Yet another stunning day on the Solent as Royal Yacht Squadron Chief Racer Officer Dai Prichard kicked off proceedings with the briefing at 9.30am. Day four saw the 6 Metres and Classes 1-4 race a high energy inshore course in the morning, followed by the annual Ladies Race in the afternoon.
With the wind in the south-west and a strong tide running west to east, the yachts started on the Royal Yacht Squadron inner line in glorious sunshine. When approaching the line, the yachts needed smart tactics to negotiate the tide that was ripping down the Solent and washing them over the line to the east.
The 6 Metres headed downwind out to Fastnet Insurance to port, beating back up against the tide to South Bramble. From there, it was a second downwind leg to Goodall Roofing and back upwind to the line.
As Class 1 crossed the line, the Solent was once again festooned with a line of brightly coloured spinnakers against a backdrop of clear blue skies. Class 1, followed by Classes 2 and 3, all powered downwind to Fastnet Insurance. Class 4 crossed the line and set a course for West Ryde Middle.
Most yachts sailed their upwind leg towards Southampton Water estuary to escape the tide before crossing the Solent, allowing for the strong tide to carry them down onto the next mark. A second downwind leg saw spinnakers hoisted in champagne sailing conditions, before the beat back up to the Royal Yacht Squadron line to finish.
The 6 Metre race was won by Thistle, followed by Sioma and Nancy. Flight of Ufford continued her dominant run in Class 1 and took first, with Chloe Giselle in second and Oui Fling in third. David Murrin’s Cetewayo took first in Class 2, followed by AC 2 Tonner/Sloop Opposition in second and Classic 8 Metre Helen in third. Last year’s regatta winner Whooper won Class 3, followed by Sunmaid V in second and International 8 Cruiser/Racer Freyja in third. Class 4 was won by Cereste, with Suvretta in second and Dorothy in third.
Most yachts chose to pick up a mooring and bask in the sunshine whilst grabbing a quick lunch before the start of the afternoon’s Ladies Race. With some famous faces amongst the female helms (including GB Olympic gold medallist Saskia Clark on Kismet), the fleet set off on a packed start line. Running downwind on the last of the tide to West Ryde Middle, a busy mark rounding saw plenty of boats giving water as they hardened up into the wind towards Williams Shipping in the middle of the Solent.
With the tide turning, most yachts chose to stick close to the mainland shore as they tacked their way to the craftinsure.com mark and across the Solent to Elephantboatyard.co.uk. Taking the final mark to port, spinnakers were hoisted as the yachts bore away towards the Royal Squadron line to finish.
Crossing the line to the resounding boom of the cannon, Spirit 52 Oui Fling took line honours followed by Spirit 65 Chloe Giselle in second and Spirit DH63 Gwenhyfar in third. On corrected time, Whooper was in second place and Cetewayo took third; the winner of the Ladies Race, Suvretta, will be presented at the overall prize-giving on Friday.
As the sun went down for the start of another idyllic summer’s evening, crews prepared for the BBQ party at the Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club. Thursday sees the yachts take on a Long Inshore race sponsored by Classic Boat magazine.