Panerai British Classic Regatta day 2 - Thrills and spills

Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge 2012 Class 4 Race start Photo: Panerai/ Guido Cantini / Sea&See
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2012 Panerai British Classic Regatta day 2 brought fast-paced action and more than a few thrills and spills. With up to 25 knots blowing from the west-south-west, everyone enjoyed a fantastic day’s racing.

Two races were completed on courses in the Western Solent, the first race of the day, race two in the series, was sponsored by Berthon and also included a special Ladies Race prize for all boats with a lady helm.

For the second year running Mrs Angela Matheson claimed the Ladies Race Trophy aboard Opposition, the former Morning Cloud, which she races with husband Jamie. It’s clear that Angela is equally at home on the helm as her husband and she revelled in this morning’s often challenging conditions. The Ladies Race prize is no token gesture.

Each boat elects whether to race with their regular helm or an alternate lady and no special allowances are made for the ladies who give as good as they get on the course with their result counting in the normal way for the series. Asked for the secret of her success after racing Angela joked that it was 'Stamina'. Going on to explain that the day was, 'Very challenging, great fun and testing but I really enjoyed it. We’ve got great crew who are a wonderfully supportive and we all help each other.' As well as being the fastest lady overall Angela also finished the race second on corrected time in Class 2 behind David Murrin’s 1957 Laurent Giles designed Cetewayo.

This afternoon Jamie helmed Opposition to fourth place, which means that they now sit second in fleet in Class 2. Leading Class 2, despite their fair share of drama, is Cetewayo who won race two and finished second in race three.

Panerai British Classic Week 2012 Cetewayo Photo: Panerai/ Guido Cantini / Sea&See
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After racing David Murrin explained that the Cetewayo team have developed a new piece of sailing kit entitled the 'self dropping spinnaker' which is closely coupled to the 'self replicating spinnaker', after they blew out a spinnaker in race three and ended up retrieving it in three smaller spinnaker shaped pieces. Thanks to a win in race three and a fifth in race two Brian Smullen’s 1969 Cuiliaun, designed and built by McGruer, now lies third.

In the 8 Metre Class Richard Self and Mark De Celles’ 1937 Milne designed Raven leads the fleet despite not taking part in race three. With a pair of wins under her belt they elected not to start race three as the wind conditions were heading toward the limit for safe sailing in the 8s and, following a minor gear failure, they were keen to get ashore to purchase some essential spares before the supplier’s closed. Hanns-Georg Klein’s Anne Sophie, designed by Bjarne Aas and launched in 1937, was one of five 8s that did start race three, but with the wind regularly gusting to 25 knots Erica, If, Luna and Falcon all gradually dropped out and Anne Sophie was the only boat to finish putting her into second in Class, seven points behind Raven. Peter Wilson’s If, another Bjarne Aas design, this time from 1930, is lying third in fleet, one point behind Anne Sophie.

The match racing in the 6 Metres was as fierce as ever as the moderns St Kitts and Georgia and the classics Erica and Sioma went head-to-head in every race. These hugely technical boats are equally at home in both fleet or match racing and whilst the speed difference between the classics and the moderns can be significant on windy days like today, in lighter airs the classics can give the new boats a run for their money. Today St Kitts beat Georgia in both races to take the fleet lead by a single point from Georgia. In the classics Peter Andreae’s Erica beat Sioma in both races giving them third place in class.

It was all the twos for Jonathan & Scilla Dyke’s Cereste, an elegant 1938 Robert Clark design, in Class 3 which they now lead by one point from Andrew King’s 30 Square Metre Gluckauf, winner of race three who was placed third in race two. Race two was won by Vincent De Vrie’s L’Esprit du Morbihan, built in France in 1969 to a Dick Carter Design, who also finished third in race three and now lies third in class, three points behind Gluckauf.

Class 4 is being dominated by David Sheriff’s 1897 Cork Harbour One Design Jap who won both races, one by an impressive lead of almost ten minutes on corrected time! Behind Jap Roddy Steel and Eric Newman aboard double ender Stren, a Spidsgatter 19.5sqm, hold second place by six points from Brian Haugh’s 1958 Alan Buchanan designed Cherete

In the Modern Classics Stephen Jones’ Meteor finished second in race two and won race three to take a four-point lead over nearest competitor Savannah owned by Hugh Morrison who added a first and fifth to their card. Stephen designed Meteor himself and is clearly delighted by her performance this week. Sean McMillan’s lucky number must be three as his Spirit 52 Flight of Ufford finished third in every race and lie third in class, a point behind Savannah.

In the Overall Event Ranking, for which the modern classics are not eligible, David Sheriff’s Jap has a 6.88 point lead over David Murrin’s Cetewayo with Jonathan and Scilla Dyke’s Cereste third, Andrew King’s Gluckauf fourth, Jamie Mattheson’s Opposition fifth and the delightful little Stren of Roddy Steel and Eric Newman sixth.

Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge 2012. Cereste broaching. Photo: Panerai/ Guido Cantini / Sea&See
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Tomorrow is Panerai British Classic Week Challenge Day when individual yachts have the right to challenge a larger yacht to a duel. So far ten challenges have been lodged so we look forward to some interesting match race action.

Racing continues until Friday 13th of July and the regatta concludes with a Parade of Sail on Saturday 14 July.

Panerai British Classic Week 2012 Danegeld, Jap and vagabundo II Photo: Panerai/ Guido Cantini / Sea&See
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Panerai British Classic Week 2012 website