Boat News Races & Regatta

Cowes Week 2021

Competitors had an easier second day at Cowes Week, with shorter courses and predominately wind with tide conditions giving a dry ride.

Tidal conditions for those starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron line provided an interesting tactical challenge, balancing the last of the ebb tide and early flood stream.

The day started with a westerly breeze of 6-8 knots that increased to 14-18 knots by late morning, giving perfect racing conditions. Long sunny spells also contributed to a warmer feel than the opening day, although late finishers were caught in a heavy shower.

Cowes Week 2021 day 2 - photo © Ingrid Abery /
Cowes Week 2021 day 2 – photo © Ingrid Abery /

Today’s stand out performances include Bluebottle in the Dragon class. HRH the Duke of Edinburgh’s old boat, owned by the Edinburgh based Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, has been fully restored and updated in Cowes by David Heritage, who is racing on board this week with Graham and Julia Bailey.

After 60 years as a museum piece, Bluebottle has notched up consecutive wins in her first two races. “It’s been great fun – there’s a different quality about being on the Duke of Edinburgh’s favourite yacht,” says Bailey. “It’s a real privilege to be in his seat.”

Cowes Week 2021 day 2 - photo © Ingrid Abery /
Cowes Week 2021 day 2 – photo © Ingrid Abery /

The Quarter Ton class also enjoyed extremely close racing: just five seconds separated three of the first four boats on the water. In all, half the fleet finished within 100 seconds on corrected time, despite the passage of a ship transiting the Solent via the Needles splitting the fleet.

The Cruiser classes that are often raced by family crews, and have somewhat simplified courses compared to the grand prix fleets, are increasingly popular at Cowes Week. This year there are three Performance Cruiser divisions, plus a Club Cruiser class, encompassing a total of 60 boats.

Cowes Week 2021 day 2 - photo © Ingrid Abery /
Cowes Week 2021 day 2 – photo © Ingrid Abery /

Chris Cecil-Wright’s Nicholson 55 Eager won Performance Cruiser A, while Adam Ridett and Phil Moore’s First 40.7 Challenger took a second victory in Division B, and Jonathan Gardiner’s X-34 Minx 4 prevailed in Division C. Mark Attrill’s 35-year-old Dehler 101 Optima Aqua won the Club Cruiser class.

Cowes Week 2021 day 2 ©Ingrid Abery /

Tomorrow promises a lighter easterly to south-easterly breeze that may necessitate changes to the start sequences, including some classes moving to different start lines, to create the best possible courses.

by Rupert Holmes

Related Articles

Back to top button