Photo: Chris Boynton

Racing canned with 50 knots forecast

Westward Cup blown apart

Friday June 15th 2012, Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt, Location: United Kingdom

Eleonora, Mariette and Mariquita, the three Big Class yachts taking part in the second Westward Cup in Cowes this week, have faced four days of the best and worst that the British weather could throw at them.

A number of difficult weather-related decisions have had to be taken by the PRO, David Aisher, who stressed that they all related to course-setting and have been taken in close collaboration with the owners and their captains on a daily or twice daily basis. “This has been an inclusive event,” he commented. "With the owners enjoying a wonderful week of good racing and great social events. Everyone has been supportive of the race management this week, despite the difficulties we have been facing with the weather.”

The opening day of racing on Tuesday was challenging enough, with wind speeds ranging from 15-18 knots lowering to 5 knots along parts of the course by the afternoon. That distinct lack of wind at the beginning of the week ended up forcing a decision to cancel racing altogether on Wednesday. Thursday morning’s racing was superb for all three yachts but by the afternoon the winds had increased from the south-east, strengthening to 20-25 knots and Mariquita’s Captain, Jim Thom, took the decision not to race in the afternoon. The remaining competitors competed in the Eastern Solent achieving some excellent speeds but the sea state was very lumpy by the time they had completed Race Three in the overall series.

By this morning, the forecast was looking to wreak havoc with the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Race Officers’ course plans, as 40+ knots were being reported in Hurst Narrows. Two yachts managed to get in a short race this morning with Eleonora taking line honours ahead of Mariette. Mariquita’s team took the decision early on not to go racing in potentially damaging winds.

With the Solent forecast for tomorrow showing predicted gale force winds gusting to 50 knots, it has been agreed to abandon all further racing in the Westward Cup 2012 so there will be no racing on the final day, Saturday 16 June.

Results for race four

1. Eleonora
2. Mariette
3. DNS

Overall Results after four races

1. Mariette - 5 points
2. Eleonora - 9 points
3. Mariquita - 12 points

From Rick Tomlinson/

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