Rick Tomlinson Photography / www.rick-tomlinson.com

Difficult southerly

Racing on day three of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

Monday August 5th 2013, Author: Rupert Holmes, Location: United Kingdom

The third day of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week dawned with unpromising weather forecasts – at one stage the Met Office’s Inshore Waters forecast predicted winds up to Force 9 – although in the event the strongest gusts were below 25 knots and in line with the regatta’s meteorologist Fiona Campbell’s predictions.

The dayboats in White Group started heading east against a building ebb tide that theoretically made it easy to control speed, maintaining position by stemming the tide near the line. However, in practice the southerly wind had many holes close inshore off the Royal Yacht Squadron, which ran the risk of being pushed backwards by the tide, while a strong gust from further aft could propel you to the wrong side of the start line before the gun.

That’s exactly what happened in the Squib class, when a gust 20 seconds before the start pushed a third of the fleet over the line prematurely. However, only one boat – Emma Baker and Sam Prime’s Rhapsody in Blue – returned to restart. The two leading boats after the opening weekend’s racing, Duncan Grindley’s Surprise and Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey’s Lady Penelope were best placed after the start, leading the fleet away, but Grindley’s was one of the boats that started early.

Lady Penelope led the fleet at the finish, by a margin of almost three minutes over two more OCS boats, Chris Gear, Andy Foulks and Alex Porteous’ Osprey and Fred Warren-Smith’s Aquabat. The boats that finished fourth and fifth on the water – Andrew Porteous, David Coombes and Jerry Westbrook’s Firecracker, and Iain Jones and Peter Jackson’s Aldebaran – therefore took the guns for second place and third places respectively. It was the third successive win for Hutchings and Ramsey this year, following an overall win in the class last year.

The Redwing class is again one of the biggest and most competitive White Group fleets. A minute before the start, four boats were already positioned on the line and were soon joined by more. At the gun, three boats were the wrong side of the line, including one of the top two boats after the first couple of days of racing and last year’s overall winner, John Raymond and Matt Alexander’s Harlequin. Only one boat, George Greenwood’s Rosetta, returned to restart.

James Axtell and Lucy Benham’s Paroquet, and Roderick and Henry Thorpe’s Redwitch initially looked well placed. However, as with earlier starts it was the two inshore boats – Bruce Huber’s Quail and Rupert and Michael MacInnes’ Avocet – that were first to get the benefit of the wind funnelling out of the Medina estuary and quickly pulled ahead into a useful early lead. Huber was also ahead at the finish, leading Caroline and Edmund Peel’s Redstart ll and Andrew, Sabrina and Edward Eddy’s Plover over the line.

At the Swallow class start, the fleet was also close to the line, with Sir Malcolm Green’s Archon half a length ahead of the rest of the fleet, but she was over the line prematurely. Although Green returned to restart a minute after the gun, it was a costly mistake. Oliver Sloper’s Marengo and Paul Ward’s Cockersootie started closest inshore, but a lull just after the gun allowed Charles Fisher and Richard and Carol Thompson’s Migrant to get away to an early lead a little further offshore.

However, it was Fiona Hampshire, Arthur Henderson and Honor Fell’s Curlew that took the winner’s gun, 49 seconds ahead of Migrant, with Cockersootie crossing the line six seconds later. The next two boats – Peter Snell’s Whimbrel and John Houghton’s Avocet – crossed the line less than a minute later, just two seconds apart.

The Sunbeam class – celebrating its 90th anniversary this year – was led into the line by Julian Money’s Penny, but she had to luff to avoid starting early, which slowed her and allowed Peter Nicholson and Mike Hollis’ Dainty to get away first in a gust towards the windward end of the line. Joe Burnie’s Fleury and Roger Wickens’ Danny were also well placed and got to the stronger wind at the mouth of the Medina first. This stood them in good stead – they finished second and third respectively – but it was Stewart Reed’s Firefly that took the winner’s gun, 50 seconds ahead of Fleury.

Wary of being downtide of the line, many competitors stayed above the line until just before their start. However, not all returned to the correct side of the line in good time. One of these was Mike and Alex Tatlow’s Flying 15 Affore the Weak, leaving Nick Clark’s Black and Rupert and John Mander’s Men Behaving Badly to get away at the head of the fleet. The initial advantage went to Clarke, who was to windward, but within a few minutes the Manders had pulled ahead and started to extend their lead. The son and father team finished 51 seconds ahead of Clark, with Mike Boll and Gil McCutcheon’s Ffuraha third.

