Day two delivered decidedly less sun but happily plenty more wind. With a solid twelve knot north-easterly blowing from early morning, the competitors were released from the marina at 09.00 and racing started bang on time at 10.30. After a couple of general recalls caused by the fleet’s collective over-enthusiasm, race four of the series eventually got away at the third time of asking.
From the very first beat Louise Morton’s ‘Espada’ helmed by Colette Blair, Rob Gray on ‘Aguila’ and ‘Cote’ owned by Darren Marston and Olly Ophaus, were all engaged in a nip and tuck battle at the front of the fleet. There was nothing between all three of these boats for the entire race with each of them taking the lead at various points. In the end ‘Aguila’ crossed the line overlapped with ‘Espada’ to take the line honours victory, with ‘Cote’ just two boat lengths back in third place on the water. On handicap however ‘Espada’ squeaked to victory by just a single second ahead of ‘Aguila’ in second place. ‘Cote’ had to concede third place to Ian Southworth’s ‘Whiskers’ by five seconds on corrected time, pushing ‘Cote’ down to fourth, ahead of Paul Treliving’s ‘Odd Job’ in fifth.
The breeze had reduced by a couple of knots by the time the fleet lined up for the start of race four. However the startline enthusiasm of the fleet remained undiminished, forcing another General Recall before the race could eventually get away. Rickard Melander on ‘Alice II’ with Nicholas O’Leary, James Hynes and Richie Watkin on board, won the committee boat end of the line and took an early lead going up the first beat. By the top mark though it was ‘Espada’ and ‘Cote’ who were fighting it out for the lead once again. These two boats continued to play a cat and mouse game with each other for the rest of the race, with ‘Espada’ eventually gaining control to take the win on the water by 10 seconds. This was good enough to give the ‘Espada’ crew their second corrected time race win of the day, ahead of ‘Cote’ in second and ‘Whiskers’ in third. ‘Alice II’ was fourth with ‘Panic’ owned by Paul and Mark Lees taking fifth.
With conditions moderating a little more and just the hint of rain in the air, race five got away under a Black Flag. With two wins under their belts, the ‘Espada’ crew were now on a roll and saw off sustained challenges from ‘Kote’, ‘Alice II’, Eamonn Rohan’s ‘Anchor Challenge’, as well as George Kenefick’s ‘Tiger’ to take another first both on the water and on corrected time. ‘Tiger’ corrected out into second, with ‘Cote’ third, ‘Alice II’ fourth and ‘Anchor Challenge’ fifth.
The various attempts to start the final race of the day involved a variety of penalty flags and resulted in five boats receiving Z-Flag penalties and a further five disqualified under the Black Flag rule. The Irish crew on ‘Anchor Challenge’ finally found their true form to take a line honours and corrected time win, ahead of ‘Whiskers’ in second and the ever present ‘Espada’ in third. John Welch on ‘Phoenix’ took fourth with Jamie McDowell and Brett Linton’s New Zealand entry ‘Blackfun’ awarded fifth place after incurring a Z-Flag penalty.
With all of the scheduled six races completed and the regatta now back on track, the results show a new overall leader in the shape of Louise Morton’s ‘Espada’. Their impressive 1,1,1,3 scoreline for the day sees them hold a 16 point lead going into the final three races tomorrow over Ian Southworth’s second placed ‘Whiskers’. Yesterday’s overnight leader, Rob Gray on ‘Aguila’, dropped down to third today, just one point behind ‘Whiskers’ and six points ahead of George Kenefick’s ‘Tiger’ in fourth. Rounding out the top five at the end of day two is Eamonn Rohan’s ‘Anchor Challenge’.
In the newly introduced and hotly contested all ISAF certified amateur Corinthian Division, George Kenefick’s ‘Tiger’ tops the leaderboard from Laurent Beaurin’s ’45 South’ in second and ‘Lancelot’ owned by Matt Clark and Tony Thackray.
