Harrison on top
Starting in a light 6-8 knot SE'ly breeze off Gilkicker, escaping off the line in good shape was critical to the pattern of the whole race. With a whole raft of boats trying to barge in to get pole position to hitch right, a big snarl up was inevitable, even after one general recall. Chernikeeff, with Ian Budgen driving and Richard Sydenham on tactics, wriggled away while Bear of Britain became more embroiled in the resulting melee.
Best start came from Tony de Mulder's EuroPrix 45 Victric, which stayed low of the pack, hardened up and gained the early jump which they held over the 45s for throughout the race.
"From our point of view that was it over," explained sixth placed Timberland EuroPrix's navigator Mark Chisnell, " Victric sailed well and we only really started getting in to them was on the last run from Gurnard into the Green, they looked a little unsettled and we were coming down with pressure."
The trio of 52s were able to stretch their legs in the light breezes and were first into the SWly sea breeze when it eventually filled in around 1600hrs, reaching 12-15knots by the finish.
Chernikeeff 2's only minor error was when they relinquished the lead on the first run down from S Ryde Middle back down to Gilkicker. They elected to stay offshore in the belief the breeze was likely to die inshore and the tidal gradient not to be too significant on the turn of the tide, but as they gybed back inshore they had to take Bear's stern.
"After that there were just not too many passing places," admitted Chernikeeff 2's skipper Mark Fitzgerald, "We kept it tight thereafter and were well placed when Bear finally slipped up."
At the last turn Bear was slow with their hoist, changing kites at the last minute going into the mark, and Chernikeeff was able to get back through. They traded gybes on the run back to the Squadron finish with Bear taking first gun but with only an 11 seconds advantage, Chernikeeff corrected out ahead.
"It's the best way to start in a no discard series. We got a good start and then kept it tight with Bear. There was not really too many opportunities to do too much different thereafter" reported Fitzgerald.
Of the eight Timberland EuroPrix 45s racing Victric was never headed. With an afterguard including Jules Salter and Tim Powell they gave nothing away after working for the early advantage.
The chasing pack of 45s emerged with Glyn Williams' Wolf, the Irish chartered Faster K-Yote, and Ed Leask's Timberland EuroPrix battling it out. With Team New Zealand's Cameron Appleton steering Timberland EuroPrix was able to get clear to finish second in the Timberland EuroPrix class.
But for one mistake when they stayed too far offshore and lost a lump of time in the tide, it could have been a different story for David Murrin's Farr 40 2XL. They were well up with the 45 footers for most of the first round and looked set for a runway win on handicap, but they had to settle for a well earned third overall, three minutes behind runner up Bear.
1. GBR52R CHERNIKEEFF 2 1.189 16:46:59 03:11:59 03:48:16 1
2. GBR521R BEAR OF BRITAIN 1.192 16:46:43 03:11:43 03:48:32 3
3. GBR10 2XL 1.045 17:16:49 03:41:49 03:51:48
4. GBR552R VOLVO FOR LIFE TEAM 1.189 16:49:59 03:14:59 03:51:50
5. GBR5955 VICTRIC 1.111 17:06:16 03:31:16 03:54:43
6. GBR998 TIMBERLAND EURO PRIX 1.108 17:07:27 03:32:27 03:55:24
7. FRA18831 FASTER K-YOTE 2 1.101 17:10:36 03:35:36 03:57:23 7
8. GBR745R WOLF 1.103 17:11:29 03:36:29 03:58:47