After a lively dock party yesterday, helms and crews eased themselves in the Panerai marquee for breakfast ahead of the daily briefing with Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) Chief Race Officer Dai Prichard. With a 10knot breeze established from the south west, racing started on time from 11am for all classes.
With the sun peeping through the cloud, all classes started on the RYS inner line in a warm breeze. With an easterly running tide about to turn, the RYS side of the line was the favoured end of the start. White horses started to rear up across the Solent as the 6mRs followed by the 8mRs and Classes 1, 2 and 3 set off on the upwind leg towards Cowes Yacht Haven.
Fast-paced tacking kept crews on their toes as the yachts beat their way close inshore to escape the last of the tide, making for exciting viewing for spectators on the parade in front of the Royal Yacht Squadron. Rounding Cowes Yacht Haven to starboard, the yachts set off on a cross-channel reach to Sevenstar Yacht Transport.
Sailing a longer course, the 6mRs, 8mRs and Classes 1 and 2, beat their way up the Solent to West Lepe. Rounding the mark to starboard in the beginnings of the foul tide, yachts hoisted spinnakers as they set an easterly inshore course for NE Gurnard, off Lepe Spit.
From NE Gurnard, it was another cross-channel reach to sail via CHS to port en route to the RYS finish line against a ripping westerly tide.
From Sevenstar Yacht Transport, Class 3 took a shorter beat to craftinsure.com. Rounding the mark to starboard, the yachts set off for NE Gurnard followed by a cross-channel reach to CHS and a final short downwind leg to finish on the RYS inner line.
Class 4 sailed a different course altogether, beating up to Gurnard Ledge, followed by a cross-channel broad reach to Lepe Spit (keeping a careful eye on the depth sounder). An inshore beat to YachtDataBank followed by another broad reach down the Solent to CHS and the RYS inner line to finish.
Race 4, Class 1 was won by the dominant Spirit 52 Oui Fling, with Spirit 52 Flight of Ufford in second and Spirit 46 Helen of Durgan in third. Cetewayo took Class 2, followed by Anteren and Aeolus, whilst Whooper won Class 3 ahead of Mikado and Volonte. Class 4 was won by Cereste, with Timoa in second and Vigilant in third. Falcon won the 8mR class, followed by Carron II in second and Anne Sophie in third.
Sioma won both the 6mR races, Thistle took two seconds and Melita two thirds.
Whilst it doesn’t count towards the overall points, the Ladies’ Race remains a popular feature of the regatta with 25 yachts from across the 8mRs and Classes 1-4 entered this year. Racing with the westerly running tide from an RYS combined line, the fleet set off down the channel to Gurnard Ledge off the northern coast of the Isle of Wight in 12knots of wind from the south-west. From Gurnard Ledge, spinnakers were hoisted on the broad reach leg across the channel to Quinnell, with navigators judging the tide carefully to take the mark to port.
From Quinnell, it was another beat with the tide along the mainland shore to YachtDataBank. From there, it was a short downwind spinnaker leg east to Sevenstar Yacht Transport and a gybe around the mark to starboard before the cross-channel broad reach to CHS and on to the RYS inner line to finish.
Louise Morton, owner and helm of IYRU 10m yacht Anteren, commented on her regatta experience so far, “I’m absolutely loving it, it’s such a great regatta with superb racing amongst such beautiful boats. I’ve always wanted to come here, and I am so pleased we made it this year.”
Louise added, “I loved the ladies’ race today, great racing and thank goodness for the fair tide beat!”
All photos: Chris Brown Photography