On the eve of the final day of racing the fleet assembled at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club for the regatta gala dinner and enjoyed a fantastic after dinner speech from British singlehanded yachtswoman Sam Davies about her exploits in the Vendee Globe around the world race.
Racing at the 2011 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup concludes today July 13th with three more races scheduled.
Day one of the 2011 Coutts Quarter Ton Cup yesterday dawned bright and clear but with an almost total absence of the most necessary ingredient for a regatta – wind. With the glassy conditions meaning that there was very little chance of racing getting away at the scheduled 10.30 start time, Principal Race Officer Robert Lamb sensibly held the fleet ashore whilst he and his race team headed off onto the Solent in search of some sort of usable pressure.
Having persevered in their quest for some several hours, Lamb and his team were eventually rewarded for their patience at around 14.00, when a pleasant 10 knot south westerly breeze materialised, enabling the eager fleet to finally put to sea for what turned out to be two excellent and closely fought races. Despite the wide range of sizes and designs making up the 30 boat fleet, the racing could hardly have been closer both on the water and on handicap, with every startline and mark rounding fiercely contested throughout the day. In Race 1, Louise Morton’s ‘Espada’, (helmed at this event by Colette Blair standing in for the injured Morton) turned in a line honours performance in the first race, which was good enough to also give ‘Espada’ a corrected time race win by just under a minute. Second in that race was last year’s Quarter Ton Cup winner ‘Cote’ owned by Darren Marston & Ollie Ophaus, who edged Sweden’s Rickard Melander on ‘Alice II’ into third place by just 16 seconds on corrected time. Three members of the crew of Anthony O’Leary’s Antix from Royal Cork Yacht Club are sailing on Alice II, Nicholas O’Leary, James Hynes and Richie Watkin. Fourth was Rob Gray’s ‘Aguila’, ahead of Ireland’s Eamonn Rohan on Anchor Challenge.
Race two saw a compelling three-way battle for line honours between ‘Aguila’, ‘Alice II’ and George Kenefick’s Irish entry ‘Tiger’. ‘Aguila’ eventually prevailed to take the gun and a narrow 8 second corrected time victory over ‘Tiger’ in second and ‘Alice II’ in third. ‘Espada’ rounded out a solid day with a fourth place ahead of Ian Southworth’s ‘Whiskers’.
With two races completed at the end of Day 1, only 7 points separate the top 6 teams. Rob Gray’s ‘Aquila’ holds the overall lead with a total five points, tied with Louise Morton’s ‘Espada’ in second. Rounding out the top three just one point adrift of ‘Espada’ is Rickard Melander’s ‘Alice II’, who holds a 4 point advantage over George Kenefick’s fourth placed ‘Tiger’. Fifth at the end of Day 1 is ‘Cote’ owned by Darren Marston & Ollie Ophaus.
As the fleet returned to the dock yesterday evening, the smiles on the faces of the sailors was a clear indication of a fun day of Quarter Tonner racing. Having travelled from Russia to compete in Cowes this week with his French Quarter Tonner ‘Bullit’, Dmitry Borodin said that he had thoroughly enjoyed his first experience of racing in England. “To have the chance to sail here in Cowes is a real pleasure. There are so many fantastic boats and just being here in a town with this sort of sailing heritage is fantastic. On the water I think we have much to learn but we are enjoying our first Quarter Ton Cup and we will take the message back home with us. Hopefully in years to come there will be more Russian boats coming to sail in this regatta.”
Anchor Challenge’s Eamonn Rohan, a first timer at the Quarter Ton Cup, had also clearly enjoyed his day on the water but was quick to pay tribute to the quality of the fleet. “This is the toughest Quarter Ton racing that we have done since we bought the boat. There are so many really fast boats and competitive crews sailing here this week, it’s been a bit of an eye opener. We are having fun though and looking forward to tomorrow’s racing.”
Racing at the 2011 Quarter Ton Cup continues today Tuesday 12 July with three more races scheduled. The regatta concludes tomorrow 13 July.