Cowes Report Day 1-4
At the half way point in Cowes Week the overall standings are dominated by the effects of OCS results for some of the leading boats.
Kandoo III has maintained their form crossing the line first in three races, but only to discover that they, along with four other boats had been OCS in Monday’s race.
Kiss has, however, been the worst offender, finishing second each day after tussling with Kandoo but collecting two OCS disqualifications, while Aeolus, another boat from the front of the fleet, has collected one…
So, at this stage full marks to the Proctor family team in Wombat who won on Monday and currently lead overall with 9 points ahead of Steve Powell and Donald McClean sailing E’Tu (two-up) and Mark Allerston’s new Escapadeteam from Hayling Island in second and third respectively, equal on 13 points.
The strong breezes which gave some great sailing over the first few days have now been overtaken by a high pressure system likely to give light winds for the remainder of the week. Racing was abandoned on Tuesday after several postponements, due to insufficient wind. Light winds at Cowes Week, with big courses and wide potential separation on each leg, will put pressure on the top teams to keep a clean sheet, especially those who have blown their sole discard already! Mistakes or misfortune are not uncommon here. So, you’d have to say, the overall Cowes series it is still wide open at this point.
Cowes Report Day 5-7
The second half of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week started with not enough wind to carry the fleets against the Solent tidal network and an abandoned day saw much shopping, barhopping and sleeping. This was fairly useful as the Elite fleet were enjoying their customary intense social agenda for the week!
Racing recommenced on Thursday with a trip to the western Solent where winds are generally stronger. Kandoo and Aeolus were first to the windward mark followed closely by E’tu and Usain Boat. A fierce battle began in a good steady breeze and by the last run to the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line Kandoo, Aeolus and Usain Boat had pulled slightly ahead of E’tu. The three leading boats stayed close to the shore seeking less tide a but finding fluky winds when Donald Maclean in E’tu gybed into stronger tide but finding a puff of breeze that saw E’tu pass the three boats which were further inshore to take the winning gun. Crauford took second and the three Brown boys, with Jono’s brother James aboard today, in Aeolus third as Peter Dudgeon on Usain Boat discovered his own OCS of the week.
The final Friday and the fleet were sent to the east with the black spinnaker of Aeolus first off the line. The fleet split into two on the long spinnaker run out to Motherbank with Jono, Peter Dudgeon and Andrew Christie in Limelite all taking the more southerly route with the rest of the spinnakers flying in the north. A laden container ship approached menacingly which saw Limelite and Usain Boat disappear temporarily to leeward of the ship with Jono making the call to keep to windward with the rest of the fleet. This proved a costly decision for Aeolus as Limelite went round the windward mark first ahead of Aeolus, Usain Boat and then Kandoo. E’tu, with Donald Mclean and Steve Powell aboard, who had been in contention for second place at the start of the race were chasing the first four boats but then became embroiled in a tacking duel which saw them slipping down the fleet.
At the front meanwhile one of the best races of the week was underway with Peter Dudgeon in Usain Boat taking the lead from Andrew Christie and managing to hold off the chasing three boats for much of the race. Crauford was not to be held at bay however and took the lead from Peter on a gybing duel downwind which saw him edge in front by the next mark. This mark was to prove decisive in more ways than one as the RS Elites met with the SB3’s and as spinnakers were dropped and much shouting ensued both Usain Boat and Limelite came out to leeward of the SB3’s while Jono held back momentarily and made a tight mark rounding to keep windward of the other fleet seeing Aeolus move ahead of Usain Boat and within ‘whites of their eyes’ distance of Limelite.
By this time Crauford had disappeared into an assured Cowes Week winning position leaving the remaining three boats to battle for second and third place of the last race of the event. Usain Boat never truly recovered from his encounter with the SB3’s leaving Jono and Andrew to remain locked in a duel almost right to the Shrape finish line with Aeolus just edging ahead of Limelite to take second place to secure Jono’s second place overall.
The week therefore finished with the irrepressible Crauford in Kandoo III as winner with 6 points, Jono and Aeolus second with 13 points and E’tu with Donald on 17 points.
Another truly fantastic Cowes Week for the RS Elites with not only close and challenging racing on the Solent with navigational and tidal knowledge coming into play but we also enjoyed yet another week of partying together. The final night of the week saw the firework party night at the RCYC and of note are the new members of the class, the Usain Boat crew, showing the fleet they have what it takes on the dance floor.
Here’s looking forward to Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2014