A good dose of sun and wind that slowly built in strength from 8-12 knots for the early starts to gusts of more than 20 knots during the early afternoon gave more great racing for Family Day at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.
The breeze was very shifty, with the mean direction varying through more than 30 degrees and big lulls that saw the wind speed drop by more than 50 per cent between the gusts.
This both challenged competitors, who had to constantly change gear to keep their boats moving at optimum pace, and gave the course setting teams a challenging morning to provide fleets with the best chance of decent upwind legs, despite the changing conditions. By the time the early Black Group yachts were finishing, the wind had built to give large gusts off the shore, treating competitors to quick spurts of downwind speed and spectators to a number of classic broaches and near misses as boats lost control.
Among the mishaps today were son and father team Rupert and John Mander, who have consistently won the two-person Flying 15 class in Men Behaving Badly for many more years than most can remember. During today’s race John fell out of the front of the boat – Rupert turned round and rescued his Dad without losing too much time, but the duo had to settle for an uncharacteristic second place, 28 seconds behind Nick Clarke’s Black.
Report by Rupert Holmes