On a slightly damp and overcast Monday in Cowes the Etchells Invitational Regatta for the Gertrude Cup continued with four races held in six to sixteen knots of breeze which started out at 320 degrees going left to 240 over the course of the day.
Only one race had a significant shift in it however with the rest providing plenty of small shifts and opportunity for losing and gaining places.
Stars of the show were Chris Hampton from the Royal Brighton yacht club in Melbourne and Abu Dhabi based Australian sailor Jan Muysken. For Hampton the name of the game was consistency posting two, three, six, three to leap to the top of the leaderboard. For Muysken the glory was in winning two of the four races which on a day of difficult tactical racing was no mean feat. Muysken moves up to fifth overall. Yesterday’s report made mention of Tim Grattan and have his youth team representing the Royal Thames Yacht Club Academy and they continued on today sailing extremely well at the front of the fleet and they are now tied for the lead on 20 points having scored a three, six, two, four today.
Leaders on the first day Tom Carruthers from San Diego took a bullet in race two of the day having approached the leeward gate nicely positioned for the next shift which left him upwind of the boats chasing him once the gate had been rounded. He added a second in the last race to be only two points behind the leaders but was more inconsistent than the other front runners also posting and eighth and a 10th. Always fast and consistently moving up the fleet yesterday’s leaders had a couple of difficult starts but slightly put them on the back foot.
The last race of the day in this incredibly international fleet went to Seamus McHugh from Societe Nautique de Geneva, although continuing the international theme his three crew are all from sunny Spain!
So the top three are Hampton on 20 points, ties with Tim Gratton on 20 points, Tom Carruthers on 22 with Seamus McHugh a further one point behind on 23 points. The weather looks likely to come from this group before but Jan Muysken can’t be discounted after his double bullet day today.
Further down the field consistency is the problem but Rosie Watkins and her all girl crew have had two races in the top five and Jeff Blue from Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron has had two fourth places, all of which shows they have the potential to challenge at the front if they can add consistency to their repertoire.
Tuesday’s forecast for the Solent is on the windy side and although there is a hope to get in one race early in the morning before the breeze builds that may or may not prove possible. Racing concludes on Wednesday with two more races and all to play for.
by Laurence Mead