A round up of the day's racing 04/8/07

After a series of dramatic starts, made all the more challenging by low water and strong tides, the Skandia Cowes Week fleet of 941 boats made the most of the breezy and sunny conditions in the Solent in their first competitive outing of the week.

Carveth draws first blood in Laser SB3

Geoff Carveth drew first blood in the Laser SB3 class today to raise the stakes amongst the largest fleet at Skandia Cowes Week.

The European and National champion campaigning Earls Court Boat Show posted a 68-second victory over 2nd placed PWC, helmed by three times runner up at Cowes Jono Shelley. This success came despite him crossing the start line off the Royal Yacht Squadron in the second row of the fleet after a general recall.

“We had a nightmare start but managed to get a few good little lanes and went from the 20s into the 10s and got into some clear air,” said Carveth, who won a mainsail in the Volkswagen Touareg King of Cowes at Skandia Cowes Week regatta on Friday after coming second.

“It was a case of the rich getting richer if you were the inside boat on the shore line. If you are in a good position and it gets too shallow, you can call ‘water’ and the boat behind you has to give you right of way.

“It means that you can stop them tacking to get back in and you can take them out as far as you want! After that we were able to stay in the top 10, though PWC made the right call on the last beat so it was close at the end.”

Mark Stokes’ Eau No!was the first casualty of the day when he hit the rocks and stopped dead in his tracks but there were several groundings, giving the Shepards Wharf boat repair team a busy schedule, though no serious damage was reported.

In third place was Glenn Bourke in Musto with Simon Blake’s Sworded Fish in fourth and Russell Peters almost three minutes behind in Selden Seen.

Back on track

The SB3s were not the only class to suffer groundings and recalls. The XOD class, with a fleet of 72 entries, were the subject of a general recall but second time round made a good start in around eight knots of breeze with just a few offenders OCS (On Course Side).

Neil Angel’s All Talk was forced to retire after heading straight onto the rocks after the start but his 1720, built in 2006, thankfully sustained no damage and will be back on the race track tomorrow.

“We had some new sails up and we were not sure whether we were slow because of the sails or because of damage to the hull so we decided to stop and get it seen to,” said Neil, who called the divers in for a thorough inspection.

Chris Torren’s Etchells Best Mate also strayed too near the beach but recovered and sailed an excellent race to finish in fifth place, four and a half minutes behind the winner, Mark and Oliver Downer’s Moonlight.

Light to moderate south westerly winds gave all 34 classes an exhilarating day’s racing with the western Solent benefitting from the stronger 15 knot breezes with slightly less in the east.

Spirit of Jethou takes the Queen’s Cup in IRC 1

In Class 1 IRC, the Stephen Ainsworth and Cameron Miles’ Australian Reichel Pugh 60 Loki took line honours, finishing in four hours, 23 minutes and 59 seconds. However, Sir Peter Ogden’s Swan 601 Spirit of Jethou won on corrected time to take today’s Queen’s Cup with a six minute advantage over Colm Barrington’s Flash Glove, one of the favourites to win the Class 1 IRC title in 2007.

Flash Glove, previously Michael Illbruck’s Pinta, was bought by Barrington in May 2007. In the IRC Championships in July, his first major event in his new TP52, he posted a third place ahead of Charles Dunstone’s TP52 Red and Ogden’s Spirit of Jethou so already the big boat class is shaping up to be one of the most competitive contests of this regatta.

Basilica continues to dominate iShares Cup at Skandia Cowes Week regatta

After five races in the second day of the iShares Cup for the Extreme 40 Sailing Series, Rob Greenhalgh continued to dominate on board Basilica after taking honours on the first day on count back.

However, once again Rob found Nick Moloney snapping at his heels on BT and the two boats, flying their hulls round the cans in 15 knot breezes off Lepe Beach, provided some spectacular entertainment.

Basilica posted three firsts and two fourths whilst Moloney is proving a consistent performer with three third places to retain his second place overall with one day’s racing remaining tomorrow (Sunday 5 August).

Shirley Robertson’s performance in the Extreme 40s looks to be constantly improving as she scored a first place in the fourth race today to go third overall on JPMorgan Asset Management.

Ellen sets another amazing record!

Back on land, Dame Ellen MacArthur was flexing her muscles on the “Star in a Reasonably Priced Dinghy” sailing simulator as part of the fundraising efforts on The Ellen MacArthur Trust stand on Cowes Parade.

Following her success in setting a new round-the-world speed record in 2005, and her remarkable achievement in setting the fastest lap time for any celebrity in Top Gear’s “Star in a Reasonably Prized Car” slot, it came as no surprise to learn that Ellen had set a new record in the simulator. This clever gizmo allows participants to set a time over a short course, simulating how a Laser might sail under those conditions.

Ellen’s record time stands at 02:06:06 but there will be plenty of competitors looking to beat that over the next few days in a bid not just to win tickets for the London and Southampton Boat Shows but to beat Ellen! Rival yachtswomen Dee Caffari and Shirley Robertson are amongst those planning to launch an assault on Ellen’s record.

“It is fantastic,” said Ellen.

“It really is as close as you can get to actually being out on the water. The tiller is really responsive and it is a great way to get a feel for sailing.”

Some welcome sun prompted Cowes regular Iain May to venture out in his sportsboat Tee Hee to hand out suncream, hangover cures, ice creams or whatever else was deemed essential to racing

Delicious ding dong in the Squibs

Mr Bumble, Kewdeethree and Halcyon enjoyed a delicious ding dong for a one-two-three in the Squib class and at the finish were separated by a mere six seconds. The contest was eventually won by Tim Farquhar with Margaret and Michael Barsby runners up but after such a close race, all eyes will be on the Squib race track tomorrow.

In the IRC Classes there were wins in Class 2 for Robert Lutener and Martin Elwood in the Farr 45 Henri Lloyd, which nudged ahead of another Farr 45 Exabyte 4, owned by Christopher Sharples for a 19-second victory on corrected time with Glynn Williams in third in WISC, the Swan 45.

In Class 3, Ed Leask scored a first in the Swan 42 Uxorious III while Tim Spalding, the master and commander medic who competed strongly in the Laser SB3s on Friday, proved his worth in Class 4 IRC with an emphatic win on Amey Love Shack, his brand new Beneteau First 40.7.

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