A change in the weather today gave a cooler and windier day, with gusts nearing 25 knots in the early afternoon. Thousands of sailors came ashore sporting big grins after an energetic day that saw many thrills and spills on the downwind legs. Today was Youth Day at Lendy Cowes week, with the spotlight shining on the numerous young sailors, teams and skippers at the event.
The first start was for the bigger yachts racing on the first day of the Triple Crown series for three of the sailing world’s most prestigious trophies. They started on the inshore Royal Yacht Squadron line, heading towards the east under spinnaker. A number of boats, including Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator, and James Neville’s HH42 Ino XXX, held back from the line, hoisting spinnakers 30 seconds before the start. Despite accelerating quickly they were late at the gun, allowing Igor Yakunin’s Ker 46 Lady Mariposa to get away ahead, even though his team hoisted the spinnaker later.
Yakunin had been at the top of the leaderboard for the Musto Young Skipper’s Trophy after the first four days of the regatta this year. However, his team’s fifth place today saw him slip to second place.
Gladiator subsequently powered away to take line honours in the 24 mile race and won on corrected time, 75 seconds ahead of Peter Morton’s Fast40+ Girls on Film. Lady Mariposa was second on the water, but slipped to fifth after time correction, behind Michael Bartholomew’s GP42 Tokoloshe ll and another Fast40+, Stewart Whitehead’s Rebellion.
In IRC Class 3 the Dutch Max Fun 35 Team Heiner lll, skippered by Arianne van de Loosdrecht, had their best race of the regatta so far. They finished second on the water, but close enough to Andrew McIrvine’s First 40 La Reponse to gain victory by 22 seconds on corrected time. It was a performance that earned Team Heiner lll both the Landrover Under 25 Trophy and the Musto Young Skippers Trophy.
“It really was fantastic out there today, champagne sailing,” says Loosdrecht. “We were able to put the heavy weather skills that we have been training hard for to the test. It was definitely our sort of weather. The boat is light so we were surfing down the back of the waves and she really excelled. We didn’t have a perfect start, but on every downwind leg we made gains. We are really enjoying Lendy Cowes Week, and are impressed that all the races have taken place, despite the sometimes tricky weather.”
Lendy Cowes Week’s official charity, the 1851 Trust, had two boats with young people racing today. Participants included alumni of the organisation’s Go Sail programme and pupils from inner London school, Greig City Academy, sailing in both IRC Class 2 and the Sunsail Match F40 classes. After racing the two teams had a tour of the Queen’s Cup winning yacht Gladiator.
Today 14-year-old Callum Robbins raced on Louise Makin’s J/111 JourneyMaker II. “It was fantastic, I have never done something like this before,” he says. “It was great fun and something I am going to remember for a long time. I would love to get out racing again.”
By the start of the Sunsail Match F40 class at 1140 the wind was gusting into the upper teens and there was plenty of action on the start line, including a group of boats that struggled to clear the outer distance mark. Deloitte Green was one of several to hoist spinnakers early and broached ahead of the fleet as she sheeted in, before recovering and accelerating away to an early lead.
Opihr and Deloitte Black followed in her wake, these three boats sailing low on a more direct course towards their first mark. The title sponsor’s boat, Lendy, led a group of three others sailing higher and faster, pulling clear ahead four minutes after the start. The race was won by Tenzing, who took a third consecutive win, ahead of Red Funnel 1. Lendy took third place, a single second ahead of Investec.
John Caulcutt’s Swan 65 Desperado led Cruiser Division A into the outer end of the start line, but was slow to set and hoist her spinnaker, allowing Pete Newland’s much smaller First 40.7 Anticipation to keep pace with her. Sailing higher with an asymmetric spinnaker, Charles Esse’s X4.3 Baby X built a useful early lead on a group of boats sailing higher and faster on a more inshore course.
Desperado went on to take line honours, but could not save her time against the smaller boats, slipping down to fourth on the leaderboard. Baby X took a third consecutive win on corrected time, ahead of Anticipation in second place and Clive Bluesnel’s X-50 Exhilarance in third.
“We were keen to have a conservative start and keep above the pack to give us a good gybing angle,” says Esse. “For us this was key. We were actually less concerned about keeping out the tide but instead we concentrated on keeping the speed going away from the pack. That was a massive factor and so therefore we tended to sail our own race. “It was fairly lively out there with 28 knots over the bow at one point in the vicinity of Osborne Bay. We were going upwind at the time and the wind just built and built. It was really fantastic and everyone loved the excitement after several days of generally light conditions.”
Cruiser Division B was more conservative in approaching the line and in setting spinnakers. Bob Sharp’s Dehler 41 Magus Tao was the first boat away, at the outer end of the line, while Karen Harris and Adam James’ First 31.7 Fleur de Sel was one of a pair to gybe early and stretched away when the spinnaker filled a couple of minutes after the start. A minute later David McDonald’s First 33.7 Zenith overtook Magus Tao, which was still under white sails, to become the lead boat among the southern-most group. Chris Parker’s Solaris 44 Alcibiades lll subsequently stretched away to a big win on the water, finishing with a 19-minute advantage on Gary Parker’s 39ft classic Tyche and third-placed Zenith.
