Sunshine and a sea breeze after a three hour delay provided some exciting racing for the 33 boats in the Rolex Commodores’ Cup.
With some 10 knots from the south-west, the fleet was away first time for the sixth race of the series, courtesy of a `Z' flag flying from the Committee Boat, denoting a sharp penalty available for those who crossed the start line early.
Peter Morton's Mandrake (Ireland Orange), with Etchells world champion Stuart Childerley behind the wheel, made a perfectly timed start at the pin end of the line and instantly flopped over on to port tack to lead the fleet towards the mainland shore off Beaulieu Beach on the five-leg windward/leeward race. It was a move that took Mandrake to a 27 second lead over Nick Hewson's Team Tonic at the windward mark.
After the four big boats had rounded, there was not a very big gap before the pack of Ker 11.3s, led by Nick Harrison's Nattie Vee (Commonwealth) and Tony Clare's Blue Belle (Commonwealth), were around and chasing them down the run. Then came two more of these ultra-quick 37 footers, Minnie the Moocher (Wales) and Robbie Cameron-Davies I-Site (Wales). The France Red team, series leaders at this stage, for once seemed out of it.
The outcome, once the handicaps had been computed, was remarkable and favoured the quicker boats. Nattie Vee and Kit Hobday and Tim Louis's Bear of Britain (England Red) tied for first place, while Blue Belle and Mandrake were also equal in third place. The Commonwealth team were easily the best placed when Peter Harrison's Chernikeeff 2 placed eighth, but it only just edged out the Wales team which placed solidly with Minnie the Moocher, I-Site and Team Tonic taking fifth, sixth and seventh places.
England Red and Ireland Orange tied for third place, while France Red was fifth, but still held on to a handsome overall lead.
The win was up to 14-15 knots for the second race around an identical course. Bear of Britain and Chernikeeff 2 were at one another's throats throughout this one at the front of the fleet, with first one leading and then the other. Line honours finally went to Bear of Britain, but once again it was the pair of Commonwealth Ker 11.3s, Natti Vee and Blue Belle, that took handicap honours, and with Chernikeeff 2 placing fifth, the team were easily first. It closed them with the leaders although retaining fourth place in the overall standings.
The day was Natti Vee's. She posted two handicap wins for charterer Nick Harrison and moves to fourth in the individual overall performance. Gery Trentesaux' Courrier Nord is still the best individual, even after placings of eleventh and eighteenth in the last two races. France Red's overall margin is down to 44 points from the Netherlands, while England Red closed to be six and a half points further back, just three and a quarter ahead of the Commonwealth.
Tomorrow is the long inshore race, scheduled to be eight hours long in the Solent around mostly marks that are already in place, with the final short inshore race on Sunday. Tomorrow's race is worth twice the points of each of today's.
Overall Team Points After 7 Races
Team/Total Points/Overall Position
Team/Boat Name/Owner-Skipper/Type/Race 1 Position/Race 2 Position/Points Overall/Team Place
France Red/Courrier Nord/Gery Trentesaux/X442/2/5/4/2/3/11/18/148.25/1
France Red/Clin D'Oriel/Jean-Yves Le Goff/IMX 40/20/8/22/1/18/20/29/148.25/1
France Red/Fastwave 3/Eric Fries/IMX 40/8/11/8/8/2/13/14/148.25/1
Netherlands/Salty Dog/Hans Hout/IMX 40/16/12/15/4/1/16/12/192.25/2
Netherlands/Checkmate 3/Peter de Ridder/BH 41/6/9-ZFG/16/22/7/21/3/192.25/2
Netherlands/Satori/Hans Horrevoets/Grand Soleil 40/26/20-ZFG/30/28/8/27/24/192.25/2
England Red/Bear of Britain/Kit Hobday & Tim Louis/Farr 52/22/3/3/14/32/1/4/198.75/3
England Red/Fandango/David Scanlan/First 40.7/1/7/19/5/4/15/16/198.75/3
England Red/Kerisma/Chris Bull/Ker 11.3/15/22/12/20/14/9/9/198.75/3
Commonwealth/Chernikeef 2/Peter Harrison/Farr 52/3/2/7/6/29/8/5/202/4
Commonwealth/Natti Vee/Nick Harrison & Robert Greenhalgh/Ker 11.3/5/6/2/13/20/1/1/202/4
Commonwealth/Blue Belle/Tony Clarke/Ker 11.3/13/28/17/25/15/3/2/202/4
Ireland Orange/Mandrake/Peter Morton/Mills 50/14/1/6/9/27/3/6/218/5
Ireland Orange/Gloves Off/Colm Barrington/Corby 41.5/10/12/26/10/9/10/10/218/5
Irleand Orange/Carphone Warehouse Communicator/Corby 41.5/4/19-ZFG/9/15/25/12/7/218/5
Wales/Team Tonic/Nick Hewson/Farr 52/17/4/1/3/28/7/8/218/5
Wales/I-Site/Robbie Cameron-Davies/Kerr 11.3/9/18-ZFG/21/27/17/6/13/218/5
Wales/Minnie the Moocher/Anthony Richards/Ker 11.3/11/27/5/7/11/5/15/218/5
Spain/1906/Chris Brown/First 40.7/7/15/28/12/23/26/26/292.75/7
Spain/Estrella Galicia/Alberto Viejo/Alberto Viejo/First 40.7/25/21/20/26/10/23/25/292.75/7
Spain/Cabreiroa/Peter Schofiled/HOD 35/27/24/24/15/6/29/DNF/292.75/7
England Blue/El Gringo/Nick Hartshorn/Ker 11.3/18/16/18/30/16/17/20/301.25/8
England Blue/Fair Do's V/John Shepherd/Ker 11.3/19/17/25/28/19/14/22-ZFG/301.25/8
England Blue/Too Steamy/Nick & Anne Haigh/24/29-ZFG/11/18/22/25/11/301.25/8
France Blue/Meta-Baron/Jean-Philippe Chomette/IMX 40/12/14/14/33/5/24/21/309.5/9
France Blue/Coraya/Marc de Saint Denis/IMX 40/23/23-ZFG/10/11/13/22/19/309.5/9
France Blue/Ster Wenn 5/Guy Sallenave/X 442/30/33/33/32/31/31/31/309.5/9
Belgium/Oxygen/Axel de Cock/IMX 40/29/25/31/21/DNF/23/374.5/10
Belgium/Moana/Francois Goubau/First 47.7/28/31/23/30/32/27/374.5/10
Belgium/Cohiba/Yves Delacollete/First 40.7/32/32/19/12/19/30/374.5/10
Ireland Green/Cracklin' Rosie/Roy Dickson/Corby 40/20/9/27/21/24/18/17/396.5/11
Ireland Green/White Knuckles II/Simon Brown & Deidre Horneck/31/26/32/17/26/30/32/396.5/11
Ireland Green/Cheiftain/Ger O'Rourke/First 40.7/33/30-ZFG/29/24/DNC/28/28/396.5/11
ZFG - Penalty Points of Place + 20% of Entry
DNC - Did not come
DNF - Did not finish