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Cowes Week 2009

Aug 04, 2009 6 Comments by


Sun sets on another Cowes Week

Another fine and sunny day was predicted for the final day of Cowes Week, but the light gradient northwesterly wind was predicted to fade to zero during the morning, before being replaced by a gentle sea breeze, writes Rupert Holmes.

Class 1 IRC, Fortix Excel winner of today’s race leading Atomic who finished second on Saturday. cc CWL

“We don’t see any point in starting races in the dying northwesterly,” Stuart Quarrie, CEO of Cowes Week explained after the race team’s early morning briefing on Saturday, 8 August. “But we are hopeful that the sea breeze will fill in before 1300, enabling us to get racing in during the best winds of the day.” By mid-morning the northwesterly wind at the Bramble was down to less than 4 knots, making the decision not to start classes in the dying breeze look like a good call.

At 1230 race officials were still hanging onto the hope of the sea breeze appearing in time for racing to start. By the final decision time of 1300 the direction at the Bramble swung to southwest and started to climb from 2 knots to 4-5 knots. This gave race officials the confidence to go for a start sequence commencing at 1400.

The starts got away in just 4-6 knots of wind, and a building west-going tide. However, after 1500 the sea breeze gradually built from the west to give 8-10 knots. With the larger Black Group yachts racing in the western Solent they enjoyed champagne sailing conditions in almost unbroken sun. However, some White Group courses had to be shortened to ensure at least one boat finished before the 1700 time limit.

Tattarat, Class 6 IRC, winner of Saturday’s race rounding a mark. cc CWL

A classic finale
Black Group was given a classic finish along The Green, with the light winds and strong tide encouraging competitors to get close inshore. In the run-up to 1600, a huge mass of boats across all Black Group classes approached the line, giving the finishing teams a tough challenge and photographers big grins as competitors gybed repeatedly within a stone’s throw of the shore.

Two Farr 45s finished at the top of IRC Class 1, with Ange Neilson’s Fortis Excel beating Tony Langley’s Atomic by just 61 seconds. Finishing between them was one of the smallest boats in Black Group, Philip Williams’ Folkboat Tattarat, winner of Saturday’s IRC Class 6 race. Bob Metherell’s Hunter Pilot 27 won the ISC Rating System class, with a very different boat, Colin Hall’s Oyster 53 taking second.

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Day 6: Latest video here

Maritime charity marks 170th year

Solent-based British skipper Mike Golding, is lending his seafaring muscle to a campaign commemorating the 170th anniversary of one of the UK’s oldest maritime charities, the Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society.

The Shipwrecked Fishermen and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society (Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society for short), whose first Patron was Queen Victoria and which has received Royal patronage ever since its launch in 1839, has helped in hundreds of thousands of cases so far, providing support to the seafaring, and ex-seafaring community at times of crisis and financial need.

Golding, a multi-world record holder, who in 2001 became the first person to have sailed around the world in both directions, is the face of a new, short film produced by the charity to explain the importance of its work, thereby encouraging former mariners in need to come forward, as well as alerting potential donors to a cause worthy of their support.

This includes content explaining the Society’s work with seafarers who have made their living at sea, but found their livelihoods cut short either through injury or illness, and are no longer able to provide for their families.

Having spent much of the last 30 years at sea, Golding, who himself was involved in the heroic rescue of fellow yachtsman Alex Thomson, appears in the film issued exclusively by the Society and hosted on its website, see link below.

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Sam Davies wins top award at Cowes Week

Sam Davies has won the 2009 Ladies Day Trophy award at Cowes Week,

writes Sue Pelling.
2008 VENDEE GLOBE. Sam Davies (GBR) arrival in third place.

Credit: Vendee Globe

Sam Davies onboard Roxy during the Vendee Globe round-the-world race

The award, to celebrate the achievements and contribution of women in sailing, is now in its fourth year and at a special ceremony at the G.H. Champagne Mumm bar in Cowes Yacht Haven, Sam Davies was announced the overall winner from all the nominations received.

Sam won this special award for her outstanding achievements as one of the world’s most talented female offshore sailors.
Sam Davies winner of Ladies Day Trophy 2009, credit Polly Harris

Credit: Polly Harris

Sam Davies, winner of Ladies Day Trophy 2009

Onboard Roxy she completed her first solo, non-stop round the world Vendée Globe race earlier this year in an incredible time of just over 95 days. In doing so she posted the second fastest time ever for a female Vendée Globe skipper, narrowly missing out on Ellen MacArthur’s record of 94 days and four hours after becoming stranded in light winds during the final days of the race.

Other nominees this year included Dee Caffari, Pip Hildesley, Hilary Lister, Jane Lofts, Natalie Jobling, and Heleen Wester.

