By Colin McKinnon and Alan Perry
40 boats signed up for Cowes Week this year, with 11 boats from Itchenor. There were a wide range of sailing conditions but unfortunately two days of racing were abandoned due to very strong winds. Saturday saw the fleet in Osbourne bay sailing into force 5 to 6 from WSW and a west going tide. The course had a series of beats and runs from the island across the channel to the south of Ryde bank, followed by a beat to the finish. After one recall the fleet was off. Conditions were gusty, shifty, with a lumpy sea. The wind was bending rounding Osbourne house with those to the south in more of a south westerly and those to the north in more of a westerly. Those to the north seem to get the best of the shifts and bends. John in X91, Steve in X39 and Andy in X186 were in a tight battle at the front with David in X51, Penny in X58 and Roger in X50 all in close order. There was a premium on keeping the boats on their feet and avoiding the deadly slow nodding donkey motion as the XOD’s punched to windward. On Sunday all racing was abandoned which allowed the boats with damage to get themselves sorted out. Andy Shaw and Alan Roberts went wing sail surfing off east Cowes in force 6 to 7
Monday again saw the fleet in Osbourne bay sailing into force 5 to 6 from the west with a west going tide. After a series of beats and runs across the channel to the south of Ryde bank, the course setters sent us on a long run to East Bramble and classic beat back to the finish. After one recall the fleet was off. Conditions were gusty, shifty, and lumpy. The leaders to the north seemed to gain the advantage with more pressure from the right. John in X91 and Steve in X39 were in a tight battle at the front with Al in X174, Andy in X186 and Colin in X26 all in close order The beat to the finish saw lots of place changes and boats looking for the last of the ebb tide close to the finish line. Tuesday saw the fleet starting on the RYS line sailing a long run against a strong ebb tide down to a mark to the north of east bramble. The wind was 10 degrees south of west and blowing force 5 to 6 again leading to lots of 'rock and rolling'. The fleet split north and south seeking to cheat the tide with the northern pack of boats rounding comfortably ahead. Roger in X50, Steve in X39 and Penny in X58 called it right and went north. A cracking beat back with the tide to Williams Shipping to the west of the Brambles bank followed. Sadly the race team decided to finish the race early depriving the fleet of final beat back across the Brambles bank and a chance for the southern fleet to recover some places. One crew member fell overboard and was rescued by the RNLI, a crew member suffered a broken arm and a mast was lost. The helm of the boat with an MOB emphasised the importance of having a stirrup to get back in the boat and good communications with the rescue services. Wednesday all racing was abandoned. Thursday saw a change of conditions to a light and shifty force 3 from the NNW, and meant an early start to sail up into Southampton water off Hillhead. After a couple of recalls we got away on a beat up to Fumesy. Some of the fleet went inshore in search of more tide but the advantage seemed to be with boats playing the shifts up the middle in a band of stronger wind. Penny in X58 and John in X91 lead the fleet round Fumsey closely followed by the pack with Roger X50, Paddy X74 and Colin X26 all in the mix. The race unfolded over a series of tricky windward/leeward legs and finished at Hillhead to correctly avoid the lottery of a finish off Cowes in spring tides and very little winds.
Friday saw another early start to sail up into Southampton water in a light and shifty force 3 from the NW. After a single recall we got away on a beat up to Coronation. Some of the fleet went south looking for a lee bow off Calshot Spit whilst others played the shifts up the middle. The result was close with Penny in X58 leading John in X91 round Coronation closely followed by the pack with Al X174 and Colin X26 all in the mix. The race unfolded over a series of tricky windward/leeward legs and finished at John Fisher to allow the Itchenor boats to sail straight home. Itchenor had a great day with our boats getting 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 9th, with X58 winning from X91 and X174.
Overall a great week of sailing across a very wide range of sailing conditions resulted in a fine win for John, Tim and Fraser in X91, with Penny, Nigel and Jonathan in X58 second and Steve, Finbarr and Damien in X39 third. Roger, Mike and Jeremy in X50 came 5th, Andy, Rob and Alistair in X186 finished 9th, David, Renee, Fred & Charlie McGregor in X51 were 12th, Colin, Neil and Chris in X26 were 14th, Al, Mark and James in X174 were 15th , Roger Heath & Roger Ewart Smith in X189 were 22nd, Nick Andrews in X177 were 29th, and Chris Blevins in X152 were 33rd.
Great results from first timers X189 and X177 finishing 22nd and 29th.
Further good news on top of the individual results is that our Itchenor Division has regained the Phillipson Shield for the top XOD division, easily beating Lymington this year.
The results of the top four boats from each division count every day, and no less than EIGHT of our boats contributed to our team’s victory.
They were Astralita, Madeleine, Gone Away, Phoenix, Foxglove, Xcitation, Catherine and last but not least Zephyr.