The Victory class sailed across the Solent today from their very own Portsmouth-based Victory Class Sailing Club which was established in 1934, the same year that the first yachts were built, to make a first ever one-day guest appearance at the Haines Boatyard Race Day of the 2017 Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week (CSDCCW).
Designed by Alfred Westmacott, six Victories enjoyed three windward leeward courses with wins going one each to three boats Ziva, Zarena and Zelia but top slot on points went to Mark Dennington’s Ziva. The Victory class continues to thrive, with new GRP boats being built in the last few years. Zoe Whittaker of Zelia reported “The class came over to CSDCCW for the first time to see what it was all about. Racing was very close and we had to play a lot of shifts upwind into the south close to the island shore.” Zelia helm Geoff Dixon added “The Victories are a very tight class, with only seconds of separation.” The Victory is similar in looks to the X One Design, which has a fleet at the regatta, and like the XOD, is designed for the conditions in the Solent.
On the same circuit, close to the Island shore the Bembridge One Designs, another Solent class, also raced tight courses. All the owners in the class periodically vote to collectively make major upgrades to keep their boats identical. The BODs were built between 1933 and 1935, and have since been restored and then re-decked in 1989. Jos Coad, sailing the simply-named BOD 12, who was Class Captain for 20 years, said, “The BODs have been coming to CSDCCW since 2009. The courses are ideal for our fleet – we aim for two 90 minute races each day.” They had good racing despite being slightly underpowered due to making a whole-class choice to carry storm mainsails, the smaller of two mains from which the class makes a selection each day. A F5 wind which was anticipated didn’t materialise on their sheltered race course. James Rowe in BOD 8 holds onto first place after five races with a first and third today.
The Classic cruisers sailed one race today on a course which largely followed the windward leeward format but over a larger stretch of the Solent. A beat westwards toward Newtown on the Island shore was followed by runs back along the middle of the Solent. The fleet split to the north and south but there was still some tight racing especially amongst the Folkboats, Twisters, SCODs and Contessa 26s. A collision resulted in broken spreaders for Folkboat Samphire, but undaunted, owner James Hoare went to the mainland to locate replacements so that he and his crew can be back in contention tomorrow (Thursday). After a win today Ado Jardine sailing Nordic Folkboat Tak holds onto second place overall in the Folkboat class after three days of racing, behind Claire Locke and her crew in The Otter.
Sailing over the same course Twister Sea Urchin took her second win of the series. “She’s a hard boat to beat,” said Peter Mulville of sister Twister Viveza. “There is intense rivalry amongst our small fleet when we are racing,” he says. The CSDCCW is the only time of the year that we all come together. We put everything into getting the best performance out of our boats.” This is despite the fact that Viveza is 45 years old. “She was built by my father in the garden, and passed from him to me,” adds Peter. “She’s never had another owner.”
With a rating similar to the 25’ 2” Nordic Folkboat but measuring only 18’ 6”, an unusual looking yacht stands out in the small ‘Blue’ Fleet. She is Eeyore and she is competing against, amongst others, Contessa 26s and Old Gaffers like the pretty Winifrid, based on an 1894 Hereshoff design. Named in honour of the gloomy situation in which she was found “behind a Nottingham power station” by current owner Jo Richards, Eeyore has been restored to meet the pre-1975 design rule of the CSDCCW. “She was an Alacrity, built in 1964,” explains Jo. “I took the deck off and put on a different one which I just happened to have lying around, and then refitted the boat.” Eeyore isn’t yet up with the winners, having only sailed two of three races but a second and third is making her a threat to leader Mike Harrison on Jiminy Cricket, a Contessa 26.
The 10 metre Bojar and S&S 43 Firebrand enjoyed some very close racing just inches apart, only briefly interrupted by Bojar’s bowman being knocked overboard but quickly recovered from the water. Bojar’s delay gave first place away to Firebrand by just 10 seconds on corrected time.
Racing continues tomorrow until Friday for all classes including Darings, XODs, 8 metres, Swallows, Solent Sunbeams 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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