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#Seven people were rescued from the Solent after their boat collided with another yacht and sank this afternoon. 

The five men and two women were east of Bramble Bank when their yacht Ino collided with another named Valkyrie it has been reported.

Cowes RNLI lifeboat and Gosport independent lifeboat rushed to the scene and pulled the people out of the water.

The Cowes-based Corby 36 yacht Ino sank very quickly, according to the lifeboat team.

All people on board were wearing lifejackets and were taken to Trinity Landing in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

No-one was seriously injured.

More on this story by the Southern Daily Echo here

Published in News Update

#sb20 – The SB20 keelboat class will hold its 2017 World Championships at the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. 

It's somewhat disappointing news for Irish sportsboat sailing following a competitive tender process from five international sailing clubs including three Irish ones from Cork, Galway and Ulster.

The SB20 World Council voted for the RYS to host the championships. Event dates will be confirmed early in 2015.

As previously reported last August, Irish SB20 Class President Justin Burke had been urging Irish clubs to get behind the sportsboat bid and bring the Championships here for a second time.

Ireland previously hosted the inaugural worlds – when the class was known as the SB3 – in 2009 at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire attracting a massive fleet of 163 boats divided into two flights.

Ed Russo, President of the SB20 World Council, commented: "We are excited about the opportunity of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes hosting the 2017 SB20 Worlds. The Solent is where the first SB20 fleet began and we expect a significant number of participants from the 13 fleets around the world to return to the founding waters for this event."

The Royal Yacht Squadron is one of the most prestigious yacht clubs in the world, the host club of the very first America's Cup race (held around the Isle of Wight in 1851), and founder of the famous Cowes Week regatta. With its spectacular canon start-line at Cowes Castle, the Squadron hosts top level racing events on the Solent waters each year.

Rear Commodore (Yachting) Jonathan Perry commented: "The Royal Yacht Squadron is delighted to have been selected to host the SB20 World Championships in 2017. The Solent provides challenging sailing conditions for this truly international class, which we look forward to welcoming to Cowes."

The SB20 class is an international one-design keelboat sailed by three or four people which offers incredibly close 'level' racing, attracting both amateur and professional sailors of all ages. It is a familiar sight on the Solent, and provides superb value for money with class starts and one-design fleets at major regattas such as Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, as well as its own class championships and Grand Slam circuit.

The SB20 class has over 750 boats sailing worldwide with established fleets in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Dubai, Singapore and Australia, and regularly attracts fleets of over 100 boats for international events. A global fleet is expected for the 2017 World Championships as well as a strong UK entry.

The SB20 will hold its 2015 World Championships at Torbole, on Lake Garda, Italy and in 2016 in Cascais, Portugal, giving the fleet three superb venues for the next three overall World Championship contests, which also include Youth, Masters and Ladies titles.

Published in SB20

#powerboat – The Cowes Torquay Powerboat Race is the toughest powerboat race in the world. The stretch of water between the Solent and Devon Coast has long been regarded as one mean piece of water.

It's reputation however for punishing boats and crew, and crushing even the most prepared teams has been somewhat subdued for the last two years as the south west coast of Britain has turned on spectacular weather with much calmer seas and gentler breezes than the racers are used to.

The question on everyone's lips was; 'Who would have thought this was possible?'

South West England provided yet another stonking day, a day suited for fast racing and spectacular viewing. After the recent bad weather the sunshine and clear skies were a welcome relief. We received reports from Torquay that the sea was as flat as a billiard table, and fast times would be possible. Back at Cowes the situation was similar with a light breeze and little wave activity.

Tim Powell, a 29 year veteran organiser of the race fired the canons from the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes at 09:00 sharp this morning, setting the fleet on its way as they raced once more from their historical starting point.

Being close to shore the race start was everything that could be hoped for. The air filled with the sound of well-tuned, high powered engines. The fans turned out in force to experience the full spectacle of sight, sound and smell as the fleet powered away down the Solent.

Peter Dredge and Simon Powell got out to a handy lead in 'Vector Martini' and led all the way to Torquay. They were chased hard out of the Solent by 'Smokin Aces' driven by Chris and Nicholas Dodge and 'Silverline' driven by Drew and Ali Langdon, with the rest of the pack chasing hard.
The Ribs 'Hot Lemon V' (D50) and 'Birretta Due' (B41) chased the leaders fiercely, getting very close as the boats rounded Portland. They in turn were pursued by Team Barwood (C7).

