Cowes Week Report 2015


Congratulations to all RTYC members who participated in Cowes Week 2015. All of the RTYC J/70s competed in the mini league which took place during the first 4 days of racing, and three boats continued to race for the duration of the event.

RTYC along with RLYC is responsible for the first four days of racing during Cowes Week. Jenny Woods, supported by Malcolm McKeag, and reporting to Peter Taylor of RLYC, ably led a team of over 30 race officials on the RYS platform, as well as co-ordinating the various committee vessels and other support vessels spread out across the Solent. Cowes Week is a monumental operation involving huge amounts of planning, organisation and co-ordination from a vast number of staff and volunteers, RTYC wishes to thank all of those involved with Cowes Week 2015 for their hard work.

Some notable on the water achievements from RTYC members included the following:

Sir Malcolm Green’s Swallow Archon gained two 1sts throughout the week, placing him in 1st position for the Swallows.

Current J/70 European Corinthian Champion Charlie Esse finished second in the J/70 mini series, on board was his father Anthony Esse, they clocked up 2 bullets. John Greenland alongside Katie Greenland, Annie Lush (fresh back from her VOR adventures) and Nick Hornby, racing as Rule 1 in an RTYC J/70, came 3rd overall in the J/70 mini series.

Jack Davies, in his J/70, Jugador finished 2nd in the Under 25s Trophy and 2nd in the overall J/70 full week event, as well as 3rd in the Young Skipper’s Trophy.

Ali Hall came 3rd in the J/80 fleet in his boat Boysterous, gaining 1sts in Sunday and Friday’s races.

In the Etchells fleet RTYC’s very own J/70 bosun- Josh Downer- finished second overall, with a mixed set of results, including one 1st place and Nick Stagg came third.
The notoriously competitive Quarter Ton fleet trophy was taken by Sam Laidlaw in Aguila, who racked up three 1sts throughout the week.
Peter Bainbridge’s Rustler 33 Whisper finished 2nd overall in Cruiser Division B, taking a bullet in Thursday’s race. This is a great result for Peter’s first Cowes Week on board his new boat.

David Franks and his JPK1010 Strait Dealer, won Class 4 and finished 4th in the Black Group overall, with three bullets throughout the week.

Peter Morton’s JND 35 Salvo finished 1st overall in IRC Class 3, with four 1sts and 3rd overall in the Black Group.

Adam Gosling’s Corby 36 Yes! won Class 2 and finished first overall in the Black Group, with a very impressive array of results- coming first in every race of the week, on board were a number of RTYC members. This was Adam’s 26th consecutive Cowes Week, and his results are a true demonstration of the commitment which Adam has put in to the boat and competing in this event.

Alex Mills has shared his thoughts about sailing on board his father -Sir Keith Mills- Ker 40+ Invictus: ‘Having not raced Cowes Week for a number of years, I was massively excited to be taking part this year aboard my father’s brand new Ker 40+ Invictus. In our first season with the boat we have had some good early success with a IRC 0 win in Round the Island, a third place in the IRC Nationals and a tight second place at the RYS Bi-Centennial Regatta, so we were optimistic of a good result at Cowes. Our crew for the week was a mixture of pros and very good amateurs with my father on the helm, Volvo Ocean Race legend Robert Greenhalgh on tactics and I took the role of freestyler spending most of my time grinding or up on the foredeck.

The week could not have got off to a worse start on Day 1, after what seemed like an overly long delay, racing got underway with a downwind start that sent IRC 0 off into the Western Solent on a weak Easterly gradient. It was a gloriously warm summer’s day on the Solent, so the sea breeze was always going to play a major part in the days racing, and sure enough about half down the first leg the South-Westerly thermal built. The convergence zone created by the Easterly gradient and South-Westerly thermal threw the race into a lottery of epic proportions, and unfortunately the luck did not favour us! Having anchored 3 times and tried every trick in the book to keep moving in the right direction, we finished the race in 9th place some 45mins behind the winner on corrected time.

Knowing that we should get a discard for the week, we put Day 1 behind us and concentrated on putting in good performances for the rest of the week. There were 2 other very competitive 40 footers in IRC 0, Carkeek 40 Rebellion and GP 42 Tokoloshe II, which ensure some fantastic racing all week. The race on Day 2 was one of the most exciting I have ever raced in, with 4 or 5 lead changes amongst the 3 40 footers. Ultimately the much larger Tonnerre 4 took the bullet, beating us by 7 seconds on corrected, but with the top 5 all finishing within 50 seconds on corrected it was a hugely exhilarating race.

Although it was disappointing to lose a day’s racing on Day 4, the remainder of the week produced some very competitive racing. Some of the decisions by the race committee on courses left us scratching our heads a little, but with such closely matched boats, the dodgy courses couldn’t distract from the excitement of the racing. The final day’s racing saw us take our only win of the week and it was a hugely satisfying race to win due to the light a shifty conditions. We were level on-points with Tokoloshe II going into this race in tied-second place, so it was all about making sure we secured second overall. I was fortunate to be on the helm for the day with dad unavailable due to shore based commitments, so it was even more pleasing for me to secure the Rocking Chair Trophy for the race win and second overall in IRC 0.

It is tremendously exciting to see a growing fleet of fast, plaining 40 footers around the Solent. We have spoken to a number of potential owners who on the back of a really close Cowes Week are keen to join the party next season. Sailing in the Solent can be quite cyclical and it is beginning to look like the grand prix 40 footer is the boat to have in the Solent for the years to come. It was mildly disappointing that we didn’t win overall at Cowes but when you have a considerably bigger boat, Tonnerre 4 – a Ker 51, in your class it is always going to be tough to come out on top. If the 40s hadn’t been so closely matched perhaps we could have spent more time concentrating on the overall race win rather than ensuring a win over our 40ft rivals! But to be honest the reason we downsized from a TP52 was to enjoy close boat on boat racing, and that is exactly what we got! I can’t wait for next year!’

To view all Cowes Week results click here