Competitors enjoyed a fabulous classic sea breeze day at Lendy Cowes Week, after a long postponement while race officials waited for the wind to arrive. They were rewarded with a stable 10-15 knot south westerly breeze on another warm and almost cloudless day.
The bulk of the larger Black Group yachts started on the inshore Royal Yacht Squadron line, short tacking along the shore to the west.
The start of IRC Class 1 was a spectacular sight, with the front row yachts perfectly in line when the cannon fired. There was soon much shouting for room to tack before boats grounded, as well as close port/starboard tack incidents.
IRC Class 2 was subject to an individual recall at the start and Chris Jones and Louise Makin’s J/111 Journeymaker ll duly went back to restart correctly.
This left Adam Gosling’s new JPK 11.80 Yes! in the favoured inshore position, to leeward of Andy Williams’ Max Fun 35 Mad Max and Francois Goubau’s First 47.7 Moana.
When Yes! had to tack offshore she passed ahead of the starboard tack fleet, but Moana and Mad Max lost out through having to make aggressive course changes to pass astern of a starboard tack boats.
Roger Bowden’s King 40 Nifty was the first boat to cross the line at the end of the 23-mile race, with Yes! finishing a minute later.
However, there was no gun for Yes! – she had been one of the premature starters and had not returned to restart correctly. Moana, Sunset Child and Jua Kali were also scored OCS. Christopher Daniel’s J/122E Juno won on corrected time, ahead of Niftyand McFly.
The classes starting from the Black Group Committee boat, positioned to the east of Lepe Spit, had a long beat against the tide along the north shore to their first mark.
Sam Laidlaw’s Aguilahas dominated the Quarter Tonner class all week, taking a straight run of race wins and today was no exception.
Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán took the gun for today’s Fast40+ race, the fifth in their short series over the first four days of Lendy Cowes Week.
A second place for Peter Morton’s Girls on Film keeps the Isle of Wight team on top of the leaderboard by a single point. Dutch competitor Bas de Voogd’s Hitchhiker kept up consistent form, finishing the day in third, for both the race and the series.
“Worth the wait,” commented Rán’s Niklas Zennstrom. “Stuart (Childerley) made the right call keeping us ashore and when we finally got out we had no delay.
“It is great to have Peter Morton back from injury, as it really has put the pressure on us – you can’t make any mistakes, as all of the boats will punish you if you do.
“Consistency is our trade mark,” adds Hitchhiker’s Bas de Voogd. “We got a good start today but Elvis and Rebellion were above us, which was a small problem.
“Lendy Cowes Week holds a special place for me, I first came here racing a One Tonner when I was 18. Those memories, combined with racing in the FAST40+ class, are perfect. I also love racing in tide – as a small boy I grew up sailing in the South of Holland with lots of current.”