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Tokoloshe ll claims New York YC Challenge Cup

Sun and good breeze for day five of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

Wednesday August 6th 2014, Author: Rupert Holmes, Location: United Kingdom

The fifth day of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week saw the race area predominately bathed in sun, with the wind settling solidly into the WSW at around 1100 and building from around 12 knots to a maximum of 19 knots, with puffs into the early 20s. This provided enough power for the newer boats to achieve exhilarating downwind speeds, particularly on the larger yachts’ final run to the finish at the Royal Yacht Squadron, while the crews of traditional dayboats had the challenge of physically tough windward legs.

IRC Class 0, racing for the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup, had a 42-mile course from a start in the western Solent, around the south of the Isle of Wight to a finish in the eastern Solent. The Volvo Ocean 65 Team SCA took line honours, 15 minutes ahead of Irvine Laidlaw’s Reichel Pugh 52 Cape Fling ll. However, Laidlaw was unable to save his time on Michael Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe ll, which won the Cup by a margin of 35 seconds on corrected time. The lowest rated boat in the class, the de Graaf family’s Ker 40 Baraka GP, took third place on handicap having finished more than an hour after Team SCA.

The 21-strong J/109 class has seen very close action and plenty of place changing this week, with eight boats scoring podium finishes in the opening four races. Today they started from the Bramble line, beating west in hazy sun and 12-15 knots of WSWerly breeze. Hedley Aylott’s Me Julie led the pack at the pin end of the line, with Alastair Speare-Cole, Duncan Byatt and Jonathan Davidson’s Alice looking better placed further towards the committee boat. However, the fleet remained tightly packed in the early stages of the 3.5-mile first beat, with observers unable to pick out a clear leader at this stage.

By the finish Tor McLaren’s Inspara had pulled out an 81-second lead on Jamie Sheldon’s Jumunu to take his second win of the series. Neil McGrigor’s Boo was third on the water, but accepted a time penalty that saw her slip two places, leaving Christopher Sharples and Richard Acland’s Aspiration as third in today’s race, although the result is subject to protest.

Andrew Gordon’s Quatro Solutions made the best start today in the Sigma 38 class, at the southern end of the line, tacking immediately onto port and clearing ahead of the fleet, before flipping back onto starboard tack to cover them. Having started closer to the committee boat, Brian Skeet’s Marta was next best placed at the start. She went on to finish 62 seconds ahead of Quatro Solutions, but had to accept a time penalty for an infringement, which saw her adjusted time slip to almost a minute behind Quatro Solutions.

However, neither boat remained at the front of the fleet today. With an unbroken run of first places at the regatta so far, Chris and Vanessa Choules’ With Alacrity is able to make safe, conservative starts and then rely on superior boat speed to get ahead. Today, With Alacrity finished 72 seconds ahead of second-placed Nick Gale’s Zanzara, while Serena Alexander, Peter Hopps and Hilary Cook’s Sam took third place 28 seconds later.

IRC Class 7 saw a clean sweep of Folkboats on the podium in the fresher conditions. Edward Donald’s Madelaine, which started the day with a 1,1,1,2 scoreline, made the best start at the southern end of the line and soon pulled away into a useful lead on the water. He eventually posted a decisive win, finishing some nine minutes ahead of Paul Dunstan’s Mandarin, while third place on corrected time was taken by Jim and Joe Tennant’s Paloma, finishing another seven minutes later.

There were no surprises today at the top of the Contessa 32 fleet, with Ray Rouse’s Blanco finishing with a lead of more than four minutes to take a fifth successive win. However, there’s a close fight for second place, with Charles Hill’s Nimbus just one point ahead of Eldred Himsworth’s Drumbeat at the end of yesterday’s race. Today Drumbeat finished with a comfortable lead on Nimbus, leaving both boats on equal points after five races.

White Group

White Group dayboats starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron line headed to the east, with a following wind for their first leg today. The healthy fleet of 22 Sportsboats racing under IRC has seen two of the smallest boats – Glyn Locke’s Viper 640 Fer de Lance and Chris Turner’s VX One Zhik – dominating the top of the rankings. Today both were again at the head of the fleet at the start, with Locke closest to the outer distance mark and immediately hoisting his asymmetric spinnaker. However, it Turner got his kite set first and his ultra-light boat accelerated rapidly to double-digit speeds and a significant early lead.

The VX One’s clearly revelled in today’s stronger breezes, with the three boats taking all the podium places on corrected time. Howard Steavenson’s Abracadabra finished 40 seconds ahead of Turner to take first. Although Locke was third across the line a little over three minutes later, Nathan Batchelor’s lower-rated Grapefruit Graphics gained an 11-second advantage on corrected time to take third place.

In the RS Elite class Chris Preston’s Limelite started closest to the outer distance mark at the northern end of the line, gybing immediately after the gun before hoisting her spinnaker, which left Jason Proctor’s Wombat leading the fleet away on starboard gybe. It was not a good start to the day, however, for the class leader after the first four races, Jono Brown’s Aeolus, which was second to last at the end of the first leg. He then took the right hand side of the first beat, while the four leaders went left towards the Island shore, a decision that saw Brown move up to second place.

“In the last few hundred metres before the finish we had a tacking duel with Chris [Preston],” said Brown, “and we got past him right at the end of the race. Although the results make it look as though we are at the front of the fleet all the time, there are some very good sailors in this class and the boats are very matched, so we probably only spend 10 per cent of the time in the lead. But this week we’ve been there when it matters at the end of the race.” Today’s win for Brown was his fourth in five races, but it was by a margin of just 16 seconds on Preston, who in turn was followed over the line just 31 seconds later by Martin Wadham’s Kiss.

The day was rounded off with a 'One Hour Victory' race off the Green, starting at 1730, for the Victory class in recognition of its 80th anniversary this year. The race, in which each boat was crewed by a Cowes Week supporter, was won by Chatham Marine, ahead of Volvo and Solent Events.

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