UK’s Cowes produced almost ideal conditions for day three of the currently running Panerai British Classic Week, where Squadron Racing Ltd ran two more amazing races in the Central Solent for the fleet of 52 yachts. With hot sun, a balmy sea breeze that built from sub 10 to almost 20 knots and more gleaming varnish and brass than one can shake a stick at, it was a fantastic day’s sailing and great fun was had by all. With four of the seven race series now concluded, the overall standings are shaping up and the upcoming three days are expected to be full of excitement.
In Class 3 Christine and Giovanni Belgrano’s Whooper continues to dominate, winning both of today’s races to make it four straight wins overall. Andy King’s Gluckauf took second in both races and Rob Gray and Sam Laidlaw’s Clarionet was third in both. In the overall standings Whooper unsurprisingly leads Class 3 with just four points. Although Gluckauf was the better performer today she is counting a Did Not Compete from yesterday’s Around The Island Race and so Clarionet is lying in second overall on eleven points with Gluckauf two points behind them in third.
Mikado, owned by Michael Briggs, also claimed two first places today in Class 4 and so jumps into the lead overall with a seven point margin. After a lacklustre start to the regatta, Bob Gatehouse’s Erida found her form this morning to finish second in race three, just ahead of David Foster and Ben Gillett’s Leopard who also favoured this morning’s lighter conditions. This afternoon Jonathan and Scilla Dyke’s Cereste took second from David Messum’s Nausicaa. In the overall standings Mikado is leading with seven points, Nausicaa is second on fourteen points and Cereste is third on twenty-two points.
Sean McMillan’s Spirit 52 Flight of Ufford was once again the most consistent performer in Class 1, adding a first and second to their score card. Stephen O”Flaherty’s Soufriere won race four and having claimed third in race three she now lies in second place overall, just three points behind Flight of Ufford. Michael Hough’s Chloe had another good day with a second and third so lies just two points back in third overall.
In Class 2 race three proved to be somewhat controversial. There was a start line port starboard incident between David Murrin’s Cetewayo and Ebsen Poulsson and Ed Dubois’ sailing yacht Firebrand that later resulted in the Protest Committee awarding a 4% penalty against Firebrand. Then Cetewayo misjudged their approach to Gurnard Ledge and made contact with the buoy requiring them to take a 2% penalty. Jamie Matheson’s Opposition was the clear winner of the race and after all the penalties were applied Firebrand was scored second and Cetewayo third. Race four was decided entirely on the water with victory going to Cetewayo with Opposition second and Firebrand third. In the overall standings Class 2 is now led by Firebrand on eight points, Cetewayo is second on nineteen points and Opposition is just one point further back in third.
In the 8 Metres the opening race of the day went to Christopher Courage’s Helen who was also looking very good in race four until they became aware that the boat, which they only took possession of last week, was taking water fast. Unable to immediately trace the source of the water they pulled up on the final beat allowing their fellow competitors to sail on by. Back ashore they discovered the offending problem was a faulty bilge pump which was back filling. Christopher, who currently counts two wins and two retirements, joked that, “If we could just finish the races we’d be winning the regatta!” Whilst Helen had her dramas Murdoch McKillop’s Saskia was proving to be the most consistent boat of the day with a pair of second places, while Athena finished third in race three and went on to win race four. In the overall standings Saskia now leads the 8 Metres by a single point from Athena with Helen two points behind in third.
This evening the participants are making the most of the wonderful weather with an Open Boats Dock Party sponsored by Classic Boat and Wight Vodka. This event is a perennial favourite as not only does it give you a chance to take a look at your competitors boats, but its also the perfect opportunity to compare battle stories and swop tips on the restoration and maintenance of these wonderful yachts.
Tomorrow will feature race five in the main points series followed by the Ladies Race, where the boats must helmed by lady. The first start will be at 10.00 from the Royal Yacht Squadron line with the second race following on. After sailing the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club will host the traditional crews party.
Racing continues until Friday 18 July and the event will conclude with a Parade of Sail past the Royal Yacht Squadron and Cowes Green at 11.00 on Saturday 19 July.