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Lendy Cowes Week 2017 - Day 4

by Rupert Holmes on 2 Aug 29 July - 5 August 2017

A ridge of high pressure over the English Channel brought more bright and sunny weather, with a classic south-westerly breeze, to day four of Lendy Cowes Week. Tuesday's first start was for the big yachts in the Sevenstar Triple Crown fleet that are competing for some of the event's biggest trophies, including the historic gold Queen's Cup.

The towering rig of Ludde Ingvall and Sir Michael Hintze's 100ft maxi CQS, starting on the outer section of the Royal Yacht Squadron line, dwarfed those of the surrounding yachts. She tacked for the line 40 seconds before HRH The Princess Royal fired the starting cannon and quickly blasted away to a big lead on the water in the western Solent.

Today was also ELEMIS Ladies Day, which recognises outstanding contribution, commitment, and achievement of women in sailing, with the Ladies Day Trophy. Amanda Marino, racing her Half Tonner Chimp in IRC Class 6, won the Royal Southern Yacht Club's Ariel Trophy, which is awarded for the best result obtained by a female helm.

"I'm absolutely delighted," Marino said. "We really didn't expect to win because there are some really competent and successful ladies on the racecourse, so we are quite taken aback. We sailed well as a team and it was good conditions for the boat, she likes a breeze, so as the wind picked up the boat took off."

Black Group

IRC Class 0 started at the same time as the Sevenstar Triple Crown yachts, but on the shorter inner section of the Royal Yacht Squadron line. Bernard Langley's TP52 Gladiator misjudged the strength of the cross tide on the approach to the northern end of the line and was forced out, losing valuable ground and failed to find a lane of clean air on the early part of the first beat.

Jonas Grander's Elliot 44 Matador made a good start at the inshore end of the line, as did Christian Zugel's Mat 1180 Tschuss, a little further offshore, with both boats quickly tacking onto port to head towards the stronger favourable tide in deeper water. Gladiator recovered from her slow start to take line honours more than 20 minutes ahead of Igor Yakunin's Ker 46 Lady Mariposa R, and also won on corrected time, while Tschuss took third place behind Lady Mariposa on handicap.

The stronger ebb stream in the early part of the day created problems for a number of classes, including a general recall for IRC Class 1. Sam Cox's King 40 Nifty notched up a second win in the class today, ahead of James Gair's Mills 39 Zero ll – Cowes Race School and Mike Greville's Ker 39 Erivale lll.

"It was another fantastic day on the racecourse," said Cox, "but winning is not as easy as it sounds. We have four boats in particular including Erivale IIl, Cobra, and Zero II, racing almost on a level rating basis. It has been really tight and tough racing but thankfully we've had some really good courses too. Today I think it was all about reading the tides, and calling the laylines correctly."

IRC Class 2 also had a clean start, with Nick Southward and John Scott's J/122 Team Whiskey Jack making a perfectly timed start, hitting the southern end of the Bramble line at speed. Among the boats starting nearer the committee boat was the class leader after the first three races, Andrew McIrvine's First 40 La Reponse. McIrvine cemented his overall lead by winning today's race, ahead of two other First 40s, Alex and Andy Moore's Tilt, and David Rolfe's Shadowfax.

IRC Class 3 also had a clean start, with Igor Rytov's Russian JPK 1080 Bogatyr making a perfectly timed approach at the pin, with Johann Bouic's Archambault 35R Altikhan on her windward quarter. Adam Gosling's JPK10.80 Yes! started mid-line in a clear lane of slightly lifted wind, looking very well placed, as was Brenda McMahon's First 40.7 MCM Fandango, in clear air further north nearer the committee boat. However the pin end of the line was favoured in terms of tide, as boats starting there would emerge more quickly into the strongest favourable tide.

Yes! took line honours at the end of the race and was far enough ahead to save her time on Chris Ivill's new J/112E Davanti Tyres by a margin of just four seconds. Bogatyr was third, almost one and a half minutes behind Davanti Tyres.

White Group

In the RS Elite class Andy Partington's Lazy Daisy started at the outer end of the line, in clean air and with a tidal advantage. Ossie Stewart's More T Vicar and Freddie Peters Riff Raff, the overall leader after the first three races, were also well placed, more towards the middle of the line.

