The penultimate day of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week was another warm day with plenty of sun and winds of around 8-15 knots that increased to 12-20 knots with occasional stronger gusts during the afternoon as thermal enhancement boosted the gradient west-north-westerly breeze.
The larger Black Group classes started yesterday (Friday) on the Black Group Committee Boat, which was stationed near Lee on Solent on the north shore of the eastern Solent, before heading to the western Solent on a long beat against the tide and eventually finishing on the Royal Yacht Squadron line, in a classic Cowes Week finish under spinnaker and as close to the shore as they dared to keep out of the adverse tidal stream.
First to finish in IRC Class 2 was 83-year-old Piet Vroon’s hugely successful Ker 46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3, almost 10 minutes ahead of the second boat to cross the line, Richard Rankin’s elegant 12 Metre Italia. Both were able to save their time on handicap, with Andrew Pearce’s Ker 40 Magnum 3 taking third place on corrected time.
Although Pearce started today’s race comfortably leading the fleet overall, with a cushion of six points on Italia having scored only podium results, Vroon was able to discard an uncharacteristic 20 points from his retirement on Sunday, to win the class overall with a score of six points. Pearce took second overall on 11 points and Rankin third on 13 points.
IRC Class 3 encompasses five Figaro lls, a variety of fast 40 footers, including 11 First 40s, a trio of J/122s as well as older larger boats such as Jeremy Paul’s Nicholson 55 Astra and Lloyds Yacht Club’s Swan 53 Lutine. At the start of today’s race David Bartholomew’s King 40 Tokoloshe held an unassailable overall lead on 11 points, 8 points ahead the Mills 39 Zero ll Local Letterbox, skippered by James Gair. Third overall going into the final race was the lowest-rated boat in the fleet, Jim Macgregor’s Elan 410 Premier Flair.
Nicolas Loday’s French Grand Soleil 43 Codiam was first to finish today and saved her time to also win on handicap by four seconds over Macgregor. With Loday also able to discard a 21st place on the first day, he takes second overall, five points behind Bartholomew and 3.5 points ahead of Macgregor.
Report by Rupert Holmes/CWL
Photo by Rick Tomlinson/CWL