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J109 Jukebox, with Royal Cork Royal Cork tactician Mark Mansfield and Alan Roche of Dun Laoghaire's National Yacht Club as part of the crew, has emerged as the victorious boat in the IRC Class 3 category at Cowes Week.

The prestigious regatta concluded on Friday with a stunning display of tactical racing in a northwesterly breeze between 7-12kts, allowing all classes to put up a good fight.

With two days of racing abandoned due to high winds, it was a no-discard series, creating an exciting atmosphere with intense inter-class rivalry. The Black and White Groups and the overall Cowes Week winner were all to be decided, as all sailors battled it out for the ultimate prize.

In the end, John Smart's Jukebox made it look effortless on the final day, securing three wins and two seconds to clinch the Class 3 title with an eight-point lead. However, the overall Cowes Week winner was Jo Richards, an Olympic medallist, who won Class 7 with four wins and a second.

Results here

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Howth's Laura Dillon - All Ireland Helm Champion 1996 - has been in her accustomed place in Cowes Week doing the driving on Harry Heijst's vintage S&S 41 Winsome from The Netherlands, and finished the Week at second overall in Class 4 IRC, beaten only by Peter Rutter's Classic Half Tonner Quokka.

In a wide range of sometimes frustrating conditions, Winsome came good in the final races to edge ahead of an exceptionally varied selection of competitors, including many highly experienced Solent campaigners racing Cowes-tuned boats.

Results here

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Cowes Week competitors faced a new level of challenge on Thursday, as they counted all races sailed rather than discarding their worst score, following the loss of two days of racing due to high winds earlier this week.

Fortunately, Thursday's slightly calmer conditions allowed all fleets to enjoy a good day's racing on the Solent, despite strong tides causing a mix of general and individual recalls across many starts. The generally light north-north-westerly winds provided welcome relief after the menacing winds from Wednesday. With just a couple of points separating positions in many cases, the pressure was on for competitors to perform their best on the penultimate day of the event.

As Afloat previously reported, Irish tactician Mark Mansfield of Royal Cork and Alan Roche of Dun Laoghaire's National Yacht Club sailing on John Smart's Cowes week Class 3 leader, Jukebox, are now five points ahead, but with no discard, nothing is decided until the final race is completed. Jukebox is also in contention for the IRC boat of the week (Black group) as they only have had two firsts and two seconds on the scoresheet.

The Royal Yacht Squadron outer start line produced another sight to behold, with three of the biggest classes (IRC 0, IRC1, and the Cape 31) kicking off proceedings. There was all to play for in IRC 0, with Ian Atkins' GP42 Dark n Stormy having a four-point advantage over Tony Langley's TP52 Gladiator going into today's race. However, Gladiator had her day today with a race win while Dark n Stormy took fifth. This now puts them on equal points going into the final race today.

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The Cowes-based J109 Jukebox crew, led by John Smart, sailed a smart race on Tuesday to take the lead in a highly competitive IRC 3 fleet at the 2023 Cowes Week Regatta. The team, which has Royal Cork's Mark Mansfield racing as tactician and the National Yacht Club's Alan Roche onboard, sailed a flawless race to beat out Ed Mockridge and the team on Elaine Again (ranked number 1) for the top spot.

The 14-strong IRC3 fleet saw Brita Van Rossum on the HOD35 Zarafa leading going into Tuesday's race. This team, which took third place at the European championship last year, is in top form, but the Irish crew on Jukebox managed to take the lead by a slim margin.

The quality fleet also includes Jamie McWilliam and Jamie Boag racing on the J109 Witchcraft, who are currently lying in fourth overall.

Despite the excitement on Tuesday, the race committee has made the decision to abandon racing for all classes on Wednesday due to the Met Office yellow wind warning in force for the south coast.

The results of Tuesday's race can be found here

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Niall Dowling of the Royal Irish Yacht Club finished a close second in the Cape 31 'short series' at the Cowes Week Regatta on Tuesday.

The 24-boat Cape 31 fleet braved the challenging conditions to complete the short series. Sandra Askew and her team on the Flying Jenny from the USA showed their dominance once again with another race win, which was enough for them to clinch the overall trophy. Christian Schwoerer and his team on La Pericolosa also had a strong race, finishing second. However, Dowling's Arabella secured second place overall with 16 points.

The Irish national champion and winner of numerous Solent accolades, Anthony O'Leary, was placed ninth with his team on Antix from Royal Cork. Meanwhile, Michael and Darren Wright's Adrenaline of Howth finished tenth.

The short series contributes to the overall Cape 31 season points, making every race a crucial one.

Despite the tight competition and the sailors' determination, the race committee decided that Wednesday's races would be abandoned because of the Met Office's yellow wind warning in force for the south coast. 

The results of the Cape 31 'short series' at Cowes Week Regatta prove that the competition is fierce, and every sailor put in their best effort. The new ultra-fast one designs braved the tough conditions, and the teams showed remarkable skill and sportsmanship.

