Perfect conditions greeted the eleven teams yesterday morning for the continued windward-leeward races of the Rolex Commodores' Cup.
To make up for the races lost earlier, yesterday's 10-15 knot wind enabled the organisers to regain a further race, sailed after the two scheduled.
With six races sailed the Irish team now hold a comfortable lead, on 25 points ahead of GBR Black on 29.5 and France Blue, led by the Rolex Commodore's Cup defender Gery TRENTESAUX, on 31.5.
Under brilliant sunshine and in 14-15 knot southeasterly wind, the first race got underway today in the northeast channel off Lee on Solent against a strong flood tide. The increase in wind strength was enough to cause some differences in the results compared to previous days.
In class one Gery TRENTESAUX'S Grand Soleil 44R Courrier d'Ile de France in France Blue won the first two races, ending the string of wins for her sistership, Holmatro, the Dutch class one entry. "I think our boat is better when the wind is more than 10 knots,"
said Trentesaux. "Under 10 knots it is very difficult because the boat is heavy. At 14 knots it is perfect. And the French team is better when there is enough wind to race. The British boats are very light and our boats are more cruiser-racers."
He adds that although Holmatro is another Grand Soleil 44, his has more of a cruising interior and as a result is some three tons heavier.
In class two the run of wins for Colm BARRINGTON'S Flying Glove also came to an end in the second race today when they were beaten by sailmaker Stephane NEVE'S Sinergia 40, Paprec Recyclage, also preferring the stronger conditions like their French Blue team mate.
The new Ker 32 Fair Do's VI continued to shine in the small boat class winning the first two races yesterday. "We had good races today, with more breeze than yesterday and the boys performed well: good starts, good crew work,"
commented skipper John Shepherd.
For the third race today the results in class one and two were turned on their heads as the leaders were becalmed within sight of the finish line off Cowes. Worst affected was the class two leader Flying Glove, first boat into the windless zone off Castle Point to the east of Cowes.
"It was a total lottery - and we lost,"
lamented skipper Colm BARRINGTON. "Class 1 had a longer course, so we were leading boat in our class and on the water and the wind died. We couldn't see what was happening and the boats behind were able to sail around us and stay in wind."
As a result following her string of first places so the Irish Ker 39 has also scored a last place. "We'd had a good day's racing up to that,"
Barrington continued. "The other two races were great - really competitive, it was a pity this one turned into such a farce. Fortunately Fidessa and Calyx won, so team-wise I think we won, so I might still get my Rolex watch!"
In class one a similar fate befell Kit HOBDAY and Tim Louis' Farr 52 Bear of Britain allowing the Irish team big boat, Chris BROWN, Peter HARDING and Jennie AUSTIN's DK 46 Fidessa Fastwave to take their first win of the regatta.
In class three the course was shortened at East Bramble before the boats had reached the wind hole, but even in this class there was a change in the results as Fair Do's VI was sailed off the course, allowing her sistership, the Irish team's Calyx The Voice and Data People to take handicap honours.
Today there is a final windward-leeward before the concluding 24-36 hour long Channel Race. This race scores four times the points of the shorter windward-leewards. With almost half the points still up for grabs, there is all to play for in the Rolex Commodores' Cup.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.