It was great to see Preben Sorensen from Norway racing in his Predator 337 SuperSport. Competing for the first time in the Cowes Torquay he ran well on the unfamiliar course finishing eleventh in the first leg.

Both 'Cube 52' and 'Flyin Falcon' withdrew during the first leg and returned to Cowes.

After winning the race to Torquay Peter Dredge commented, "We had a wonderful run. It's really great to be in Torquay. The Vector Martini Boat is going fantastically well and we have had no problems. We're looking forward to turning around for the run back to Cowes. We'll be going downwind and we might even go flat out on the way back."

On the second leg of the race back to Cowes after a clean start in brilliant Torquay sunshine 'Vector Martini' kept their word and led by one and a quarter nautical miles after clearing the Ore Stone turning buoy at Torbay. By Swanage the lead had grown to 4.62 nautical miles and they were to extend this even further by the end of the race. They were clocked racing into the Solent at 83 knots so it was no wonder 'Vector Martini' crossed the finish line at Cowes to a salvo from the canons at the Royal Yacht Squadron and a cheering crowd.

'Smokin' Aces' took second place on the return journey with 'Team Barwood,' who were competing in their first Cowes Torquay Race, taking a well-deserved third place.

With the tail wind adding to the fast conditions and full on racing on the return journey it was not surprising that two teams made navigational errors on their way back to Cowes. Both Black Ball Racing and Predator 337 SuperSport incurred a one hour time penalty for missing buoys.

After the race Preben Sorensen from Norway commented that it was great race but a bit rougher than they expected. They really enjoyed the hospitality but would need to come back with a bigger boat for next years race.

When congratulated on his double win by Dorian Griffith the Race Director, Peter Dredge of 'Vector Martini' said they had enjoyed the race very much and were delighted with the performance of their boat.

And so concludes another fantastic event on a magnificent summer's day. The crowds came out in their thousands to make the most of the spectacle, lining the vantage points and headlands along the way and visiting the pits at both ends of the race to see the colourful noisy beasts up close. The drivers were once again amazed at the number of spectator boats that made the effort to come out to watch the racing, toot their horns and cheer as the boats went past.

Everyone would have to agree it was magnificent to see the boats racing once more from their historical starting point in the Solent and we look forward to another exciting event from the same place next year.

Provisional Results Leg One

1st - Vector Martini

2nd - Smokin Aces

3rd - Silverline

4th - Hot lemon

5th - Biretta Due

6th - Team Barwood

7th - Black Ball racing

8th - Dry Martini

9th - Fugitive

10th - Grey Ghost

11th - Predator 337 Supersport

12th - HTS Perkins

DNF - Cube 52

DNF - Flyin Falcon

Provisional Results Leg Two

1st - Vector Martini

2nd - Smokin Aces

3rd - Team Barwood

4th - Biretta Due

5th - Hot Lemon V

6th - Dry Martini

7th - Grey Ghost

8th - Fugitive

9th - Silverline

10th - HTS Perkins

11th - Black Ball Racing

12th - Predator 337 Supersport

Published in Powerboat Racing
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#Cowes - The Island Echo reports on the death of a yachtsman on the Solent this afternoon after a blow to the head from his vessel's boom.

It's understood that the yachtsman was en route from Southampton to Yarmouth when the boat was diverted to Cowes on the Isle of Wight to shelter from persisting high winds.

It marks the second incident in two days in which strong winds from the tail end of Hurricane Bertha were a factor, after a Norwegian man was treated for arm and shoulder injuries in a gybe accident.

And this afternoon at least 10 dinghy sailors were injured when the GP14 Worlds fleet capsized in a squall on Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

Published in News Update
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#rorcbdcc – There are euphoric scenes on the Solent this lunch time as Ireland's three boat team crossed the line in a crucial double points climax to clinch an historic second win of the Commodores' Cup. A lead that held all week was extended this morning when Catapult, Antix and Quokka sailed a top class final race outwitting four British and four French teams for cruiser–racing's top team prize.

Official confirmation of the win came from Ireland's team management, Barry Rose of ICRA, who confirmed the final scores and Ireland's second win of the prestigious yachting trophy.

A jubilant Irish team captain Anthony O'Leary, who had cautioned against any premature celebration – despite Ireland's emphatic 100–point lead –  was celebrating with sons Peter, Nicholas and Robert, all members of Ireland's 31–man victorious Irish Cruser Racing Association (ICRA) team. O'Leary's Antix from Royal Cork Yacht Club romped home to win the final race in the same tricky light airs that typified the week long regatta.

