20 May 2015

Quarter Tonners at the 2015 Vice Admiral's Cup

The Vice Admiral's Cup is now firmly established as one the Solent's premier keelboat events, a mix of one-design and IRC racing. In recent years it is has been chosen by the Royal Yachting Association as one of the selection events for the British teams in the Commodores' Cup. The opening day of the 2015 Vice Admiral’s Cup, hosted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club incorporating the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, saw a 35 strong fleet enjoy three exciting light to moderate airs races on 15-17 May. 
Good conditions prevailed for the 2015 Vice Admiral's Cup - overall winner Aguila enjoys fast running conditions on the third day of racing
The evergreen Quarter Ton Class once again provided some of the closest racing of the day and three different race winners. Race one went to Sam Laidlaw aboard Aguila, race two to Rickard Melander sailing Alice II and race three was claimed by Tony Hayward’s Blackfun. Unlike the other fleets, who race one design in this regatta, the Quarter Tonners are sailing under IRC and the corrected finish times were close throughout the fleet, with boats often separated by only one or two seconds. Aguila followed her opening bullet with a pair of seconds and takes the overnight lead with five points. Per Elisa lay in fourth place for the day, with a third and two fourths - the crew were delighted with their day, and after racing Peter MacFarlane said “We’ve never done so well. Of course it helps to have the expertise of North Sail’s Neil Mackley on board, but we were delighted with how well the boat went. She has a new keel and rudder which have transformed her upwind. We’re looking forward to tomorrow and just hope we can keep it up!” 
Espada on port tack sails behind Per Elisa (GBR-222R) and Illegal Immigrant (GBR-501)
Close racing continued on the second day. Although they scored a seventh in race five, Sam Laidlaw and his crew aboard Aguila were able to discard that result and add two further firsts and a second to their overall score, giving them a total of nine points to count and a six point lead. Blackfun was in exceptional form and put in a 4/1/1/3 score for the day, putting them on equal points with Alice II. Louise Morton's Bullit (reigning Quarter Ton champion) also had a good day pulling up from fifth overall to fourth at the expense of Per Elisa, which counted a disappointing eighth and sixth in the day's racing. 
Winner of Class 4 (Quarter Tonners) in the 2015 Vice Admiral's Cup Aguila, runs downwind behind Illegal Immigrant (left) and Per Elisa (right)
For the final day the fleet was as tightly packed as ever and arrived at the first mark of race eight en-mass. With a strong ebb tide running there were some close judgement calls to be made as they rounded the spreader mark and gybed back into the Bramble Bank to escape the current. In the melee several boats including Blackfun and Julian Metherell's Espada found themselves infringing and were forced to make penalty turns as the rest of the fleet streamed off downwind. Although they did their best to make up lost ground they were unable to recover and finished the race 11th and 10th respectively. Up ahead of them Alice II romped in for race victory with Bullit second and overall leader Aquila third. 

Going into the final race Aguila held a four point lead over Alice II with Blackfun third and Bullit fourth. Bullit threw everything they had into the final race and were rewarded with their first victory of the regatta, beating Eric Reynolds' Magnum Evolution by 16 seconds. A further 16 seconds separated third to sixth place with Aguila, Blackfun, Alice II and William McNeill's Illegal Immigrant finishing in that order on corrected time. In the overall standings Sam Laidlaw and Aguila claimed victory by six points from Alice II with Blackfun third and Bullit fourth.

- Compiled from RORC Press Releases (Fiona Brown) 16-18 May 2015

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