While initially it was the boats to windward of each fleet that appeared to do well, this was perhaps misleading to competitors who were studying the outcome of earlier starts. There was a different dynamic in the lee of the high wooded ground off Norris, just beyond East Cowes. In the Etchells race, for instance, a massive hole in the wind here meant the boats to leeward fared best, with Andrew Cooper’s Ice, Mark Downer’s Moonlight and Kevin Downer and Tim Eccles’ Ziggy pulling into a large lead, while the boats closer to shore were quickly dragged to the back of the fleet.

However, the three leaders all rounded the first mark in the wrong direction, giving their competitors a second chance. Rob and Ashley Goddard’s Stampede was first to finish, followed by Robert Elliott’s Esprit. Oliver Franks’ Sumo was next to cross the line, just 35 seconds after Elliot, but he had been over the line at the start, leaving Tarra Gill-Taylor’s Darling S to take the gun for third place.

At one stage it looked as though the day’s second band of rain would hold off until late afternoon, but it started accelerating eastwards again, with heavy rain re-starting at around 1430. It eased considerably 40 minutes later, leaving very light airs behind. Over a period of 10 minutes the windspeed dropped from 22 knots to just 5 knots. At the same time the wind swung more than 60 degrees towards the west, before temporarily returning to the south.

In the Quarter Ton class, Whiskers, skippered by Liz Rushall and Lincoln Redding, finished at 1450, to take their first win of the regatta, following second and third places on the first two days. Tony Hayward’s Blackfun was next to cross the line, six minutes later, but was beaten into third place on corrected time by one of the lowest-rating boats in the fleet, Eric Reynolds’ Magnum Evolution. Another three boats – Paul Colton’s Cri-Cri, Roberts/Assael’s Bad Toad and Ed White’s Joker – finished on the water just 65 seconds behind Reynolds, with their corrected times just 23 seconds apart.

In Cruiser Division A, racing under the simplified ISCRS rating system, two of the fastest boats in the fleet – Peter Bainbridge’s J/122 Sky Hunter ll and Mark Devereux’s Swan 43 Brevity – finished before the wind died and were therefore assured of a good result on corrected time. Next to approach the line, more than half an hour later, were the two J/100s in the class, Julian James’ Thunder Squall and Ole Bettum’s Alamara B ll. Both were neck and neck approaching the finish, but Alarmara 2 was marginally further offshore and couldn’t lay the outer distance mark – by the time she had gybed in the light airs she was three lengths downwind of the line and it took five frustrating minutes for her to return to finish properly.

The Sunsail F40 class includes a number of boats sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management and sees surprisingly intense competition at the top of the fleet. Today First Sailing was among the boats that got away first at the start, and was first to finish, positioning well uptide of the finish line to ensure there was no chance of her being swept to the north of the line. Next to finish, nearly eight minutes later was Panik, followed by two boats that were just 54 seconds apart, Aberdeen Edinburgh and Coast Graphics.


Top three results in each class

IRC Class 1
1, Pace (Johnny Vincent)
2, Gladiator (Tom Wilson)
3, 5 Degrees West (Keith Mills)

IRC Class 2
1, Tonnerre De Breskens 3 (P.W. Vroon)
2, Magnum3 Powered By Slam (Andrew Pearce)
3, Italia (Richard Rankin)

IRC Class 3
1, Tokoloshe (David Bartholomew)
2, Jivaro (Yves Grosjean)
3, Zero II Localletterbox (James Gair)

IRC Class 4
1, Rhapsodie V (JJ Godet)
2, Yes! (Adam Gosling)
3, Strait Dealer (David Franks)

IRC Class 5
1, Journeymaker 5 (Chris Jones)
2, Jos Of Hamble (Professor Roger Williams)
3, Raging Bee (Dussere Louis-Marie)

IRC Class 6
1, Etb Tyres Jiggery Pokery (Chaz Ivill)
2, Brightwork (Bob and Jon Baker)
3, Buccaneer (Peter Pearson and Mike Lilwall)

IRC Class 7A
1, Woof (Jo Richards)
2, Fianchetto (Ed Brand)
3, Vinyl Solutions (William Lack)

IRC Class 7B
1, Madelaine (Madelaine and Isobella Donald)
2, Jiminy Cricket (Mike & Barbara Harrison)
3, Mandarin (Paul Dunstan)

Contessa 32
1, Blanco (Ray Rouse)
2, Drumbeat (Eldred Himsworth)
3, Blue Shark (Ken Mizen and Don Laing)

Cork 1720
1, Crescendo (James W Flynn O.B.E)
2, Premier Cru (Tom Richardson)
3, Midnight Cowboy (Steph Merry)

Cruiser (Div A)
1, Sky Hunter II (Peter Bainbridge)
2, Brevity (Mark Devereux)
3, Thunder Squall (Julian James)

Cruiser (Div B)
1, Gazelle (Minka Armitage)
2, Saphir (Tony Mace)
3, Haggis (Andrew Buchanan, Rebecca Taylor and Stuart Buchanan)

