50th Cowes-Deauville Race - Largest fleet ever sets off

RARE, a Class 3 Figaro II, skippered by Ian Hoddle at the start of the 50th Cowes-Deauville Race in Cowes
©Michael Austen Photography
The 50th Cowes-Deauville Race has gotten off to a colourful start in Cowes. Following a spectacular evening spent by the competitors at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, representatives of the organising Clubs oversaw the start of the biggest fleet ever, at 107 yachts, to contest the event.

Starting procedures were co-ordinated by representatives of the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), whose fleet had swelled the numbers this year and were racing for the Cervantes Trophy, one of RORC’s most famous offshore racing trophies.

A true team effort by all the clubs involved, the Royal Southern Yacht Club, the Royal London Yacht Club, the Junior Offshore Group (JOG), RORC, Deauville Yacht Club and Yacht Club de France, launched the anniversary start in spectacular style, enjoyed by the Mayor of Cowes, David Walters, and the Mayor of Deauville, M. Philippe Augiér, who fired the cannons from the Royal Yacht Squadron Platform for IRC Divisions 2, 3, 4 and 5.

The first start line at 1430 was clear from Divisions 4 and 5 with a French entry, Adrenaline, leading the way.

The second start at 1440 for Divisions 2 and 3 was initially led on the water by Pace, a TP52 driven by Johnny Vincent, closely followed by Tonnere de Breskens 3 and Royal Southern member Philip Farrands driving Old Mother Gun in third.

The fleet headed eastwards towards Gilkicker Point, where they easily overhauled the White Sail fleet, led by Royal Southern member, Bill Blain in Batfish V, which started its race at mid-day. Spinnakers were the order of the day for the IRC classes creating a spectacular sight on the mainland shore as the boats headed on a straight course to Deauville which should see the majority of competitors arriving there from lunchtime on Saturday. The fleet is starting to spread out in light winds in the Solent but it is hoped that they will increase through the night with some forecasts showing 15-16 knots from the east.

Royal Southern website