last day’s thriller

August 10, 2008

On the last last day of the Skandia Cowes Week, Saturday, SALVO had a lead of 3,5 points on WINSOME. Considering that every boat would get at least another point we needed to win this day but moreover SALVO had not to get a 2nd or a 3rd place. The wind was as we had prayed for i.e. about 18-20 knots at the start, with expectations of increasing in the afternoon.

So it all started as per our dreams on Friday night. Big winds. Though we had a relatively good start both SALVO and XCITABLE were in front us when we passed Lepe Spit buoy, but under Genoa II our tacking was much and much better compared to the other boats than under Genoa I. We stayed along the coast of the mainly land and we gradually gained on both mentioned boats. At the next buoy Skandia we were already quite close to both of them and after two shorts runs of each 0,8 Nm under spinaker II we came even closer so more excitement on board. We could only go for the 1st place ourselves and hope that both XCITABLE and VANILLA would end up in the ranking between us and SALVO.

XCITABLE was doing very well in front us but VANILLA was not even to be seen. On one of the longer runs downwind we lost control over our boat but Andy managed not to gybe. Though it was some chaos on board, we managed to take spinaker II down without first setting Genoa II, being too risky with people on the foredeck which could generate a real broach. The last four minutes to the mark we sailed without putting up a spinaker.  Tacking back to Salt Mead buoy we did a better job than SALVO -tactically- and we could see their heads turning around to us all the time. By that time XCITABLE had made a Chinese gybe and apparently left the race, not good for us at all.

On the last run back to the finish, via East Bramble buoy and Prince Consort buoy, we kept the spinaker down until we observed JOS OF HAMBLE taking the risk doing so and we hoisted spinaker III, our bullet-proof one [David May]. We stayed well within reach of SALVO and we managed to finish within 2 minutes from her whereas she had needed to stay at least 4 minutes ahead of us. So we won this race, as well as the race on Friday, but we did not manage to win the week. After the race we learned that SALVO’s spinakerpool-rail was ripped from her mast but they managed stick the boom to the lower part of the rail which was left and finished the race with a limping boat.

We have congratuled SALVO for her excellent competition and for her winning our class. You will find here some photo’s of the present we handed SALVO.Four victories were not enough to win the race so we must conclude that our mistakes earlier in the week have cost us the overall victory. We believe that this was one of our most exciting and pleasant Cowes Weeks ever. Look at some of Otto’s photographs at the right side.

Our score 4-1-7-1-6-2,5-1-1 so after discarting the two worst races 4-1-1-2,5-1-1

It was probably our 10th Cowes Week. Harry

Post by Harry Heijst | August 10, 2008 |