1, Defender (J Preston, P Morton and R Laird)
2, Dynamite (Anthony Balme)
3, Damsel (Jamie Scrimgeour, Daniel Stephenson, Jamie Campbell and Mich)

1, Aimee (Graham Bailey)
2, Ecstatic (Eric Williams)
3, Furious (Owen Pay)

1, Stampede (Rob & Ashley Goddard)
2, Darling S (Tarra Gill-Taylor)
3, Exabyte V (Shaun Frohlich)

First 40.7
1, Incognito (Paul McNamara and Tony Lowe)
2, Anticipation (Peter Newlands)
3, Playing Around (Francis Carr)

Flying 15
1, Men Behaving Badly (Rupert and John Mander)
2, Black (Nick Clarke)
3, Ffuraha (Mike Boll & Gil McCutcheon)

J/70 (Race 5)
1, Django (Malcolm Jaques, Tristan Jaques, Naomi Rowbotham and Nix Broo)
2, North Sails (Ruairidh Scott)
3, Wilson Covers (Ian Wilson)

J/70 (Race 6)
1, North Sails (Ruairidh Scott)
2, Django (Malcolm Jaques, Tristan Jaques, Naomi Rowbotham and Nix Broo)
3, Team Rafbf Spitfire (Wing Commander Simon Ling RAF)

1, J.A.T (Chris Taylor)
2, Doolalli (Colin Simonds and Family)
3, Wild Wally (Robert Walters, David Walters and James O'Neill)

1, Harlequin (Jonathan Calascione and Jonnie Goodwin)
2, Juno (Stanley,Walker and Williams)
3, Jumping Jellyfish (Christopher Kearns)

1, McFly (Tony Mack)
2, J-Dream (David & Kirsty Apthorp)
3, Jeez Louise (James Arnell)

1, Amethyst (Charles Glanville)
2, Bluebell (Charles Tilley & Michael Smith)
3, Mimosa (Jamie Nimmo)

1, Buzz (Phil Cotton)
2, Wandering Glider (Matthew West)

Quarter Ton
1, Whiskers (Cat Southworth, Liz Rushall and Lincoln Redding)
2, Magnum Evolution (Eric Reynolds)
3, Blackfun (Tony Hayward)

1, Quail (B Huber, C Blackburn, A Greene)
2, Redstart II (Caroline and Edmund Peel)
3, Plover (Andrew, Sabrina and Edward Eddy)

RS Elite
1, Wombat (Jonathon Proctor)
2, E'Tu (Steve Powell)
3, Escapade (Mark Allerston)

SB20 (Race 5)
1, Slam (Tim Saxton)
2, Volvo (Helena Lucas)
3, Bcg Sailing Team (Konstantin Lukoyanov)

SB20 (Race 6)
1, Sportsboatworld.Com (Jerry Hill)
2, Henri Lloyd / Forelle (Joe Llewellyn)
3, Melston Team (Kirill Frolov, Alexey Murashkin and Egor Ignatenko)

Sigma 33
1, Whippa Snappa (Richard J Puddifoot)
2, Excelle (T Claridge and J Fox)
3, Workout (Jeff Worboys)

Sigma 38
1, Mefisto (Kevin Sussmilch)
2, With Alacrity (Chris & Vanessa Choules)
3, Pavlova III (Max Walker)

1, Jenny (Andy Cassell and Ken Newman)
2, Bertie (Alistair Barter and Ed Suckling)
3, Paralympic Girls Team (Hannah Stodel, Megan Pascoe, Carol Dugdale, Bella Walsh and)

1, Oh No (Julian Cook and Caroline Aisher)
2, Darwin Property (Charlie Esse)
3, Crescendo (James W Flynn O.B.E)

1, Lady Penelope (Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey)
2, Firecracker Too (Andrew Porteous, David Coombes and Jerry Westbrook)
3, Aldebaran (Iain Jones and Peter Jackson)

1, Firefly (Stewart Reed)
2, Fleury (Joe Burnie)
3, Danny (Roger Wickens)

Sunsail F40
1, First Sailing (First Sailing)
2, Panik (Panik)
3, Aberdeen Edinburgh (Aberdeen Edinburgh)

1, Curlew (CUCrC: Fiona Hampshire, Arthur Henderson and Honor Fell)
2, Migrant (Charles Fisher and Richard & Carol Thompson)
3, Cockersootie (Paul Ward)

1, Variety (Janet Dee and Shaun Hopkins)
2, Pelican (Hugh Pringle)
3, Ziva (Mark Dennington, Jo Dennington and Jim Downing)

X One Design
1, Catherine (Steve Lawrence and the Smart brothers)
2, Astralita (Michael Martell)
3, Phoenix (Alastair Shaw)



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