The Westward Cup 2012 reached an early conclusion on Friday, 15 June, having faced four days of the best and worst that the British weather could throw at them.
Eleonora, Mariette and Mariquita were the three Big Class yachts that took part in the second running of the Westward Cup in Cowes from 11-16 June. The owners and their guests enjoyed a prestigious and unique invitational yachting event run by the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club and the Yacht Club de Monaco.
A number of difficult weather-related decisions had to be taken by the PRO, David Aisher, who stressed that all decisions relating to course-setting were taken in close collaboration with the owners and their captains on a daily or twice daily basis. “This has been an inclusive event,” commented Mr Aisher, “with the owners enjoying a wonderful week of good racing and great social events. Everyone has been supportive of the race management this week, despite the difficulties we have been facing with the weather.”
The opening day of racing on Tuesday was challenging enough, with wind speeds ranging from 15-18 knots lowering to 5 knots along parts of the course by the afternoon. That distinct lack of wind at the beginning of the week ended up forcing a decision to cancel racing altogether on Wednesday. Thursday morning’s racing was superb for all three yachts but by the afternoon the winds had increased from the southeast, strengthening to 20-25 knots and Mariquita’s Captain, Jim Thom, took the decision not to race in the afternoon. The remaining competitors raced in the eastern Solent achieving some excellent speeds but the sea state was very lumpy by the time they had completed Race 3 in the overall series.
By Friday morning, the forecast was looking to wreak havoc with the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Race Officers’ course plans, as 40+ knots were being reported in Hurst Narrows! Two yachts managed to get in a short race in the morning with Eleonora taking line honours ahead of Mariette. Mariquita’s team took the decision early on not to go racing in potentially damaging winds.
With the Solent forecast for Saturday showing predicted gale force winds gusting to 50 knots, it was agreed to abandon all further racing in the Westward Cup 2012 so there was no racing on the final day, Saturday, 16 June.
Full results for the Westward Cup 2012 can be seen at www.rys.org.uk.
See the Cowes.co.uk video of Eleonora and Mariette racing on Friday.
Top image: Eleonora in all her racing glory at the Westward Cup 2012. Photo: Chris Boynton
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