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CHANGING TIDES AT COWES WEEK

Rupert Holmes Early AAM Cowes Week Outlook_2013Rupert Holmes looks ahead to the tides for this year’s Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, and takes a look at the weather and changes to the Sailing Instructions.

High water on the opening day is 10:05, so for the first few days of the regatta, the entire start sequence will see the tide setting to the west. At the same time, water levels will be falling during the racing, so be careful if sailing in shallow water to avoid an adverse tidal stream – if you run hard aground you may get stuck.

Later in the week tides become larger and move later in the day, with high water on the final day at 14:30. This means that early starters will progressively be starting in slack or east-going stream, with the inshore eddy that forms close to the shore likely to play an important part in White Group starts – make sure you have the best tidal information you can find.

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While it’s too early to predict exactly what’s likely to happen with the weather this year, early indications are of a ridge of high pressure pushing northwards over the south coast, shielding the Solent from more inclement weather that may affect areas further north in the UK. At the same time, the indications are of a sufficiently strong pressure gradient to give perfect winds for racing, most likely a force 4 or 5 over the first few days.

Following a general simplification of the Sailing Instructions over the past few years, there are relatively few changes for this year’s event. The biggest of these, however, will affect all Black Group competitors, as the start line is moved further east than last year, to the south of the Bramble Bank. It’s again shorter than it has traditionally been, and is now known as the Bramble line.

It’s worth getting along to the skippers’ briefings at the Events Centre in Cowes Yacht Haven – these are at 18:30 on Friday 2 August for White Group Classes and at 19:30 for Black Group competitors.

Anyone still thinking about entering for this year still has time to do so. Entries are accepted until 17:00 the day before any given day of racing but entries received after 17:00 on Wednesday 31st July must be made in person at the Regatta Centre.

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