Cowes Yacht Haven was once again drenched in sunshine as day two of Panerai British Classic Week began.
With the scheduled NAB Tower Race postponed until Tuesday to make the most of the forecasted stronger winds, Monday began with a briefing and a planned start for 11am.
The breeze took it’s time, but after a short postponement from Royal Yacht Squadron Chief Race Officer Dai Prichard, it filled in from the south west and the fleet was once again treated to some top-class racing in the Solent. Race two began with a downwind start for all classes and the 6 Metre class kicked off proceedings in glorious sunshine on the Royal Yacht Squadron inner line.
With a busy shipping channel to negotiate, the yachts also had to accurately judge the fast-moving tide trying to drag them over the line. Each of the 6 Metre and Class 1-4 starts ran without a hitch and the yachts raced to hoist their spinnakers as they crossed the start line and headed for the first mark.
With nine Spirit Yachts racing, Class 1 (Modern Classics) is a particularly competitive fleet this year. After a first and second in class yesterday, Spirit 52s Flight of Ufford and Oui Fling were once again leading the fleet as they progressed down the first leg.
Whilst Class 1 headed for the Fastnet Insurance mark, Classes 2 and 3 sailed downwind on the tide to Goodall Roofing and Class 4 took a shorter leg to South Bramble. The clear blue skies provided the perfect backdrop to an array of colourful kites as the classes rounded their first marks and headed upwind towards West Lepe. Meanwhile, the 6 Metres went around East Bramble to port and sailed upwind to East Lepe.
The second leg took all the yachts on a long beat, with the leading yachts tackling the oncoming tide and those further back in the race making the most of the (by then) slackening tide. Most boats chose to stick close to the shore to avoid any oncoming currents, which took them right past ‘the dolphins’: former WW2 platforms used to help load departing ships. By this point, the clouds had blown in from the west and the yachts dug in deep for a long beat transitioning into a quick spinnaker hoist as they rounded the windward mark and headed downwind towards the Sevenstar Yacht Transport mark, just off the mainland coast.
On the second, shorter, upwind leg the yachts hugged the shoreline to avoid a strong east-moving tide as they approached the final windward mark; craftinsure.com. By the time the fleet had hoisted their spinnakers for the final leg to the Royal Yacht Squadron inner line, the sun had broken through the clouds and the Solent was once again bathed in sunshine.
With the tide now ripping down the channel, spectators onshore were treated to a parade of beautiful classic yachts, complete with brightly coloured spinnakers, as they ran downwind close to the shore and past the Royal Yacht Squadron to finish.
Flight of Ufford had another strong day on the water and won Class 1, followed by Oui Fling and Spirit 65 Chloe Giselle. The hotly contested Class 2 was won by the 10 Metre Bojar, with Easy Glider in second and Opposition in third. Class 3 was won by last year’s overall winner Whooper, followed by Richard Matthew’s Fife Gaff Cutter Kismet in second and Sunmaid V in third. West Solent One Design Suvretta made it two wins from two races in Class four, with Cereste in second and Dorothy, a Thames Rater, in third.
Crews will undoubtedly be getting an early night this evening in preparation for tomorrow’s NAB Tower Race, with an inshore ’round the cans’ race planned for the 6Metre class and those not participating in the NAB Tower Race.
Find out more at www.britishclassicyachtclub.org/regatta
by Helen Porter