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Mixed fortunes at Cowes Classics Week

Mixed fortunes at the opening day of Charles Stanley Direct Cowes Classics Week with light airs which saw winds constantly shifting, presenting a mixture of fortunes across the competing fleets.Flying 15 Durban Flyer -

The day did not turn out quite as planned for the much anticipated celebration of the Flying Fifteens’ 70th anniversary race.

The Uffa Fox designed keelboat, which first appeared in 1947, was the first off the start line, but the wind didn’t arrive until later in the day. Although the wind did kick in eventually it was too late for the 28-strong Flying Fifteen class, which suffered from the morning’s light winds.

The decreasing wind left the fleet struggling on the long downwind leg against the tide. One by one decisions were made to retire, with the last to give in being Campbell Alexander’s Durban Flyer.

The day still needed to be celebrated so the anniversary trophy, the Queen Victoria Jubilee Cup, was awarded, with unanimous approval, to Durban Flyer’s South African crew.

Fortune smiled more kindly on the rest of the classes which took part in an all-comers Pursuit Race.

Not part of the four day series for these classes which starts Tuesday, the one-off race was postponed for a short while but got underway in the early afternoon in a more promising breeze.

A few minutes separated the competing classes, which included the XODs, Swallows, Solent Sunbeams and Darings alongside entries from the Tempest and Vintage Dragon class and two of the competing 8 metres.

The XOD 64, Michael O’Donnell’s Lightwood, held on but was finally pipped just a couple of yards from the finish by Solent Sunbeam Jabberwocky which had worked hard at Lightwood’s heels to gain victory.

SCOD 1 - Click image for a larger image

Andrew Pearson’s wooden 10 metre yacht Bojar, which is 80 years old this year, was Monday’s winner of ‘Classic Yacht Red 1’ class which sailed a mid-Solent course.

Starting out, as did the other three Classic Cruiser classes, on the east going tide from the Royal London Yacht Club’s shore line off the Parade at Cowes.

Wins in the other cruiser classes went to SCOD Adelie in the ‘Green’ class, Nordic Folkboat The Otter, in the Folkboat class, Contessa 26 Jiminy Cricket in the ‘Blue’ class and Sunmaid V in the ‘Red II’ class.

With Monday’s racing complete the Classic Cruiser classes already have a race under their belts but for the rest of the fleets Tuesday is the start of the four day series.

The X One Design, 43 strong will dominate the skyline in the mid Solent Tuesday while more than a dozen each of the Flying Fifteens and Solent Sunbeams will race from committee boat lines as well as the 8 metres, Bembridge One Designs and Swallows.

The Vintage Dragon numbers have grown to seven this year as more are being restored and the class is likely to grow further.

The Seaview Mermaids and National Squibs will be appearing for one day each too.

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