Quokka (Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling) of the Royal Irish Yacht Club was second and Catapult fourth (Marc Glimcher) in a final double points race that further extended Ireland's overall winning margin.

The Irish win marks a classy comeback for Ireland to the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) competition after ICRA failed to mount a team to defend the title it first won in 2010.

Ireland's three boat team, comprising Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39 Antix, Marc Glimcher's Ker 40 Catapult and Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling's Grand Soleil 43 Quokka 8, today scored the most comprehensive victory in the 22 year history of the Commodores' Cup. The Irish previously won the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for national teams with amateur crews in 2010, but were unable to defend in 2012. This year they returned with a vengeance finishing the regatta on 268 points, with an unprecedented lead of 173.5 points. After a disappointing result in yesterday's race around the Isle of Wight, Ireland bounced back strongly in today's double points scoring inshore held on a round the cans course in the central Solent in a light northerly. Impressively the Irish boats claimed three of the top four places on corrected time. Antix put in a particularly powerful performance following the damage she sustained when she hit the rocks close to St Catherine's Point yesterday that bent the aft end of her keel and split the bottom 1ft of her rudder. Lifting the boat out in Cowes yesterday evening, her shore crew worked through the night to ensure she was ready for racing today. "We were determined after yesterday's fiasco to finish stronger, which thankfully we did," said Anthony O'Leary.


Today Antix led around the weather mark and ultimately claimed her third bullet of this Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. "The amount of work that all 31 people have put in over the last five or six months has been considerable," said O'Leary of the Irish team's victory. "We are very lucky that it all paid off in the end. There is a lot of experience with three boats and it gelled very well and there was great encouragement from one boat to the other. You don't often get a chance to sail as a team - which is the really good thing about this event." Making his debut at the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup in the Irish team was American Marc Glimcher who had brought his 'turboed' Ker 40 Catapult over from the USA. Rating-wise Catapult was the fastest boat at this year's regatta and across the 27 boat fleet finished highest placed individual boat. "What a great week - this is absolutely my number one regatta," enthused Glimcher. "And what an unbelievable team! We had the 'surgeon' - Antix - telling us what to do and the 'clean-up crew' - Quokka - which would always come to the rescue. It was a great group and we sailed the boat better than we ever have. Next time we need to bring a bunch more Americans!" Being the lowest rated boat in the Irish team, Quokka 8, co-skippered by Royal Ocean Racing Club Vice Commodore Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling, had the hardest job among the trio of attaining consistent results. "It has been a very long campaign this," admitted Boyd. "We are newcomers to the event, but we have had fantastic leadership from team captain Anthony O'Leary and we were very fortunate to choose Quokka. It is just very satisfying to have mission accomplished and to do it in a such a comprehensive way today is a huge bonus. At our level as amateurs, the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is the pinnacle of racing." While the Irish have been the stand out performers this year, the fight remained fierce for the remaining podium positions, where French teams scored a coup. Going into today's final race, France Green was holding second 100 points behind the Irish, with GBR Red third, 15.5 points behind them.

After today's race both lost their hold on the remaining podium positions to France Red - comprising Emmanuel le Men's First 40.7, Pen Koent; Oliver Pesci's Grand Soleil 40, Beelzebuth 3 and Hervé Borgoltz Grand Soleil 44R, Eleuthera - and France Blue comprising Jean Claude Nicoleau's Grand Soleil 43, Codiam; Gilles and Samuel Prietz' A40, Goa, and Bernard Gouy's Ker 39, Inis Mor. This was a particularly spectacular turnaround for France Red jumping from fifth to second after today's race. "Without the Irish it would have been better!" joked Eleuthera's Hervé Borgoltz of his team's performance. "It has been a fantastic race, a fantastic level and a very honest attitude on the water. Two years ago we were third, this year we are second and when we come back in two years we will be first. So slowly, but surely! "What is incredible is how the level is going up - Codiam was second at SPI Ouest France and Inis Mor was yacht of the Year with the RORC last year."

After winning the 2012 event, the performance of GBR's four teams was disappointing with GBR Red the top British team, finishing fourth. Among GBR's 12 boats, Robert Lutener's Ker 40 Cutting Edge was the top performer and second in this regatta. Despite his team's result Lutener remained upbeat: "It was an absolutely top week. Ireland was the top team and they have a top boat and they sail it very very well, but we were close to them and unfortunately the wind let us down yesterday on the offshore.

