The most triumphant win of the week at the Charles Stanley Cowes Classics Week, which finished today, undoubtedly had to be that of the XOD class. The 60-strong one design class was the one with the most boats to beat and the joint owners of Ibex, Paul Woodman and Oliver James, did just that, along with their third crew member Simon McCarthy. “We had a very good start to the week, and sailed consistently,” sail Oliver. “We are always looking for boat speed and the all-important clean start and clear air.”
Conditions were all change today (Friday), when the wind moved round to blow from the east, a full 180 degree change from the westerlies of the week so far. The rain came down and the four committee boat course areas across the mid-Solent area had just one race to get in this morning for the classic one design classes, who have spent the past three days vying against each other in the eight-race series.
The XOD fleet needed to have their enthusiasm curbed today with two general recalls forcing the Bob Milner’s committee boat to enforce a black flag at the third start. But this did not deter the competitors from starting a closely fought race Today’s winner, Roger Yeoman on Xcitation showed what he is capable of, this being his second win of the week. In fact Xcitation was the only XOD to win more than one race, but it was Ibex’s consistent performance which won the day.
The Bembridge One Designs chose not to race in today’s wet weather but four 1sts were plenty to assure John Deacon in BOD 6 an overall win. The BOD, introduced in 1936, is based on the XOD, but with three inches less draught to cater for the shallow approaches of Bembridge Harbour. Despite the yacht not having a spinnaker racing is tight in the fleet.
The Daring Class is also a development of another design, the 5.5 metre, a former Olympic Class. David Gower and Dolphin celebrated today’s Daring win but it was one of the original 1961 builds, of which there are three in the class, Decoy, owned by Richard Ottaway, which won overall.
In the Solent Sunbeam class Cathy and Joe Burnie Fleury had an almost clean sweep of 1sts from their 8 races, the only other first place going to Roger Wickens who was just 9 points behind at 2nd overall. The fleet will sail back to their Chichester base now the event is over.
The Flying Fifteen and Swallow Classes raced the same course and it was the youngest helm in the fleet who showed the way. No one could get close to William Heritage, aged 14 who took Flying Fifteen Freddie Flintoff to six firsts in seven races.
David Hopkins races with his wife Christine in his diminutive Chough, a pretty old Gaffer built in 1927. Collecting the trophy for the Old Gaffers Silver Class, he said “We love coming to Cowes Classics Week. This is the fourth year that we have been here.” Hamble-based Chough races regularly with the Old Gaffers’ Association, and David admits to adding a few racing ‘tweaks’ to keep the boat competitive. “We completely restored the boat in 2009 after it sat ashore for 25 years.”
Another historic yacht which took first in class was Anne-Marie Coyle’s Responsive, a Nicholson 32. Although beaten in today’s final race by Ted Fort OBE in his Tofinou 9.5 Pippa, taking first, and Caroline Aisher’s Tofinou 8 Lennie¸in second, she scored three firsts in the five races to secure Responsive’s position. Anne-Marie, who is the Class Captain for the Nicholson 32s, said “Responsive was built in 1973 and we have owned her for 13 years. We only started racing three years ago. The secret of our success may be that we bought a new mainsail, and remembered to empty the water tank!”
In the Classic Yacht Blue Fleet,Douglas Peniston’s 1964 Folkboat Finvara convincingly took first place, ahead of Michael Harrison’s Jiminy Cricket in today’s race, securing them first and second overall. The 13 strong fleet enjoyed some great competition around a Solent course against others in their class which included South Coast One Designs, Twisters and two Contessa 26s.
The majestic 6 metres also had an undisputable champion. The six 6 metres which came to the event were all ‘classics’ as opposed to ‘moderns’ as the newer 6s are known, and amongst them was Fenton Burgin in Sioma who won every race to take the championship during a week of conditions sometimes a little more blustery than this class likes.
Thanks go to title sponsor Charles Stanley and supporting sponsors Hudson Wight, Harken, Haines Boatyard, Winkworth, Cowes Harbour Commission, nms marketing, Kendalls, The Yachting Studio, and Classic Boat Magazine.
Picture galleries of all the racing here.
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Photo credit; Tim Jeffreys.
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