Cowes Week 2022
Race report from the whole week!
Cowes Week 2022
Race report from day one, Saturday 30th July
The Ditch Boys love Open water too, and Zest steals the Captains Cannon
Here we go again, every bit of sanding, every brush stroke of paint, every mast lift led towards this day for the 11 boats taking part in Cowes Week this year. All boats had arrived safely on the Friday, in perfect delivery conditions of 10 knots and lots of sun. When was the last time that all boats arrived at Cowes on the Friday all together? Some of the fleet checked that the quality or quantity of beer hadn’t diminished over the past year, it hasn’t!
So the morning of day one arrived, the red direction flag was flying and the morning announcement informed us that we would be starting to the west, staying in the west and finishing along the green under spinnakers. The customary inspection of the RYS startline watching the early starters go was as informative as ever, IRC 0 can’t start, Cape 31 like to start over the line…..
Out on the boat the sails were rigged and the course was received. Todays course was:
Start on the RYS line
Laid Mark Julliet (port)
Gurnard Ledge (port)
Finish on the RYS line.
A nice short race for the navigators to write down, and a nice short race for us….until we realise that the first beat was 4.5 miles long. Wind conditions at the start was 10 -12 knots from the SouthWest, the tidal strategy for the day was simple, West going tide all day. As the cannons sounded for the first time for us, the fleet were all up at the pin end taking the most of the stronger tide. Z69 had a great start at the pin end, with Z78, Z75 and Z80 all on the first rack. Z67 and Z54 followed, this forced them to tack early into the cleaner air. Z70 & Z73 got friendly on the start line, Z74, Z76 and Z77 started their campaign. The first section of the beat to Egypt Point was a tacking battle with it appearing that the island shore paid with stronger tide. Z78 & Z75 traded places at the top with Z69,Z54,Z67,Z77,Z80 snapping at their heels. After Egypt Point the tide started filling in more off shore so into the deep water we went, and into the Waves. The waves, they were big, the water that the boats shipped was enormous. The bilge pumps got a good working.
The beat was nearly an hour long but when but when we got there Z75 arrived first, followed quickly by Z78. Z80 had to double tack at the mark. Z67,Z69,Z77,Z54 all followed within striking distance. Several boats had downwind issues in the first part of the run, but we all started heading towards Gurnard Ledge, looking hard to see the very hard to find buoy. Thankfully the squibs have wonderful mace coloured sails and now restored to their rightful starting order position it was easy to follow them into the leeward mark. The run was long and nail biting. Boats often had little steerage and helms moaned that they had no control. Not fear inducing for crews at all……
Z78 had a great run, creaming to a healthy lead, and rounded Gurnard Ledge but then had to tack early to clear away from a tailend charlie Sonar. Z75, Z80, Z69, Z54, Z67, Z77 & Z74 followed. Unfortunately the conditions were a little too much for Z73, Z70, & Z76 and they retired. Martin on Z76 was not quite content with a silent end to his first race so finished through the finish line and took the Winners Cannon. Nice work Martin :D
The second beat was much of the same, wind, waves and water and a bit more water and a little more. Positions didn’t change much as we were hooned up the coast under the tide, around Saltmead again, and then time to play the tide inshore as much as possible. Z78 gybe into the strong tide and maybe this was the fatal mistake. Z75 & Z80 stayed into the coast and less tide and gained. The final run was almost enjoyable, in the flatter water. The crew of Z67 increased their gun sizes again by pumping the entire solent out of poor old Zircon. As the leading boats approached the Cowes Green it was all neck and neck with three Victories along side each other, oh and chuck in what felt like the entire X boat fleet as well. BANG, BANG went the cannons. It was close, but the ditch boys on Z75 proved that they do enjoy the open sea. Z75 had won, Z78 2nd and Z80 3rd. A moment of panic on Z80 when they didn’t get their stolen cannon, had they been over at the start? Thankfully the full picture came apparent in the bar and all were happy.
