Cowes-based boat wins its class at RORC regatta

Kabatic’s crew

By A & S Whitewood

Following three days of testing weather conditions and some exciting racing, Cowes-based Cape 31-Katabatic won its class at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s (RORC) Easter Challenge Regatta.

Good Friday saw strong gusty conditions in the eastern Solent as racing got underway. Billed as a training regatta, with relaxed rules on outside assistance, Mason King’s coaching team was strengthened by support from Ian Walker from North Sails and charter boat skipper, Andy Middleton.

The opening day all classes race with a Spring Tide going west. Friday’s IRC Class winners were Derek Shakespeare’s J/122 Bulldog, John Smart’s J/109 Jukebox, and Simon Perry’s Cape 31 Jiraffe. Derek Shakespeare’s crew was partly comprised of young sailors who he likes to support.

It was all change on Saturday with a light southerly wind of ten knots. Off Lee-on-the-Solent pro, Stuart Childerley, set three short, windward leeward races for all classes. In lighter conditions, the complexity of The Solent’s tides were a big factor and names kept changing on the leader board.

Sunday produced yet another variation in conditions, with a medium-strong easterly breeze up to nearly 20 knots. A sturdy easterly-going tide built during the day, creating classic Solent conditions.

After two coaching days from Mason King’s team, lessons learned were put into practice to win Easter chocolates. Every class winner was decided in the last race, producing a thrilling climax to the regatta.

Class winners, receiving RORC recycled keepers and Easter Eggs, were the Mills 39 Team Hero on Zero II, skippered by James Gair, Ed Mockridge’s JPK 1010 – Elaine Again, and Lance Adams’ Cape 31 – Katabatic.

Speaking after the racing, Lance Adams said how he loves sailing at Cowes after visiting many times as a boy, accompanying his father who supported Cowes Week. He now regularly sails in this regatta, as well as Cowes Week and the Round the Island Race.

Like Derek Shakespeare he supports young sailors who made up half his crew.

Overall, half the sailors taking part in the regatta were young sailors.

Prizes and Easter eggs were distributed by Richard Palmer, Vice- Commodore of the RORC.