Cham­pagne sail­ing makes for a vin­tage Cowes Week

Eight days of rac­ing were de­liv­ered in spec­tac­u­lar so­lent con­di­tions

Yachting World - - On The Wind -

The 2016 Aberdeen As­set Man­age­ment Cowes Week was one of the most en­joy­able for years. Break­ing with what was start­ing to feel like tra­di­tion, Cowes Week had nei­ther its cus­tom­ary day of gales and rain, nor its usual flat calms. Not a sin­gle day’s rac­ing was lost as cham­pagne south-west­erly sea breezes and more vari­able north-west­er­lies al­lowed a full se­ries of races to be com­pleted for ev­ery­one from IRC Zero to the XOD fleets.

Be­hind the scenes, it was a week of change. It was the first event for Phil Ha­gen in his new role of re­gatta di­rec­tor, and the last to be spon­sored by Aberdeen As­set Man­age­ment. The in­vest­ment man­age­ment group had orig­i­nally ended its sup­port af­ter the 2015 week, but it stepped back in as spon­sor for one fi­nal year. Or­gan­is­ers are seek­ing a new backer for 2017 on­wards.

This was also the send-off for Artemis, spon­sor of the Cowes-based Fi­garo squad and the Artemis Chal­lenge race around the Isle of Wight, held on the Thurs­day of Cowes Week. The chal­lenge this time was some­thing of an ex­hi­bi­tion race, with the MOD70 Phaedo3 blast­ing around with only an M32 match-rac­ing cata­ma­ran for com­pany.

De­spite the loss of two ma­jor back­ers, in­vest­ment in sail­ing was ev­i­dent on the wa­ter, most ob­vi­ously in the Fast 40+ class. The head­line fleet of the week, the class was a show­case for the re­turn of high-tech big-boat rac­ing on the So­lent, with 13 teams tak­ing part, each pri­vately owned and owner-driven. Four dif­fer­ent de­signs shared the wins. Peter Mor­ton’s Car­keek 40 Girls on Film, launched this year, took the over­all prize.

Adam Gosling claimed the Black Group prize for top ‘big boat’ for the fourth year in a row. In his lat­est Yes!, a new JPK 10.80, he scored six race wins in IRC 3.

Ex­plain­ing the new boat, Gosling told us: “We had a very good three-year cam­paign with the Corby 36 Yes!, but there was a bit of peo­ple say­ing, ‘The boat’s not beat­able’, so I looked around for a new chal­lenge.”

Gosling said he was at­tracted by the reach­ing per­for­mance of the JPK 10.80, but Cowes Week was al­ways the tar­get. “I love it for many rea­sons. There are so many el­e­ments that you just don’t get sail­ing in any other places around the world.”

The White Group prize went to Nigel Gro­gan’s Re­hy­drated, which con­tin­ued the Squib de­sign’s dom­i­nance of the over­all tro­phy in the keel­boat classes.

The re­gatta’s largest fleet, how­ever, was once again the XOD class, with 56 en­tries. John Trem­lett’s 1948-built Lass re­tained the Cap­tain’s Cup tro­phy for the class win.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.