Nearly 1,000 boats take to water for opening Day of Skandia Cowes Week 2/8/08

The sun burnt off the early morning drizzle by lunchtime today leaving perfect conditions for the opening day of Skandia Cowes Week. It did get fairly gusty however, during mid afternoon, resulting in a fair amount of carnage in the Extreme 40 iShares Cup

Niklas Zennstrom and team aboard the TP52 Ran took a class win In Class 0 IRC just beating Stuart Robinson’s TP52 Stay Calm while further down the fleet in 12-strong, competitive Hunter 707 class Jon Powell and team in Betty sailed a near perfect race to take a win from Miles Dalby in Tequila. Powell chatting after the racing said they were fairly surprise because they hadn’t sailed the boat for four year. “The last time we raced the boat was Cowes Week 2004. She been sitting in Warsash Sailing Club dinghy park ever since. I spent the whole of last week scrubbing her, so naturally I’m happy that Betty back in the frame.”

Elsewhere on the Solent today the Extreme 40s have been contending the first race of the iShares Cup – Round 3. As the wind increased the racing was full on with numerous pitch-pole antics. There was one broken rig, aboard Team Aqua and race leader BMW Oracle Cammas suffered a broken beam in race 4.

Katie Miller, one of the UK’s most promising ocean racers was here racing at Skandia Cowes Week today aboard the Henri Lloyd TP52 Cutting Edge in Class 0 IRC. The rest of the week she’ll be racing her own Figaro 2 ‘Hot Socks’ where she hopes to star in the IRC Class 2.

Miller first made her name when she completed a solo circumnavigation of the British Isles aboard a Corribee and then went on to win the YJA/RaymarineYoung Sailor of the Year Award in 2007. She recently purchased ‘Hot Socks’ from Sam Davies and last month, went on to win the bluQube 1000 Solo race. Her current ambition is to complete the OSTAR 2009 single-handed Transatlantic race, a race in which she has also qualified.

Commenting on the step up from the Corribee, Miller said: “After I went round Britain I crewed on a Figaro 1 and I was doing a lot of double-handed stuff, then I got onto a J/105 and did some fully-crewed stuff in the Hamble Winter Series. The step up from the Corribee would have been massive but having a kind of year’s work experience on the Figaro 1 and J/105 was a good move.

Yesterday’s Volkswagen Touareg King of Cowes winner, Giles Peckham, stared again once again today by winning the Daring class.

The weather outlook for tomorrow, for day two of Skandia Cowes Week, indicates a south-westerly 15-20kts with some rain in the morning.