The first Ladies Day, A record attempt and delayed racing…

With Skandia Cowes Week celebrating its first ever Ladies Day on this, the sixth day of the 180th anniversary of the regatta, there was some disappointment for eleven of the inshore White Group dayboats as Race Officer Ian Lallow decided that the gusty force 5-6 north-north westerly winds were just too tough to send the fleets out. The Medina River was proving tough to navigate as the wind funnelled down in the early morning across the Solent, so a decision was taken to postpone racing for a little over an hour and a half as event meteorologist Chris Tibbs predicted a slight abatement in the wind strength from midday onwards. Almost bang on cue, the clouds cleared and the wind dropped to a manageable 15-18 knots that provided superb sunshine and spray sailing for the whole of the offshore Black Group and the six remaining classes of the White Group.

The headline grabbing story however came as the super-maxi ICAP Maximus eschewed the chance of racing for the coveted New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup in Class 0 today and elected to attempt the round the Island race record that they narrowly missed yesterday. Read our interview with Maximus? crew here 

Racing begins with the SB3s
Aside from this show-stopping feat it was a terrific day of racing that kicked started just after 13:00 with a blanket start on the inshore White Group line by the Laser SB3’s who streaked away, two sail reaching down to the eastern Solent. A classic battle unfurled at the top of the fleet after the first mark with Russell Peters on Selden Seen and Glenn Bourke on Musto enjoying a titanic struggle all the way around a 12.31 nautical mile course that proved to be a test of boatspeed, boat handling and nerve. The two leaders fought tack by tack and gybe by gybe around the course with Peters shading the final victory by a margin of just 10 seconds. Geoff Carveth led the rest of the fleet home nearly a minute and a half adrift of the leaders to take a marvellous third place but the story of the day was just how well the leading lights of the SB3 fleet coped with the tricky conditions. One minor aside however is the fact that several of the top boats’ results are subject to protest so the outcome of the jury’s decisions will be keenly anticipated tonight.

International Design Class
Fittingly for Ladies Day, there appeared to be a notable win in the International Dragon class for Gavia Wilkinson-Cox sailing Jerboa who emerged from a gaggle of three boats who all finished within just 16 seconds of each other right at the death. However a mix-up at the finish line by Jerboa meant that they were forced to take a penalty that dropped them to third so Len Jones sailing Rumours was the big beneficiary taking first place, seven seconds ahead of Chris Brittain’s Caramba with the luckless Jerboa in third. In the International Etchells fleet it was again the turn of Graham Bailey sailing Arbitrator to collect the winning gun despite a very conservative start to extend out his Skandia Cowes week record to five wins and a second place. Bailey now stands clear at the top of the White Group in the overall standings and his 2 minute 5 second victory today takes him another step closer to claiming the title and strapping on the prize of a Corum watch courtesy of the sponsors – a fantastic performance. Bailey was modest about his performance saying, “sometimes your name’s just on the trophy and this week it feels like everything is going so well. We were first around the first mark today and just hung on?it’s a nice feeling but I’m still not convinced I’m going to win overall!”