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Cowes Classics Week Stunning Opener

XODs were the largest class amongst the 160 yachts that have entered Cowes Classics Week this year.

All the yachts taking part meet the qualification of being built to designs drawn up before 1968 or in the spirit of tradition.

Henry Bagnall and his crew were celebrating their hard fought win in the 45 strong XOD class Monday. They finished ahead of Neil Payne in second with John Tremlett taking third.

Near Hill Head committee boat windward leeward courses were testing the skills of the other competing classes including the four restored Vintage Dragons who were led to the finish by Bill Daniels’s 58 year old Mistress, and the oldest of which Aurora was built in 1938.

New to Cowes Classics Week this year as a class is the Etchells and entries are also expected to grow in future years.

The well-established ten-strong National Swallow class was won by Mike Wigmore in Gwaihir, a modern glassfibre take on a 1946 design, with one of the oldest, S3 Skua of Harry Roome in second place with Mike Bond third.

Meanwhile Bobby Salmond's Flying Fifteen No.627 Vamoose triumphed in their class.

The Solent Sunbeams a highly competitive class based in Chichester Harbour, also fought closely over a windward leeward course. Richard Pearson’s in Penny won finishing ahead of Peter Taylor's Betty.

Amongst the cruisers lining up on the Royal London Yacht Club’s shoreline were some true beauties in the ‘Red 1’ class including three classic 8 metres Helen, Athena and Njord, with David Parsons’ Athena the top scoring 8 metre.

They blended perfectly with Tim Gaukroger’s elegant 1972-built Swan 55 Kira, Jamie Matthieson’s S&S Two Tonner Opposition and the 51-year-old One Tonner Sunmaid V whose owner Lawrence Wride and crew were to take her to victory in today’s race.

Also racing from the shore line was an eclectic mix of historic classics in ‘Red 2’ including Andrew Pearson’s 10 metre Bojar, built in 1937 which triumphed over her class mates, beating Richard Hargreaves’ 30 Square Metre (1972) Aeolus into second place and Martin Thomas’s 8 Metre Cruiser Charm of Rhu into third.

In shoreline class ‘Green’ three Contessa 26s enjoyed some great racing. George Smith's 1973 built Brizo took second place in class behind Mike and Barbara Harrison’s Jiminy Cricket.

Also in the process of growing their fleet are the Nordic Folkboats, which had their own class start for the first time in this year’s Cowes Classics Week.

Seven of the designs from the 1940s (although largely built in this millenium) raced around a fixed mark course west of Cowes.

Legendary helm Ado Jardine, who took Jeremy Austin’s Tak to first place ahead of Claire Locke on The Otter, with third Alasdair Maclean's Eala.

Racing continues tomorrow until Friday.

Full results available here

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