Rick Tomlinson Photography / www.rick-tomlinson.com

Two bullets for Antix

As France has a hero to zero moment on the opening day of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup

Sunday July 20th 2014, Author: James Boyd / www.sailingintelligence.com, Location: United Kingdom

Ireland has not competed in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup since winning the event in 2010, but today on the Solent the defending champions once removed got off to a strong start in the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews.

The Emerald Isle has one of the strongest teams competing in Cowes this week, led, as in 2010, by Anthony O'Leary and the Ker 39, Antix, recent winner of the RORC's IRC National Championship. Today's two inshore races were held in light conditions in the southeastern Solent and Antix won both. With additional consistent performances by her Irish team mates, American Marc Glimcher's turboed Ker 40 Catapult and Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling's Grand Soleil 43 Quokka 8, Ireland now leads the 2014 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup with a 19 point advantage over GBR Red.

"On Christmas morning you'd say 'yes please',"said Anthony O'Leary of Antix's performance. "We got away cleanly in the two starts. We had a nice position on the line and were able to rumble on without interference, which meant we could make our own decisions. The second race was a bit all over the place. But at the moment it is just shadow boxing - the offshore is what is really important." The event's 24-36 hour long offshore race sets sail tomorrow.

Today's first race was a windward-leeward, held in a light 6-8 knot westerly with the start line set off Osborne Bay. The second was around the cans but took place as the southwesterly sea breeze was attempting to fill in over the light gradient. This caused the wind to shut down mid-way through as the fleet were attempting to round a mark in Osborne Bay. The leaders slipped through but the fleet ended up split in two with half a mile of separation.

"The fleet concertinaed down in Osborne Bay, but we managed to pick the right lane to the next buoy which dug us out of that," continued O'Leary.

Equally consistent, coming home second and exactly 30 seconds behind Antix on corrected in both races, was the Scottish team's Swan 45, Eala of Rhu. "It was a very good day for the team," said owner James McGarry, for whom this is his first Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

Eala of Rhu is the longest boat competing and her waterline length paid particularly on the beats in today's flat water races. "We need to get off the line and into clear air to get trucking," said McGarry. "Tactically the tide did a lot for us as well, keeping on the right side of the course and keeping out of the deep water."

As to the tricky Osborne Bay mark rounding, McGarry described it: "The wind went inside out, it died off but we were lucky enough to plug our way around the mark, get across what should have been the reach and then fight our way uptide to the finish. It could have been completely the opposite."

After two inshore races, Scotland is fourth of the nine teams. Roderick Stuart and Bill Ram's Corby 37 Aurora struggled today, but as McGarry observed: "They get pinned into a much larger group of boats and have a seriously hard job of trying to fight their way out of it. They are sailing the boat well."

Lying second in the overall team results is GBR Red, where Seb and Mike Blair's King 40, Cobra, was star performer today, posting a third in both races.

Helmsman Chris Walmsley said of their races: "In the first, we wanted to be left off the line which we were and then take the first opportunity to tack back up the middle. We felt the middle was where the best breeze was all day. In the second, the sea breeze was fighting to come in the whole time and it never quite reached us until literally the end of the last leg. We were on an A-sail reach heading into Osborne Bay and it turned into a beat as we got back into the older, left-over breeze.

"Generally we are very pleased. We are about where we expected to be in the fleet with other boats."

Leading overall after today's first race was France Green, the team comprising the eclectic mix of Gilles Caminade's A-35R Chenapan 3, Eric Basset's Farr 30 Motivé - the shortest boat competing - and Eric De Turkheim's radical new Archambault A13, Teasing Machine.

Teasing Machine is 43ft long, weighs more and rates lower than a Ker 40, but has a powerful beamy hull shape complete with a VO70/IMOCA 60 style chamfer running along her deck edge. Unfortunately an error in the second race, that caused her to get caught in a wind hole off the island shore in the second part of the opening beat, caused her to finish last.

Tactician on board is Laurent Pagès, part of Franck Cammas' Volvo Ocean Race-winning Groupama team, who admitted: "We were thinking of continuing southwest into the left shift and as it was pretty light at that stage we hoped to get out of the tide. But actually it was the wrong move because we got into a very soft spot and in the meantime the breeze shifted pretty hard into the right. In a very short time it was a very heavy penalty."

Owner Eric De Turkheim was more philosophical: "There is a long way to go. We are pretty happy with the boat, as it was only launched three weeks ago. Today was tough, but I hope we will get better tomorrow."

The course for tomorrow's offshore race will be announced this evening.

Team results:

Pos Team  Tot
1 Ireland 41
2 GBR Red 60
3 France Blue 77
4 Scotland 81.5
5 GBR White 83
6 France Green 87
7 France Red 100
8 GBR Blue 105
9 France White 121.5

Boat performances


Pos Sail No Boat Type Team TCC R1 R2 Tot
1 IRL3939 Antix Ker 39 Ireland 1.131 1 1 2
2 GBR7745R Eala Of Rhu Swan 45 Scotland 1.181 2 2 4
3 GBR8888N Cobra King 40 GBR Red 1.118 3 3 6
4 USA1253 Catapult Ker 40 Ireland 1.21 7 4 11
5 FRA35421 Goa A40 France Blue 1.088 6 6 12
6 IRL39000 Localletterbox Zero II Mills 39 GBR White 1.117 5 7 12
7 NED40010 Cutting Edge Ker 40 GBR Red 1.199 10 8 18
8 FRA38749 Chenapan3 A35R France Green 1.042 9 13 22
9 GBR1242R Yeoman of Wight J/109 GBR Blue 1.028 14 10 24
10 GBR2215L Quokka 8 Grand Soleil 43 Ireland 1.1 23 5 28
11 FRA36777 Codiam Grand Soleil 43 France Blue 1.102 12 19 31
12 FRA38757 Teasing Machine A13 France Green 1.174 4 27 31
13 FRA29960 Pen Koent First 40.7 France Red 1.047 15 17 32
14 NED7025 Eleuthera Grand Soleil 44 R France Red 1.111 8 24 32
15 GBR8601R INO Corby 36 GBR White 1.081 11 22 33
16 GBR8140C Zephyr First 40 Scotland 1.092 17.5 16 33.5
17 FRA35439 Inis Mor Ker 39 France Blue 1.123 25 9 34
18 FRA56002 Motivé Farr 30 France Green 1.056 13 21 34
19 FRA27691 MUSIX Grand Soleil 37 France White 1.026 20 14 34
20 FRA35080 Dunkerque Plaisance - Gill Racing Team A35 France White 1.03 17.5 18 35.5
21 GBR3700L Fatjax X 37 GBR Red 1.037 24 12 36
22 FRA5040B Beelzebuth 3 Grand Soleil 40 France Red 1.061 16 20 36
23 GBR1466R Diamond Jem J/109 GBR Blue 1.025 21 15 36
24 GBR741R Hooligan VII Ker 40 GBR White 1.192 27 11 38
25 GBR7737R Aurora Corby 37 Scotland 1.094 19 25 44
26 GBR3213L Dusty P First 40 GBR Blue 1.079 22 23 45
27 FRA35950 Nutmeg Sparkling Charter J/122 France White 1.077 26 26 52


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