Puma Logic take return race

Upwind conditions work against frontunners in the RORC's Madeira to Cowes Race

Friday September 12th 2008, Author: Louay Habib, Location: United Kingdom
The second half of the Madeira to Cowes Race was supposed to provide an exhilarating downwind blast home, however with a choice of starting days, the weather verses the need to get back to work was going to play a crucial part in the result.

The 1480 mile course took the boats around the following marks: Ponta de Sâo Lourenço (P), Chaussee de Sein (S), Island of Ushant (S), Alderney, Burhou and the Casquets (S), West Princessa (P), Bembridge Ledge (P), Horse Sand Fort (S).

British Soldier was first to start on Thursday 21 August and was blighted by a head wind for all but the final five hours of the race - the final 120 miles taking the Archambault 40 nearly 36 hours to complete.

Jamaica Clipper was the next to start on Friday 22 August and was to follow British Soldier into fickle headwinds, eventually the pressure to get back home to the grind forced her into retirement and a long motor/sail home.

The remaining competitors, Pen Azen, Puma Logic and Change of Course started together on 25 August, this was to pan out to be the best of the days chosen to start. The trio headed north in fairly gentle head winds but an Atlantic low pressure was to bring strengthening southwest and westerly winds throughout the later stages of the race.

British Soldier arrived in Cowes at 14:35:40 on the 31 August after over 10 days racing. Despite setting off four days later Pen Azen and Puma Logic were blasting along in the much faster conditions in the entrance to the English Channel and were to comfortably beat her in Class 1.

Philippe Falle reported in the Sailing Logic Blog: “Sailing back into the Solent with the support RIBs to greet us was a very special moment. At that stage we knew we had won the race and we had time to take it in and savour the moment. I cannot really recall my thoughts except the ones of relief at finishing the toughest yacht race I have competed in and the euphoria of winning it. I will never forget the moment we berthed in Cowes under sail power only. It was a sensational moment and the smiles, tears, laughter and hugs said it all. This concluded the best month of my life with a fairy tale ending…..beating the best yacht in the RORC championships in the toughest race. What more could anyone have asked for?”

Change of Course was also enjoying the more favourable wind direction and surfing up the channel to also beat British Soldier on corrected time.

The prizes were presented by Tom Hayhoe at the Clubhouse, St James on 9 September.

Cowes to Madeira Race:
Norddeutsche Vermoegen Hamburg won the Adrian Mencarelli Memorial Trophy for the 1st boat to Madeira and the Holman Cup for winning Class Zero.

Madeira to Cowes:
Puma Logic won the Founders Cup for first overall and the Ortac Cup for winning Class 1

Change of Course won the RORC Trophy for winning Class 2

Congratulations to Pen Azen who unfortunately were unable to collect their trophies, the Lekeito Cup for first overall and the Heneage Ogilvie Trophy for winning Class 1 in the Cowes to Madeira Race.

Philippe Falle and the crew of Puma Logic were jubilant about their first RORC race win, but congratulations must go to all skippers and crew who took part in the Cowes to Madeira Race and the return race to Cowes. The weather and sea conditions had proved every bit as challenging as anyone could have imagined.

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