Weapon of Choice ahead
With up to four frenetic races there was plenty of action for the 56 competitors taking part in today's opening round of the 2013 Musto Vice Admiral's Cup being hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Cowes. The three-day event features seven classes, ranging from the SB20s at one end of the spectrum, all the way to the TP52s at the other.
Race Officers Bob Milner, officiating for the bigger boats, and Robert Lamb, on the small boat course, kept their customer's good and busy with some great windward leeward racing on Central Solent courses in a variable 8-15 knots from the north east. The smaller boats managed three races whilst the larger boats pushed through and went for a fourth.
Class 0, for the 50-52 footers, was an all TP52 affair and Tony Langley's Weapon of Choice, Keith Mills' 5°West and Johnny Vincent's Pace enjoyed fantastic racing with each boat claiming a victory. Weapon of Choice was the only boat to claim two wins, in races one and two, and as a result now leads the class by a single point from 5°West. Pace claimed race three and 5°West race four, but overall 5°West takes second with Pace a single point behind in third.
Class 1, for the 44-46 footers, featured three Farr 45s and was equally close. This time Jeff Blue's Expresso Martini was the boat that claimed races one and two and they followed this up with a third and second to lead the fleet overall by two points. Stewart Whitehead's Rebel and the Ash Holmes skippered Kolga won a race each and tonight the boats are tied on nine points, with Kolga claiming second place on count back despite scoring an OCS in race two.
Class 3s six J/111s proved to be a three way battle between James Arnell's Jeez Louise, David and Kirsty Apthorp's J-Dream and Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas' Shmokin' Joe. The only boat that was able to challenge the trio all day was Tony Mack's McFly who made the podium twice with a second in race two and a third in race four, which put them into fourth overall at the end of the day. With a 1, 3, 3, 1 scoreline it was Jeez Louise that took J/111 of the day by a single point from J-Dream. Shmokin' Joe showed great speed, but a lost protest in the fourth race, which means that although they still hold onto fourth place they are now four points behind J-Dream and only a single point ahead of McFly.
Class 6, for the 39-43 footers, was the final group on the big boat course and with only two entries it was more a case of match racing than fleet racing. Mark Lloyd's Mills 43 Chaos took on Andrew Pearce's Ker 40 Magnum III but could only gain the upper hand in the final race of the day. As a result Magnum III goes into day two with a two-point lead over Chaos.
What the fleets on the small boat course lack in size they more than make up for in numbers. Class 4 featured thirteen J/109s with a different winner for each of their three races. First to show was David Richard's Jumping Jellyfish who claimed race one and went on to add a third and a fourth to their scoreline to take the overall lead with eight points. Andy Johns and David Rolfe's Shadowfax got her regatta off to a slightly wobbly start with a seventh place but won race two and took third in race three to claim second place overall on eleven points. Just one point behind them is Steve and Jody Maine's J2eau who won the final race of the day.
As usual some of the closest racing of all was to be found among the revival Quarter Ton Class which attracted 15 entries. This fleet always delivers spectacularly close racing and today was no exception with boats finishing neck and neck both on the water and on corrected time in every race. The closest finish of the day was a dead heat for second place in race one between Peter Morton's Bullit and Sam Laidlaw's Aquila. Winner of races one and two was Ian Southworth sailing Whiskers. Sadly for Southy his luck didn't hold in the final race where he finished sixth putting him into second overall. After their dead heat for second in race one Aquila went on to take two more seconds giving them the overall lead with 6.5 points, a point and a half ahead of Whiskers. Peter Morton's wife Louise, sailing Espada, had an excellent day and tonight lies in fourth place just 3.5 points behind her husband who is in third having added a fifth and a third to his card.
The SB20 fleet may be last in our report, but they are by no means least with the largest entry of all the classes at sixteen boats. Race one went to Scott Graham's Chill Pill+ but they couldn't maintain their supremacy and it was the Llewellyn/Wakefield/Vigus partnership aboard Henri-Lloyd/Forelle Estates that charged through to win races two and three and take the overall lead by a single point from Chill Pill+. Craig Burlton's Gill Race Team put in a steady opening day and their 2, 3, 6 scoreline gives them eleven points and third overall, four behind Chill Pill+. The top five is completed by Tom Foskett's What Recession? on 13 points and Jerry Hill's Sportsboatworld.com on 14.
After racing competitors enjoyed the Musto Competitor's Drinks Reception where daily prizes were presented.
The regatta continues until Sunday with up to 12 races scheduled. Tomorrow the wind is forecast to go round into the west at around seven to ten knots with the first warning signals planned for 10.25.
Full results here