Irish boats frustrated as racing abandoned

No races were completed despite nine hours at sea in the Brewin Dolphin Commodores’ Cup at Cowes yesterday due to light and unsettled breezes.

Although temperatures reached almost 30 degrees during the day, the famed Solent sea breeze failed to develop leaving the 27-strong fleet relying on light winds that died and shifted direction several times.

Ireland still leads the event after three races, including the high-scoring offshore race from Tuesday, but four races in total are needed to constitute a series.

Yesterday’s programme was brought forward one hour in the hope of sending the fleet out of The Solent before the wind died as expected.

The race started on time and the bigger boats, including all three Irish entries, formed a small group that managed to escape the failing breeze and building ebb tide.

However, the remainder of the fleet ‘parked up’ close to Portsmouth while the leaders sailed in fresh breeze to the east.

Ireland’s Catapult, owned by American Marc Glimcher, was in second place on the water while Anthony O’Leary’s Antix was in fifth place with Michael Boyd and Niall Dowlings’ Quokka 8 in seventh.

The trio were in line to deliver three top-five results for the day on likely handicap-corrected times.

However, such was their lead on the water, the front-runners had started the final stages of the race when the main fleet has barely begun and would most probably have missed the time limit.

The race committee decided to abandon the race on grounds of fairness and set a shorter ‘windward-leeward’ style course off Hayling Island.

However, the wind again played games and after one lap in very light airs, the wind direction shifted 100 degrees and died to calm resulting in another abandonment.

After the conditions failed to improve, the fleet motored home to Cowes.

The race committee has announced that three races will be attempted today but with a forecast for even less wind than yesterday, doubts remain that any will be completed.


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