THE Cowes to Deauville Race proved to be a challenge for the 63 boats which took part, with tricky weather making life difficult for crews.
To start with, the wind was too strong — and there was a two-hour postponement until it died down. Then, as the race finally progressed, it dropped further and further until it was less than three knots.
The wind eventually filled in to the promised ten to 15 knots, allowing the fleet to creep across The Channel, with the occasional rain or hail storm of biblical proportions thrown in for good measure.
Most boats took almost 24 hours plus to arrive off Deauville, for a race that normally takes 15-16 hours, and tired competitors headed off to the champagne reception hosted by Pierre-Alain Duplais, deputy mayor of Deauville, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the twinning of the town with Cowes.
The prizes were presented by Richard Longdon, chief executive of sponsors AVEVA,
A special prize went to David Cooper, skipper of Longue Pierre, who first did this race in 1992, while the Cruiser prize went to the young academy crew from the Royal Southern — Claire Dresser, Alex Peka, Ed Dyer and Chris Marsh — sailing the borrowed Illywhacker.
The double-handed prize went to Noj and Chrissie White, for what they described as the toughest race they could remember.
The race was organised jointly by the Royal London, Deauville, JOG, and the Royal Southern Yacht Clubs.