Otherwise everyone is delighted and has thoroughly enjoyed themselves." GBR Scotland big boat, James McGarry's Swan 45 Eala of Rhu, was also a top performer. "We had a couple of disappointing results, but there were very very difficult sailing conditions," admitted McGarry. "We've been up there consistently inshore and struggled offshore. Otherwise we have had a fantastic week. We have had our moments of glory and we are pretty confident that the boat is going well, just sometimes you don't get the roll of the dice. "The regatta is superb. The level is second to none. You can see why it is billed as the 'premier amateur yacht racing regatta'. Everyone has performed exceptionally; it has just been fantastic fun and a nice atmosphere as well." The prizegiving for the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup was held this evening at the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Team Name Team Points Team Place

Ireland 268 1

France Red 441.52

France Blue 446.5 3

GBR Red 448 4

France Green 456.5 5

Scotland 457 6

GBR White 526 7

GBR Blue 557.5 8

France White 613 9

Published in Commodores Cup
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#rorcbdcc – The nine teams contesting the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup are currently racing round the Isle of Wight on the penultimate day of the seven day event in Cowes, Isle of Wight. 

Ireland's team competing for the Commodores' Cup in Cowes stand on the brink of success this weekend as the 31 sailors have built an impressive 100-point overall lead.

The winner of the Commodores' Cup will be announced at the prizegiving for teams from Ireland, Britain, Scotland and France tomorrow after the final race. Ireland has a 100–point lead but anything can happen in these last crucial stages.

Published in Commodores Cup
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#icra - What should have been a long inshore race along The Solent in the Commodores Cup today turned into a waiting-game with no reward at the end in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup at Cowes as racing was abandoned for the day. 

Ireland remains the event leader after three races including the high-scoring offshore event that finished in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

After starting this morning one hour earlier than planned, all three Team Ireland boats had a good start to the race that enjoyed a light north-westerly breeze off the Peel Bank. But the ebb tide was building and when the wind died, only seven boats had managed to break out of the notorious tidal stream.

Marc Glimcher's Catapult was second on the water followed by Anthony O'Leary's Antix in fifth and Michael Boyd and Niall Dowlings' Quokka 8 in seventh.

As the leaders reached Hayling Bay and started the windward-leeward section of the course, the bulk of the fleet were still trapped in The Solent. The Race Committee then abandoned the race on fairness grounds and opted to set a straight-forward windward-leeward course.

Once underway, barely had this race completed it's first of two laps than the wind shifted 100 degrees and then died leading to a second abadonment. After waiting to see if the breeze returned, the fleet began motoring back to Cowes some 12 miles distant in the hope of picking up more breeze in The Solent but to no avail.

The crews are expected back in West Cowes by 1800hrs and the Royal Ocean Racing Club is expected to announce changes to the remainder of the week which just has to complete one more race to qualify as a series.

Weather forecasts between now and Saturday do not offer much prospect of change and the normally reliable sea breeze has been hampered by the stationery high pressure system over the region.

Additional reporting by RORC

Day four of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup was one Principal Race Officer Stuart Childerley and his team would prefer to forget.

With the best wind forecast for early morning, the 27 boats in nine teams started an hour early from a line off Peel Bank. The plan was for them to sail north to the North Ryde Middle mark and then east out of the Solent and into Hayling Bay onto a windward-leeward course.

Childerley recounted: "The boats started reaching out towards the Forts and there were a few big holes there and then six of the boats got to St Helens [mark in Hayling Bay]. Meanwhile the rest of the fleet was being affected badly by big holes in the wind, so we had a situation where probably over half of the fleet wouldn't have finished within the time limit. So we had to abandon that one."

There followed a long wait for the boats in the Solent to reach the new start area in Hayling Bay before a second attempt at race four of the series could be made - this time a windward-leeward in an offshore northeasterly breeze of 6-7 knots. Unfortunately as the boats were approaching the leeward mark the wind shifted hard right, by more than 90°, into the south. The race committee spotted this quickly enough to lay a new weather mark, but after the top six boats had rounded it the breeze dropped away to nothing and the fleet came to a standstill. This race was abandoned too.

"It was just pretty unsatisfactory," said Childerley. "We have had one race in this series when there was a bit of a shut down. I am trying at all costs to avoid that again."

Unfortunately conditions for the next two days are not looking much better.

