Tricky conditions for the second day's racing

All skippers returned to Cowes talking of tricky conditions at various points around the race track.

As Chris Tibbs reported at the outset, the breezes started out as east south-easterlies and veered to south westerlies as the day went on. Winds in the East Solent were likely to be SE and in the West, south westerly though a band of light variable airs in the middle would, Chris predicted, make life awkward for boats passing through it.

And he was right. By mid to late afternoon, the breeze was strictly south west and force 3-4 which tested the fleet but they also benefited from some searing sun and cloudless blue skies, with temperatures reaching 25 degrees. No flashing brine or roaring tempest in the Solent today then though according to weather predictions, the Skandia Cowes Week fleet could savour a taste of the tempest later in the week.

In Class 6 IRC, there was mayhem at the start as a few boats were forced the wrong side of Alpha Buoy and had to turn around. These included the beautiful 8m Athena,, campaigned by David Glasgow and The Earl of Cork and Orrery. Two Sigma 38s flew protest flags and Vanilla, Niek Spiljard’s X332 that won on Saturday, was forced to retire.

TP52s set to crank up the pressure

Down the Western Solent, the Class 1 IRC fleet drifted around in the zephyrs for an hour and Benny Kelly’s TP52 Panthera was forced to suspend her racing for 20 minutes to unravel the committee vessel’s anchor line from their keel.

When the breeze kicked in, the fleet enjoyed a good tussle though officials shortened the course when the wind flunked out leaving Saturday’s line honours winner Loki at the front. However, Sir Peter Ogden’s Swan 601 Spirit of Jethou remains at the top of the leaderboard for the second consecutive day.

Ogden and his crew are happily tucking away as many conquests as they can before the winds start to blow later this week when the TP52s are likely to hit their straps and crank up the pressure.

Rumours enjoyed an excellent start in the Dragons and proceeded to dominate throughout the 15nm course to finish in first place, one minute ahead of Princess Jalina. Skipper Len Jones was in blistering form.

After his triumphant start to the Week on Saturday, Magnus Wheatley made a disappointing start in Class 9 IRC today in his International H-boat Hesperus but recovered well to finish in third, conceding the Newport Citizens Cup to Richard Donald’s folkboat Madelaine and the runners-up place to Philip Williams Nordic folkboat Tatterat.

Class 8 IRC were black flagged, another surprise in the start sequence but eventually were led away by Liz Rushall in Louise Morton’s quarter tonner Espada with Curved Air hot on their heels but it was the 103-year old Mikado, Michael Brigg’s lovely old Clyde 30 class boat that won the Saida Cup. Jeff Worboy’s Sigma 33 Workout and Howard Sellers’ quarter tonner Bullett came in behind them with just 21 seconds separating second and third. Espada finished fifth.

For the bigger boats, there could have been more wind but for the majority of the fleet, it was another classic Sunday at Skandia Cowes Week with both the ice and sun cream sellers doing brisk business.

Showers are being forecast overnight as a front passes through, then tomorrow it will be sunny with the chance of showers according to our weather guru Chris Tibbs. Winds will be light or moderate NW, backing W-SW and increasing 13-18. Sounds terrific.

Just as we were about to close this bulletin we received news that Josephine, racing in the XOD Class and driven by Mark Jardine, was dismasted in a collision with the Tall Ship J. R. Tolkein, a 42m gaff-topsail schooner. Her bowsprit ripped out the X-boat’s backstay, leaving a buckled shroud and the boat needing a new mast.