More brisk winds and warm weather provided a further day of excitement for the fourth day of Cowes Week.
Ben Ainslie was back from racing his Great Britain SailGP Team F50 foiler at the Plymouth Grand Prix circuit event . . . helming Bertie Bicket’s IC37 Fargo in IRC Class Zero, demonstrating just how seriously the top teams take their racing.
At the end of an almost 30 mile race, mostly in the Eastern Solent, Christian Zugel’s Fast 40 Tschuss took line honours, just ahead of Ian Atkin’s GP42 Dark n Stormy.
However, the lower-rated Fargo pipped them both to win on corrected time, by a margin of just 53 seconds.
Tuesday was also Women’s Day at the Regatta, which celebrates the contribution and achievements of women in sailing.
Female sailors are competing in classes across the board, including one in six helms today.
The most successful boat with an all female team today was Janet Dee’s Squib Little Demon, which wins the Mermaid Trophy for best female crew.
Young Dutch sailor Femke van der Berg is the regular helm of Gerd-Jan Poortman’s Ker 46 Van Uden, which is competing in IRC Class 0 and therefore raced directly against Ainslie.
“It was pretty cool,” she says. “I come from smaller boats – 29er and 49er dinghies – so a big part of sailing this boat is learning to focus on my job, and let the tactician and everyone else around focus on theirs.”
Rather than being daunted by sailing in a class full of rock stars – as well as Ainslie there are several Ocean Race winners in the fleet – the Van Uden team is able to learn from them.
Among other smaller boats competing at the regatta the J/70 and SB20 classes both finished their 12-race mini series that took place across the first four days of the regatta.
Both classes saw decisive wins, with John Pollard’s Xcellent enjoying an unbroken run of race wins to take victory in the SB20 Grand Slam, 13 points ahead of Phil Tiley’s Tan Gwyllt.
Competition was tight further down the fleet, with places 8 to 10 for example separated by only 4.5 points. Yet these are boats that can be bought in race-ready condition for less than £5,000.
SB20 Grand Slam – Final leaders:
1, XCELLENT (John Pollard)
2, TAN GWYLLT (Phil Tilley)
3, CARNAGE (Matt Williams, Chris Williams & Robin Kirby)
4, BOOMERANG (Lizzie Farrington)
5, SPORTSBOAT WORLD RACING (SportsBoatWorld Racing)
Results were more mixed in the J/70 class, but Australian visitor Tim Ryan’s Vamos finally took overall victory 10 points ahead of compatriot Sam Haynes’ Celestial.
J/70 short series – Final leaders:
1, VAMOS (Tim Ryan)
2, CELESTIAL (Sam Haynes)
3, BRUTUS (Sam Carter)
4, JELVIS (Martin Dent)
5, LITTLE J (Max Clapp, Mathieu Cadei, Horatio Sykes & Felix Trattner)
Pip Hare awarded the Cowes Week Women’s Day Trophy
The day concluded with a prize giving for Women’s Day, with round the world racing sailor Pip Hare awarded the Cowes Week Women’s Day Trophy, which recognises the outstanding contribution, commitment, and achievements of women in sailing.
The Magenta Project co-hosted the prize giving and evening celebrations that recognise great women in our sport.
Report by Rupert Holmes