Crews retired to the Island for many beers and then the CCYC for a very enjoyable BBQ (via the Rum party to get hats. If you didn’t manage to get a hat check out ebay, rumor has it you can buy them very reasonably priced on there already.) Other moments to note yesterday is poor Zoe’s lifejacket being triggered by a rogue wave whilst the life jacket was in the dry (hahaha) boat. Final results, Z75, Z78, Z80, Z69, Z54, Z67, Z77, Z74 with Z70, Z73 & Z76 retiring from this race. Day 2 race looks windier, and then hopefully there will be some respite from the strong winds.
Good Racing All
Munch, Z67, Trimmer, Wet Wet Wet and still not a photographer!
Cowes Week 2022
Race report from day two, Sunday 31st July
Cowes Week Little Shits Club
What do we need after a heavy day in the western Solent… A nice high wind day and a committee boat start, Yup that will do…..
At 8:30 in the morning the fleet’s mobile phones rang into action and an announcement was received from the race committee, off to a committee boat we are going to be sent, 4C Little Ship Club on the Ryde Middle Bank. Rumor has it the race committee’s thinking is that the eastern Solent would be flatter than the raging seas of the western Solent and their thinking was pretty good. As the fleet left the moorings with tummies full of butterflies the phones once again rang into action as a postponement was given to all to allow a big ship to come through the race course to stop a repeat of the Roland Wilson incident of 2011.
Once at the committee boat, every fleet was given the same course (except from the pesky XODs), this was going to make the navigators job an easy one today. The course today was:
Start at the committee boat
Laid mark 8S to Port (Laid mark deep in Osbourne Bay)
South East Ryde Middle to Starboard
Collette to Starboard
North East Ryde Middle to Port
Goodall Roofing to Starboard
North Ryde Middle to Port
Finish at the Breakwater Finish line
The postponement lasted a little longer than planned, the tanker was a little smaller than expected, but we were mostly happy. We had a little entertainment watching a Sonar dismast and then the Sonars have a general recall. Yippee more delays on a windy, wavy Ryde Middle Bank! Once the Sonars got away then all of the subsequent starts were very timely and the lady on the VHF was very clear. It was go time for the Victories!
The committee boat end was favoured, with Z67(our skipper now informs me that we were more middle of the line, 57.9% along the length to be precise) , Z54, Z80 and maybe others and at the pin end Z69, & Z78 and others. The first trick was to tack off into the tide, and shoot down to Osborne bay. Deep water we went searching for. The next trick was to navigate through the Redwing fleet, Z69, Z78, Z80, Z77 tacked off early, Z67 and Z54 took the high risk strategy of threading the needle of the eye and picking a way through their fleet. Into Osbourne bay we were and gains were to be had on the inshore side, the wind in Osbourne bay was fickle, very heady and very light. Almost everyone felt the pain, Z69 picked a lovely lift into the buoy and rounded first followed by Z54, and Z67. Wood still wins the first beat! The plastics were chasing with Z80, Z75, Z78, Z77, Z74 all still in the mix. Z70 and Z73 rounded to complete the fleet. Z76 decided to give the strong winds a miss today. The run down to South East Ryde Middle was much of the same, chasing Mermaids but not many place changes, the plastics did close the gap a bit. Round we went, Joppers noted that South East Ryde Middle was a “Very Big Buoy “
Next beat, lots of tacks, lots of lifts, plenty of crossing, a few ducks. Happy Days! Z67 learnt from Z69’s successes of the previous beat and went deep into Osbourne bay. Again a nice lift into the mark and again the wind went rubbish. A whole lot of swearing from skippers as the headers hit and the wind died. Z67 rounded Colette alongside a mermaid and that was it, job done! Z67 Winning, Z69 2nd and Z54 3rd! All of the plastics behind (or so Munch would like to end the race…)
A good day on the water. Munch Z67, Trimmer, Not as Wet Wet Wet but still Wet Wet, Still not a Photographer…….
The race picks up onboard Z78… they were fast downwind chasing Z67, Z69 and Z80. Z80 and Z78 went deep after going throught the medley of Mermaids. Z78 had a slightly sketchy roll and all arms on Ziva popped out like an octopus, whilst Z69 enjoyed the ride. Z80 arrived at the mark first, only to encounter yet another Mermaid, they managed to shake them off, Z78 had to tack off. Z69 were very very close to both Z78 and NE Ryde Middle, managing to squeaked in, how did he manage it?! Z75 made gains on the run.
