A wrap up of all the racing in the Solent.

After a frustrating four hour wait for wind, all but six classes at Skandia Cowes Week had their racing abandoned today as light airs and shimmering seas proved ill-suited to sailing though perfect for tonight’s spectacular firework display.

The decision to abandon was taken by race officials of Royal Southern Yacht Club and Island Sailing Club when the sea breeze, forecast to fill in from the south-west, arrived too late for the hard-pressed race team to get courses, even shortened courses completed.

A three gun signal was greeted by cheers from crews who had been lolling around in the hot sun hoping that conditions for racing would improve.

Difficult decision for CCC

From the outset this morning however, the forecast had been disheartening with, at best, a Force 3 possible later this afternoon.

There was word of a blow down in the western Solent so the four big boat classes were dispatched down to Lymington Bank for a Committee Vessel start while the course setters agonised over where to send them.

“It was a difficult decision to abandon,” said Stuart Quarrie, Cowes Combined Clubs director.

“Whatever the Principal Race Officer Simon Hands did was going to be wrong with some people but we felt that after the late finishes of Thursday, no one would welcome hanging around for such weak and fluky sea breezes.

“Also with 1,500 to 2,000 extra boats coming into the race area for the fireworks tonight, we didn’t want boats still out on the course.”

Musto takes Laser SB3 title

For some classes, the abandonment signalled the end of Skandia Cowes Week 2007 and the crowning of some undisputed champions.

In the Laser SB3 class, Glenn Bourke and Musto snatched victory from SB3 National and European champion Geoff Carveth in Earls Court Boat Show, by the small matter of four points.

Colin Simonds in Doolalli came third but well behind on points, indicating the degree of intensity in the contest between Carveth and Bourke who kept the fleet and race spectators entertained all week with their superb sailing and compelling rivalry.

The theatre carpenter from Virginia Water looked invincible in the early races, despite some troublesome starts but Bourke, the CEO of Volvo Ocean Race, saved his best to last, posting three consecutive wins in tricky conditions to take the title.

Six wins in seven races for Amey Love Shack

Tim Spalding and Gareth Lloyd-Jones pretty well wrapped up Class 4 IRC with an impressive sixth victory in seven races, this time by just 54 seconds over Peter Newland’s Healthsure. Amey Love Shack, their Beneteau First 40.7 has proved consistently fast this week and every aspect of the crew’s teamwork has been faultless, earning them the overall lead in the Black Group.

The TP52s cruised round a shortened course in the Western Solent and once more it was Flash Glove that posted the fastest time with a four minute advantage over Charles Dunstone’s Cockburn’s Red, which has picked up pace substantially as the days have gone by.

In third place was Benny Kelly’s Panthera but it is Colm Barrington’s exquisite thoroughbred that should pick up the overall Class 1 IRC prize tomorrow after posting four victories so far.

Class 2 IRC also looks like an open shut case with Glynn Williams once more dominant in his Swan 45 WISCthough his race with Klaus Diederichs and Grant Gordon’s Fever could not have been closer, just 17 seconds separating them.

Everything at stake in Class 3 IRC

A mouth-watering climax is on the cards in the final day’s racing in Class 3 IRC after another win by Sander Speet’s Holmatro, which makes up for their expensive disappointment on Thursday.

Ed Leask came third in Uxorious III and with just three and a half points separating first, second and third after discards, the last race is set to be a thriller.

Whatever happens in the class, the talented young Speet, the 24 year-old Holmatro skipper from the Netherlands has had a stunning regatta and is set to win the Skandia Young Skippers Trophy, awarded to the Skipper, aged under 25, who achieves the best results over the course of the entire week.

The Multihull class will also go to the wire tomorrow after a nail-biting finish today with Ben Goodland’s winning margin in his Raider 302 Team Eberspacher by just five seconds. Carbon Tiger 2, campaigned by Brian Haynes and Phil Cotton’s Buzz were the other podium winners today with everything up for grabs tomorrow.

End of an era

For Cowes regular David Lemonius, the 2007 regatta signalled the end of an era. After 22 years of ferrying around the press in his ex-RNLI lifeboat John Alexander, the Yarmouth Marine Services boss has hung up his boots though he promises he will be making ‘guest’ appearances in future years. So thank you David and we’ll see you next year!!

Photo: onEdition

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