COMPETITORS at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week enjoyed a glorious opening day, with enough wind to push the fastest boats at impressive speeds and for embarrassing broaches among the back markers.
By mid morning the central Solent was thick with boats, including SB20s and J/70s blasting past the Bramble Bank on their way to their first mark.
The first start of this year’s regatta was for the new J/70 class, which was lined up for the first of two races today (Saturday).
Malcolm Jaques, racing 'Django' with an all-family crew, said: "The conditions are perfect for J/70s. They fly downwind and most of all they are good fun which is what racing is all about."
Ten minutes later saw by far the closest start of the morning, with a big bunch of SB20s approaching the outer limit buoy from offshore on starboard tack, with many apparently having no room to manoeuvre and several crossed the line early.
There were early Island successes across all the fleets with 'Strait Dealer' (David Franks) and 'Yes!' (Adam Gosling) taking first and second place respectively in IRC 4, while 'King Louie' (Fiona and Malcolm Thorpe) claimed second in IRC 5.
Jo Richards' 'Woof’ took the win in IRC 7 while Paul Dunstan’s 'Mandarin’ came second in IRC 7B.
Top Dragon sailor, Graham Bailey, started his Cowes Week with a win, as did Mark Downer at the helm of 'Moonlight’ in the Etchells.
Peter Newlands came second in First 40.7, Peter Collins claimed third place in the Sonars and former Young Skipper’s Trophy winner, Fred Warren-Smith, came second in the Squibs at the helm of 'Aquabat'.
Elsewhere, '5 Degrees West' (Keith Mills) won IRC 1,'Tonnerre de Breskens 3' topped IRC 2 and 'Tokoloshe' scooped IRC 3.
Tomorrow (Sunday) is Family Day with a range of family-friendly activities organised including air guitar competitions and a pirate theme on Cowes Parade, and a flag-making competition at Cowes Yacht Haven.
Island scouts are holding a sea scout centenary picnic from 5pm until 8pm in the grounds of Northwood House.
A small exhibition of the last 100 years of the sea scouts and the legendary Uffa Fox will also be held on the lawn in front of the house all day.