It was a day of two halves for the two inshore races of the Rolex Commodores’ Cup on the second day of the competition, with the bigger boats dominating in the morning and the 40 footers coming into their own in the afternoon.
And it was the strong current of a Spring tide that was the separating factor. In the morning, it was right on the nose for the windward legs, while in the afternoon, when it had begun to ebb, the current helped the boats to windward.
The Spring tide was also responsible for the delay to the start of the Morning's race since several of the boats were unable to get out of the West Cowes marina, the tips of their keels stuck in the mud. The Race Committee waited until all were out and had motored down as far as the West Lepe buoy before they began the starting sequence almost an hour after it had been scheduled.
It was the day of the France Red team, led by Gery Trentesaux in the IMX-40, Courrier Nord who now is the individual series leader, that leads the teams after four races by 13.75 points. The only surprise was in how easily France Red moved into the lead from second place to the Commonwealth team after the morning, but when Jean-Yves le Goff's 42 foot Clin d'Oeil corrected out in first place while Trentesaux took second and Eric Fries' 40 foot Fastwave 3 was eighth, the matter was settled. No other team could match that consistency.
The morning race was a matter of timing the start to perfection and heading for the mainland shore to shelter from the tidal current. Anthony Richards' Ker 11.3, Minnie the Moocher (Wales), and his team-mate, Nick Hewson¹s Farr 52, Team Tonic, hit the line at the port end, on port tack, at the gun, and crossed the entire fleet. Team Tonic went on to establish a huge lead to win the race by almost a minute on corrected time from Nick Harrison's Natti Vee (Commonwealth).
The three Farr 52s, Team Tonic, Bear of Britain (England Red) and Chernikeeff 2 (Commonwealth), together with Peter Morton's 50 foot, Mandrake (Ireland Orange) made a showy sight as they led the other 29 boats by a big margin, but there were good performances by other consistently good boats, Courrier Nord among them in fourth place behind Kit Hobday and Tim Louis's Bear of Britain, while Minnie the Moocher took fifth place.
In the afternoon, the westerly breeze had risen from 12 to 16 knots and the fleet charged at the line with the tide slack, but that didn't stop a small bunch of identified premature starters who returned and started correctly, but meanwhile Chernikeeff 2 went into a twelve second lead at the first mark from Team Tonic with Bear of Britain another 28 seconds behind. The battle between the two leaders was always close and there were constant attempts by Chernikeeff 2 to go ahead, but each one was repulsed and Team Tonic led across the finishing line of the five-leg windward/leeward course by just six seconds.
It was, however, a race in which the smaller boats would shine and while Team Tonic and Chernikeeff 2 were respectively third and sixth on corrected time, the cruiser/racers were filling the top spots. Clin d'Oeil is an X-442 and she was the race winner by 18 seconds from Courrier Nord, an IMX-40. Salty Dog, of the Dutch Team, in fourth place, is another IMX-40, while fifth placed Fandango (England Red) is a Beneteau 40.7.
France Red leads after four races with 49.75 points, ahead of the Commonwealth on 63.5, while England Red, at third, has 71.5, as does Ireland Orange.
Overall Team Points After 4 Races
Team/Total Points/Overall Position
France Red/49.75/ 1
Team/Boat Name/Owner-Skipper/Type/Race 1 Position/Race 2 Position/Points
France Red/Courrier Nord/Gery Trentesaux/X442/2/5/4/2/49.75/1
France Red/Clin D¹Oriel/Jean-Yves Le Goff/IMX 40/20/8/22/1/49.75/1
France Red/Fastwave 3/Eric Fries/IMX 40/8/11/8/8/49.75/1
Commonwealth/Chernikeef 2/Peter Harrison/Farr 52/3/2/7/6/63.5/2
Commonwealth/Natti Vee/Nick Harrison & Robert Greenhalgh/Ker
Commonwealth/Blue Belle/Tony Clarke/Ker 11.3/13/28/17/25/63.5/2
Ireland Orange/Mandrake/Peter Morton/Mills 50/14/1/6/9/71.5/3
Ireland Orange/Gloves Off/Colm Barrington/Corby 41.5/10/12/26/10/71.5/3
Irleand Orange/Carphone Warehouse Communicator/Corby
England Red/Bear of Britain/Kit Hobday & Tim Louis/Farr 52/22/3/3/14/71.5/3
England Red/Fandango/David Scanlan/First 40.7/1/7/35/4/19/5/71.5/3
England Red/Kerisma/Chris Bull/Ker 11.3/15/22/35/4/12/20/71.5/3
Wales/Team Tonic/Nick Hewson/Farr 52/17/4/1/3/78.5/5
Wales/I-Site/Robbie Cameron-Davies/Kerr 11.3/9/18-ZFG/21/27/78.5/5
Wales/Minnie the Moocher/Anthony Richards/Ker 11.3/11/27/5/7/78.5/5
Netherlands/Salty Dog/Hans Hout/IMX 40/16/12/15/4/109.5/6
Netherlands/Checkmate 3/Peter de Ridder/BH 41/6/9-ZFG/16/22/109.5/6
Netherlands/Satori/Hans Horrevoets/Grand Soleil 40/26/20-ZFG/30/28/109.5/6
Spain/1906/Chris Brown/First 40.7/7/15/28/12/122.25/7
Spain/Estrella Galicia/Alberto Viejo/Alberto Viejo/First
Spain/Cabreiroa/Peter Schofiled/HOD 35/27/24/24/15/122.25/7
England Blue/El Gringo/Nick Hartshorn/Ker 11.3/18/16/18/30/129.25/8
England Blue/Fair Do¹s V/John Shepherd/Ker 11.3/19/17/25/28/129.25/8
England Blue/Too Steamy/Nick & Anne Haigh/24/29-ZFG/11/18/129.25/8
France Blue/Meta-Baron/Jean-Philippe Chomette/IMX 40/12/14/14/33/137.5/9
France Blue/Coraya/Marc de Saint Denis/IMX 40/23/23-ZFG/10/11/137.5/9
France Blue/Ster Wenn 5/Guy Sallenave/X 442/30/33/33/32/137.5/9
Ireland Green/Cracklin¹ Rosie/Roy Dickson/Corby 40/20/9/27/21/152/10
Ireland Green/White Knuckles II/Simon Brown & Deidre
Ireland Green/Cheiftain/Ger O¹Rourke/First 40.7/33/30-ZFG/29/24/152/10
Belgium/Oxygen/Axel de Cock/IMX 40/29/25/31/158.5/11
Belgium/Moana/Francois Goubau/First 47.7/28/31/23/158.5/11
Belgium/Cohiba/Yves Delacollete/First 40.7/32/32/19/158.5/11
ZFG - Penalty Points of Place + 20% of Entry