A spirited final day's racing ahead

The curtain came down on the 181st Skandia Cowes Week this afternoon with the wind, sun and tides combining to provide a spirited final day’s racing ahead of the official prize-giving this evening.

A familiar sight of flags flapping lifelessly on Cowes Parade greeted the fleet first thing this morning but by midday, the sea breeze had kicked in, as predicted by weather expert Chris Tibbs.

Spectators treated to stunning spinnaker finish

Racing in the Laser SB3 class started shortly afterwards with course setters intent on providing spectators on The Green with a stunning spinnaker finish in as many classes as possible.

After the firework display on Friday night, heralded as one of the most spectacular in the event’s history, many competitors in the Black Group hung up their deckshoes and returned home while most of the White Group continued to be well supported.

The crunch race in Class 3 IRC, which has been one of the most fascinating skirmishes of the week, finished with a win for Kees Khan’s Dutch Grand Soleil 43 Roark, despite an individual recall.

There was not much more he could have done but on count back, still lost out by one point overall to rival Grand Soleil Holmatro which did not compete today. Ed Leask’s Swan 42 Uxorious II finished third overall after posting a disappointing tenth.

Laser SB3 fleet first to go

With nine knots of wind coming from the south, a small Laser SB3 fleet were sent east from the Royal Yacht Squadron line on a shortened 15nm course.

As ever, a close contest ensued though today there was not a Musto or a Doollalli in sight as Charlie Stobart-Hook’s Boo and Jeremy Thorp’s Never Say Never who battled for honours with Boo winning out by a three minute margin and Emma Henderson-Williams in third place in Striptease.

The TP52s were out in force, flexing their muscles before the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, which has been delayed until Monday due to stormy weather in the Celtic Sea.

Too much ‘jubilating’ on Flash Glove

After a magnificent start with the fleet on a running start into the island shore Colm Barrington’s Flash Glove rounded the final mark the wrong way ‘due to too much jubilating’ (his words!)and retired.

The Irish boat emerged as overall winner in Class 1 IRC after Loki, Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel Pugh 60 that has scored more line honours wins than any other boat in the class, chose not to compete.

“It has been a lovely week in terms of the sunshine but the wind was a little disappointing,” said Barrington.

“You never feel like you’ve really done Cowes Week unless you have seen The Needles and Nab Tower and we saw neither of those but we had a good week despite that.”

Island Fling, Paul Winkelman’s TP52, posted her first win of the week to take the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s Coronation Challenge Bowl while Sir Peter Ogden’s Swan 601 Spirit of Jethou came in third, to finish sixth overall after another practised performance.

Glynn Williams had done more than enough in Class 2 IRC to earn the crown in fact, the WISC skipper had achieved his runaway win by the middle of the week but surprisingly today he finished second, to the Dutch boat Bolidt.

The margin of defeat today was two and half minutes but his margin of victory overall was a whopping 30 points.

Alorra lorra love for Amey Love Shack

Amey Love Shack was beaten by Paul McNamara Beneteau First 40.7 Incognito but had put in such blistering performances all week that Tim Spalding and Gareth Lloyd-Jones were in no danger of losing out overall and finished the week as emphatic winners.

The same goes for Harry Evans in Alvine Jacobite in Class 5 IRC and Adam Gosling’s Earls Court Boat Showin Class 7 IRC who both dominated their classes from the outset last Saturday.

The Clyde 30 Mikado, whose young crew have been racing in blazers all week, edged past Robert Leggett’s Monkey Business in Class 8 IRC by just 20 seconds to post a second overall with class honours going to Howard Sellers’ quarter-tonner Bullett.

There were a handful of skippers who controlled their fleets from the first flag and to a man, and woman, they proved indomitable with Graham Bailey of Arbitrator the most impressive of them all.

His seventh Etchells race today produced his fifth victory to give him a single figures total and joint first place in the White Group, shared with Kevin Downer’s Tripp 26 Abstention.

Mark Greenaway’s La Licorne was the top 1720 and Dauntless, campaigned by Giles Peckham, Milo Carver and Richard Romer-Lee swept to overall victory in the Daring class despite coming fourth today.

The Hunter 707 class was decided by the fourth day of racing when The Ant Hill Mob proved invincible and likewise Men Behaving Badly sailed consistently well to post a resounding win in the Flying 15s.

Overall winner in the Sunsail 37 fleet, which competed for the final time on Thursday was Deloitte’s who beat Red Funnel 1 by just four points after closely-fought contest with third-placed Pall Europe well behind on points.

Harry Roome’s Skua had mixed results all week but won the Swallow class while Simon Russell’s Swallow won the X One-Designs despite posting just one podium place.


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Photos: onEdition