Mike Broughton, meteorologist for the Irish team, current leader in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, explains that there is currently an area of high pressure centred over Norway, bringing Mediterranean conditions to the UK, but making conditions difficult for yachting. "The northeasterly wind has to come all the way across 150 miles of land to get to us and so it is very patchy and shifty. Then you have a sea breeze that is trying to make it in and is fighting it. Today we had a full on fight with no one winning. It is difficult, but it is what it is."

Broughton says that tomorrow it could be even worse with a trough passing over, bringing rain showers.

RORC Vice Commodore Michael Boyd, who is the co-charterer with Niall Dowling of the Irish team's Grand Soleil 43 Quokka 8, commented: "It was an impossibly challenging day for the PRO and I don't envy his job. In retrospect maybe he could have shortened the courses, but that is all 20-20 hindsight."

Boyd added that he was happy with the position the Irish boats were in when the two attempts at race four were abandoned today. "We would have advanced a few more points, but the races weren't fair. In the first there were four separate fleets.

"The forecasts we have seen for the next three days is for a declining wind. So I think we just have to sail in what God gives us and be patient. This is a sport and you just have to stay focussed and alert."

Jean Philippe Cau, sailing on Hervé Borgoltz' Grand Soleil 44R, Eleuthera, in the France Red team, said that in the first attempt at race four they had been very pleased with their performance, matching Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix. He observed that when that race was abandoned there had been a gap of more than a mile between the front runners and those astern.

"And in the second race we did well also," Cau continued. "We were in the match with the first group of boats including Quokka, and at the weather buoy when the wind disappeared it was very difficult to pass the boats. We were not happy with Quokka [overlapped on the outside of them at the second weather mark] so we had a little fight with them! There were red flags going up!"

In addition to sailing, Cau has also been responsible for putting together the giant French four team entry in this year's event. He says he is pleased with his country's performance, particularly France Green, which includes Eric De Turkheim's radical new A13 Teasing Machine and Eric Basset's modified Farr 30, Motivé. "If the Farr 30 is able to do reasonably well in the next races, which is especially possible in light winds, I think there is really the possibility to do well. My prognostic is that we will have two teams on the podium."

Tomorrow the race management team will once again aim to get racing underway at 10:00 BST. Childerley concludes: "If we can get at least one in tomorrow, Saturday is looking more promising and, with a couple of jiggles around, we'll get the series in. But most important is that I want to give people really good racing. That is the key."

Team Name Team Points Team Place
Ireland 126 1
France Green 152 2
France Blue 172 3
GBR Red 172.5 4
France Red 197.5 5
Scotland 201.5 6
GBR White 210.5 7
France White 216.5 8
GBR Blue 252.5 9

Published in Commodores Cup
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#rorcbdcc – The Commodores' Cup offshore race is over and Ireland still tops the leaderboard writes Barry Rose in Cowes. Results attached for download below. 

It turned out to be a fetch out of Solent with code zeros being hoisted up and down as wind shifted. The Irish boats were all well positioned heading out of Solent

Fleet compressed a little on run to leeward gate 50 miles towards Cherbourg Long upwind leg on return turned to a beat at end of Island in falling breeze and turning tide so tricky finish as expected.

Catapult took line honours and finished third which was a great result. Conditions favoured the big boats and she took full advantage sailing a sound tactical race to the finish.

Antix also sailed very well to achieve her position finishing 20 th as she was in the complex slot between the first and second groups when the compression occurred. She again sailed tactically smart approaching the finish which was the only opportunity to make gains.

Quokka sailed a strong race from start to finish and again took maximum advantage when only tactical opportunity arose towards the end.

All in all a really good team performance from the Irish boats to keep the team top of the leader board.

The French teams Green and Blue as expected were very strong in offshore with radical looking boat Teasing Machine providing a flyer in the conditions to record a win.

No racing today and a single inshore tomorrow. All to play for!

Additional report from James Boyd/RORC:

Stronger winds and reaching conditions resulted in a shorter than anticipated offshore race that allowed crews to sleep in their own beds rather than spending a night at sea in the highest scoring race of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

The course took the boats west out of the Solent, southeast down to a virtual gate 26 miles northeast of the Cherbourg peninsula, returning north to the New Grounds Buoy off the Nab Tower, then west to Bembridge Ledge buoy before a final beat to the finish line, just south of Gosport's Gilkicker Point.

The wind being further west and stronger than forecast resulted in a fast reach down to the virtual gate and it was the powerful reaching machines such as the Ker 40s and the brand new French Archambault A 13, Teasing Machine, that relished the conditions.

