Purple Haze ups the ante

Red Funnel Quarter Ton Cup six races in with joint leaders reports Louise Morton

Thursday June 16th 2005, Author: Louise Morton, Location: United Kingdom
Day two of the Red Funnel Quarter Ton Cup in Cowes really sorted the men from the boys as the crews battled squalls, driving rain and pounding hangovers. The Southerly wind varied from around 16 to 26 knots and kicked up an awkward Solent chop to make upwind sail choices tricky and downwind legs decidedly wobbly. The Royal Corinthian Race Committee headed up by PRO Willie Sanderson did a great job of getting three further races completed and regardless of the inclement conditions everyone had another fantastic day on the water.

Although last to leave the bar in the early hours of this morning the crew of Purple Haze (Tony Dodd, Jim & George Webb, Tim Reese & Derek Morland) put together a 5, 3, 2 scoreline, which moves them up into equal first place overall with Super Q. "Although there was less wind it was a lot harder on the body than yesterday!" commented George Webb after racing.

Peter Morton and his Super Q crew (Mark Rushall, Kelvin Rawlings, Darren Marsden and Jamie Boag) were clearly struggling with both their hangovers and the aches and pains brought on by day one's exertions. They kept spectators entertained with an impressive broach in the first race; a late premature start return in the second and several other thrills and spills. Despite all this they still pulled out a 1, 9, 1 score and now share the overall lead with Purple Haze on 15 points.

The battle for third and fourth places is equally tight with Graydon Dawson's Diamond and Laurent Beaurin's 45 South tied on 23 points. 45 South was the more consistent performer today scoring 3, 2, 3 while Diamond took a win in race five plus a fourth and sixth.

One of the hardest fought battles of the day was a family affair between Needlework and Extension. Aboard Needlework are Tom Richardson and his son Matt aka "Trigger", whilst Extension's crew includes Tom's son-in-law Craig "Lightning" Nutter. On the water the two boats were regularly neck and neck although Needlework eventually got the better of the battle on handicap finishing fifth overall. Tom built Needlework 27 years ago and is still out there with his hammer and nails right now getting her back into shape to race tomorrow!

For the Dina-Mite crew the heavy airs have taken their toll. "We normally race on a river where they don't let us out in much over 15 knots so it's been a tough couple of days for us. The boat's virtually held together with duct tape right now!" joked owner Glyn Sheffield back on the dock.

Aboard Olivia Anne owner Chris Flewitt has been getting to grips with sailing fully crewed. He normally has the boat set up to race double handed with his wife Sue who unfortunately cannot sail this week. Instead he is racing with a bunch of friends and despite a few boat handling teething troubles they've been having a whale of a time. "I've had one of the most enjoyable day's racing ever." said Chris.

The wind is forecast to abate tomorrow and three final races are scheduled. Tonight the crews will enjoy a special Red Funnel Quarter Ton Cup dinner with event patron Bob Fisher speaking after dinner and designer Ron Holland officiating at the prize giving.

Special thanks to sponsors Red Funnel - www.redfunnel.co.uk - and Cellar Trends - www.cellartrends.co.uk.

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