Modified 1720 shows Class 4 fleet clean pair of heels at Cowes

Local sailor and yacht designer Jo Richards who races on Stephen Fein’s string of yachts namedFull Peltnotched up his first win of the week yesterday in IRC Class 4. Richards’ interestingly modified 1720 was built nine year’s ago and after a championship win several years ago was put ‘out to grass’. Last year Richards’ ‘new’ design made its Cowes Week debut and finished the week in 19th place overall.

The team’s aim, to improve on last year’s result, is so far going to plan with their best result to date – a first – recorded yesterday in the shifty, tricky conditions on the Solent.Full Peltwas on good form again today and after a good start looked set to repeat her performance, or at least bag a second or third, but eventually had to settle for fifth on corrected time.

Richards talking about the racing said: “We had a great day yesterday because we are relatively light, we’re about 10ft shorter than anything else in Class 4. We always struggle a bit upwind but yesterday we had a tight reach off the start and because we have quite a flat Code Zero we held the kite all the way down the first leg while the others struggled. That was enough to win us the race.”

There was a bit more wind out on the race course today but it was more consistent. According to Richards the wind was shifting all over the place yesterday and at one point they ran into a 60 degree header. Today there was a bit more wind today but not quite so shifty.

But what happened to the result today? Richards continued: “We threw away probably a second or third place through a crew course reading error. Basically when the course was recorded, the wrong number was written down and we went to the wrong mark. We blew it through a simple course reading error.”

Richards is not one to dwell on poor results but is always keen to talk about new design projects, so I was looking forward to hearing his latest design news. Imagine my surprise to hear that Jo Richards’ latest project – and a serious one too, I might add – is to win the local pumpkin growing competition. Richards continued: “I’m currently leading a local Cowes competition to grow the largest pumpkin. We measure the girth every day but the best thing is we’ve got a virtual marrow programme in the computer, which allows us to be able to calculate the displacement and keep track. We reckon it’s about up to 80kgs now.”

Richards said it all started when the chap who does his CAD drawing appeared at the office with a giant pumpkin seed wrapped nicely in a bit of brown paper with his name on it. “Once he mentioned the word ‘competition’ things became serious,” added Richards. “I had’t even got a vegetable patch at the time, but two month’s later I’d dug up half the lawn.”

Once he’s checked the latest displacement figures on the pumpkin tomorrow morning, Richards will be back on the race course again where he hopes to bag another top result. As for the pumpkin we’ll have to wait until October for the results of that.