After nearly five hours of racing, it all came down to just 12 seconds. Sir Keith Mills Ker40+ Invictus came from behind to win the prestigious Royal Thames YC 1840 Challenge Cup on the second day of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. The Royal Thames Yacht Club has the largest collection of silver in private hands in the United Kingdom and the cup, which pre-dates the America’s Cup, is one of the finest and most valuable in the collection.
The 13 strong FAST40+ fleet had a competitive start in the Central Solent and the lead changed hands four times during the Stewart Whitehead’s British Carkeek 40 Rebellion had a pitched battle with Mike Bartholomew’s South African GP42 Tokoloshe for the Committee Boat end with Jonnie Goodwin’s British Harlequin on 42 South.
All three boats chose to head for the main land shore and Tokoloshe held their lane better than the competition to take a commanding position at the start. Bill Coates Texan Ker 43 Otra Vez showed their excellent upwind speed to take the lead as the fleet passed Beaulieu, and held poled position at Hurst Castle.
However, Invictus and Peter Morton’s Carkeek 40+ Girls on Film lit up downwind, hitting 20 knots of boat speed to accelerate to the front. After a terrific duel back to the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Invictus had the upper hand, and held on to win the race, just over a boat length in front of Girls on Film. Tokoloshe crossed the line a minute later to take third. Otra Vez led the chasing pack to take fourth. Unfortunately for Andrew Pearce’s KER40+ Magnum4, a backstay issue put the team out of the race.
“Just a great day at the races.” smiled Invictus’ Sir Keith Mills. “A tough beat upwind, trying to catch Tokoloshe and Otra Vez, they sailed really well and stayed ahead of us all the way to Hurst Castle. Then after over an hour of beating, we were rewarded with sensational downwind sailing battling hard with Tokoloshe and side by side with Girls on Film. Sunshine 20 knots of wind and close competitive racing; that is why we have the FAST40+ Class. It was a very rewarding day on the water.”
Peter Morton was enjoying the beer tent atmosphere after racing with his crew from Girls on Film. “A really good course today and very demanding, we put in 97 tacks on the way up to Hurst. We didn’t get the best of starts so getting back to second was a good outcome.”
Racing at AAM Cowes Week, the Third Round of the FAST40+ Series continues tomorrow, Monday 7th August. Invictus leads on Countback from Girls on Film. Johnny Vincent’s KER40+ Pace is third.
by Fast40 Class