Day two of the 2015 Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Edinburgh Cup in Largs proved to be a long drawn out and extremely frustrating affair as the wind gods played cat and mouse with the fleet. After yesterday’s strong winds the opposite was delivered today. Early morning brought sunny skies, unusually warm temperatures for the region and a forecast for good sea breezes in the low to mid teens. The fleet went afloat on time and with every hope of rapidly completing the two planned races, races three and four of the six race series.
At the published start time of 11.00 northerly and south easterly winds were vying for supremacy over the race area and the race committee announced the first of the day’s postponements. Initially the wind looked as if it was going to favour the south east as forecast, but then it flipped back to the north and began to build. With what appeared to be a reasonably solid 7-9 knots from the same direction at both ends of the course Race Officer Chris Hadden and his team got the fleet underway smartly. All looked very good until about a third of the way up the first beat when the wind turned itself inside out and the race had to be abandoned, much to the frustration of Gavia Wilkinson-Cox in GBR761 Jerboa who was leading at the time.
The AP was rehoisted and the boats slowly drifted back towards the committee boat. By this time the sky was decidedly overcast and hopes for a true sea breeze were fading, so when the wind showed signs of stabilising from the north again the race committee immediately leapt to take advantage of it. Once again a course was set up and once again the fleet got underway. And once again they got a third of the way up the beat only to have the wind gods turn the fan off again. This time it was Martin Payne sailing GBR789 Bear who was leading when they had the rugged pulled out from under them.
There was a further period of postponement, but with conditions showing no sign of improvement and the afternoon wearing on the decision was made to send the fleet home for a much needed cold drink on the Largs Sailing Club balcony. Whilst very disappointed not to sail it was clear that the competitors were in full agreement with the race committee’s decisions. “He did everything he could and the mark layers must be exhausted, but the conditions just never gave him a chance.” said Martin Payne after racing. BDA Chairman Ron James, helming GBR633 Fei-Lin’s Flirtation, wryly concurred, “He didn’t miss an opportunity to try to start a race. There were only two and he went for it on both of them!”
As some compensation for today’s missed races the competitors are this evening enjoying a wonderful Scottish Supper featuring delicious local fayre and music. The festivities opened with the Piping of the Haggis and entertainment is being provided by local folk band Heritage Soundz.
One question that has cropped up a number of times this week is why the “Edinburgh” Cup, is being raced for just outside Glasgow. To clear up any confusion we should explain that the Edinburgh Cup is so named because it was presented to the class by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, and not because of any geographic connection with the City of Edinburgh. The Duke presented the trophy to the class, which is awarded annually to the winner of the Dragon British Open Championship, after he had been given a Dragon in 1948 by the members of the Island Sailing Club. This was also incidentally the first year in which the Dragon was an Olympic Class. The Duke was a keen sailor and his Dragon Bluebottle was to play a part in the Edinburgh Cup competition under various sailing masters, finishing second in 1954 with Lt. Commander Hewitt, second again with Graham Mann in 1956 (also the year in which Mann won an Olympic Bronze Medal in the Dragon) and third with Ross Coles in 1960. The Edinburgh Cup is rightly regarded as one of the most prestigious trophies is British yachting and a glance at the winners plaques reveals the names of many illustrious sailors.
Naturally the overall standings remain unchanged tonight with Julia Bailey, sailing GBR720 Aimee, and Gavia Wilkinson-Cox, sailing GBR761 Jerboa, on equal points at the head of the leader board with Aimee ahead on count back. Bocci Aoyama’s JAP50 Yeavis is three points behind in third, Martin Payne in GBR789 Bear a further two points back in fourth and Patrick Gifford sailing GBR515 Basilisk one more point adrift in fifth overall and leading the Corinthian (all amateur) competition.
With up to six races remaining to be sailed before the regatta concludes on Friday, the Race Committee has published an amendment to the schedule to allow for up to three championship races to be sailed on Thursday and two races to be sailed on Friday. If all the championship races have been completed the second race on Friday will be the traditional Edinburgh Cup Crews Race. Tomorrow’s forecast is similar to that for today and so everyone has fingers crossed that this time one of the wind directions will prevail and give some decent racing.