Cowes Etchells Fleet race for the Royal Thames Saida Cup


Thunderstorms and rain were forecast for the Saturdays Racing, luckily they were all over by 9 AM , so the 12 crews and race officials enjoyed 2 days of Solent in the Sunshine.

To get to the start of Hill Head the SW breeze gave the boats a great Spinnaker run across the Solent for the 11.00 start, only to die away at 10.45 before blowing a 12kt Easterly, but Jamie Clark the RTYC PRO wasn’t fooled, waiting till the wind switched back to a 10Kt SW after 30 minutes or so in order to race the fleet in the tidal shelter of the Knoll plateau.

Race 1 saw Peter Rogers Highlife GBR 1331 lead a densely packed fleet to the first mark and hold his lead on the 2 lap course as the first 6 boats all finished in less than 50 seconds behind him, while “first race” boat handling errors and mark rounding incidents stretched the other 6 boats a little further behind.

Race 2 saw Rob Goddard’s Stampede starting at the pin and was the last to tack onto port enabling Stampede to take advantage of the gently increasing breeze to lift away from the fleet to lead at the first mark, a lead that was never threatened throughout the race.

Race 3 the wind started oscillating gently by about 7 deg, and after 2 quick shifts Stampede starting mid line was in the lead and having an upwind high gear again managed to lift away from the fleet and lead for all 4 legs to win the race.

Race 4, with a cross tide pushing boats along the line towards the pin a 3 boat malaise opened up a slot for Stampede to win the pin and head hard left while Richard Burrows’ Matatu Dubh IRL 1015 went right , both sailed to their respective lay lines, but while Burrows got it right Stampede coming in from the left over stood, and while for the next 3 legs the two boats sailed as fast as they could away from the chasing pack, they needed to slug it out on the upwind final leg to decide the winner, and tack after tack Stampede got closer to Matatu Dubh, until Stampede appeared ahead in the now softening breeze, but Matatu Dubh had a fast forward mode for these conditions which they used to their advantage, tacking 3 boat lengths below Stampede they drew out from underneath, pushing faster and lower until able to re-cross Stampede before the finish line to take the gun, while Shaun Frohlich’s Exabyte GBR 1352 almost took Stampede on the finish line coming just one second behind.

On both days the wind moved, and the RTYC race team and mark layers worked hard all weekend keeping the Course as true as possible, never afraid or slow to move the windward or gate marks plus the committee boat and line, they ensured that in the prevailing conditions the best possible racing was achieved.

Sunday, first race, race 5 of the series, after a short delay while the wind settled to the SW in a 6 kt occasionally 9 kt breeze that at times swung 15 deg, but generally to quick tack on, and with a marginally favoured pin a few boats arrived early giving Stampede a clear exit at that mark and after 2 tacks had a lead that they held throughout the race.

Race 6 Stampede went right 1/3 of the way up the first beat and sailed to take advantage of the last of the ebb tide coming from Southampton Water while the fleet battled for the lead, but the lack of tacks and their private tidal boost gave Stampede the lead at the top mark from Robert Elliott’s Time and Tide GBR 1416, and  the two boats traded gybes on the downwind leg but Stampede just managed to hold the lead to the bottom gate and exiting the favoured gate extended their lead back to the top mark, after which downwind Time and Tides earlier gybe drew them back to within 3 boat lengths of Stampede, but with the confidence that 3 previous race wins bring, Rob Goddard’s Stampede, with crew of Nigel Wakefield and Sam Leonard held their nerve to win the race and the regatta.

Race 7 was a real snakes and ladders race as the wind started to fade and swing more, Thomas Brennan, plus co-owners sailing Ray of Light GBR 1181 had shown pace and determination throughout the regatta headed right and lead the constantly place changing pack around the course to take their first race win since recently joining the fleet only a month ago.

This regatta was the first Dual Scored for the Cowes Fleet and the overall results are:

Sail Number Boat Name Helm Race
Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race
Race 7 Discard Total Points Position
Stempede Rob Goddard 10 1 1 2 1 1 9 -10 15 1
Time and Tide Robert Elliott 5 9 4 4 2 2 3 -9 20 2
Highlife Peter Rogers 1 4 9 9 4 3 4 -9 25 3
Exabyte V Shaun Frohilch 4 3 6 3 9 7 2 -9 25 4
Ray of Light Thomas Brennan 9 10 2 6 7 6 1 -10 31 5
Matatu Dubh Richard Burrows 3 8 5 1 6 9 8 -9 31 6
Ice Andrew Cooper 2 6 7 11 3 8 5 -11 31 7
Esprit Andrew Baker 6 2 3 7 8 DSQ (13) 9 -13 35 8
Elvis David Franks 7 5 10 8 5 5 7 -10 37 9
Sumo Tom Harrison 8 7 8 5 10 4 6 -10 38 10
China White Nick Stagg 12 11 12 10 11 10 11 -12 65 11
Wake Wilfried Wagner 11 12 11 12 DNC DNC DNC -13 72 12

Cat 1 results are: 1st, Rob Goddard, Stampede GBR1329, 2nd Andrew Baker, Esprit GBR1036, 3rd Andrew Cooper, Ice GBR1407

Many of the Solent boats now head to Newport RI for the 2014 Etchells Worlds where 95 Etchells will be taking part, the next Cowes based championship event is on the 5th 6th of July.