4 July 2013

Admiral's Cup 1981 - Race 1

The following photographs are from the first race of the 1981 Admiral's Cup. This race was a light wind affair, the race start was delayed while the race committee waited for enough breeze for the fleet to get away, and following a general recall.

Hitchhiker seen here in the middle of a crowded startline and in a tight spot with Stars & Stripes 

The previous post highlighted the stellar performance of Hitchhiker in the 1981 Australian Admiral's Cup trials, where she won five of the races in the series. She arrived at Cowes with a terrific reputation, and Harold Cudmore joined skipper Noel Robins for the inshore races. Unfortunately, however, Hitchhiker's reputation came undone right from this first race when she got tangled up with US yachts Scaramouche and Stars & Stripes and Spain's Bribon III, and ended up over the startline early. Although Hitchhiker went on to finish the race, she was disqualified, presumably for the startline collisions.

Britain's Victory of Burnham gets a good start, to windward of Australia's Apollo V and the US's Scaramouche and Intuition
Hitchhiker creeps along in light airs in the first race, to leeward of Germany's Pinta and Britain's Victory of Burnham to windward
Pinta flew along in the light airs on the first leg from the start off Hillhead to the first mark at East Lepe, alongside Bermuda's Caiman II (sistership to Apollo V).

Pinta and Caiman II lead the way after the first mark
The fleet struggles downwind in the torturous light airs of the first race
The Italians also performed well until Tom Blackaller, skipper of Italian yacht Brava, left a Cowes Week finishing buoy on the wrong side and, unable to get back against the flooding tide, eventually retired. Brava had fallen from third to 48th for being 50 yards too far to one side.
 
Brava struggles too far to one side of the course, while team-mate Almagores and Australia's Apollo V sneak past

The breeze didn't fill in until 1730, allowing the back half of the fleet to make the finish just inside the time limit, but only after the 24 mile race had been reduced to nine. Caiman II went on to win the race, followed by Almagores and Pinta, while the Canadian team claimed top team honours.
Victory of Burnham follows Pinta to the finish
Fortunately, better breeze arrived for the second race.


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