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9 August 2007, 10:44 am
Pindar Dismasted During Eventful Day In Cowes
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Open 60 Pindar is dismasted between The Needles and St Catherines

Skandia Cowes Week 2007
Cowes, Isle of Wight, Great Britain

The glorious spectacle of seven Open 60s and two of the fastest maxis on the planet racing at Skandia Cowes Week was marred when Pindar, the brand new Open 60 helmed by Mike SANDERSON (NZL), the 2006 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, was dismasted during the big boat's sprint around the Isle of Wight.
Launched in July, Pindar was using the inaugural Artemis Challenge at Skandia Cowes Week as a shakedown ahead of the Rolex Fastnet Race next week. Her soaring wing mast, a revolutionary and highly sophisticated design, snapped off less than two metres from the deck as the boat passed through Freshwater Bay in around 14 knots of breeze.

Pindar

was towed back to her base in Gosport to be repaired. Owner Andrew PINDAR said, 'I am very disappointed. I don't know why it happened. We heard 'Bang! Bang!' and then it seemed like a fast sort of slow motion as the sails came down. I am glad the designer Juan KOUYOUMDJIAN was on board and we are now looking at what could have caused it.'

Meanwhile Estrella Damm, one of the new generation of Open 60s, went on to to take line honours in the Artemis Challenge at Skandia Cowes Week, earning £10,000 for the Spanish Africa Viva charity that had been nominated by the Spanish skipper Guillermo ALTADILL.

Will GREENWOOD, the former England rugby star brought his well-honed muscles to the party to give the brand new Estrella Damm an extra knot of pace while Lady Gabriella WINDSOR, brought some blue blood to Jonny MALBON's (GBR) Artemis Ocean Racing campaign to arrive home in fourth place out of six starters.

Despite having her appendix removed in an emergency operation last week, Britain's Sam DAVIES took the helm of Roxy and completed the circumnavigation in six hours and 34 minutes and 12 minutes behind Estrella.

Alfa Romeo Out Of The Blocks In A Flash

In their first head to head, Neville CRICHTON's (NZL) 100 ft super maxi Alfa Romeo beat Mike SLADE's (GBR) gleaming new ICAP Leopard to win Class Zero IRC's race around the Island and the RYS Trophy. This three year-old speed machine completed the 50 nm course in 4 hours, 54 minutes and 57 seconds, some 40 minutes ahead of ICAP Leopard but well short of the record set in 2006 by Maximus of 3 hours, 20 minutes and 9 seconds.

These vast maxi boats, with their towering 150 ft masts, flying 1800 sq yds of sail, made for an impressive sight as they powered down the Solent.

For the spectators along the waterfront, it was Alfa Romeo, with Lymington's Ado STEAD (GBR) as navigator and Murray JONES (NZL), strategist on America's Cup winner Alinghi in the afterguard, who left them awestruck when Ellen MACARTHUR (GBR) fired the cannon to send the fleet on their way. Both the big boats immediately hoisted their Code 0s to build up a head of steam and reach speeds of around 16 knots to leave the rest of the fleet in their wake.

The North Wind Doth Blow

Racing started against a backdrop of clear blue skies and a chilly north easterly wind which, according to weather expert Chris TIBBS, would ease from a Force 3 to a Force 2 as lunchtime approached to be replaced by a sea breeze in the afternoon. This, he predicted, would be SE in the eastern Solent and SW in the western, making for some very challenging conditions for the entire fleet.

Racing against the tide made for a textbook starting sequence with just one class, the Darings, bucking the trend. They were subject to a general recall and on the second attempt, three boats Decoy, Devius and Division Belle were disqualified under the Black Flag rule.

The Laser SB3s were the models of good behaviour though the strong tide meant it took the 98-strong fleet more than eight minutes to cross the line. Once again, it was Glenn BOURKE, Jeremy TROUGHTON and Tony KILBY on Musto who slipped away first and, although their speeds dropped off as they headed towards the first mark at North Ryde Middle, they were soon back on the pace.

By the end of the 16 nm course, they had established an emphatic five minute lead over second placed Geoff CARVETH in Earls Court Boat Show, the overall leaders, which put BOURKE in an ebullient mood.

'It was one of the most tactically perfect days I have sailed for a long time,'

'We are starting to sail really well. We are best in light to moderate airs upwind whereas Geoff likes the heavy downwind conditions so we will see what happens tomorrow but either way it will be a fair contest.'

Red Hot Flash Gloves Wins Britannia Cup

In Class 1 IRC, the day belonged once more to the TP52s and to Colm BARRINGTON's Flash Glove in particular who reinforced his position at the top of the leaderboard with a resounding five minute win over Cockburn's Red. Despite missing out on the coveted Britannia Cup, Charles DUNSTONE's second place was his best result of the week so far.

Peter HARRISON's Chernikeeff 2 was forced to retire after getting a spinnaker sheet wrapped around the propeller while the engine was running prior to the start. The boat was hauled out of the water to check for damage and the crew were confident of being back in action tomorrow.

he said.
Kate Laven/CCC (As Amended By ISAF)
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