RECORD-BREAKING XOD CLASS RACING AT COWES WEEK - DAY 1 REPORT

RECORD-BREAKING XOD CLASS RACING AT COWES WEEK - DAY 1 REPORT

Sunday August 7 2011 Author: PRPETA Location: United Kingdom

FIERCE COMPETITION ON DAY ONE OF THE XOD CLASS RACING AT COWES WEEK - SATURDAY 6 AUGUST

A weak weather front passed over Cowes just before the 1230 scheduled start for the 145 boats in the XOD fleet, causing a postponement while the windward mark was repositioned. The huge fleet got away cleanly at the start, with Simon Osgood and Jamie Lea’s Sox first to tack onto port near the committee boat, while Simon Russell, Darren Maple and Richard Lovering’s Swallow and George Cooper’s Xin Bai followed suit mid-line.

If getting away from the start line mêlée was the first big hurdle, the second was judging exactly where to tack to for the windward mark. This was in deep water and strong tide to the south of the shoals east of the Bramble Bank. While tacking too late would give away ground unnecessarily, doing so too soon would risk getting swept away to oblivion.

The first three boats, 90 YEAR OLD Tom Tait’s Xtravagance, Michael Martell, Fraser Graham and Tim Copsey’s Astralita and Sox tacked too soon, although the crew of Sox recovered before losing too much ground, and finished a very respectable 12th. Steve and Peter Lawrence’s Catherine almost made the mark, but had to tack two lengths below, allowing John Long and Tina Scott’s Relaxation and Oren Richards, Chris Sanders’s Exit to round ahead.

It wasn’t long before this mark was the scene of hectic action, with port tack boats trying to claw back uptide pushing as close as they dared to the near continuous line of right of way boats heading for the mark on starboard. As the leaders approached the leeward mark the fleet was stretched across several miles of the eastern Solent in sparkling sunlight. Relaxation held the lead at the start, but Catherine had climbed into second at the start of the second beat. By the finish she led the fleet, 37 seconds ahead of David da Cunha’s Mayday, with Relaxation just six seconds adrift in third. Over the next two minutes boats piled over the line – with an average gap of only eight seconds between each one, after almost three hours of racing. This class may be celebrating its centenary this year, but a measure of the fierceness of the competition is that eight times overall class winner and former Olympic sailor Stuart Jardine finished 60th!

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