"We had 20 knots - a good five knots more than forecast," recounted Nick Cherry, one of the two 'pros' on Robert Lutener's Ker 40, Cutting Edge, sailing in GBR Red. "We even had a mini broach out on the changeovers between helms. We were on the hottest angle we could hold the A2."

As forecast, the wind did drop and veer into the north as the boats sailed back towards the Nab Tower, but it never disappeared altogether and pre-race fears of a midnight park-up off Bembridge proved unfounded.

Among the Ker 40s, the first boat home was the 'turbo-ed' Catapult of the Irish team, finishing at 22:26:32 BST. "It was a very nice race, a Ker 40 race, which is always fun," said American owner Marc Glimcher. "We messed with each other a little bit on the upwind which was enjoyable." In the final legs to the east of the Isle of Wight, before the finish, the wind dropped off to five knots momentarily but, as Glimcher put it: "It was a lot easier than we thought. We did not get stung."

Marc Glimcher has brought Catapult over to Europe to join the Irish team from her usual base in Newport, Rhode Island. "It is fantastic. I have been hearing about this event for many years. This seemed like serious racing to us and it is very exciting. And the team racing side - you can screw it up and someone else can come to the rescue!" said Glimcher.

While the three Ker 40s claimed most of the top spots, the outright winner of the offshore race was Eric de Turkheim's mini VO70-like Teasing Machine, which finished 2 minutes 6 seconds ahead of Cutting Edge on corrected time. The delighted owner, Eric de Turkheim, commented: "We got the boat on 20th June and we've done very little testing in terms of speed and set-up, so today was very good because we had no idea of what our speed would be versus the Ker 40. Fortunately it was good enough..."

He praised his navigator, leading French Figaro sailor Gerard Veniard. "Gerard did an excellent job on the way down and on the way back, when we sailed fairly high knowing that it could be a bit tricky at the end."

According to Veniard, en route to the Nab Tower mark they saw the wind drop from 17 knots to 7 and veering from 275 to 345°, as their shore based routing expert Christian Dumard had predicted, but the wind had been more consistent than forecast.

"We call the boat 'fat booty'," said Veniard, nodding towards Teasing Machine's powerful transom. "From the beginning we thought that the race was ours because there was a lot of reaching. It was tactical - on the two long legs, it looked like straight line, but it was not. We sailed 7-8° higher and there was more wind on the west side coming back."

While there were fears for the smaller boats, with the wind forecast to drop and the tide turning foul, in fact the last boat to finish, Iain Kirkpatrick's X-37, Fatjax, did so at 01:54:18.

Generally the boats suffering most were those better at windward-leewards, such as Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39, Antix; the winner of both Sunday's inshore races finished in an uncharacteristic 20th position. Despite this and the offshore race carrying a 2.5x co-efficient, thanks to the performance of her team mates, Catapult, and Michael Boyd and Niall Dowling's Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, Ireland has retained her overall team lead.

A similar type boat to Antix was James Neville's Corby 36, INO, racing in GBR White, which also struggled on the reach down to the virtual gate. As navigator Nat Ives described it: "We were looking forward to the run, but there was very little running, it was quite reachy from the start. So that leg was really difficult for us with our lack of form stability on a relatively tight spinnaker leg. We were sailing at 100% of our polars, but the J/109s were going quicker."

Thankfully, according to Ives, they pulled a bad result out of what would have otherwise been a terrible one between the virtual gate and the finish, initially setting up to the east where there was better wind for the smaller boats. "We were sailing the boat well there and we started to claw back into boats, people like Yeoman of Wight, which we overtook there and the Farr 30 [Eric Basset's Motivé in France Green] which had flown down from the Needles."

Later INO won out by not going into the shore at Bembridge, where the foul tide was stronger. "We sailed solidly then and a lot of the boats around us were slow, so we picked off six or seven boats in the last piece from New Ground up to the finish," concluded Ives.

Racing at the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup continues tomorrow (Wednesday) with one inshore race.

Published in Commodores Cup
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#rorcbdcc – Variety has always been the spice of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup with the 27 boats from France, Scotland, Ireland and England this week getting to sail a mix of inshores, offshores and a race around the Isle of Wight writes James Boyd. At 09:30 BST today the fleet of three boat teams set sail from the Royal Yacht Squadron line of Cowes on the 'offshore race', longest and most high scoring of the series.

The latest (1900hrs) on the Irish team from the race course via the yellowbrock tracker HERE is Catapult up there (6th), Antix (22) and Quokka (14), a mid to deep scenario but very much a fluid one.

