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Contessa 26 National Championship at the Island Sailing Club, Cowes

by Mike Harrison 9 Sep 2015 16:13 BST 5-6 September 2015

A very successful National Championships was hosted on 5 and 6 September by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes.

As the idea of class racing evolves and gains popularity there were several highly sorted well-sailed and competitive boats sailing in the IRC Division. This event does however cater for all with separate Championships results for the Class Handicap non IRC entries with separate Divisions for boats sailing with spinnakers and White sails only for those wanting to compete in a slightly less competitive environment.

The IRC division had 3 races on day 1, and the Class Handicap entrants 2. The day started with a light North westerly breeze and after a short delay, whilst the wind settled to around 8 kts to the satisfaction of Principal Race Officer Phil Hagen and his strong team, Race 1 of 3 for the day started. The Class Handicap fleets joined races 2 and 3. The IRC format for the day was 2 windward / leewards followed by a short round the cans fleet taking the fleet to a finish off Cowes. The breeze steadily built to a comfortable 15 kts at the end of race 3. In race 1 Meow (Chris Charles worth) was first to finish with impressive boat speed but subsequently retired from the race following a pre start incident, which awarded the race to the well sailed High Potential (Sarah Bole), followed by Genesee (Euan Kerr and Tom Olden) who have been improving their performance all year, and the evergreen Elinor (Justine Houlton sailing his popular father, class Secretary David's boat). In race 2 Genesee won followed by High Potential and Applejack (Craig Cossar). In the third IRC race Meow was the victor followed by Genesse and Elinor. In different races in this competitive fleet both Meow and High Potential suffered OCS's in different races on the day.

In the Class Handicap fleets in the spinnaker fleet Quincy (Bob Coates) followed up on his victory as first Co 26 in the Island Sailing Club Rating System class RTI with a win followed by Thousand Knights (Richard Pickance) joined for this event by Mike Harrison and some of the Jiminy Cricket crew. In their second race these positions were then reversed. In the White Sails Division Curvaceous (Deborah Bell and Mark Arnold) took the first of their 3 bullets of the event and were impressively in amongst some of the spinnaker boats.

Although Sunday's early morning apparent lack of wind in Cowes and the forecast looked as if racing would be questionable the top race team was able to get the fleet started in the slack tide region on the Bramble Bank race area in around 6 kts of a north to north westerly breeze and set a round the cans course with various options for shortening course available. After a couple of hours racing the wind in the central Solent dropped for the day and the race was sensibly shortened at Sunsail although the falling breeze and partial cross tide final run caused difficulties for some. The IRC fleet was won by Meow by a big margin followed by High Potential and Genesse. Thousand Knights finished first in the Class Handicap fleet followed by Quincy and Curvaceous won again in the white Sails class.

ISC ran an excellent Championships for the Class both on and off the water and the racing coupled with the well known and what is becoming legendary CO 26 social fellowship contributed to make a great regatta.

Overall Results:

1) High Potential
2) Genesse
3) Meow

Class Handicap
1) Thousand Knights
2) Quincy

Class handicap with Spis
1) Curvaceous
2) Perilcles (Tim Newberry)

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