Famous faces at Skandia Cowes Week: Model Jodie Kidd, adventurer Bear Grylls and Dame Ellen MacArthur aboard the BT Extreme 40 on Thursday. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
CHARLES Dunstone and his crew on the TP52 Rio were in blistering form on Thursday to win the New York YC Challenge Cup, which this year was contested by the fleets in IRC Class Zero and Class 1.
All week, Dunstone has watched Niklas Zennstrom's Ran get the better of the conditions but in 14-knot breezes, Rio whizzed around the 36nm course to post an emphatic four-minute win over their rivals.
In the X One Design Class, Neil Payne, a former Dragon and Etchells sailor from Cowes, was lying near the top of the leaderboard, which - bearing in mind he has not raced an XOD for 25 years - has been a bit of a surprise.
He has spent the past two and-a-half years restoring Quest, which was originally built in 1935; he only put in the water six weeks ago.
"I'm certainly not finding it easy and despite having a bad day on Wednesday we have been fairly consistent, but it is a difficult class and we are just going to keep our heads down and see what we can do," he said.
As the British Sonar sailors finalise their training ahead of the Paralympic Games starting on September 8, the Sonar fleet at Cowes was enjoying its own tug-of-war with Thursday’s Red Funnel Cup awarded to Cowes sailors Duncan Bates and Paul Bowen racing in Repost, which belongs to British Paralympic sailor Hannah Stodel.
"We really want to win because it is good for business," said Duncan, who builds Sonars for a living.
"It was a really good course today. A lot of beating and running, which gave us lots of opportunity to tack and gybe and overtake and we won by three boat lengths," he said.
Louise Morton hit the jackpot again in the Quarter Ton class that she and her husband Peter enthusiastically campaigned to have reinstated in 2008.
In her sixth race, with her all-girl crew on Espada, Morton posted her fourth consecutive win, having notched up two seconds in the opening two races.
Fellow Cowes boat Runaway Bus, the red-hulled Quarter Tonner that was holed earlier in the week, took a creditable second with Howard Sellars's Bullet in third.
Meanwhile, Cowes sailor Pete Newlands in Healthsure posted his third victory in the new Beneteau 40.7 class, as did Julia and Joe Bailey in the Dragon class. Mark Downer in Moonlight once more topped the Etchells, while Jeremy Preston won the Darings in Defender.
Famous faces on the water included model Jodi Kidd, adventurer Bear Grylls and Dame Ellen MacArthur.
Skandia Cowes Week 2008, Thursday's sailing.
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