Solent too small

Britannia Cup proves a short sprint for the maxis

Wednesday August 6th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
See our photo gallery of today's action...

The heat of the sun gradually burned through the morning haze to make for yet another glorious day out on the Solent at Skandia Cowes Week. Today the complexion of the event had a difference with the advent of the big boats, most notably Neville Crichton's Alfa Romeo and Charles Dunstone's renamed Nokia Connecting People (formerly Chance/ Enigma) lining up to compete in the Britannia Cup.

After the 1720s, IRC Class 0 boats took the start line with all eyes on the 90ft Alfa Romeo, which thundered down the line with owner Neville Crichton steering and Ian Moore on board for local knowledge. The Alfa crew is impressive and includes many America's Cup/Whitbread/Volvo sailors such as Tony Mutter (SEB), David Rolfe (SEB), Erle Williams (Team NZ, djuice), Joe Spooner (TNZ), Noel Drennan (illbruck), Billy Merrington (djuice, Victory Challenge), Stefan Fodor (Le Defi), Stu Bettany (illbruck), Will McCarthy (Alinghi).

Alfa crossed the committee boat line the furthest down the island end and tacked on to port way off the island. "It was a bit frustrating," Crichton told The Daily Sail afterwards, admitting that racing at Skandia Cowes Week for them is as much a trial for Sunday's Rolex Fastnet Race as it is a serious crack at the Cowes silverware.

"There wasn't enough wind to stretch our legs and with our draft we were basically sailing in the shipping channels," Crichton continued. He hopes that tomorrow the Race Committee will send the big boats on a course around the Isle of Wight. "We got a very good start today and then never saw another boat, but then it is difficult for the race committee to give us a course that suits us. Anywhere in the Solent is a disadvantage for us."

All the fleet headed for the shore of the 'big' island, to stem the tide and where there was also more pressure.

Both the big boats were being extremely cautious about their draft, although Dunstone's crew were being a little braver. "Draught constraints? Yes, we had particular draft constraints twice!" commented Nokia Connecting People's David Bedford. "But we only touched little bits of mud - not hard bits of mud - only when we came upright in our tacks!" While Bedford normally drives the boat, on this occasion owner Charles Dunstone was behind the helm.

In the light southwesterly wind, the race for Class 0 took the boats west down the Solent passing Champagne Mumm, rounding Sconce (off Port Albert), back to West Lepe, the west again to YMS2 off Yarmouth before returning to the finish line.

In real time, Alfa Romeo crossed the line at 14:30 with Nokia Connecting People almost 25 minutes behind. That wasn't enough to bear either Aera or the Farr 52s Bear of Britain or Chernikeeff 2. On corrected time Alfa Romeo beat Nokia Connecting People by 1 minute 16 seconds. Charles Dunstone say that they had got stuck in a hole off Yarmouth. This is also the first occasion Nokia Connecting People has raced under IRC (she has spent the first part of this year in the Med).

Alfa Romeo and Nokia Connecting People are back out on the water for tomorrow's New York YC Challenge Cup.

Provisional Class 0 IRC results:

Pos
Sail area Name
TCC
Finished at
Elapsed
Corrected
1
GRE55 AERA
1.325
15:11:01
04:01:01
05:19:21
2
GBR521R BEAR OF BRITAIN
1.315
15:16:17
04:06:17
05:23:52
3
GBR52R CHERNIKEEFF 2
1.315
15:17:47
04:07:47
05:25:50
4
GBR552R VOLVO FOR LIFE TEAM
1.309
15:20:12
04:10:12
05:27:31
5
GBR88R ISLAND FLING
1.284
15:27:56
04:17:56
05:31:11
6
NZL80 ALFA ROMEO
1.664
14:30:33
03:20:33
05:33:43
7
GBR5955 VICTRIC
1.243
15:39:38
04:29:38
05:35:09
8
GBR76R NOKIA CONNECTING PEO
1.490
14:55:08
03:45:08
05:35:27
9
GBR745R WOLF
1.235
15:45:32
04:35:32
05:40:17
10
FRA18831 FASTER K-YOTE 2
1.231
15:48:29
04:38:29
05:42:49
11
GER3970 HEXE
1.281
15:40:28
04:30:28
05:46:28
12
GBR998 TIMBERLAND EURO PRIX
1.243
15:49:14
04:39:14
05:47:05
13
GBR8448 REBEL
1.232
15:52:07
04:42:07
05:47:34
14
GBR50R HEATWAVE
1.241
15:50:57
04:40:57
05:48:40
15
NED27 TONNERRE DE BRESKENS
1.289
15:41:34
04:31:34
05:50:03
16
GBR4321 FLIRT
1.274
15:45:46
04:35:46
05:51:20
17
NED5757 BELLEROSE
1.258
15:55:32
04:45:32
05:59:12
18
GBR4545R LION
1.242
15:59:35
04:49:35
05:59:40
19
USA52120 SNOW LION
1.257
15:58:08
04:48:08
06:02:11
20
GBR8055L HUGO BOSS
1.276
15:56:31
04:46:31
06:05:36
21
GER4561 WORLD OF TUI
1.236
16:20:46
05:10:46
06:24:06
22
BER2000 VENOM
1.422
15:45:07
04:35:07
06:31:13
23
FRA37 FRANCE 3
1.409
15:55:04
04:45:04
06:41:40
GBR9636R FULL PELT/SLAM
1.292
RET

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