Results here

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Lady's Day at Cowes Week may sound like a charmingly old-fashioned Victorian concept, but there was nothing old-fashioned about the way that top women sailors of the calibre of Laura Dillon of Howth contested the time-honoured event yesterday in the Solent, with Laura on top form to win overall helming Harry Heist's classic S&S 41 Winsome against an impressive fleet of female talents.

Laura is still the only woman sailor to have become the All-Ireland Champion (she did it in 1996) and in addition to starring afloat, she has shone ashore, becoming a Flag Officer of the RORC some years after her mother Breda became the first female Commodore of Howth Yacht Club.

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Warm weather, combined with winds gusting above 25 knots, provided lashings of excitement, thrills, spills and adrenaline for competitors across all fleets at Cowes Week Sunday. Long downwind legs for many classes ensured competitors came ashore with big grins.

In IRC Class Zero, for instance, Emmy Walker is sailing onboard the GP42 Dark n Stormy, with her father Ian, who is the team's tactician. Similarly, Huw Neville is sailing with his dad James on the HH42 Ino XXX, while Jacintha Hamilton is racing with dad Christian on his GP42 Khumbu.

These big boats had a gruelling 25-mile race, with around 80 tacks along the mainland shore, according to Ian Walker, as well as high-speed downwind blasts at boat speeds that topped 24 knots. Yet the first three boats crossed the finish line just 25 seconds apart. Christian Zugel's Fast 40 Tschuss took victory on corrected time, 10 seconds ahead of Dark n Stormy, with Khumbu third.

As Afloat reported previously, some of Ireland's top yacht race crews are among the IRC Zero Class at the world-famous regatta. Tchuss's crew includes Ireland's Johnny Mordaunt, Nicholas O’Leary, Tom McWilliam and Simon Johnson.

"A Classic day at Cowes Week!" commented Johnny Mordaunt sailing on Ker 40+ Tschuss with Christian Zugel at the helm. "A big upwind in full breeze and a rapid downwind." Ian Walker tactician on Dark 'N' Stormy counted 80 tacks upwind and the boat hit a top speed of 24.5kn downwind! 

Tschuss won today's four-hour race by just ten seconds after IRC time correction from Ian Atkin's GP42 Dark 'N' Stormy. Guy Gillon & Christian Hamilton's GP42 Khumbu was third, just 26 seconds from winning the race.

Today the turbo-charged IC37 Icy joins the fray.

At the other end of the spectrum, the 20ft long Uffa Fox designed Flying 15 was born in Cowes 75 years ago. Yet it's still one of the fastest small keelboats at Cowes Week, where competitors are honing their skills ahead of the European Championship, with 65 entries, that will be hosted by Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club later this month. Today, several teams recorded boat speeds in the 14-15 knot range. "It was an exhilarating day," says Rupert Mander of Men Behaving Badly, "especially our first reach, which was a super-quick blast." He also reported a "very confused" sea state each side of South Bramble buoy.

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Cowes Week 2022 beckons (30 July – 05 August), and some of Ireland's top yacht race crews are among the IRC Zero Class, composed entirely of GP Zero boats, at the world-famous regatta.

US-based German skipper Christian Zugel, a member of Royal Cork Yacht Club, will be racing Ker 40+ Tchuss.

Tchuss crew includes Ireland's Johnny Mordaunt, Nicholas O’Leary, Tom McWilliam and Simon Johnson.

Tchuss won class at Antigua Sailing Week in May and will compete in their first GP Zero Class event.

Northern Ireland navigator Ian Moore races is racing on Fargo.

Seven GP Zero Boats will be racing at Cowes Week Photo: Paul WyethSeven GP Zero Boats will be racing at Cowes Week Photo: Paul Wyeth

The fastest boats at Cowes Week with crew from the Olympics, America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race and World Championships. Saturday 30th July will mark the start of racing, from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line at 1100 BST.

Seven days of racing are scheduled with the final day on Friday 5th August. The GP Zero Class will be racing for the big boat class win and the overall Black Group title.

Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes Week Photo: Paul WyethRoyal Yacht Squadron at Cowes Week Photo: Paul Wyeth

Two of the Cowers Week’s most famous trophies will be awarded to winning GP Zero boats for individual races. The Britannia Cup on Wednesday 3rd of August, and the NYYC Challenge Cup on Thursday 4th of August.

Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden © Rick TomlinsonDutch Ker 46 Van Uden Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Dutch Ker 46 Van Uden, skippered by three-time Volvo Ocean Race and Admiral’s Cup winner Gerd Jan Poortman, will be racing with a crew from the Rotterdam Offshore Sailing Team. Van Uden is the highest rated boat under IRC. With the longest water line length of the class, Van Uden is a real weapon upwind.

