The Royal Yacht Squadron’s Bicentenary International regatta was completed at the end of July. “Four seasons in one week,” was the apt summary from crew member Richard Mason of Dorade of Monday’s gales, and a gradual wind reduction to the windless afternoon that ended the regatta .
Winning all four races in the J Class, Velsheda maintained her excellent record on what are considered the famous yacht’s ‘home waters’ by winning the class. Lionheart and Velsheda ghosted down through a shortened course finish on the final day, followed by Ranger, with guest Sir Ben Ainslie on board, in a nailbiting, windless finale with only the tidal current helping them to the final winning guns of the week.
“It is great to win overall and to win on handicap today,” said Velsheda owner Ronald de Waal, “That really capped it off for us. We were on the wrong side after the start and got back into it and so it is a nice feeling to win here. This is where the J’s heritage is, Velsheda’s home, and so it very special indeed to win here.”
The three grand Classics, Eleonora, Mariquita and Sumurun started in the same direction, and were given one long leg to a mark near the forts off Portsmouth, against the tide. A breakage to the top of her mast cost Mariquita a position in this last race and the overall victory went to Robert Tobin’s 1914 built Sumurun, which gained two second and two firsts in the series.
There was total US domination of the Team Racing and Level rating events . With Real Club Nautico de Gran Canaria leading through the week, it took a 1st and a 5th by NYYC to nudge into the lead in the final two races.
Gran Canaria’s helmsman Jose Ignacio Cantero Brose, whose team was runner up said “We’ve been very happy with our performance, the tides are quite a challenge. All our team are from the same club and we have been racing and training together for a long time. We all live on the same island of Gran Canaria. We’ve enjoyed some close racing especially against the New York Yacht Club and Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.” Over their three days of racing the Team Racing managed to fit in a total of 126 races.
The competitors were treated to a spectacular parachute display by the Red Devils, who landed in the water just next to the assembled guests on the Royal Yacht Squadron’s iconic lawn. In wrapping up the event, the Commodore, Christopher Sharples thanked all the crews from the 24 clubs from all over the world for sharing the club’s 200th birthday, saying “this is not just for the club but for the town of Cowes as well. The next two hundred years begins now.”