Monday, August 24, 2009

Cowes Week 2009- Midweek Report

Huge J/109 Fleet Offers Gorgeous Spectacle

(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England- August 1-8)- Over 750 boats have been presented with an enormously variable set of weather conditions for the past five days in the Solent. Everything from a good breeze to calm to weather fronts passing overhead and treating the fleet to more rain and no wind and the usual massive amounts of current sweeping boats up and down the Solent (kedging is a unique local talent and expertise acquired by some of the best sailors in the world!). Despite the difficult conditions, the Chief Race Officer Stuart Quarrie and his race committee team have done a remarkable job keeping the troops happy and racing in whatever the weather Gods have presented to the fleets. Imagine that! Coordinating starts for over 750 boats each day?

The J/109 One-Design Class have a fleet of thirty-two boats, the largest offshore one-design class gathering known in recent years on the Solent for 36 footers. At the head of the class are some familiar faces-- David and Kirsty Aphthorp's J-DREAM is just ahead of Ewart-Smith and Richards' ZELDA and Matt Boyle's SHIVA. The racing has been tight and with four races to go anything can happen based on what the fleet has seen to date.

J/80s tacking off Cowes and Royal Yacht SquadronThe J/80s have a twenty-one boat one-design class. Rob and John Fox's JEVAN is winning by ten points followed by Nick Kirkman and Andrew Dykes' JANE and Adrian Stell's TOE IN THE WATER TOO.

The J/97 JENGA being campaigned by Paul and Marie-Claude Heys' is dominating Class IRC 5 with four firsts and a third so far. Despite the often tricky conditions, Paul and Marie-Claude have continued to lead the fleet home in most of the races...we hope they continue to do so when the event concludes on Saturday.

Ian Matthew's J/122 JINJA is lying 5th in a highly competitive and closely fought Class IRC2. With a few shifts here and some good current calls there, JINJA could easily be in the hunt for a podium finish by the end of the week.

In Class IRC3, the well-sailed J/39 SLEEPER sailed by Jonty Layfield is third and Tom McDonald's J/90 JOE 90 is sixth. Again, the standings are mixed enough day-to-day that anything can happen in this class and both boats could be vying for podium finishes by week's end. For more information.