Racing for the FAST40+ Class at Lendy Cowes Week started right on schedule but it was a far from an ordinary day in the grand prix class at Britain’s favourite regatta. In blazing heat, and a light yet stable northerly breeze, Niall & Olivia Dowling’s Pace won Race One having nailed the pin end of the line of the windward-leeward course.
Pace made the correct tactical decisions for the remainder of the race to take the gun by a minute and a half from Steve Cowie’s Zephyr. Peter Morton’s Girls on Film was third.
Race Two, with a round the cans course started in a fading breeze. Pace was leading Hitchhiker when the race was abandoned as the wind dropped to barely a breadth. Whilst Pace were ruing their bad luck, Zephyr was counting their blessings. The Scottish team went aground at Gurnard Ledge but will live to fight another day.
“Flat water is a lot better than the waves on the West Coast of Ireland.” mused Niall Dowling, who steered Ker 43 Baraka to victory in last month’s Round Ireland Race before buying Ker40+ Pace after three charters in the early season. “We got a great start at the pin end and the team just did a magnificent job to keep us at the front. This is the first race Olivia and I have raced the boat as owners, so the win will always be a memorable one. We were leading in the second race, side by side with Hitchhiker, and we would have both loved to have continued.
Racing in the FAST40+ Class is just great.”
Steve Cowie’s Botin Carkeek designed Zephyr had a day of joy and pain, as Kev Miller explains. “At the start of Race One, we made a last minute decision to opt for the Committee Boat end to avoid the traffic at the favoured pin, and it paid off. Pace sailed well for their victory, and Morty (Girls on Film) was putting some pressure on us from behind, but we stayed in there and kept our heads. Unfortunately we had an electronics problem all day, and had nothing on the box when we over did it inside Gurnard. Hamble Yacht Services got us lifted out and Tim Corney, Luke Cross and Mark Devereux, are hard at it tonight working on the boat, but I am glad to say we have no structural damage, just a few flesh wounds, and we will be back pumped up tomorrow.”
by Louay Habib