Thursday, August 9, 2018

LENDY Cowes Week Update

J/112E sailing Cowes Week J-DOG Wins J/70 Short Series!
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Cowes Week is one of the UK's longest running and most successful sporting events and is a key highlight of the British sporting summer. It has been held in early August every year since 1826, except during the two world wars.

The event offers a great mix of competitive sailing and social activities. The 8,500 competitors range from Olympic and World-Class professionals to weekend sailors. In excess of 100,000 spectators come to watch the sailing, enjoy the parties and live entertainment, and to experience the unique atmosphere. It is genuinely a one-of-a-kind event.

The 2018 edition of the annual LENDY Cowes Week Regatta started August 4th and ends August 11th. It has been extremely popular for J/Teams across not only from the United Kingdom and Ireland, but from across Europe as well. 

So far, the sailors have enjoyed five good days of sailing.  Here’s the latest on what is happening out on the waters of the ever-challenging Solent.

Royal Yacht Squadron starting line off Cowes, EnglandDay 1- Saturday
The opening day of Lendy Cowes Week delivered a gloriously sunny and tactically challenging day of racing for the 35 classes taking part.

The first start, for the 36-strong J/70 fleet, was on the Royal Yacht Squadron line in a northerly breeze of 10 knots. The fleet bunched towards the favored northerly end of the line for a reaching start heading towards the east.

Simon Childs’ F’IN MAJIC and Tarra Gill-Taylor of the Royal Thames YC Academy led away from the line. However, John and Kate Greenland’s J-DOG and Peter Harrison’s SORCHA-J were first to hoist spinnakers on the short first leg and soon pulled ahead. Once the fleet settled onto their first beat, J-DOG held the advantage over Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT. Greenland was ahead at the finish, with a 48 second advantage on Harrison, while Ali Hall’s SCEPTRE took third place.

The J/70 class is using Lendy Cowes Week as an event in its 2018 Grand Slam series and has three races per day scheduled over the first four days of the regatta. Greenland won the second, held on a windward-leeward course from a committee boat, with Hall second and Harrison third. J-DOG took another win in the third race and now leads the series the Grand Slam series by a commanding margin.

J/111 McFly sailing off Cowes, England“We were absolutely delighted to win all three races in a boat kindly loaned to us by the Royal Thames YC,” says Kate Greenland. “It was really close racing, which made it even more enjoyable. Today was all about good starts and staying in the pressure. To be honest the boys on board made my life as tactician pretty easy today because they all worked really hard in the shifty conditions.”

Black Group
Among the Black Group yachts, IRC Class 4 promises to be very hotly contested. Entries include David Franks’ J/112E LEON, fresh from winning the IRC/ORC Offshore Sailing World Championship in Holland a couple of weeks ago with her previous owner. Another J/112E, Chaz Ivill and Paul Heys’ DAVANTI TYRES also has an enviable record.

Three minutes after their start, heading east from the Bramble line, the J/112E LEON was amongst the leaders with her sistership DAVANTI TYRES a few lengths behind.

By the time they passed south of Lepe Spit, against the tide en route to their first mark off Newtown Creek, the J/112E LEON, sailing lower but faster, had pulled out a lead on their fleet. The J/112E DAVANTI TYRES went on to take line honors in the three-hour race, and retained the lead on corrected time, just 34 seconds ahead of their sistership LEON.

J/112E Leon sailing at Cowes WeekDay 2- Sunday
Family Day at Lendy Cowes Week delivered stunning conditions with unbroken sun and a solid east south-easterly breeze of 9-12 knots. The best winds of the day were predicted to be in the eastern Solent, so all classes started towards the east.

Rob’s Cotterill’s MOJO RISING and Ed Bolton-King’s RED ARROW led the J/109 fleet away from the southern end of the line, with the former accelerating faster and pulling clear ahead and to windward in the first few lengths. Best placed at the northern end were Jamie Sheldon’s BROWN TEAL and the Royal Naval Association’s JOLLY JACK TAR, while Caroline van Beelen and Rutger Krijger’s Dutch JACK RABBIT and Nick Southward, John Scott and Andy Christie’s Team WHISKEY JACK were in the front row more towards the middle of the line. JACK RABBIT finished 29 seconds ahead of Robert Stiles’ DIAMOND JEM, giving the Dutch boat two consecutive race wins. BROWN TEAL took third place, just 10 seconds later.