At NE Ryde Middle the positions were- Z80, Z78, Z69, Z67, Z75, Z77, Z54, Z74, Z70, Z73 (i think!). On the beat to Goodall Roofing there were lots of shifts to take, Z80 and Z69 went left and gained, the rest of the fleet lost out. Rounding with the chaos of the XODs, Z80 crept in first, Z75 and then Z69. More fantastic course setting with what should have been a port rounding but was to starboard, causing a dayboat pile up, one particular Mermaid not understanding what starboard meant. Z67 rounded ahead of Z54 as they overstood the mark.
Now, at some point during the race Z78 lost a spinnaker sheet under the boat, Zoe had to rethread it round the forestay, not the best idea with the wind and seastate. A few waves to the face and a great dolphin impression later the sheet was back attached to the spinnaker.
The short downwind to North Ryde Middle wasn’t long enough for Z78 to catch up the front runners, Z80 pulled away but Z69 chased them down. The tactic here was to get rights on the buoy wich Team Scam suceeded in. At this point Zoe on Z78 was confused by the sight of another red can…
To the finish! Z69 hit more tide by going right up the beat but Z80 kept the lead. Thankfully it was a quick (and wet, did we mention the whole day was wet…) with the tide pushing us to the finish the fleet had to bear away to avoid missing the line.
Top effort to Z70 for getting round, shaking out their reef and putting their kite up, Z73 for finishing in tough conditions and to the kids on Z67 for showing us how to get round the windward at the front of the fleet.
Congratulations to class captain and team on Z80. The results for the second race and the Eagle Trophy were-
Race report from Munch Briggs (Z67) and Zoe Whittaker (Z78)
Cowes Week 2022
Race report from day three, Monday 1st August
Wait wait wait… for the breeze
A late start for the Victorys with breeze developing from the South West. The sequence as usual on the RYS line with the tide full to the West. Yet again a general recall on the Sonars giving the Victorys another five minutes reprise.
So on to the Victory start… an individual recall - Z70 clear over the line… but was there any one else.
Up the first beat the usual sequence of Z54, Z69 and Z80 battling to Gurnard Ledge… Z54 gained on the initial inshore passage.
Again the tide making the layline difficult .. Z54, Z75, Z80 and Z69….then the rest…. For those in the front, you missed the appearance of Seagulls’ new Kite adorned with Seagull artwork. Look out for it tomorrow…
So to Royal Cork (well the Victorys don’t get to Ireland that often). Z54 kept the lead, even though allowing a couple of boats to suck into the shore for favourable tide… The mark rounding with the tide allowed Z80 and Z75 to catch up… also with the tail end mermaid inside.(again!)
Following Z78 on the inside caused a few issues with the overlapped boats Z67 and Z74. Unfortunately Z74 didn’t respond to the water required for the inside boats causing a clusterf**k of Victorys, some having boats and kite wrapped around each other.
Back to Gurnard Ledge… Z54 extending … Z80 and Z75 in pursuit.. the last leg to RYS line.. very similar to Saturday … hug the shore..
Z54 and Z75 stayed North allowing Z80 and Z69 to the shore. Compression at Egypt Point… whats this Z77 coming down with the breeze barging in at the continuing obstruction (Rule 19???).
Now the lottery to the finish.. will the inshore pay? Z80 sneaks to the line with the other to leeward line abreast…Z77, Z75 and Z54…. Z80 wins (or do they…OCS… video replay required!!!)
So Z75 wins with Pelican second and Z54 picking up third and first wooden boat…
So another great race with the crews staying in Cowes enjoying a great evening at RORC at Scam’s supper……
Scam, Z69, Owner, Helm, Commander, Treasurer, all round good bloke!
Cowes Week 2022
Race report from day four, Tuesday 2nd August
A view from 75
Its already Tuesday, so by the end of today, we’ll be halfway through the Regatta. Its said by wise heads, that by Tuesday the fleet is setting itself into an order, so how was today going to pan out?
In almost a rerun of Sunday,we were off the Ryde Bank with a reasonably calm sea.
