19 JULY 2016 – The EFG Around the Island Race on day three of Panerai British Classic Week was sailed in glorious hot sunshine and great breeze.
The fleet started to the east on a favourable flood tide, which many underestimated resulting in a General Recall. They got away on the second attempt with eight boats individually recalled, only three of which returned.
The first leg was a beat to the forts from where they bore away for Bembridge Ledge where they hoisted spinnakers for the long run down the back of the Island.
In the lee of the Island the wind dropped off completely and many found themselves becalmed.
Those offshore managed to keep breeze and gained a big advantage. The boats held their spinnakers to the Needles and from there it was on the wind again back to Cowes.
Romping home to claim line honours was Sean McMillan’s Flight of Ufford, with David Murrin’s Cetewayo thirty-six minutes and fifteen seconds behind them.
Third and just 29 seconds behind Cetewayo was Andrew Pearson’s Bojar.
As the big boats streamed in across the line the smaller boats were powering up the Solent, and it soon became clear that on handicap it was going to be a small boat race.
On corrected time John Mulcahy’s Estrella, the smallest boat in the regatta whose crew today included 2016 Yachts & Yachting Amateur Sailor of the Year Julia Bailey, was declared the overall winner by fourteen minutes and six seconds.
Second was Liz and Mark Rushall’s Ragdoll, while Michael Briggs’ 1904 Fife Cutter Mikado took third.
After racing Estrella’s Julia Bailey said;.
“Down to the forts we worked the boat hard, we had a nice start, but got buried by the big boats so hitched up and were able to get in phase and in pressure to retrieve the situation.
“As we came away from Bembridge we were far enough behind the leaders to see them hitting the big inshore lull, so we kept going further and further out, whereas the rest of our fleet sailed straight into it.
“We went right out until we got pressure and then gybed back in on a good line for the Needles. The leg up into the Solent was actually very difficult because you couldn’t lay Gurnard Ledge, but to gain any tidal relief it was very difficult to get inshore.”
The EFG Around the Island Race counts towards the overall series in which Class 1 is now led by Sean McMillan’s Flight of Ufford with Sandy Fielding and Martin Whittle’s Strega second and David Grylls Helen of Durgan third.
Class 2 is led by Giovanni Belgrano’s Whooper with Lawrence Wride’s Sunmaid V second and Rob Gray’s Clarionet third. Michael Briggs’ Mikado is leading Class 3 from Martin Thomas’ Charm of Rhu with Tim Yetman’s Krabat third.
Today’s race win puts John Mulcahy’s Estrella into the overall lead in Class 4 with Jonathan and Scilla Dyke’s Cereste second and Liz and Mark Rushall’s Ragdoll third.
Whilst 38 of the fleet elected to go around the Island the 6 and 8 Metres sailed two round the cans races instead, races three and four of their series.
Robin Richardson’s St Kitts won both races in the 6 Metres, with Tom Richardson’s Thistle taking second in both races and Andy Short’s Nancy third.
With four races now sailed St Kitts leads the class with four points, Thistle is second on nine points and Nancy is third on thirteen.
In the 8 Metres Murdoch McKillop’s Saskia dominated the fleet winning both races.
David Myatt’s Erica took second in both, while David Parson’s and The Earl of Cork & Orrery’s Athena was third in race three and Richard Bendy’s Osborne of Wight was third in race four.
Overall Saskia now leads the class by eleven points from Peter Wilson’s If with Athena in third.