A thrilling finish for the Grand Prix yachts competing for the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup at Cowes Week.
One of sailing’s most coveted prizes, saw Christian Zugel’s GP42 Tschuss lead three boats across the Royal Yacht Squadron line just 30 seconds apart.
However, with the prize award to the boat with the best corrected time, the early leaders had a tantalising wait before Guy Gillon’s and Christian Hamilton’s Fast 40 Khumbu could be confirmed as winner, 22 seconds ahead of Tschuss.
New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup leaders:
1, Khumbu (Guy Gillon & Christian Hamilton)
2, Tschuss (Christian Zugel)
3, Dark N Stormy (Ian Atkins)
4, Pintia (Gilles Fournier)
5, Team Aqua (Chris Bake)
The penultimate day took a while to get underway, but when it did it delivered some interesting accounts as to how some had muscled their way to the front of their fleets.
But Thursday also served up one of the best stories of the week so far . . . How to win at Cowes on less than £1,000
Disappointment for the overall leader at the start of the day in the Daring class.
Graham Wilkinson and John Corby’s and Doublet, which started prematurely. Doublet recovered to finish third, but a win for Milo Carver, Richard Romer-Lee, Jane Peckham and Joshua Peckham on Dauntless lifted her to the head of the leaderboard.
Daring – Overall leaders:
1, DAUNTLESS (Milo Carver, Richard Romer-Lee, Jane Peckham & Joshua Peckha)
2, DOUBLET (Graham Wilkinson & John Corby)
3, DEBUTANTE (Richard Ottaway & James Sumsion)
4, DARLING (Michael Greville, Bob Gatehouse & Richard Power)
5, DEFENDER (Jeremy Preston & Robert Laird)
The pattern repeated for the Dragons where a couple were premature.
Overall class leader, Eric Williams’ Ecstatic was able to discard a seventh place, but a win for Gavia Wilkinson-Cox’s Jerboa lifted her into first overall, one point ahead of Ecstatic.
It’s now very tight at the top for the final race Friday. If Ecstatic wins he wins overall, otherwise there has to be a boat between Ecstatic and Jerboa for him to get victory.
Dragon – Overall leaders:
1, JERBOA (Gavia Wilkinson-Cox)
2, ECSTATIC (Eric Williams)
3, BLUEBOTTLE (Graham Bailey)
4, BERTIE (Simon Barter)
5, FURIOUS (Owen Pay)
By contrast, the XOD class goes into final day with the leaderboard wide open.
Max and Mike Crowe’s Clair de Lune heads the fleet on 17 points, but further three boats are tied on 19 points: Richard Faulkner’s Swallow, Jonathan Clark’s Tortoise and John Tremlett’s Astralita.
Swallow won Thursday, ahead of James Meaning’s Gleam, with Tortoise third and Clair de Lune fourth. Astralita was able to discard an uncharacteristic 14th place, but can’t afford any mistakes in the final race Friday.
X One Design – Overall leaders:
1, CLAIR DE LUNE (Max Crowe ,Mike Crowe, Simon McCarthy.)
2, SWALLOW (Richard Faulkner)
3, TORTOISE (Jon Clark)
4, ASTRALITA (John Tremlett)
5, GLEAM (James Meaning)
Several Seaview Mermaids misjudged the strengthening stream at their start and crossed the line prematurely.
This left Oliver Dobbs’ Rosemary, plus Amma Cockell, Robin Maccaw and Simon Edwards’ Amethyst looking well placed, as was John Sandiford Haigh’s Sirena, somewhat further offshore.
Charles Glanville’s Zara went on to take her first win of the regatta, with a commanding two and a half minute lead. However, the race for second place couldn’t have been closer, with nine boats, led by Anthony Eaton’s Adastra and Kate Broxham’s Miranda, all crossing the line within 80 seconds.
Mermaid – Overall leaders:
1, SHEEN (Ben Few Brown)
2, ROSEMARY (Max Baines)
3, JADE (Alexandra Neill)
4, ZARA (Charles Glanville)
5, SCUTTLE (Ian Prideaux, Josh Bottomley, Stephen Bradley)
The Victory class started in a tight bunch in the tidally favoured mid-line area, stacked up impressively close to the line, but a couple of boats slipped over the wrong side of the line moments before the gun.
Team Scammell’s Zinnia, along with Jim Page’s Seagull, plus Jim Downing, Stephen Fry and Zoe Whittaker’s Ziva, both a little further offshore, powering away from the competition immediately after the gun.
However, Nick Benham, Ian Perryman and Clive Good’s Zilch went on to take victory, 63 seconds ahead of Ziva, while Geoff Dixon’s Zelia took third place, just six seconds ahead of Russell Mead, Darren Ballard and Adrian Edwards’ Shearwater ll.
Victory – Overall leaders:
1, ZILCH (Nick Benham, Ian Perryman & Clive Good)
2, SHEARWATER II (Russell Mead, Darren Ballard and Adrian Edwards)
3, ZELIA (Geoff Dixon)
4, ZIVA (Jim Downing)
5, ZINNIA (Team Scammell)
Full Daily Results available here . . .
Report by Rupert Holmes