News from Thursday's action in several classes in the Solent 09/08/07

The north wind doth blow

Racing started against a backdrop of clear blue skies and a chilly north easterly wind which, according to weather expert Chris Tibbs, would ease from a Force 3 to a Force 2 as lunchtime approached to be replaced by a sea breeze in the afternoon. This, he predicted, would be SE in the eastern Solent and SW in the western, making for some very challenging conditions for the entire fleet.

Racing against the tide made for a textbook starting sequence with just one class, the Darings, bucking the trend. They were subject to a general recall and on the second attempt, three boats Decoy, Devius and Division Belle were disqualified under the Black Flag rule.

The Laser SB3s were the models of good behaviour though the strong tide meant it took the 98-strong fleet more than eight minutes to cross the line. Once again, it was Glenn Bourke, Jeremy Troughton and Tony Kilby on Musto who slipped away first and, although their speeds dropped off as they headed towards the first mark at North Ryde Middle, they were soon back on the pace.

By the end of the 16nm course, they had established an emphatic five minute lead over second placed Geoff Carveth in Earls Court Boat Show, the overall leaders, which put Bourke in an ebullient mood.

“It was one of the most tactically perfect days I have sailed for a long time,” he said.

“We are starting to sail really well. We are best in light to moderate airs upwind whereas Geoff likes the heavy downwind conditions so we will see what happens tomorrow but either way it will be a fair contest.”

Red hot Flash Gloves wins Britannia Cup

In Class 1 IRC, the day belonged once more to the TP52s and to Colm Barrington’s Flash Glove in particular who reinforced his position at the top of the leaderboard with a resounding five minute win over Cockburn’s Red. Despite missing out on the coveted Britannia Cup, Charles Dunstone’s second place was his best result of the week so far.

Peter Harrison’s Chernikeeff 2 was forced to retire after getting a spinnaker sheet wrapped around the propeller while the engine was running prior to the start. The boat was hauled out of the water to check for damage and the crew were confident of being back in action tomorrow.

A win-win situation

In both the Black and White Groups, there are a number of classes where the key performers have proved so strong in the five races to date that the engravers are already poised to etch their names on the silverware.

Glynn Williams and WISC are looking peerless in Class 2 IRC after posting another second behind John Gimson’s Farr 45 Renaissance and Amey Love Shack, Tim Spalding and Gareth Lloyd-Jones’ Beneteau First 40.7 posted their fourth win in five races – they came second yesterday – to put them in sight of the Class 4 IRC trophy.

Likewise in Class 5 IRC. In a repeat performance from 2006, Harry Evans is as predictable as a prevailing wind. His Alvine Jacobite Swan 48 was the runaway winner again today, this time by a margin of three minutes over second placed Kiss and his record this week with four firsts and a third has left the rest of the fleet wondering what they can do to cause an upset, short of shredding his sails.

Skandia Cowes Week is a win-win event for Harry. As soon as he steps off his boat in Cowes Yacht Haven with yet another garland, he wanders up to the bar to see thousands of customers all drinking from the plastic glasses that his Poole packaging company manufactures. Nice work if you can get it!!

Howard Sellars had another good day in the quarter-tonner Bullett to consolidate his position in Class 8 IRC, but it was Mikado, the lovely Clyde 30, that emerged as the winner by three minutes.

Rich get richer in dayboats

The Daring crew on Dauntless refused to be distracted by the mayhem at the start and powered to their third victory of the week to take the Williams-Freeman Cup. Harry Roome’s unstoppable Swallow Skua won the Swift Prize and is set to be Swallow champion of the week, while Rupert and John Mander behaved brilliantly once again in their Flying 15 Men Behaving Badly.

The 71 boats in the X-One Design fleet enjoyed a Royal Yacht Squadron start today and paid their respects by getting off at the first attempt after being given a warning by officials on the Platform.

Alastair Ashford, Tom Smith and Tina Scott on Relaxation were the winners by less than a minute over the Deavin’s Ariel, a result that makes the remainder of XOD racing amongst the most tantalising contest of any at Skandia Cowes Week.

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