In Cowes, with the Irish team, ICRA's Barry Rose told (at 20.45): 'Four bigger boats including Catapult have eased ahead of the main fleet which is in turn led by another group that includes Ireland's Antix and team-mate Quokka 8. Predictions for the first finishers range from 2230 this evening to 0700 tomorrow morning'.

With a moderate wind forecast and the wind due to shut down tomorrow, the Race Committee, led by former Etchells World Champion Stuart Childerley, worked hard to set a fair but challenging course. They opted to send the boats west out of the Solent, passing the Needles Fairway buoy then down to a 'virtual mark' mid-Channel, before returning north to the New Grounds Buoy off the Nab Tower, then on to the Bembridge Ledge buoy and leaving No Man's Land Fort to port before the finish line south of Gosport's Gilkicker Point.

After a long starboard gybe in 10-15 knot WNWerly wind, at 1600 BST the first boats were rounding the virtual gate. At the front of the fleet the beamy Ker 40s were loving the conditions. GBR Red's Cutting Edge and GBR White's Hooligan VII had done a good job of fending off the 'turboed' and higher rating Catapult, leading the Irish boat around the gate.

They were followed 10 minutes later by Eric De Turkheim's radical A13 Teasing Machine, sailing for France Green followed at around 16:30 by GBR Scotland big boat, James McGarry's Swan 45 Eala of Rhu. A gaggle of smaller boats, with yesterday's double winner, Anthony O'Leary's Ker 39 Antix, in front rounded the mark some 20 minutes later.

While so far the race has not been overly tactical, this evening it will become so. The boats will head north on port tack in a westerly breeze but around seven miles short of the New Grounds Buoy, the wind is forecast to start veering into the NNW and dropping substantially. This new breeze is expected to edge south through the evening meaning that the smaller boats will end up spending more time directly on the wind than the bigger boats. The wind is then likely to peter out completely on the race course around midnight, further favouring the big boats who's crews will be gunning to have finished and be on their way back to Cowes before this happens.

Figaro sailor and multiple Match Racing National Champion Nick Cherry, who is racing as one of the Group 3 'pros' on board Robert Lutener's Ker 40 Cutting Edge in GBR Red, leading the race at 17:45 BST, predicted of the latter stage of the race: "It will be a two sail fetch back up to the Island and that is where it will get interesting. Our best routing has us finishing at 10.30 tonight, before the pubs shut! But that relies on it not dropping to 5-6 knots off Bembridge. The likelihood is that we will sail into a park-up and end up sitting for a few hours at the buoy near Nab Tower. I think that is where the race will get decided.

"I think it will favour big boats, because if you weren't going to finish until later in the morning, there won't be a sea breeze until later on tomorrow. The small boats could really get their pants pulled down."

Past President of the Union Nationale pour la Course au Large, Marc de San Denis, racing on the Prietz family's A-40 Goa in France Blue, predicted a finish time of 0700 tomorrow. He commented: "It is an interesting quite clever course, with a long reach and then going upwind. We hope that the wind shift is late enough, otherwise the big boats could have an advantage steering directly back to Bembridge. Ideally it will go north when we are at Bembridge - that's what we've ordered!"

After the whipping the French gave the rest of the fleet in last year's Rolex Fastnet Race, the 12-strong French line-up is hoping to repeat their success in this year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

The crew on the Guoy family's Ker 39, Inis Mor, had been hoping for a longer offshore race. "We are very pleased to be here, but not pleased with our result yesterday!" said son Laurent. "Obviously we have been focussed on the offshores for the last two or three years and we always have some difficulties in the Solent."

Of tonight's grande finale Gouy predicted: "The wind will decrease quite a lot and with the tide arriving, the guys ahead will be more lucky than the guys behind. It will be about playing with the tide and the dying wind." The pre-race routing had Inis Mor reaching the mark off Bembridge at 22:30-23:00 BST tonight. "The 10 miles will be in very little wind and with the tide against us," warned Gouy.

Facing a long night was David Aisher, who is working the pit on board his J/109 Yeoman of Wight in GBR Blue, at 17:45 BST lying second overall. Prior to leaving Cowes Yacht Haven this morning the past Commodore of the RORC was keeping his fingers crossed that the wind would shut off later tonight rather than earlier. "If it shuts off when it says, then everyone should be home. But if it shuts off early I think the big boats will get in and the little boat will be stuck out and struggling to get in late morning. We'll just have to sail faster!"