The first beat saw the fleet split and full marks to 74 and 77 for getting the mix of tides and wind right to make it to the inflatable first
And the lead boats were already amongst the tailend Mermaids. The run saw most stick with a port gybe but 75 gybed off and it cost the some ground as by the time we reached Little Ships, 54 and 77 were still ahead and 75, 69 and 80 were going round together with a Mermaid in the way. Again the split happened, but this time at the windward mark, we were amongst the tail end of the X boats. 54 retained it’s lead but 75 had secured 2nd spot and there are 4 boats rounding the mark together. 77, 69, 80 and 74 tussling for that 3rd spot. 67 and 78 had renewed their close quarter action from yesterday.
By this time the tanker and the car transporter were making their way down the main channel, but most got through the gap and up to the Cardinal which marked the start of the homeward beat. By this time the wind had got up, the chop had increased and the foredeck were getting wet again…
54 was a good 15 boat lengths ahead of 75 who were a similar distance ahead of 77, 80 and 69. Unfortunately, 77 lost it’s halyard and slipped back, but full marks to the crew for getting a repair dome and racing again.
Now it was all about the shifts and covering.
How fickle is sail racing? With the finish line in sight, 54 and 75 had changed place twice, but all the while the spectre of 80 was there. And so the whole thing turned on its head on the last 50metres. 80 approaching on starboard forced 75 round, who in turn forced54 to tack and so on the blink of an eye 1,2,3 became 3,2,1. And again, less than 10 seconds covered the first 3 boats.
Well done to 80 who kept plugging away. And good to see 74 in the mix for so long and Martin getting out with 76.
And the good news, we can do it all again tomorrow.
Cowes Week 2022
Race report from day five, Wednesday 3rd August
It was a difficult start on the RYS line with a downwind start with the tide pushing us fast over the line. The key was not to be over (but would be easier to do!)
All the Victories mingled as far down opposite the Cowes green until the last minute to try not to be pushed to early by the tide, one by one the kites went up when papper was removed and nobody way OCS. The fleet aimed for the pin end with 54 and 69 aiming for the middle of the line going low into the moorings. Z80, Z78, Z77, Z75 lead the way with 67, 54 and 70 sat behind and 73 playing it safe behind the fleet.
The first mark was close with the fleet rounding the first mark (little ships club) it was a single tack to the next mark (goodall roofing) with another downwind to a laid mark far into hillhead back and the back to hillhead again!
Z80 lead the way for half the race but was beated by Z77 who rounded the west Ryde middle before head back to Howden Fastnet and then to the finish line. It
Zilch Z75 was first over all, making the right call over the bank on the way back to the finish line followed by Z80 and Z77. Very close racing today!!
P.S - Z74 nearly had a you’ve been framed moment as had to retrieve a runaway spinnaker halyard
Written by Matt and MC from Z70
Cowes Week 2022
Race report from day six, Thursday 4th August
Zilch sets up a big night!
Team Zilch went into the last day comfortable but not secure.
A difficult day for the course setters with the overnight north westerly wind forecast to go round to the South West as the land warmed-up and the Sea Breeze developed early in the afternoon. Alas the sea breeze was ‘not to be’ and the course configuration presented us with a couple of reciprocal fetches instead of a windward - leeward.
Conditions around the start were difficult. A windward start with a strong fair tide in the beach lane made the inshore lane compelling for some of us. Wrongly! Zs 75, 76 & Z73 had spotted the better offshore breeze and capitalised on it. Those of us inshore were greeted with the three of them crossing on starboard in the distance. Z69’s helmsman, nearby to us, was heard to say ‘where on earth did they come from’ (or something similar).
Jim, Zoe and Stretch in Ziva had also been getting their act together as we all sailed into Gurnard Bay following Z75 closely round the windward mark as we bore off for the leeward mark back down in the central Solent. Zelia had also had a solid first leg and was in the mix. As we ran down parallel with the Hampshire shore the developing Sea breeze started running out of steam and started flicking back to the direction of it’s big brother in the north west. As he started to assert his influence the breeze gradually increased from the north west providing great conditions in the sunshine. By this time Z75 had established an unassailable lead. The last leg gave us a tight reach from the Hill Head shore into the Shrape finish line. Positions largely remained in tact except for Z54 which made a great rounding and dived deep under Z80 sailing through her lee.