"It was quite light airs but we made some good tactical calls, which was key today,” says Krijger. “Good crew work and maintaining boat speed was also important; it was very close, and we crossed the finish line just 30 seconds ahead of the next boat."

IRC Class 5 had an even tighter finish – the first three boats crossed the line in just 10 seconds. The fleet started cleanly, but only because a number of premature starters had already turned around before the gun.  In the end, Jack Banks’ J/92 NIGHTJAR took second and Andy and Annie Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II placed third.

J/70 women's sailing teamDay 3- Monday
Competitors enjoyed a fabulous classic sea breeze day, after a long postponement, while race officials waited for the wind to arrive. They were rewarded with a stable 10-15 knot southwesterly breeze on another warm and almost cloudless day.

The bulk of the larger Black Group yachts started on the inshore Royal Yacht Squadron line, short tacking along the shore to the west. The start of IRC Class 1 was a spectacular sight, with the front row yachts perfectly in line when the cannon fired. There was soon much shouting for room to tack before boats grounded, as well as close port/starboard tack incidents.

IRC Class 2 was subject to an individual recall at the start and Chris Jones and Louise Makin’s J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II duly went back to restart correctly.  Tony Mack’s J/111 MCFLY started towards the outer end of the line and was also well placed, sailing at the top of the fleet.  However, in the end, it was Christopher Daniel’s J/122E JUNO that won on corrected time.

J/97s sailing off Cowes, EnglandDay 4- Tuesday
After a relaxed morning waiting for a breeze to build, the teams were thoroughly tested by a series of wild fluctuations in the wind that accompanied short showers that passed over the race area in the afternoon. Lulls saw to wind drop to as low as three knots while some gusts topped 20 knots, while the direction at times swung through 90 degrees.

In IRC Class 5, Andy and Anne Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II got third. Said one sailor, “it was a great race– a good length and very enjoyable– even though the wind was very shifty and up and down from 5 to 21 knots”.

White Group
A small band of rain moved across the start area, then the breeze rapidly built back to 10-12 knots, temporarily shifting right to a more westerly direction. The two cannons for an individual recall were sounded at the start of the J/80 one-design class, but no boats turned back.

J/70 sailing off Cowes, EnglandFiona and Malcolm Thorpe’s J/80 KING LOUIE, and Jon Powell’s J/80 BETTY, were closest to the inshore end of the line. However, Chris Body’s J/80 MOCKINGJAY took an early lead ahead of Ray Mitchell’s CHECKMATE after KING LOUIE grounded on Grantham Rocks, as the fleet short tacked past the Green. BETTY crossed the line first, but had to take a penalty for a rule infringement, which lifted MOCKINGJAY to first place, while CHECKMATE took third.

“Having led the race and maintained the lead when the wind from the north dropped out and the then came in from the south, when we were on a tight spinnaker reach, I managed to hit the mark,” says Powell. “It was quite impressive because the tide was pulling us off– I’m not sure how that happened. I did some turns, but then realized we had to take a penalty so, even though we crossed the line in first place, we ended up second.”

J/70 Short Series results
Tuesday was also the final day of a short series for a number of classes that two or three races per day over the first four days of Lendy Cowes Week. Kate and John Greenland’s J-DOG won the J/70 short series by a nine-point margin ahead of Clive Bush’s DARCEY, with Ali Hall’s SCEPTRE taking third place.

J/70 sailing downwind off Cowes, EnglandDay 5- Wednesday- Youth Day
A change in the weather today gave a cooler and windier, sunny day, with gusts nearing 25 knots in the early afternoon. Thousands of sailors came ashore sporting big grins after an energetic day that saw many thrills and spills on the downwind legs. Wednesday was “Youth Day” at Lendy Cowes week, with the spotlight shining on the numerous young sailors, teams and skippers at the event.

Today 14-year-old Callum Robbins raced on Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II. “It was fantastic, I have never done something like this before,” he says. “It was great fun and something I am going to remember for a long time. I would love to get out racing again!”

The new Double-Handed IRC class, saw Natalie Jobling’s J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS vying for the lead.  The lead pair split gybes in the early stages of their first leg. At this stage, MOSTLY HARMLESS opted for more downwind angles that reduced the distance to sail at the expense of boat speed, ultimately taking 2nd in the race.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth-  For more Lendy Cowes Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.