The J/111 fleet enjoying glorious conditions at the RORC Vice Admiral's Cup on the second day of Solent racing © Paul Wyeth
Leaders assert dominance on Day 2 of RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup
Brilliant sun, big tides and light to moderate winds that built from 6-8 knots in the morning to 10-12 knots during the afternoon provided glorious conditions for the second day of the RORC Vice Admiral's Cup.
All six classes completed three hour-long races, with either two or three laps around the course. By the end of the afternoon the leaders in several classes had firmly asserted their dominance. Sam Laidlaw's BLT in the Quarter Ton class notched up a perfect scoreline of race wins. Nevertheless, he continued to be pushed hard by other boats in this very competitive fleet, especially in today's first race, when second placed Julian Metherell's Bullit was only eight seconds behind after IRC time correction. With only two races to go Laidlaw now looks almost invincible with a five point advantage over Metherell, while Louise Morton's Bullet is five points back in third overall.
At the opposite end of the size range, in the Grand Prix Zero class, Niklas Zennström's Carkeek 40 Ràn has also won every race so far, with only Harmen Jan de Graaf's GP42 Baraka Gp managing to finish within a minute of Ràn on IRC corrected time in any of today's races. However, the Swedish boat also showed that she too is capable of making mistakes, with a decidedly third-row start in race 5 of the series.
The rest of the fleet has been enjoying a series of tight battles and only one point currently separates Ian Atkins' Gp42 Dark N Stormy and RORC Commodore James Neville's more offshore oriented HH42 Ino XXX in the fight for second place overall. Today they were frequently neck and neck on the water, with Ino demonstrating very slick boat handling, yet Dark N Stormy still gaining the upper hand overall.
"It was a terrific day, with three very good races," says Neville. "We had a really tough first race when the wind was light, but got ourselves set up right for the next two and were really competitive. Both committee boats set great windward leeward courses, with plenty of shifts and interesting tides to give excellent competition."
Two race wins today in the HP30 class allowed Chris Townsend's Farr 280 Gweilo to nibble the overall lead of Jerry Hill and Richard Faulkner's Farr 280 Moral Compass down to only 1.5 points. Jamie Rankin's Farr 280 Pandemonium put in another consistent performance with two seconds and a third place. This class also produced some very close action among the Far East 28Rs in the fleet, including Andrew Peake's Resolute, which took second place after IRC time correction in race 6.
The impressive success of boats at the top of their class shouldn't be allowed to obscure the intense mid-fleet competition that raged throughout the day. This was particularly sharp in the Cape 31 fleet, where places shuffled on every mark rounding and on occasion half a dozen boats arrived at the leeward gate almost simultaneously. The final race remained super-close for mid-fleet boats right to the finish, when five of them crossed the line in a period of barely more than 20 seconds.
Today's notable performances in this fleet include Tony Dickins' Jubilee in the final race of the day, which he won by almost two minutes. However, his position slipped to third in the overall standings, thanks to Russell Peters' Squirt putting in a very consistent series of results, including a win in the second race. Michael Bartholomew's Tokoloshe 4 remains at the top of the leaderboard having been able to discard a disappointing 10th place in race 6.
"The wind was building all day and then steadied nicely," says Lance Adams, who won today's first race sailing Katabatic. "It's exhilarating and there's nobody racing in this fleet who hasn't got a big smile on their face."
Both the J/109 and J/111 fleets joined the action today. In the former, David Richards' Jumping Jellyfish won every race, with Mike Yates' Jago second and John Smart's Jukebox third. However, this again belies how close the racing was today.
In their opening race, for instance, Jago won the start with a perfectly judged run into the middle of the line. However, a slow spinnaker drop at the end of the first lap allowed Jellyfish to close the gap. She then gained the advantage on the second lap and power reached to the finish in a vein of stronger wind only five seconds ahead of Jago.
The top end of the J/111 fleet was dominated by three boats: Anthony Mack's McFly, Chris Jones and Louise Makin's Journeymaker ll, and Cornel Riklin's Jitterbug, with the trio frequently shuffling position during each race.
McFly had a strong mid-line start in the final race and held a 39 second lead over Journeymaker at the end of the first lap, before extending her advantage to an impressive 71 seconds at the finish. It was a performance that leaves the two boats tied on five points at the head of leaderboard, three points ahead of Jitterbug.
Two more races are scheduled for each class tomorrow (Sunday), which promises yet more bright sun, but a weaker pressure gradient than the past couple of days.