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  • Writer's pictureClassic Regattas Limited

Farewell Cowes!

There were cheers on the Royal Yacht Squadron platform as the prizes were presented at the culmination of the Richard Mille Cup racing in Cowes. 


With strong winds forecast in the Channel from Thursday afternoon, forcing the 100nm race to Le Havre to be moved forwards by 24 hours, podium positions were decided after two spectacular days of inshore racing in the Solent. 


It was the Frank Paine-designed staysail schooner Viveka that took the top spot in Black class, with Moonbeam IV second at Cowes, Mariquita third and the smaller Moonbeam fourth. 


Collecting the prize for Viveka, skipper Gery Atkins called yesterday’s epic battle with the two big Fifes the best classic yacht race he’s ever been involved in. 


In Blue group, it was the 1889 gaff cutter Thalia, the fleet’s oldest yacht, perhaps enjoying a home-waters advantage, that came out on top. 


Pilot cutter Alpha was second after her great race in strong winds on Monday, with Patna behind in third, followed by Cynthia. Unusually there was a points tie between the top three yachts, with the race committee taking into account other factors to decide positions. 


The ceremony also saw a special prize given to Charles Hall-Thompson, who led the Royal Yacht Squadron’s race team to put on two days of memorable competition. The RYS race committee was also widely praised for their overnight commitment to finishing the passage race from Dartmouth, which culminated off the Squadron line in the early hours of Sunday. 


William Collier, a Director of Classic Regattas, which is organising the Richard Mille Cup, received a warm round of applause from skippers and owners, as did Benoit Couturier, owner of Mariquita and Moonbeam, who has been instrumental in creating the event with Richard Mille. 


Finally, there were big cheers for the Royal Yacht Squadron Commodore, The Hon Sir James Holman, who’s characterful speeches have been such a feature of the regatta’s visit to the Squadron. 


The Richard Mille Cup fleet sets out today, Wednesday 12 June, for the final stage in Le Havre. The decision to race across the Channel, rather than cruise in company, was approved at a meeting with owners and skippers. Thalia, Cynthia, Alpha, and Patna, amongst the smallest yachts in the fleet, decided not to cross, while Moonbeam is motoring across the Channel. 


The remaining yachts - Mariquita, Moonbeam IV, Viveka, Elena, and Atlantic - will be welcomed by the Société des Régates du Havre, founded in 1838 and a regular host to many of these yachts more than a century ago.


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