CHAMPAGNE conditions on The Solent provided plenty of excitement, thrills, spills and adrenaline for competitors across all fleets after two days of Cowes Week.

Long downwind legs for many classes ensured competitors came ashore very pleased.

Sunday was also Family Day at the regatta, which celebrated the many family teams that sail together — or against each other — during the event.


These extend right across the sport, from small dayboats, in which members of the same family race against each other, to the very largest state-of-the-art race boats, where family members sail together.

In IRC Class Zero, Emmy Walker sailed on board the GP42 Dark n Stormy, with her father Ian, who is the team's tactician.

Similarly, Huw Neville is sailing with his dad James on the HH42 Ino XXX, while Jacintha Hamilton raced with dad Christian on his GP42 Khumbu.

These big boats had a gruelling 25-mile race, with around 80 tacks along the mainland shore, according to Ian Walker, as well as high-speed downwind blasts at boat speeds that topped 24 knots.

Yet the first three boats crossed the finish line just 25 seconds apart.

Christian Zugel's Fast 40 Tschuss took victory on corrected time, ten seconds ahead of Dark n Stormy, with Khumbu third.

Isle of Wight County Press:

At the other end of the spectrum, the 20ft long Uffa Fox designed Flying 15 was born in Cowes 75 years ago.

Yet it's still one of the fastest small keelboats at Cowes Week, where competitors are honing their skills ahead of the European Championships, to be hosted by Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club later this month.

Yesterday (Sunday), several teams recorded boat speeds in the 14-15 knot range.

"It was an exhilarating day — especially our first reach, which was a super-quick blast," said Rupert Mander of Men Behaving Badly, who won the opening race and who has raced at Cowes Week with his father John for decades.

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A strong flood tide across the race course forced classes that started early from the Royal Yacht Squadron line to short tack close inshore to gain relief from the adverse stream.

They also had to conquer a very gusty and unstable breeze, which peaked close to midday, before moderating in the early afternoon.

In the first race for the SB20 class, Lizzie Farrington's Boomerang started prematurely and had to return, while John Pollard's Xcellent was the most inshore boat.

Nevertheless Boomerang recovered to take second place behind Xcellent, ahead of third placed Matt and Chris Williams' Carnage.

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Xcellent won the next two races, while Phil Tilley's Tan Gwyllt took second place in the next two, ahead of Carnage and Paddy Whelan's Amica.

Half-way through the class' 12-race short series, Xcellent leads the fleet with an unbroken run of victories.

The dayboats that were early starters on the Royal Yacht Squadron line had their first mark on the Island shore.

The Cruiser classes at Cowes Week are continuing to grow and comprise four classes this year, across performance cruiser and club cruiser divisions. 

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Performance Cruiser B this year includes 20 boats from 25-45ft that represent more than 50 years of yacht design.

Neil Miller's Dufour 40 Elidie went on to take line honours, 15 minutes ahead of Simon and Julia Bowes' Dehler 42 Seasalt, to win on corrected time by an impressive margin. 

Racing for many classes continues today (Monday), when the winds thi morning are forecast to be a lot lighter, before settling into a west-southwesterly of 14-18 knots during the afternoon.