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Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

10th August 2015
Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

#cowesweek – The second day of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week delivered perfect conditions, with bright sun and decent winds. A west-south westerly breeze built gradually through the day to give gusts approaching 20 knots by early afternoon. With 30-degree wind shifts at times, accompanied by big gusts and lulls, there was plenty to challenge competitors.

For competitors in the early starts on the two fixed lines a strong west-going tide made it imperative not to start early. This was accentuated for White Group dayboats starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron line, as the outer distance mark, Aberdeen Alpha, was two boat lengths on the course side of the line.

In White Group, the J/70 class is one of the fastest growing at the regatta, with entries up more than 300 per cent over the past two years. The 27-strong fleet made a clean start in their first race today, which proved to be a closely-fought battle in which the first eight boats finished within 69 seconds. David McLeman's Offbeat took the winner's gun 10 seconds ahead of Charlie Esse's Darwin Property Investment. Third place went to Ben Gratton's team of youth sailors on Royal Thames 1.

The J/70s' second race today was started from a committee boat line, with windward-leeward legs before finishing on the Shrape finish line off East Cowes. This time Esse pulled out a three-minute lead on the fleet to take a convincing win ahead of Simon Ling's Team RAF Benevolent Fund. Young sailor Jack Davies on Jugador took third.

The Etchells fleet is renowned for tight racing and today proved no exception, with all but the final three boats finishing within 180 seconds. Exabyte V was first across the line, just six seconds ahead of Mark and Jo Downer's Moonlight, while Andrew Coopers Ice followed 11 seconds later in third place.

Today was Family Day at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week. Like many other classes, the Etchells has many members of the same family spread through the fleet. Mark's brother Kevin is helming another Etchells, Ray of Light, and between them the Downer brothers have nine children, half of whom have regularly sailed in the Cowes fleet.

Tomorrow promises a generally stronger and more consistent wind, although there will be more cloud cover. It is also UKSA day, in which attention will be focused on the regatta's official charity, which uses sailing and watersports as a catalyst to transform young people's lives

Full results for all classes here

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