On their first downwind leg, as they passed Cowes on the way towards the eastern Solent, Riff Raff held a useful five boat length lead ahead of More T Vicar and Brian Corry's Tuppence. Riff Raff was also ahead at the finish, crossing the line more than two minutes ahead of Colin Smith's Shaken Not Stirred, while More T Vicar took third place ahead of Tuppence.

"We had another great race today," said Peters, who is one of the youngest skippers at Lendy Cowes Week, at the age of 14. "We were lying second on the second downwind leg of the windward/leeward section of the race, when we spotted a handy shift on the right-hand side of the course and, with spot on crew work, we pulled off a good gybe set. This was the turning point in the race and from there on we were able to pull away and retain our lead to the finish."

The Sonar fleet bunched together in the stronger favourable tide at the outer end of the start line, with the Island Sailing Club's Hibiscus leading in to the start half a length ahead of Barry Byham's Dolphin. Meanwhile, Pisces was hanging back a couple of lengths astern, worried about the risk of starting prematurely – a wise precaution, given Hibiscus was OCS at the gun.

Alastair Barter's Bertie avoided the scrum at the end of the line, starting in clean air a little further inshore and tacking quickly onto port. Five minutes in Barter had extended his lead on the fleet, ahead of Dolphin and David Peerless' Wisconsin. Having been slow to return to start correctly, Hibiscus was trailing the back markers by more than 200 metres at this stage. Barter crossed the finish line first, 34 seconds ahead of Dolphin, with Andy Cassell's Jenny taking third place.

The Flying 15 class took a fairly conservative approach at the start, with Mike Bol and Gil McCutcheon's Ffuraha closest to the line at the outer end, a length to windward and ahead of Will Heritage's Freddie Flintoff. Sam Chan's Freefire was also well placed on the line, a few lengths closer to the shore.

At the end of the first beat Heritage held a 10 length lead on Bol and McCutcheon, with the newest boat in the fleet, Charles Apthorp's Foof, a similar distance back in third place. By the finish Apthorp had gained a 52 second advantage on Heritage, while Tony Beddingfield's Durban Flyer had worked up into third place.

In the 26-strong Squib class, Amy Gaskin and George Downer's distinctive White Tiger started at the outer end of the line, while David Lloyd's Seven led a group of boats around five lengths closer inshore. Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey's Lady Penelope was also well placed ahead of another tightly packed bunch in the middle of the line.

Lady Penelope led around the first mark, five lengths ahead of Steve Warren-Smith and Stu Rix's Aquabat, with David Wines and Keith Davies' White Magic following in third place a further 10 lengths back. These three boats took the leaders' guns at the finish, with Aquabat enjoying a two minute advantage on White Magic, and Lady Penelope finishing a minute later.

The separation of the leaders belied the closeness of the competition within this fleet. Emma Baker and Sam Prime's Buccaneer finished ninth, leading a tightly packed group of five boats that all crossed the line within 100 seconds after more than two and a half hours of racing. Similarly, 15th placed Joe and Marc Moncrieff's Crazy Diamond led home a gaggle of four boats that finished just 46 seconds apart.

SB20 and J/70 mini series

Today marked the end of the eight race mini series the SB20 and J/70 classes have enjoyed over the first four days of the regatta. John Pollard's Xcellent won the SB20 Grand Slam, counting only podium results, with Elliot Noye's Porco Rosso second and Michael Cooper's Export Roo third.

Subject to protest, Paul Childs' F'in Magic 2 is winner of the J/70 series, on 16 points. Ali Hall's Sceptre was second on 24 points, just ahead of Jack Davies' Yeti, on 24.5 points. Both classes will continue to compete, with one race per day, for the rest of the regatta.

The Volvo Ocean Race comes to Cowes

Tomorrow's race for the big yachts in the Sevenstar Triple Crown fleet will include all seven of the entries in the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race. Dubbed as 'Leg Zero' of the round the world race, this will be the first time they will have raced against each other. They will also be joined by the 100ft supermaxi CQS and by the Volvo 60 Team Jolokia.

On Wednesday a 50-mile race around the Isle of Wight is scheduled, with the course most likely to be clockwise. The start, at 0950, followed five minutes later by the IRC Class 0 yachts.

An exclusion zone around the start line will apply from 0930 to 1010, with other craft prohibited from an area immediately north of Cowes bounded by South Bramble, Prince Consort, Gurnard, North East Gurnard and Williams Shipping buoys.

www.lendycowesweek.co.uk

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