A report on the Black Groups: Classes 0 to 3

The Black Groups: Classes 0 to 3
The offshore Black Groups were split today with the glamour classes of IRC Zero to IRC 3 starting off a committee vessel line anchored south of Mother Bank in the eastern Solent. Class Zero got away after a general recall at 2pm to enjoy a 27.19 nautical mile course that encompassed the No Man’s Land Fort to the east before a long beat back into the western Solent. Mike Sanderson’s Volvo 70 ABN Amro One proved once again what a potent weapon she is, even on what this round the world thoroughbred would consider a short course, as she dominated the fleet to lift the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup ahead of the TP52 Panthera of Benny Kelly and Colm Barrington’s Ker 50 Magic Glove. ABN’s on the water performance and superb PR by her skipper Mike ‘Moose’ Sanderson off the water have proven to be a welcome addition to Skandia Cowes Week 2006. She now stands with a record of five wins and a second place in the regatta and is pushing hard for overall Black Group honours – how the crew must be ruing that navigational error on Monday that cost a guaranteed first place!

Starting off the Squadron line, Class 3 IRC were led away by Peter Newlands Beneteau 40.7 Anticipation who had a fabulous afternoon of racing to bring the fleet home both on the water and on corrected time. Class 3 IRC is dominated by the 40.7’s who are looking to have their own class start in 2007 and today the top four were all from the same production line. Newlands won by a convincing 3 minutes 4 seconds from Tim Spalding’s Amey Love Shack with Gareth Williams completing the podium places in third aboard Beechwood Homes some 1 minute 47 seconds adrift.