Dee Caffari
This year Dee has not only set a double world record to become the first woman to sail solo both directions around the world, but just a few months later she and her all female crew also smashed the monohull Round Britain and Ireland speed record in June by 17 hours.

Pip Hildesley
Pippa has sailed single-handed non-stop from Uruguay to Suffolk, refitted her Oyster Lightwave 395 and entered the OSTAR finishing 16th, as second woman, despite a time penalty and 500 sea miles to catch up following rigging damage and a cracked rib 250 miles east of Ireland.

Hilary Lister
Quadriplegic Hilary Lister discovered sailing in 2003 and since then there has been no stopping her. Not content to stay on the gravel pit sailing lake where she learnt to sail, Hilary set herself some amazing sailing challenges. In 2005, Hilary earned national acclaim when she became the first quadriplegic to solo sail across the English Channel. Hilary competed in a pro/celeb Cowes Week round the Island race in 2005 aboard Pindar’s Open 60 with Emma Richards and Lee Sharpe. In July 2007, Hilary sailed around the Isle of Wight, solo aboard her new Artemis 20. This year she took on the challenge of sailing solo around Britain but bad weather and technical issues forced the abandonment of the trip. She hopes to complete the voyage later this month.

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Blasting around the Solent in Cowes Week

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Gusty winds, with puffs of up to 30 knots, provided the regatta’s most exciting day so far, with the thousands of competitors wearing huge grins as they blasted around the courses, writes Rupert Holmes.

Rob Gray, owner of the Quarter Tonner Aguila said: “Today was some of the best racing I’ve ever had, and the first time I’ve sailed a Quarter Tonner in 30 knots! It was an absolute blast. Gybing was a bit like a roulette wheel, but we did get lucky occasionally.”

Britannia Cup
The big boats in IRC Class 1 raced for one of the regatta’s biggest trophies, the Britannia Cup, first presented by King George Vl in 1951. The fleet started from the committee boat line off Browndown near the north shore just to the west of Gilkicker Point, on a 34.4 mile course that took them out the Solent and into Hayling Bay. The early stages of the race saw winds of 14-15 knots, but when the fleet returned to the central Solent area this increased, with gusts in the mid to upper 20s.

Charles Dunstone’s TP52 Rio, IRC Class 1. cc cwl

This class has been dominated so far by Charles Dunstone’s TP52 Rio, which won the first three races. Simon le Bon joined her crew today, working the grinders and backstays. “We had a fantastic and very exciting race today, with a great course, great wind and everyone onboard working together really well,” he said.

Rio led off the start line, gradually pulling out a comfortable lead on Johnny Vincent’s Pace, the other TP in the class. Talking after the race Rio’s strategist Peter Morton said: “We really didn’t put a foot wrong all day – we had a great start, nailed all the laylines and made no mistakes.”

The final leg, from Gurnard Ledge to the RYS finish line, saw Dunstone’s boat clocking speeds of up to 20 knots, as her crew skilfully picked their way through throngs of smaller competitors. Rio took line honours by an impressive 20 minutes to win the Cup with a six-minute margin on corrected time from Piet Vroon’s new Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens, with David Aisher’s Rogers 46 Yeoman XXXll third.

Off the record
The four large yachts in IRC Class Zero – Niklas Zennstrom’s mini-maxi Ran, Karl Kwok’s 80ft Beau Geste, and two STP 65s – Flavio Favini’s Luna Rossa and Roger Sturgeon’s Rosebud/Team DYT – raced in a round the Island challenge today. At the start Ran was a nose ahead and to leeward of Luna Rossa and Rosebud, and soon pulled clear ahead as the fleet headed towards The Needles.

As the fleet powered back up the eastern Solent, however, Beau Geste was well ahead of her rivals and tantalizingly close to the record time set by Mike Slade’s 100ft supermaxi ICAP Leopard last year. Finishing just before 1430 she was just two minutes and 10 seconds outside the record, but also failed to save her time on Luna Rossa and Ran.

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Katie Miller prepares for Fastnet

After becoming the youngest ever female sailor to finish the OSTAR, Cowes-based sailor Katie Miller is now preparing for the challenging Rolex Fastnet Race.

Katie Miller in action on bluQube.

Solo sailor Katie Miller, who at aged 22 was the youngest ever female to complete the OSTAR transatlantic race, is now preparing for her next challenge on her Figaro II boat, bluQube. Together with experienced sailor Hannah Jenner, Katie will be taking part in the Rolex Fastnet Race, which starts on Sunday, 9 August.

Since returning from the OSTAR, Katie has been keeping busy on the water whilst waiting for bluQube to be shipped back from Newport, Rhode Island. As well as coming third in the double-handed ‘Around the Island’ race with co-skipper Alex Adams, Katie has also skippered for The Ellen MacArthur Trust; a charity that takes young people sailing to help them regain their confidence, on their way to recovery from cancer, leukaemia and other serious illnesses.

