The penultimate day of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week delivered more interesting and challenging racing, with most of the action taking place in a light north westerly wind.
Today’s races for Black Group yachts were the last in their series for the overall prizes in the regatta. A number of classes had clear winners with a day to spare, including IRC Class 0, in which Piet Vroon’s Ker 51 Tonnerre 4 held a slim, but unassailable, advantage over Sir Keith Mills’ Ker 40+ Invictus.
Adam Gosling’s Corby 36 Yes! won every race in IRC Class 2. It was a stunning performance that gained Gosling his fifth overall win in an IRC class in the last six years. He also gained the coveted title of overall winner of Black Group for the third year running.
In IRC Class 3 Peter Morton’s JND 35 Salvo finished the week counting six points to win his class, while in IRC Class 4, David Franks’ JPK10.10 Strait Dealer also finished with an unbeatable scoreline of five first places and one second. Similarly, Giovanni Belgrano’s classic Laurent Giles 38 Whooper won all but two races to take victory in IRC Class 6 ahead of two Hunter Impalas, the Smith, Dallas and Richards team on Magic and Ben and Stephanie Meakins’ Polly. Jo Richards’ H-Boat Woof won IRC Class 7 counting an impressive clean run of first places.
While David Rolfe’s Sigma 33 Shadowfax also won her class with a day to spare, there was a tighter fight for second overall. This was resolved today with Dan Lewis’ Partisan finishing the event one point ahead of John Fox’s Excelle. The overall Sigma 38 winner was also clear cut, with Chris and Vanessa Choules’ With Alacrity enjoying an unassailable lead going into the final day. However, there was a tight three-way fight for second place, with Peter Hopp’s Sam finishing with a one point advantage on both Andrew Gordon’s Quatro Solutions and Max Walker’s Pavlova lll. The tie-break for third place was resolved in Gordon’s favour thanks to his win in the opening race.
Graham Broomfield’s Dehler 34 Headstrong continued its domination of Cruiser Division B with another win today, leaving him counting only six points at the end of the series. Peter Bainbridge’s Rustler 33 Whisper took second place today, leaving him second overall on 10 points. In a five-way fight for third place last year’s winner, Ian Miller’s Jeanneau Sun Fast 32 Dabra emerged victorious, following his third place in the final race.
Among the classes whose winners were decided by today’s result, a win in the final race for Eric de Turckheim’s A13 Teasing Machine in IRC Class 1 helped him secure victory one points ahead of Willem Wester’s Grand Soleil 46 Antilope. Tony and Sally Mack’s J/111 McFly was just two points adrift in third place overall. In IRC Class 5 Harry Heist’s S&S41 Winsome was able to discard an uncharacteristically poor 14th place in the opening race, while his third place today helped secure an overall class victory.
In the J/109 fleet Tony Dickin’s Jubilee went into the final race with a six point margin ahead of Ross Walker’s Jumunu, however some of the lower-placed boats had high scores they would be able to discard after today’s race. Both Dickin and Walker had a disappointing race today, finishing eight and tenth respectively – results they could each discard. However, the winner of today’s race, Tor McLaren and Andrew Horrocks’ Inspara was also able to discard a 19th position and therefore finished the week as class winner on 13 points. Jubilee took second overall on 16 points, while Jumunu held onto third on 26 points, just two points ahead of William Edwards’ Sardonyx lX.
In Cruiser Division A James Stableford’s Mumm 36 Panther won her fifth race today and was able to discard 28 points picked up when she retired from Thursday’s race to win the class counting only five points. Today’s third place for Julian James’ J/100 Thunder Squall was sufficient to secure second overall on 11 points, seven points ahead of the X-55 Pioneer Lutine skippered by Neil Armstrong.
The Quarter Ton class was another in which the result went to the wire. A first place today for Sam Laidlaw’s Aguila, his third win of the week, gave him victory over Louise Morton’s Bullit by three points. Unlike the other Black Group yachts the Contessa 32 fleet was not allowed a discard, but Ray Rouse’s Blanco sailed to an impressive victory including four wins and with a fourth place as his worst result.
In the Sunsail Match F40 fleet Aberdeen 1 started with fourth and fifth places on the opening weekend, before scoring a perfect run of first places to take overall victory with a large margin on second placed Cazenove Capital Management and Oceanara in third place overall. “It’s been a good week. We’ve had a continuous stream of clients on board and they all seem to have enjoyed the success too,” says Aberdeen 1 skipper Peter Walters. “Personally, I am delighted too because in the past I have finished second as skipper in the Sunsail fleet on numerous occasions and this is the first year I have achieved a first place in class.
“The toughest part for us was the first weekend because we were quite rusty and there was more breeze then. We seemed to get our act together from there on and the results seem to have demonstrated that. Our winning formula is to never give up and to keep the boat driving constantly. We’ve come from some quite low positions in some of the races and pulled through to lead – as far as the race is concerned we don’t stop until we’ve crossed the finish.”
Four White Group fleets also had their series finish today – the J/80, Victory, Sunbeam and RS Elite classes – while the rest of the day boats will finish their week’s racing tomorrow.
In the RS Elite fleet a second place today was enough to secure overall victory for the second year in a row for Jono Brown’s Aeolus, while sixth place allowed Ossie Stewart’s More T Vicar to hold onto second overall, one point ahead of Mike McIntyre’s Foudafafa.
In the J/80 class, a retirement today for Jon Powell’s Betty, the overall leader going into the final day, saw him fall just off the podium. Meanwhile a second place for Kevin Sproul’s JAT, who was also able to discard a seventh place after today’s race, saw him take the overall win. Shane Armitage, and Oliver Dunford’s Purple Haze finished third today and after discarding a 13th place from Monday’s race ended the regatta second in class, just one point adrift of Sproul. A win in today’s race cemented Ali Hall’s Boysterous in third place.
A third place today in the Sunbeam class for Stewart Reed’s Firefly was not enough to knock him off the top of the leaderboard and he finished the event counting only seven points, including an impressive four race wins. Roger Wickens’ Danny took second overall, with a win in today’s race lifting him to just two points behind Reed. Commander John Ford’s Melody took third overall on 14 points.
In the Victory class another win today, his third in the week, secured first overall for John Scammell’s Zinnia, on seven points. Russell Mead’s Shearwater ll was a disappointing fifth today, but retained second place overall ahead of Janet Dee’s Variety by two points.
Report by Rupert Holmes