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Sail Smart by Mark Chisnell
Sail Smart by Mark Chisnell

Quarter Ton Cup 2018 at Cowes - Day 1

by Fiona Brown 21 Jun 2018 05:40 BST 20-22 June 2018

The opening day of the 2018 Revival Quarter Ton Cup Regatta, being held off Cowes from 20 to 22 June, got off to a flying start with four cracking races in a steady west-south-westerly breeze of 12-18 knots. Although initially overcast, by the start of race three the sun had broken through and the second half of the day produced classic champagne sailing conditions for the 21 strong fleet. With short windward leeward courses in the Central Solent, Race Officer Rob Lamb kept the pace on to give his customers plenty of fast, furious and fun competition.

There's something of a ballistics theme to the overall standings at the end of day one, with Louise Morton's 1978 Fauroux designed Bullet taking three race wins and a seventh to give her a three-point overall lead from Julian Metherell's 1979 Fauroux designed Bullit, which was victorious in the final race of the day. Bullit is on equal points with Sam Laidlaw's Rolf Vrolik designed Aquila, who sits third overall on countback alone.

Louise and her team put their stamp on the regatta early with a terrific start in race one, which they translated into a handsome lead by the first mark after picking their way cleverly up the right side of the course. Louise's husband Peter Morton sailing the 1986 McIlraith designed Innuendo, which won the opening race of the 1987 Quarter Ton Cup in Cork, was close on her tail, but an uncharacteristic stumble as they hoisted the kite for the first time saw them spinning out into a classic Chinese gybe and loosing valuable time. With Innuendo out of the running it was Ian Southworth and the Whiskers boys who took second place with Aquila third. After sailing Whisker's John Santy noted, "We've had a fabulous day but it's incredibly close racing. There are just seconds in it so one slip and you're out the back door, but as usual we're loving every minute of it."

Initially it looked as if Aquila might have the better of Bullet in race two, but a mark rounding misjudgement saw her forced to take a penalty. Bullet went on to win by 35 seconds while Aquila had to be content with second place. Kieran Hayward's Blackfun, which was launched in 1976 to a Laurie Davidson design and won that year's Quarter Ton Cup in New Zealand with four straight wins, took third place.

The sun came out during race three adding that little extra sparkle to an already spectacular day's racing. Bullet once again ensured she was not only right on the line, but also in clear air – an invaluable commodity in a fleet as tight as this one. She romped home for her third win of the series ahead of Bullit, who took second place by a mere second from Innuendo.

The final race of the day brought slightly lighter conditions and saw Bullet miss her step for the first time in the series. Bullet's Kate Macgregor explained, "We just missed a few small shifts up the first beat. We managed to gain some places, but it's so close that it's hard to fight your way back." Bullit took full advantage of Bullet's misfortunes and stormed home to victory from Blackfun with Aquila third, just one second ahead of Pierre Paris's 1979 Fauroux designed Penguin Playboy.

In the Corinthian Competition for all amateur crews six teams are vying for the victor's laurels. Pinquin Playboy currently leads Robbie Stewart's Hellaby, which was designed by Laurie Davidson and finished second to Bullit in the 1980 Quarter Ton Cup in Auckland, by five points with Edward White's 1979 Jezequel designed Joker in third.

This year's competition sees the return to the fleet of several old friends including Jan Thirkettle's delightful Olivia Anne VI, which was built in 1974 to a Peter Norlin design and is a 26' Quarter Ton version of Norlin's Scampi Half Ton Cup winner. Jan and her team are no strangers to the Revival Quarter Ton Cup, and after some time off cruising they are delighted to be back on the race course. A second iteration design, still in near original configuration and sailed by a crew of family and friends, they may struggle to challenge their bigger third iteration sisters for the silveware, but that doesn't stop them enjoying themselves or sailing the boat extremely hard to a creditable 16th overall after four races.

The forecast for the second day of competition anticipates plenty of sunshine and a north-north-westerly breeze in the mid-teens. However, for Friday's final day conditions are expected to be very light. The Race Committee has confirmed that it hopes to run four more races on day two in case Friday's light winds limit the number of races possible

For further information about this event including full results please visit www.quartertoncup.org

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