The fifth race for the FAST40+ Class, at of Lendy Cowes Week, was held in atrocious conditions in the Central Solent. Fast and furious racing is the DNA of the FAST40+ Class, and today was not for the faint-hearted. With wind over tide, and gusts up to 30 knots with driving rain, tenacity, as well as skill, were the keys to a top performance.
With gritty determination Ker40+ Invictus, with Alex Mills at the helm, held on to win the shortened race by 42 seconds from Peter Morton’s CF40+ Girls on Film. Stewart Whitehead’s Carkeek MkIII Rebellion crossed the line just four seconds ahead of Johnny Vincent’s Ker40+ Pace, to claim third. Invictus are now leading Lendy Cowes Week, by just one point from Girls on Film.
“It was pretty fresh out there, very wet with everything from 8-30 knots,” commented Invictus’ Alex Mills. “We got a good start and had a decent lead early on, but then the weather went crazy, and we got just about every sail out the bag. At times we were blasting along at 18 knots, but we did smash into a few waves at top speed, nose-diving the boat, drenching everyone on board. Upwind it was difficult to see in the driving rain, and despite getting thoroughly cold and wet, it was a great race. The team are delighted to be back in the lead but when the discard kicks in, we may not be, so it is going to be really close.”
John Hamilton is the bowman on Stewart Whitehead’s Rebellion. “On the way out to the start it looked like the Apocalypse was coming, and with a short course, there were a lot of corners coming up really fast, including two short legs peeling from the Zero to the kite. It was very challenging but we love that. On the bow, it was like a submarine at times, I was getting soaked to the bone, stinging spray in my face, a proper hosing! The finish was amazing, we gybed for the finish with Pace, side by side, and we just hung on, it was a thrill to win that battle.”
Racing for the FAST40+ Class continues tomorrow, Thursday 3rd August, with the FAST40+ Class racing for the prestigious Britannia Cup. King George VI presented the Britannia Cup, one of the most celebrated races of Cowes Week to the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1950. This is the second year that the FAST40+ fleet will compete for the trophy.