Cruiser Division C also got away cleanly, with two local boats – Peter Dickson and Andrew Yates’ Beneteau First 25.7 Star-Born 4 and Andrew and Rebecca Buchannan’s Mustang 30 Haggis 2 – first away. Both quickly built a 10 length lead thanks to setting their spinnakers early, with Star-Born 4 showing better pace in the early stages. Ian Cooke’s Hunter Medina 20 Tudor Rose was also well placed, alongside Will Smyth’s Westerly Fulmar Panda of Hamble. Tony Mace’s Carter 39 Saphir took line honours and first place on corrected time, ahead of Simon and Julia Bowes’ Sun Fast 37 Chatterbox and Panda of Hamble in third place.
The new Double-Handed IRC class, was led at the start Stephen Hopson’s JPK 1080 Blue Note, followed by Natalie Jobling’s J/105 Mostly Harmless, the pair splitting gybes in the early stages of their first leg. At this stage, Blue Note tended to sail high, but fast, on the first leg, with her asymmetric spinnaker fully powered up, whereas Mostly Harmless appeared to opt for more downwind angles that reduced the distance to sail at the expense of boat speed. Blue Note maintained the lead throughout the race and saved her time to also win on corrected time.
White Group dayboats
XODs and Victory classes both raced from the White Group committee boat line this week. Russell Mead’s Shearwater ll notched up another third place in a consistent run of results that puts him at the top of the Victory leaderboard, one point ahead of John Scammell and Maxine Reeves’ Zinnia. Hugh Pringle’s Pelican is third, just two points adrift. Another first place today for John Tremlett’s Lass helped lift him to a 10-point overall lead in the XOD class, ahead of Al Asford’s Foxglove and Simon Russell’s Swallow.
The 100-strong Squib class started on the Royal Yacht Squadron line 30 minutes later. This allowed the line to be reconfigured and extended to enable the 100-strong fleet to start upwind, heading towards the west, for the fourth race of the class’s 50th National Championship.
Competition in the fleet is extremely tight, with championship winning sailors notching up mid-fleet results. Yet this is also one of the most accessible classes at Lendy Cowes Week – a number of the boats racing here have recently changed hands for less than £1,000. There are also plenty of young Squib sailors, with a number vying for both the Land Rover Under 25 and Musto Young Skippers trophies.
In the two minutes before the start the four overall class leaders – Steve Warren-Smith and Stu Rix’s Aquabat, Jono Brown and Chris Dunn’s Squiggle, Josh Metcalfe and Mark Hogan’s Rico’shea and Nigel Grogan’s Helmut Shoing ll – were all jostling for position near the inner end of the line.
Malc Hutchings and Andy Ramsey’s Lady Penelope, starting around one-third of the way out from the shore, a length ahead of the boats around her and immediately tacked on to port, clearing ahead of the starboard tack boats further offshore. After Emma Baker and Sam Prime’s Buccaneer had to bail out to avoid a premature start Aquabat won the inshore end of the line, followed by Michael Brown’s brand new boat Blue Orca. Aquabat, one of the original Squibs built in 1968, then held offshore on a long board on port tack, while others favoured tacking more frequently to stay further inshore.
Rico’shea won today’s two and a half hour race, ahead of Helmut Shoing ll, who recovered an incredible 80 places after tangling with a port tack boat 30 seconds before the gun. Lady Penelope was third, David Best’s Crossfire fourth and Aquabat fifth.
At the half-way point in the championship this puts Aquabat at the top of the leaderboard, five points ahead of Rico’shea and 12 points ahead of Helmut Shoing ll. However, on the completion of tomorrow’s race Grogan will be able to discard an 18th place he picked up on Sunday, which will close the points gap at the top of the fleet.
A seventh place today for Alex and Mark Downer’s Panther 3 lifted young Alex up to fourth overall in the championship and third in the Musto Young Skippers Trophy, behind Team Heiner lll and Lady Mariposa.
The sailing inspired programmes run by Lendy Cowes Week’s official Charity, the 1851 Trust,have reached over 90,000 young people in the last year. They bring the innovation and excitement of the America’s Cup to young people in a way that challenges them to challenge themselves.
The organisation’s next aim, through the forthcoming America’s Cup cycle, is to inspire more young people about the opportunities open to them through sport and technology, leading them to think differently about their futures. Anyone wanting to give more young people to the opportunity to grow through sailing can donate £10 by texting INSPIRE to 70660.
The Trust is also continuing to run a programme of workshops and treasure hunts from its stand on the Parade throughout Lendy Cowes Week. For more info click here: www.1851trust.org.uk/projects/lendy-cowes-week
Report by Rupert Holmes /CWL