Perfect conditions provided a recipe for spectacular racing on the second day of the 10th Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week. 12 to 14 knots of breeze blowing steadily from the east were the ingredients for the starts of today’s Henri Lloyd Race Day, on the four committee boat courses in the mid-Solent.
The heat was on to take home the overall cup for the day, the perpetual Henri Lloyd Trophy donated by Henri Strezlecki, the late founder of the clothing company, 20 years ago. The honour went to Martin Jones and his crew on Betty in the fiercely competitive Solent Sunbeam fleet, who took two firsts in the day’s racing. “It’s all about the start,” said Martin, who normally sails an International 14 and was making a guest appearance on Betty. “We were very lucky both times to get off the line and into clean air. Once we had the lead we just seemed to keep hold of it.”
The day was not without its dramas, especially on the X One Design start line which, by the time racing was finally underway in race 2, had lost a quarter of its fleet, 10 boats, to black flag disqualifications. The first race was won cleanly by Penelope Fulford’s Rachel, which led throughout the race in what was a very tight fleet – but then the tide turned and fun began. Race Office Bob Milner reported “After a first general recall we were forced to black flag the second race … and the third. Like Betty, also attributing their success to winning the start was Ibex, which won the second race. Oliver James, who was on the Ibex team mused “It was a day of many starts,” adding “Conditions were great for the XODs. We got a clean start with a lot less boats in the way and managed to extend our lead around the course.”
Another double winner on the committee boat courses today was John Corby who was back again once again on Doublet, to take two firsts in the 14 strong Daring fleet. John rescued the 45 year old Doublet from a local yard for just £10 before going on to completely restore her two years ago. “Credit has to go to the crew,” he says “including my helmsman Andrew McLelland. We had great conditions although the wind built to the top end of the Daring range towards the finish, so that we were almost surfing downwind.”
Meanwhile, the four classes for larger Classic Cruisers raced round the cans taking a first beat westwards and a number of legs to the east of Cowes. “It was quite hard work for the crews in the building breeze,” said Circuit Race Officer Derek Hodd. “We gave three upwind legs to the larger two classes and two to the smaller ones.” The conditions suited Richard Hargreaves’ 1970-built Twister Sea Urchin who beat three fellow Twisters in the ‘Green’ class and taking first in the class overall. Fighting it out in Green too were the South Coast One Designs (SCOD), the 25ft 11in long-keeled cruiser/racer designed in 1955. Jake Tari’s Stirling had a strong 14 minute lead at the finish over second placed Adelie (Barry Corke).
Also in Green, Nordic Folkboat The Otter, built in 2001 but designed way back in 1941, remained unbeatable amongst the Nordic and International Folkboats after two days of racing. Owner Claire Locke was able to see off Ado Jardine in Tak who had to settle for second place.
Today a nine-strong class of Squibs made a special appearance for one day only to race from a committee boat line set further to the east. The Squib class, designed over half a century ago, made its annual journey from Fishbourne in the east of the Isle of Wight for a superb day of racing, especially for winner M Harrison in Hussar.
Racing continues tomorrow until Friday for all classes including Bembridge One Designs, 8 metres and Vintage Dragons.
The organising club, the Royal London Yacht Club, is supported by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club and Island Sailing Club. The event is famous for its apres-race social programme including the daily RLYC tea parties for competitors.
Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week is grateful to supporting sponsors Haines Boatyard, Winkworth, Harken, Red Funnel, Cowes Harbour Commission, Kendalls Fine Art and Classic Boat magazine, and for the first time Henri Lloyd.
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Photo credits; Rick Tomlinson.
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