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  • Writer's pictureClassic Regattas Limited

Mariquita shines on a cloudy day in Falmouth Bay

The second day of racing for the Richard Mille Cup served up a mixed bag of weather and not quite as intense as originally forecast. With winds ranging between 10-16kts from the west, and a few lively gusts to keep crew on their toes towards the end, it was another successful day on the water. Even the blanket of cloud did nothing to dampen the spirits of the seasoned sailors.  


Both fleets (starting in size order – smallest boats first – using the CIM handicap rating system) started in quick succession without delay at 1030 and it soon became evident that playing the shifts to the best advantage was the aim of the game once again.  


Revelling in her favourite conditions and responding to the super slick crew work, Mariquita the 95ft William Fife III design, lifted her skirts in the freshening breeze and, under full sail, took off in fine style from the very start. On one notable beat she took her favoured inshore course while Viveka went left further offshore.  Moonbeam, not far behind, was itching to overtake Viveka so covered her loosely up the beat. By the end of the beat and halfway through the race, Moonbeam had secured second position. However, being slightly over-canvassed in the latter stages of the race when it gusted up to 21kts, Moonbeam struggled to hold off Viveka.  


Meanwhile Mariquita had long gone, leaving the rest of the fleet in her wake and, like a dinghy on steroids, she flew up the final fetch to the finish line with a staggering lead of around 15 minutes, to secure her second win. Viveka was second, and Moonbeam was third on the water in one of the closest finishes seen so far this week. However, Moonbeam was deemed OCS (over the line at the start) and was awarded a 3% time penalty, which left her in fourth place behind Moonbeam.  


Commenting on today’s Black Group win Jacques Caraes, Mariquita skipper, said success today was all about making the right sail choice: “We have a big mainsail, which is why we put in the reef and we knew the wind was increasing so it was a good call. We were also exactly where we wanted to be on the start line and able to take control.  


“The biggest decision we now have to make however, is whether we keep the reef or not, and swap to a bigger foresail because it looks as though it will be lighter winds again tomorrow.”  


The situation was revving up in Blue Group too, with Richard Bond’s Fowey-based 1922 Ayesha helmed by Amy Creeden just sneaking to the first windward mark ahead of Mariquita looming down on port tack. Cool, calm and collected, they rounded up onto the next reach leaving the team on Mariquita able to make the final approach to the mark without a change of course. They held their Blue Group lead for some time but as the wind picked up, it was team Kelpie who slipped through into the on-the-water lead.  


The ever threatening Cynthia didn’t let up the battle either but it was the super-smart team work on Patna – the pretty 54.5ft two-masted Charles E Nicholson design built in 1920 – that won the day on corrected time. This team, flying the flag for the home club of Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, and headed by the father and son team Greg and Rupert Dowlesland, were delighted to have secured their first win of the week from the hotly contested fleet.  


Chatting after the racing this afternoon, Rupert Dowlesland said it was great to be sailing with father again: “It’s been a while since we’ve been in a boat together, but it is working extremely well. I’m overseeing crew operations and manoeuvres, and helping my father out on the helm. We also have a mix of experienced sailors and complete amateurs on board, so it is all about merging the two together and creating a comfortable and good environment to sail well. We certainly enjoyed the heavier winds today because it was Patna’s optimum conditions for the rig set-up we have. She is a delicate boat with a lot of original features including cotton sails, so we are careful to treat her with respect.”  


Kelpie, with a 1,2 scoreline is still leading Blue group overall, two points ahead of Ayesha, but a win for Patna today puts her in third place overall ahead of Cynthia, and adds another interesting element to the mix.  


After a testing day on the water teams are now relaxing at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club and enjoying what is becoming the hot spot for post sailing entertainment and fine hospitality.  


Racing continues tomorrow with the third and final inshore race in Falmouth. The wind is shifting back to the north-north west but dropping to around 8-9kts, which means another light tactical day of racing is expected. 


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