The sun came out yesterday both physically and metaphorically for the Rolex Commodores' Cup fleet.
Following a lack of wind over the first two days of this regatta during which only one race of the scheduled four has been held, skippers last night met with the RORC's Race Committee to agree a plan of attack for the remainder of the week. On studying the weather forecast it was agreed to move racing today east out of the Solent to Hayling Bay.
This morning at 1130BST the first race was held south of Langstone Harbour in 5-8 knots of southeasterly wind.
After a general recall for class one, the fleet got away cleanly with the exception of the Irish team's big boat, Fidessa-Fastwave. She received a Z-flag penalty for being on the wrong side of the line within one minute of the start gun and as a result received a 20% penalty giving her 12 points for the race. This spoiled another otherwise strong performance by the Irish team.
Kit HOBDAY and Tim LOUIS' Farr 52 Bear of Britain, the biggest boat taking part in the Rolex Commodores' Cup once again sped away into clear air after some hot pursuit by Serguei KOTSIOUBA'S Franco-Russian crew on the IMX45 Follow Me in Team Europe. But in the end it was again the low rating Dutch Grand Soleil 44R Holmatro of Hans HORREVOETS who took honours, just six seconds ahead of Bear of Britain on corrected time.
In class two Colm BARRINGTON'S Flying Glove again put in a strong performance, punching well above her weight for the Irish team. This new Ker 39 is the smallest boat in her class but with one of the highest ratings. Like Bear of Britain she is sailing the course much faster than her competitors and this morning she finished three minutes ahead on elapsed time. This translated to a one minute lead on corrected time over France Blue's Sinergia 40 Paprec Recyclage and France's Red Fastwave 3, skippered by Stephane NEVE and Jean-Yves LE GOFF, both competitors in last year's French Admiral's Cup team.
Among the small boats there was once again good competition between the Ker 32s Fair Do's VI and Calyx - The Voice and Data People. The former, chartered by John SHEPHERD and racing her first regatta here, again got the upper hand to win class 3, almost a minute ahead of Jonathan GORING'S J/109 Jeronimo on corrected time.
At the time of writing the fleet were mid-way through today's short passage/coastal race in a building breeze. This saw all 33 boats take the start line together and after one general recall the fleet got away cleanly with Bear of Britain surging into the lead at the pin end.
This 49.4 mile long course was set to take the boats east to two marks off Selsey Bill. Bear of Britain rounded the Owers light, roughly 14 miles into the race at 1631BST followed 10 minutes later by the Irish DK46 Fidessa Fastwave.
After two races GBR Black and the Netherlands teams were tied on 13 points, while GBR Red and Ireland are tied on 13.5 points. With Fidessa Fastwave second in class one and Flying Glove again leading class two the Irish team look set to move ahead in the overall team results once again.
The short offshore race is expected to finish mid-evening. Tomorrow two windward-leewards are again scheduled, but the Race Committee are expected to try and run at least one more to make up for the three races lost on Monday and Tuesday.