THE American 72-footer Bella Mente is the new holder of the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup.
The mini maxi with Volvo Race winner Mike Sanderson at the helm, claimed one of the two top trophies at AAM Cowes Week after beating off stiff competition from Niklas Zennstrom’s 'Ran’ and the giant 'Esimit Europa 2’.
Bella Mente is owned by Hap Fauth, of Minneapolis, and her crew featured navigational expertise from Ian 'Soapy' Moore, who has strong links with the Isle of Wight.
Wind made a welcome return to Cowes Week today (Wednesday) with the fleets enjoying competitive racing in a light to moderate north-easterly.
Adam Gosling’s Corby 36 'Yes!’ cemented its position at the top of IRC 4 with another win today, finishing some five minutes ahead of 'Strait Dealer’ on corrected time.
Cowes sailor, Graham Bailey, was also celebrating after making it four out of four in the Dragons, finishing three minutes ahead of Eric Williams’ 'Ecstatic’ and four minutes of third placed 'The Old Bailey’ (Chris Brittain).
Laurence Mead helming 'Freelance’ secured his first top three position of the week in the Etchells, finishing second to fellow Islander, Mark Downer.
After finishing third on Monday, 'Ffuraha’ (Mike Boll and Gil McCutcheon) went one better to cross the line in second place behind the dominant 'Men Behaving Badly’ (Rupert and John Mander) in the Flying 15s.
It was an Island one two in the J/105s with 'Jacana’ (Paul Wood) finishing top, and Fiona and Malcolm Thorpe’s 'King Louie’ in second.
Local boat 'Innuendo’ also put in a strong performance to claim second place in the Quarter Tonners.
The Redwings enjoyed some close racing of their own with the leaders, 'Harlequin’, 'Toucan’ and 'Redstart II’ finishing in close succession.
Andy Cassell and Ken Newman’s 'Jenny’ notched up another top three standing in the Sonars, finishing second ahead of local rival, 'Fiscal’ (Steve Hargreaves).
Other Island successes included a bullet for 'Kandoo III’ (Crauford) in the RS Elites and a third place for 'Mandarin’ (Paul Dunstan) in IRC 7 (second in IRC 7B).
'Darwin Property’ (Charlie Esse) and 'Firecracker Too’ (Andrew Porteous, David Coombes and Jerry Westbrook) also finished third in the Sportsboat and Squib classes respectively.
Tomorrow (Thursday) is Ladies Day at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week when the main focus will be an evening reception at which the Ladies Day Trophy will be awarded.
The regatta will also welcome back the Artemis Challenge - a 50 mile high-speed sprint around the Isle of Wight. A cool £10,000 will be donated to charity by the winning boat.
Elsewhere, the official Mount Gay Rum Red Cap Party will take place at Shepards Wharf Marina.