Well done to Z75 for wrapping up the week with a day to spare
Written by Russell, Z80
Cowes Week 2022
Race report from day seven, Friday 5th August
The final day of Cowes and the day after the class meal at Island Sailing Club (and many post drinks in RORC till 4am!!!), Z75 had won the week yesterday but could still win the Westmacott trophy and perhaps white group overall. Second place was fairly safe in the hands of Z80, unless there was another OCS or even DSQ…. So just third place was all to play for whilst Z54 held it going into the last day.
Very late on Thursday night our start time was shifted from a leisurely 1240ish to 1105, the breeze was expected to shift from the N/NW and fill in with a sea breeze from the SW. After only a few hours of sleep for the occupants of Hotspur House, we groggily made it down to the ISC and onto our boats, at least the sun was shining!!
Starting on the RYS line our course was -
Cowes Yacht Haven S
Greenings Payment S
Royal Cork P
Finish at the RYS line
A short course but it’s not like we needed a long race after the antics from last night…!
With the tide against us on the start, only Z78 started close to the Squadron with the rest of the fleet near the pin end in more tide (but perhaps more breeze?), Z78 kept their lead on the tight reach down the green (no kites yet!) but was very wary of the rocks appearing at low tide as a Mermaid had just shown us how to park yourself nicely right in front of the shoreside spectators. Z69 did skim the beach, Scam quickly jumped out of Zinnia before the crew had noticed and pushed her off.
On the final third of the leg it was just possible to get the kite up as the fleet compressed and nearly caught up Z78. Round the mark, across the Solent towards the Fawley chimneys, this is when the wind started to shift and die. Z75 caught up Z78, then Z80, the tide was so strong at the mark we were in danger of missing it.
It was now a downwind leg back south to Royal Cork, time for Z78 to catch up Z80 and Z75 and shake off the squibs. Those squibs really do stick around when you don’t want them to ! The tide was still hooning down towards Portsmouth which turned the leg into a reach to keep above the mark, once again the wind was shifty and patchy.
Z54 and Z69 kept high from the mark and found a clear patch of breeze (with no squibs!), they had massive gains on the front of the fleet (Z78, Z75, Z80 and Z77). Now was the perfect time to take a photo of Z80 and Z75 (and to distract them!!!). We now had Redwings, Squibs and Mermaids all heading for the same mark, a dayboat pile up! There was the added danger from the black group reaching back from the western Solent crossing our path.
EVENTUALLY we could bear away to Royal Cork and gybe at the mark, Z80 got round in first place, tried for a spinnaker but it was too tight. Z78 was next followed by Z69, Z77 and Z54. Poor Z75 got tangled in the melee of dayboats and was spat out the back. The crew on Z78 were so concerned with trimming the jib and holding their breath that the wind wouldn’t shift or die that the leg to the finish was a bit of a blur. Thankfully we weren’t fight the tide and it was a quick but tight reach to the finish.
The results from the final day at Cowes Week for the Shearwater Plate were-
Congratulations to Z80, Shearwater II with Russell, Darren and Adrian for the win today!
Congratulations to Z75 for a stonking performance in the Victory Class and for winning the Westmacott Trophy, Z80 were second.
I hope everyone has enjoyed the race reports during Cowes Week, for once we have had a full set of races (the first time since 2011!!!!) AND a full set of race reports (the hangovers usually get in the way…). We are racing home tomorrow for the Blackbird Trophy after the Solent Platinum Jubilee Celebrations.
Normal Portsmouth race reports will return on Tuesday with the first race in the Tuesday Twilight Series.
Finally, if you have won a trophy this summer or you just want to celebrate the season with the Victory Class, the date for the prize giving is Saturday 19th November at the Royal Maritime Club. I’ll let us all get over our hangovers and recuperate before bothering you for RSVPs!!!
And that’s a wrap on Cowes Week 2022. Only 358 days until we go again….
Written by Zoe, Z78