Last week Katie spent four days sailing with teenagers in the Solent giving them experience of staying and living on a Sweden 42 cruising boat as well as sailing, cooking, and cleaning. “It was a great experience for them,” said Katie, “both on a physical and social level. They all left with big smiles on their faces.”

With bluQube having just returned last week, Katie is now concentrating on preparing her for the Fastnet. She explained: “bluQube took a real battering in the OSTAR so there is still a lot of repairs left to do. The starboard rudder was partly shorn off by a ship’s container in the Atlantic so that needs to be replaced. We also have to work on the winches, head foil, as well as re-fitting the batons in the sails and fixing a broken vang.”

She continued: “Now I’m just itching to get back on bluQube and do some serious racing. I think we have a good chance of performing well in the Fastnet although of course much is dependent on the weather. If we get a long downward wind leg then bluQube could be very competitive. For example if we get say 25-28 knot winds we can expect to get speeds of 12 knots from bluQube.”

Compared with the OSTAR Katie described the Fastnet Race as a sprint rather than a marathon: “The OSTAR is more about looking after the equipment and preserving yourself, whereas the Fastnet is a relentless six days or more of non-stop graft and little sleep.”

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Double Glory In The UK For Oman Sail Teams


Masirah Wins overall with races to spare and

Renaissance takes third place

The sun was shining, the wind was blowing and the crowds were cheering as both Oman Sail teams took control of the six races sailed on Monday. Masirah started the day with a dominating win over the fleet in the first race of the day but Renaissance was never far behind. After four races Masirah had done enough for the day as they could not be toppled from the top of the leader board, a position they had held since the first race of the first day. Renaissance had their work cut out for them as they were carrying a couple of poor results which their eleven top three places over the three days couldn’t balance out. Although they were never out of second or third place on the leader board, they had stiff competition from the team s below, out of which any of five of them could have leap-frogged them onto the podium.
The last race of the day counts for double points and it is this one that has, in past events in France and Italy, made all the difference to the final scores. Masirah played a safe game and took the boat home safely but it was Renaissance who was fighting for the difference between the second and third step on the podium with Gitana. Team Gitana and Renaissance were not only fighting for second and third for the Cowes iShares Cup, but also for second and third on the overall podium positions at the half way point of the iShares Cup circuit. Thus it was a nail biting finale for these two teams and the pressure was on as all the teams lined up for the start, only metres away from the thousands of spectators watching the action from the shore. In the end Gitana took first place and Renaissance could only manage a fourth, behind Masirah and Ecover. This sealed the podium places as Git ana took second and Renaissance took an admirable third.

Special guests on Masirah for the day’s racing were members of Formula One’s Brawn GP team. Each boat has a fifth man spot that gives an invited guest the chance to experience sailing at the extreme and get into the thick of it. Brawn GP CEO, Nick Fry, was on board for many of the races, ‘I believe that sport is a wonderful catalyst for pulling people together. To support sport at the highest level will encourage younger people and inspire them to be the best and I am sure that over time, more people from Oman, both men and women, will want to be part of this successful team. I applaud those in Oman that took this initiative which I am sure will bring major benefits over the coming years.’

Now that Cowes is over and the celebrations for both teams are finished, the Oman Sail team packs up both boats into their containers. Then both containers are loaded up and transported to the North German City of Kiel where the fourth leg of the iShares Cup takes place and Masirah will be hoping to maintain their dominance and Renaissance will be looking to knock them off the top spot and take some of the glory for themselves. The sponsors of Renaissance (Renaissance Services, Suhail Bahwan Group and The Wave) will continue their support of the team until the end of the iShares Cup circuit.

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Cowes Week News and Results

Catch up on all the news from Cowes Week here.

For results visit the official Cowes Week event web site.

Welcome to Cowes Week 2009 – Monday, 3 August.
Disabled visitors to Cowes Week also have a great opportunity to get afloat and see what sailing is all about. Recently launched Artemis Even Keel Project UK, in partnership with the United Kingdom Sailing Academy, will provide ‘try sailing’ sessions throughout the week, free of charge. For more details, call 012… or visit

Out on the water: If you want to get out on the water to enjoy racing action close-up, you can take a trip on the spectator boat, which leaves Trinity Landing on Cowes Parade at 1030, 1200, and 1330. Prices are £10 per adult and £8 for children aged 16 and under, and trips last one hour.

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Photo Copyright Rick Tomlinson


SCARAB 2, Squib

Photo Copyright Rick Tomlinson


Photo Copyright Polly Harris


BLOO, Laser SB3

Photo Copyright Rick Tomlinson


Photo Copyright Rick Tomlinson


Photo Copyright Rick Tomlinson

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