XOD Solent Championship

Eddie Mays reports on the traditional pre-cursor to Cowes Week for the classic keelboat

Tuesday July 24th 2007, Author: Eddie Mays, Location: United Kingdom
Several boats from the Itchenor Division joined the Hamble fleet for this annual pre-cursor to Cowes Week. Hosted by the R.A.F. Y.C. the regatta was run over the weekend of the 21st & 22nd July. Although there was one rain-squall during Saturday afternoon the weather improved as the weekend progressed and on Sunday the conditions could not have been better.

The race team ran four windward / leeward races on Saturday afternoon and each race produced a new winner. In fact nine boats shared the podium places during the afternoon and everyone had at least one good and most had one poor result. With races only lasting 45 minutes there was no time for the crews to dwell on what had happened. In fact some crews felt that there wasn't enough to enjoy a well-earnt lunch break between the races.

First blood went to Itchenor's Ted Roose helming Thora ahead of Mark Jardine on Eliot Motherwell's Josephine with last year's Captain's Cup winner Peter Baines on board John Harding's Calypso. The Hamble boats then made a clean sweep of Race 2. Simon Russell, Swallow took the gun with the oldest boat X13 Mischief (Diana Wilson) 2nd and past Captain's Cup winner helming Magic Dragon 3rd. A temporary wind shift at the start of Race 3 made the first beat rather one-sided but a strategically placed leeward mark improved the second lap. Keith Hughes sailing Leading Wind made the best of the conditions and took the win ahead of Swallow and North Sail's Richie Bell driving MOS Fitzgerald's Kathleen in 3rd place. With the wind building to over 25 kts the final race was a real dasher. At the end of the first lap Itchenor boats held the first three places but in the end, although Peter Taylor, Felix held the lead both Kathleen & Swallow made up ground to gain valuable places. At the Bar-B-Que at the R.A.F. clubhouse in the evening there was a day's prizegiving courtesy of Musto & Hyde Sails.

With racing not scheduled until mid-day on Sunday the wind had time to build and the first of the two short 'Round the Cans' started on time. The wind stayed remarkably stable during the whole racing period and it was easy to set a Figure-of-Eight course that gave the boats two good beats and two shy spinnaker reaches, just the job before Cowes. There were yet more new faces at the head of the fleet. Race 1 went to Kathleen and the final race went to Calypso but throughout the weekend the racing was extremely tight and on several occasions there were blanket finishes between groups of boats. When the points were added up and the worst result discarded Simon Russell emerged as the winner by two points from John Harding and Peter Taylor. Harding took 2nd place by counting back his best results, both having won a race apiece.

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