Cowes Week 2007 - Report from With Alacrity
2007 turned out to be a vintage
A huge windshift just before
the start left a horribly biased committee boat line which you could not cross
on starboard. We elected to start at the pin on port but tangled with Red Macaw
on what was a 50:50 windward/leeward call at best. Not wanting to risk
disqualification we took a yellow flag (1% penalty) and also protested, though later
decided that life was too short to pursue it in the protest room. The rest of
the race was pretty uneventful with some long legs up and down the
With a big easterly tide on the RYS line we lined up to start on the inner distance mark but 2 boats to windward barged in, forcing us to reach down with them (this link to a Y&Y photo shows it quite well: http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/?s=1&sa=2&article=137926&PID=94&boat=&club=Cowes&clss=&desc=Skandia%20Cowes%20Week&p=&yr=2007 ). We might have been over the line anyway but without the ability to luff and slow down we were over by a long way and, with 50+ boats on the line, it took us a looong time to extricate ourselves and turn back, eventually re-starting 6 minutes late. We spent the rest of the race slowly working our way back up through the fleet, briefly making it to 3rd Sigma 38 before being caught in a huge raft up on the last rounding mark and being blanketed by a wall of boats to the finish and dropping back to 6th out of the 38s. Pavlova III finished first Sigma 38 on the water but were subsequently dsq after a protest giving Mefisto the second race win.
An incredibly exciting race in a stable 14 knots of westerly wind, Beefeater lead the charge off the start and pulled out a huge lead as the fleet tacked up the mainland shore past Lepe spit to keep out of the tide. We approached the first mark to watch Light just ahead round the wrong way, then Mefisto bear away as a Farr 45 was powering past with the kite up – they must have missed a collision by inches. Downwind we geared up in the pursuit of Beefeater, Pavlova III & Red Macaw and on the penultimate beat we crept up the shore for longer and found ourselves right back in it at the mark rounding. Red Macaw forced us to take another penalty on a very dubious port / starboard call but we rounded in second and broke into the lead on the final spinnaker leg. We held onto it to within 150 metres of the finish where we had to make the call to cover Beefeater who were heading inshore or the other Sigma 38s who were keeping out, we stayed out and Beefeater got it right to take a very deserved win.
Another beat off the squadron line against the tide and we pulled out a great start crossing clear ahead of the fleet on port and heading inshore to pick up the tidal eddy. Beefeater were soon back up with us though, they have the boat going really well upwind, and broke into the lead again at Lepe spit with Red Macaw always nearby. The three of us battled it out in a close and tense race and despite a final charge on the downwind leg to the finish we could not quite catch Beefeater who finished 7 seconds ahead for an outstanding second win in a row.
Probably the closest and most exciting race we have
had in a Sigma 38. We started in the western
Probably the worst race we have ever sailed in a Sigma
38, the fleet got away from the RYS line in 7 knots of wind and a huge pile up
on the hugely biased line. Through the race the seabreeze
battled with the Northerly gradient wind leaving huge holes in the wind and
enormous 180 degree windshifts. Beefeater, Pavlova & Red Macaw got away well and headed inshore to
park in a big hole, Light stayed out and picked up the first of the new breeze
whilst we sat drifting somewhere in between. Light read the diabolical breeze
best to become the 5th race winner in the series closely followed by
Beefeater who finished 20 minutes clear of the next Sigma 38! Worth noting that
with 6 rounding marks criss crossing the
The final race of the Sigma 38 series was poised to be a corker with just 7 points separating the first 5 boats, and it was even closer once you started to take discards into account. Unfortunately, perhaps as a result of criticism over the previous days torrid race, racing was abandoned for the day – obviously, 30 minutes later a solid 14 knot sea breeze had set in!
So, congratulations to Beefeater who sailed a great
series to win the closest
Although the Sigma 38 series was over the results in IRC class 6 were also very close and more than half the Sigma 38s turned out for the final IRC 6 race. Another incredibly close race with long downwind legs against the tide, we managed to break into the lead at the first windward mark and covered the other Sigma 38s for the next 2.5 hours to finish just ahead of Red Macaw – in the end just 10 seconds faster in this race would have secured 2nd place overall in IRC 6 but we were happy to hang onto 3rd and it was great to see 3 Sigma 38s in the top 5 of the handicap results.