Published in Commodores Cup
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#rorcbdcc – Anticipation has been building going into this morning's start of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial week-long Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup.

This year's event features nine teams, comprising four from France, one from Ireland and four from Britain (including one from Scotland), two more than 2012. Over the last few days crews from the three boat teams have been putting the finish touches to their campaigns. The thundery conditions of the last 48 hours have provided some lively moments for boats being delivered to Cowes, with one French boat experiencing 55 knot winds as she crossed the Channel.

As ever the RORC's flagship event for national teams with amateur crews comprises a challenging mix of inshore and offshore racing.

The event kicks off tomorrow (Sunday 20th July) with two inshore races, the first warning signal at 1055 BST. Over Monday-Tuesday the boats head off on an overnight offshore race, the longest of the regatta (set to last 24-36 hours) and carrying the highest points co-efficient of 2.5. Inshore racing resumes on Wednesday and Thursday followed by a race around the Isle of Wight on Friday, with a 1.5 co-efficient, the event concluding on Saturday with an inshore race carrying a co-efficient of 2. In past years the event has gone to the wire, with the final outcome only decided on the last race.

Competing yachts are rated using IRC, with boats having a Time Correction Co-efficient of 1.020-1.230. Among each three boat team, only one boat may have a TCC of 1.150-1.230.

Going into the event it is very hard to judge which team is favourite. "Who is going to win? No idea!" says RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen. "The Irish are looking very strong with Antix having won the IRC Nationals. Marc Glimcher's Catapult has proven to be the strongest Ker 40 and Quokka won Cork Week last week with her Irish crew. I have to believe that they feel confident competitively. And the French are here with a purpose. They had one team two years ago and they said 'we want to win this event' and they have come back with four teams. We know some of their sailors but we don't know the quality of the boats - we'll find out tomorrow. We know they will be good, particularly offshore."

While the regatta is principally for amateur crew, each boat is allowed one ISAF Group 3 'professional' or two on the higher rated boats. Among the 'pros' are world class sailors including Laurent Pages, winner of the last Volvo Ocean Race board Franck Cammas' Groupama, Olympic sailors such as Peter O'Leary, leading sailmakers/sailors Kevin Sproul, Sam Richmond, Maurice 'Prof' O'Connell and Laurent Mahy, Olympic 49er/Volvo Ocean Race sailor Ian Budgen, and Figaro sailors Gerard Veniard and Nick Cherry.

"I think the most important thing when you talk to the competitors is how seriously they are taking this event," says Warden Owen. "The Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup is an important regatta to win, something that all the teams have put a huge amount of effort into."

Having good weather information is vital and all the teams are employing top meteorologists to help them - Chris Tibbs for Team GBR, Mike Broughton for the Irish, Christian Dumard for the French.
This week the tide isn't strong and the Azores high is edging across the UK, causing the winds to be light with little gradient pressure. So the RORC's new race management team led by former Etchells World Champion Stuart Childerley will be hoping for a sea breeze each day.

"The question is whether we will get northwesterly or northeasterly wind," says Dumard, a meteorologist and sailor of some 30 years standing, who was part of Corum's Admiral's Cup campaigns here during the 1980s and 1990s and prior to their winning campaign in 1991 spent one month surveying the Solent's winds and tides. Essentially the northwesterly is good for a sea breeze to develop, northeasterly less so, he says. "Tomorrow we should have a northwesterly wind in the morning filling in with the sea breeze from the southwest. I think tomorrow will be the best day for racing in the Solent."

According to Dumard the forecast shows adequate breeze for Monday's offshore race before the wind drops during Tuesday as an occluded front crosses the race course. Wednesday could prove the lightest day of the week, while on Thursday it will still be light, but a sea breeze is more likely to develop. "The race around the Isle of Wight on Friday is too far away to predict," he advises.

Stephen Ford, Executive Director of Brewin Dolphin commented: "Brewin Dolphin is thrilled to be back in Cowes this year, for our second regatta with RORC and the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup. We are looking forward to an excellent week's racing with feisty competition from the French. We wish all the teams the very best of luck (especially the four GBR teams) and we have high hopes for a sunny and more importantly, breezy week.

"We and our clients are looking forward to an exciting weeks racing. With so many of our clients enjoying sailing, this is one of the highlights in our annual calendar and a week throughout which we will enjoy some highly competitive racing."

Published in Commodores Cup
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Page 2 of 7

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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