She may have only come out of David Heritage’s refit shed last week, but Clarionet and her crew are in perfect harmony at Panerai British Classic Week where day four saw them claim their fourth race victory of the week. Cowes continued to deliver outstanding sailing conditions for the fourth day of the regatta with glorious sunshine, azure waters and a northeasterly breeze of 10-18 knots, which pushed the yachts around the Central Solent course in true style for race four of the series.
Clarionet has dominated Class Three throughout the regatta and now enjoys a perfect score line of four first places. Owners Sam Laidlaw and Rob Gray are typically modest about their success giving all the credit to the boat and their crew of old friends. Andy King’s Gluckauf remains their nearest rival and they claimed their fourth third place of the series putting them on eight points, four behind Clarionet. Martin Thomas and his crew aboard Charm of Rhu took third place in today’s race and retain third overall, but the battle for fourth place in class is a hot one. David Orton’s St David’s Light, racing without her owner aboard today, and Swanilda, owned by Simon Field, both count 22.5 points this evening with St David’s Light claiming fourth place on count back.
In Class Four today’s race winner was Beeleigh, Richard Wallrock’s 46’ Fred Sheppard auxiliary cutter built by Stone’s of Brightlingsea in 1913. She beat Robert Veale’s Danegeld with Robin Whaite’s Mary Lunn, an Uffa Fox yawl built in Bombay by the Mazagon Dock Co in 1940, in third. Overall Class Four leader Cereste, owned by Jonathan and Scilla Dyke, had a disappointing end to what had been a lovely race. The final approach to the finish off Cowes was a down tide run and Cereste was staying to the right of the direct line in order to gain tidal advantage and extend her already comfortable lead. She was just making her final gybe into the line when the wind, which can be extremely fickle in the entrance to Cowes, suddenly disappeared almost completely. Cereste found herself drifting rapidly past the outer end of finish line with no hope of clawing her way back up tide to cross correctly. Their philosophical navigator radioed the Race Committee to thank them for a fabulous race, but said they were admitting defeat and heading home. Despite this DNF Cereste continues to lead Class Four but is now on equal points with Beeleigh who takes second place on count back, with Danegeld in third and Mary Lunn fourth.
In Class One the modern classics were led around the course by Sean McMillan’s Flight of Ufford, with Michael Hough’s Chloë second and Stephen Jones’ Meteor third. In the overall standings Meteor continues to lead the fleet with Flight of Ufford second and Chloë third.
Class Two is the numerically largest class at the regatta and is also currently the most closely fought with the top four boats within two points after four races. Victory in today’s race went to David Murrin’s Cetewayo whose slick crew work is a joy to watch. Gildas Rostain’s Stiren was second and Lord Cork and David Glasgow’s Athena third. In the overall standings Murcoch McKillop’s Saskia, who finished fourth in today’s race, leads on nine points, Athena and Stiren both count ten points with Athena currently second and Stiren third, and Cetewayo is in fourth with eleven points.
One crew that may never hit the front of the fleet, but nonetheless feels like a winner every day they complete the course is Bojar, Andrew Pearson’s 1937 Jonas Anker designed and built 10 Metre. Andrew is sailing with a crew of family and friends including his teenage children Olivia and Alexander. The only boat racing without a spinnaker they are happy to acknowledge they are here for the fun rather than the victor’s laurels. Just getting round the course safely can be a challenge as Andrew laughingly explains, “We have a varnished pine deck which can be like a skating rink when wet so just staying aboard is hard work!” Young Olivia and Alexander are no mere passengers with Olivia taking her turn at helming, trimming and keeping everything shipshape in the cockpit, and Alexander navigating. This is their first Panerai British Classic Week and they hope it will be the first of many.
This evening the teams will enjoy a Pirates of Penzance themed crew party at the Haven Events Centre. With a front due to go through at some point in the next 12 hours tomorrow’s forecast is a little uncertain. A long inshore race of just under 30 miles is planned with a start at 09.00. Racing continues until Friday with a total of six races scheduled and the event concludes on Saturday with a Parade of Sail past the Royal Yacht Squadron at 11.00.