US-based German skipper Christian Zugel will be racing Ker 40+ Tchuss at Cowes Week. Tchuss won class at Antigua Sailing Week in May and will be competing in their first GP Zero Class event. Tchuss crew includes world champions, America’s Cup and round the world sailors: Johnny Mordaunt, Nicholas O’Leary, Tristan Seal, Tom McWilliam, and Chris Mason.

Guy Gillon & Christian Hamilton will be racing Reichel Pugh GP42 Khumbu, Photo: Paul WyethGuy Gillon & Christian Hamilton will be racing Reichel Pugh GP42 Khumbu, Photo: Paul Wyeth

Guy Gillon & Christian Hamilton will be racing Reichel Pugh GP42 Khumbu, which was runner up for IRC Zero at Cowes Week last year, and second overall for the 2022 Round the Island Race. The top class Khumbu crew for Cowes Week includes America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race navigator Steve Hayles, Luke Cross on trim, Gurnard’s Robbie Southwell, Corinthian Moth World Champion Tom Offer, America’s Cup sailor Freddie Carr, Jacintha Hamilton, and Arden Tomison.

James Neville's HH42 INO XXX Photo: Paul WyethJames Neville's HH42 INO XXX Photo: Paul Wyeth

RORC Commodore James Neville will race his Judel Vrolijk designed HH42 INO XXX which has been in fine form offshore for the RORC Season’s Points Championship. However, INO XXX suffered damage in the Round Ireland Race. “Crew members George Bridge and Mark Devereux have been working round the clock and INO XXX is ready for Cowes Week,” confirmed James Neville. The INO XXX crew includes Mike Henning, Martin Watts, Jack Trigger, John Hunter-Hamilton, and Huw Neville.

Two turbo-charged IC37 designs from Mark Mills will be racing in IRC Zero for Cowes Week. Nick Griffith’s ICY will have Kiwi Chris Bake on the helm with Team Aqua. The RC44 Team Aqua races with tactician Cameron Appleton, main trimmer Andy Estcourt and grinder Ben Graham. Four-time Finn Gold Cup winner and two-time Olympic gold medallist, Giles Scott is expected to be racing on ICY.

Bertie Bicket’s turboed IC37 Fargo will be racing under the burgee of the Royal Yacht Squadron. With three starts off the RYS Line, and both the Britannia Cup and NYYC Challenge Cup to race for. Fargo has an added incentive to fair well at Cowes Week. RYS Rear Commodore, Bertie Bicket won the Britannia Cup in 2018. For the 2022 edition of Cowes Week Fargo will have Isle of Wight resident Ian Moore as navigator, plus Bertie has hinted that there will be other guest appearances across both IC37 boats during the week!

Ian Atkins' GP 42 Dark ‘N’ Stormy © Rick TomlinsonIan Atkins' GP 42 Dark ‘N’ Stormy Photo: Rick Tomlinson

GP 42 Dark ‘N’ Stormy, campaigned by Ian Atkins, President of the new Grand Prix Zero class will be in action. Dark ‘N’ Stormy performed the hattrick for this year’s Round the Island Race winning Line Honours, IRC Overall and the big boat class. Two-time Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker is on tactics and is joined by Gurnard’s Jules Salter as navigator, both have won the Volvo Ocean Race. Nick Bonner and Jono MacBeth are part of top class crew on Dark ‘N’ Stormy.

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Entries for Cowes Week 2022 will open at 12 noon on Friday 21 January, with Super Early Bird discounts available until 18 February.

A new one design class for Sonatas has been introduced to reflect its strong activity in Cowes over the past few years. Organisers have also added a class for the FarEast 28 who are intending to hold their European Championships at Cowes Week.

Onshore, the event will continue its legendary and wide-ranging social programme kicking off with the Cowes Week Opening Party on Saturday 30 July, for which DJ Mark Covell has already been re-booked.

Based on competitor feedback, an updated pricing structure has been introduced for Black Group boats for 2022 which has been radically altered to make it fairer across the board for different sized boats. The pricing bands are now broken down into 1 m increments and start at 7m rather than 9m which will lead to more consistency in what different boats are paying, irrespective of their overall length.

The team at Cowes Week look forward to welcoming competitors and visitors to the Regatta and to the sunny Isle of Wight for race day 1 on Saturday, July 30th. The overall prizegiving will be on Friday, August 5th.

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Winners of Cowes Week IRC One division on the Solent this week was Tony Mack's UK-based J/111 McFly that included a notable Irish presence in her crew lineup.

Royal Cork's Harry Durcan was the mainsheet trimmer, Cathal Leigh-Doyle was the upwind trimmer with Kinsale Laser dinghy ace Darragh O'Sullivan also on board the 36-footer in the 16-boat fleet.

Results are here

Success in Cowes Week is only one part of Durcan's UK summer odyssey, the former 29er skiff helmsman sails with club mates on the Murphy family's Grand Soleil Nieulargo tomorrow in the Fastnet Race.


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