Monthly Archives: August 2014

Cowes Week 2014 – Day 8 – Saturday August 9th

After 2 idle days we were back in action with a fresh SouWesterly that was gusting up to 25 knots.  The XOD class were the only White Group class on the Royal Yacht Squadron line.  So no waiting around while other classes sorted themselves out.  With a strong ebb tide pushing the fleet over the line all skippers were suitably cautious and hung back.  The fleet go away first time on a two mile beat beyond Gurnard Ledge with the tide under them and into a very choppy sea.  The turn ’round the windward mark saw the XODs hug the shore to avoid the tide.   The fleet bunched and the skills of the helms were tested to the maximum to avoid collisions.  Great spectator sport for those hanging over the sea wall.


Lass rounds SunSail ahead of Catherine.

A final dive out to Prince Consort buoy off Cowes and the fleet headed to the Ryde Middle Bank and a turn at SunSail.  Another beat in somewhat flatter seas to a windward mark near the finish boat.  A short run to West Ryde Middle was followed by a final short beat down tide to the finish.

The early leader in the race was Lass already certain of the Captain’s Cup but on the run to SunSail as the leaders covered each other’s wind it was Michael Martell’s Astralita that emerged with a healthy lead of some 10 boat lengths.  Astralita finished almost two minutes ahead of the next competitor, Itchenor’s own Alastair Ashford revelling in the conditions in Foxglove.  John Tremlett sailing on autopilot after a night celebrating was 4th.

Foxglove’s excellent second served to promote her to 2nd place overall, Phoenix (Andy Shaw) retained their overnight 3rd place with Princess Jalina completing an Itchenor 1,2,3,4.  A unique performance by a single division – at least this century.

In the team competition the Phillipson Shield was retained by Itchenor – four years in a row.  Itchenor 82, Lymington 194, Yarmouth 252, Cowes 376, Hamble 380 and Parkstone 401.

Other wins of note were Lass’s domination of the Westmacott Trophy, Colin McKinnon’s capture of the Captain’s Crystal for the best performance by an XOD Class Captain past or present.  Also, I am sure he will forgive me if I mention that David Palmer won the Old Masters Trophy for helms over 65.  At the other end of the scale Andy Shaw won the Under 25 Trophy.

Full results on XODCA web site – Click

So as I sign off I would like say that it is a privilege to have been involved in such a successful Cowes Week with a bunch of sailors from Itchenor who have displayed, across the fleet – top to bottom – such high level of skill, tenacity and sportsmanship (and humour!).


Celebrations for 1st and 2nd. Millie, Bully and John with Al.


Cowes Week 2014 – Day 6 – Thursday August 7th

N over A.  No racing today.

Despite the promise of a sea breeze when it did come it was too little too late.  Racing was abandoned at about 1400 because there was only about 5 knots and little prospect of more.  The start sequence even when reduced to 5 minutes between starts takes some hour and twenty minutes.  So really insufficient time for us to complete a race before those on the platform had to dress for dinner.

We are envious of the wonderful sea breeze that the sailors in Chichester Harbour enjoyed from 110 onwards.

Cowes Week 2014 – Day 5 – Wednesday August 6th

Today was a classic Cowes Week day.  A start off the Squadron on a special extended and canted line.  The fleet got away with only a short delay to change the direction of the start to the West.  No postponements, no general recalls.  We had a long beat to Gurnard Ledge with most of the fleet electing for short tacking close to the shore and others staying out with less tide.  Then most of the fleet tucked into Gurnard Bay before a turn around the Ledge.  Lass was first around on the long run to North Ryde Middle via South Brambles.  The next leg was a beat to Royal London via the dreaded Norris naggers.  This is when the positions were turned inside out.  The top ten pack was shuffled.  Phoenix turned in the lead and Lass had slipped to 10th place.  This was as a result of a shift that benefited those on the Southern side of the track.  Those of us on the North side lost out having initially looked good.  Another run to a mark near to North Rye Middle saw us back on a long beat to the finish against a building flood tide through the “naggers”.  Many places were gained and lost.

The results demonstrate that this has become a young person’s sport.  The winners on Venus are national champions in 29ers, Laser and 420 and are all under 21.  Second was our own Andy Shaw – still under 25 with his crew of a similar age.  Both these crews were recipients of class bursaries.  It should be noted that the combined ages of the winning boat are significantly less than age of the youngest crew member on Thora!

For the record in addition to Phoenix’s good result Foxglove and Lass were 3rd and 4th.  Catherine continued her consistency with a 10th place.  I should mention an excellent finish for Owaissa in 12th place with Ian and Daniel in their first Cowes Week in XODs.

All were on good form at the XOD party this evening which was graced with presence of Tom and Carole Tait who had arrived just in time to witness the start of our race.

On the previous days’ problems with starts and finishes in Cowes Week the MD of Cowes Week Limited confessed that they many satisfied customers but they had a bunch less so that were the billionaires of Class Zero and the sailors in the largest class – the XODs.

But to return to my opening point – today was the perfect Cowes Week day and, irrespective of result, all I met had a wonderful day on the water.

Overall :1st Lass, 2nd Princess Jalina, 3rd Phoenix, 5th Foxglove.

Phillipson Shield:  Itchenor 65, Lymington 144, Yarmouth 181, Parkstone 270, Cowes 281, Hamble 307.

Cowes Week 2014 – Day 4 – Tuesday August 5th

Today I will write before I have my first drink of the day.  Most of you will not notice the difference!

A day of Southerly breezes with some holes and variations in direction kept us on out toes.  After yesterdays shenanigans on the Squadron line we went back to the Committee Boat stationed off Hill Head.  After several postponements and the obligatory general recall we finally got away, almost an hour and a half late, on a long beat to the Southerly end of the Bramble Bank.  Lass again was the lead boat with a number of Itchenor boats rounding in good positions.  Then a run back to a buoy near to our start. Those boats that took a more Westerly track made progress.  A repeat of the first beat, then a fetch across the shipping channel to Quinnell buoy off Lepe Spit was followed by a tricky fetch across to Gurnard in a strong flood tide.  Some calculated their course better than others and places were lost and gained.

Lass by this point had a commanding lead and cruised to take the gun at the RYS line.  It was another good day for Itchenor teams with 6 in the top ten.  Princess Jalina pulled up from an average (for her) position to finish 4th. Catherine scored her best result of the week in 6th followed by Phoenix and Merlin in the next two positions.  Astralita currently is listed as 10th although she is the subject of a protest for an incident before the start.

The race managers again had their sticks out and a number of boats were scored OCS – fortunately none of the Itchenor.

An observation:  Most of the boats that have taken, as opposed to being given, a penalty this week are from Itchenor.  I not believe this is because we are naughty boys, rather that we are honest and good sportsmen.  I have witnessed incidents where penalties should have been taken by boats from other divisions but they were not.

Well done to the boys and girls from Itchenor who, whilst showing highly professional racing skills, also show how competitors in our sport should conduct themselves.

Shield score from Alan Perry : Itchenor 80, Lymington 172, Yarmouth 236, Cowes 277, Hamble 323 and Parkstone 352