt to end a terrific run of five straight wins by Harry Evans’ chartered Alvine Jacobite that could only manage third today. Class 7 IRC saw a return to form of the 1904 built Clyde 30 Mikado that used her long waterline length to great effect to score a 5 minute 41 second corrected time race win over the previously unstoppable quarter-tonner Espada Wanchai Belle of Jamie McWilliam. Class 8 ISC saw the Beneteau Oceanis 311 Tickety Boo score a popular race win over Richard Scarff’s Cloudy Bay whilst in Class 2 IRC it was the turn of Marinerscove.ie to return to Monday’s winning form as she scored an impressive 6 minute 59 seconds race victory.