Photo: Cathy Vercoe/

Westward Cup sets sail

Mariette ahead after day one

Tuesday June 12th 2012, Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt, Location: United Kingdom

The second running of the Westward Cup commenced today at 1100 on the Solent. Eleonora, Mariette and Mariquita created a breathtaking sight for the spectators on Cowes Parade and Princes Green as the yachts prepared for their start on the Royal Yacht Squadron line.

The Westward Cup is being run by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club and the Yacht Club de Monaco, who have joined forces to revive Big Class yachting in Cowes. Zbynek Zak, originator of the event in 2010 celebrating the 100th anniversary of the launch of the racing schooner Westward in 1910, says he is equally proud and delighted to be back in Cowes this year.

The boats set off powering up under full sail in a northerly breeze of 15-18 knots and heading off into the western Solent with Mariette as the front runner. The 29nm course saw the fleet experience variable wind speeds with winds decreasing severely as the race progressed and Eleonora fell behind with Mariette and Mariquita enjoying some match racing.

David Aisher, Principal Race Officer, commented after racing this afternoon: "Conditions were terrific first thing, but the wind went left, later abated and was recorded at 5 knots at one point which made it a struggle for the largest boat in the fleet, Eleonora."

The two ‘smaller’ yachts were racing with their full race crew complement today plus their guests, while Eleonora are also hosting a group of young sailors between the ages of 18 to 23 on board this week. They are novices to this type of racing and have been invited by the RYS and NYYC to introduce some new blood into classic yacht racing.

Mariquita took line honours finishing at 14.31.43, closely followed by Mariette 14.35.16 with Eleonora completing her first day’s racing in Cowes at 15.20.34.

On corrected time, the final positions after Day One are:

1st Mariette
2nd Mariquita
3rd Eleonora

Tomorrow’s weather is looking fairly light and there is a possibility that racing will be abandoned. A meeting with the skippers this evening will determine whether racing takes place on Wednesday 13th June.

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