To the wire at the Vice Admirals’ Cup
The Vice Admiral’s Cup concluded today on the central Solent in lighter 10-13 knot winds, this time blowing from the east. The leaderboard was so tight across the seven classes of one designs and level rating boats, that in many discards decided their outcome.
In the J/109s, the final day brought about a change of leader with Robert Stiles on Diamond Jem edging out David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish by a point, in turn finishing one point ahead of Simon Perry’s Jiraffe. "It has been very, very close racing," admitted Stiles. "We won it on the last tack going into the windward mark. It has been a real ding-dong all through the event. We are delighted to have won it two years in succession."
Jumping Jellyfish had managed to get the overlap on Diamond Jem at the final mark of the first race to finish ahead but in today’s second race Diamond Jem turned the tables. "It has been three days of great sailing," said Stiles. "It is a really nice regatta and there were some great courses."
The crew of McFly celebrate their class win - copyright Rick Tomlinson
Racing in the J/111 class also came down to the last race with Tony Mack’s McFly managing to beat Martin Dent’s World Champions on Jelvis by a mere point. "It has been a fantastic three days," said Dent. "It has been a fantastic variety of racing – we have had all conditions. The Vice Admiral’s Cup does proper justice to a one design fleet and it is credit to the race team in setting courses that are challenging, but fair."
Today Jelvis claimed the first race after winning the pin at the start. Prior to the start of the second race Jelvis and McFly were involved in a match racing style dial-up. Jelvis then sailed their opponent away from the start area but then at the gun they got held up by another boat that was OCS, enabling the wily Mack to get away. As a result McFly beat Jelvis to the overall win by just a point.
Aguila leads to claim the win in the Quarter Ton Fleet - copyright Rick Tomlinson
In the Quarter Tonners, Sam Laidlaw and his crew on Aguila hung on to claim the win, adding the Vice Admiral’s Cup to what has so far been an unbeaten run this season. However this was despite the best endeavours of Louise Morton’s all-female team on Bullit which lived up to their boat’s name winning both of today’s races, leaving them second but only by a point.
"We went out to defend our second place," explained Morton. "Today our hoists and drops went well and we won the committee boat at both starts. We beat Aguila in both races but there weren’t enough boats in between us. We had a very strong crew. We have had Helena [Lucas – Paralympic 2.4mR gold medallist] on board for the last two days – she was amazing on tactics."
Bullit came out ahead on the second beat in today’s first race but led at the first weather mark rounding in the second. "It was a very good event," concluded Morton. "We had eight very short sharp windward-leeward races with minimal hanging around. The race management was very good."
Riccardo Pavoncelli: victorious Vice Admiral's Cup winner with Gaetana 3 in the Diam24od class - copyright Rick Tomlinson
In the Diam 24od trimaran class there was an unexpected winner in Italian Riccardo Pavoncelli’s Gaetana 3 after being awarded redress for a collision in Friday’s first race. They won today’s first race and the Vice Admiral’s Cup overall by 1.5 points from Diam importer Paul Wakelin’s Fluid Boat Services, Buzz. Gaetana 3 crewman Andy Greenwood said: "Today was perfect - there was less breeze than the first two days and the racing was closer because of that. And as it was day three, people were a bit more confident and there were more lead changes." This was the Gaetana team’s first event in the Diam24 having only acquired their boat in March.
Alex Mills and crew of the invincible Invictus - copyright Rick Tomlinson
After scoring bullets in both yesterday’s long round the cans races, Invictus, with Sir Keith Mills’ son Alex helming, won the last of today’s three races to claim first place overall in the FAST 40+ class by eight points from New Zealander Mark Rijkse’s 42° South. Rijkse won today’s first race but, along with Johnny Vincent’s Pace, was OCS in race two.
"I am chuffed to have put in a good result in early doors," said Mills, who’s family was out watching the racing today. "Last year we started badly and we were always trying to catch up, so to have won first up is fantastic and to do it in such as tight fleet as well. Right down to the last race it was neck and neck at the top and there doesn’t seem to be any team much faster than the rest. It will be a super close year."
Despite the tide being on neaps, the left, mainland side of the race course paid today and according to Invictus’ tactician Robert Greenhalgh this made the starts difficult with everyone fighting for the left. "Then you had to sail in high modes upwind to try and peel off guys to windward of you, hopefully before you got to layline."
Otherwise of the Vice Admiral’s Cup, Greenhalgh commented: "It has been fantastic – exactly what everyone hoped for. It was good racing, good race management."
Richard Powell's Marvel: top scoring SB20 - copyright Rick Tomlinson
Richard Powell’s Marvel scored her fifth consecutive bullet strengthing her position in the SB20 class to win with an eight point margin over former World Champion Jerry Hill on Sportsboatworld.com. However Hill fought back to claim today’s final race. "It was not quite enough - it was always going to be hard after Marvel’s day yesterday," he said. "Today it was quite nip and tuck in the first race, but they got ahead and tacked on us on the first beat which meant we had to clear our air and overstood. In the second race they got nabbed on the start line by David Chapman and had to go the wrong way up to clear. We were just ahead of Chapman at the first mark and we then managed to extend. It’s been a really nice few days – good breeze, a good variety of courses."
Ben Meakins' Polly: champions of the Impala 28s - copyright Rick Tomlinson
Apart from Marvel, another boat to score nothing but 2s and 1s at the Vice Admiral’s Cup was Ben Meakins and the crew of Polly in the Impala 28 class.
"We’ve had a great time - a good range of conditions," said Meakins. "We got pushed quite hard by Two Frank yesterday. Today it was a nice wind direction and not too shifty and it was about getting your starts right. We’ll definitely come back next year if we’re invited. We’d hope to get double figures [entries] next year."
The Vice Admiral’s Cup concluded this afternoon with a prizegiving at the RORC Cowes clubhouse.