Olympic champion shares Cowes Week diary with City A.M.
WET and windy were the adjectives to describe Sunday’s racing, but there were lots of big smiles as the boats came in after a great day on the water. In the Aberdeen Asset Management-sponsored Dragon Class, Gavia Wilkinson-Cox came out on top – a great result in the big breeze. This should be a hotly contested fleet. Graham Bailey, who coached us in Beijing, is this year sailing with his wife Julia. At the Olympic Games he taught us a technique we named ‘The Dragon Move’, so no-one else knew what we were talking about.
The Extreme 40s continue to be great for spectators, with the strong winds making for close and intense racing – illustrated by Sunday’s crash between Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Artemis Racing, causing severe damage to both boats.
Elsewhere racing is competitive and the big boats in the black group have had great spinnaker finishing legs to the Yacht Squadron, proving great entertainment for the people watching from the Green, with many close calls as the gusts hit them.
Our night-time antics are getting worse – last night we lit a fire! Dinner was the normal raucous affair in our house though. It’s been a tradition in the Yes! Team – my husband Adam’s crew – to have a nightly awards ceremony. All seven or eight of them discuss their day’s sailing and nominate each other for three awards.
Least coveted is the D**k de Jour – awarded for doing something stupid. If you are unlucky enough to win this you have to wear pink clothing for the next 24 hours, a very attractive T-shirt and shorts which are worn over waterproofs! The Mike Tyson is given for excessively aggressive behaviour on the water, while the Star of the Day is fairly self-explanatory.
The pink kit was awarded to Tim Spalding, one of the crew, for passing around the previous day’s course card halfway through the race, causing all sorts of issues, so he had to man up and face the embarrassment.
I have just looked out of the window to see a fantastic sight, the Island Sailing Club, has a pontoon that has launches which take all the XOD sailors out to their boats on the moorings. They are queuing along the length of the pontoons and back into the club – with 145 boats on the swing moorings that’s about 440 sailors to get out there every morning. Having had a day off on Sunday because of the gusts, I expect they were all raring to go yesterday.
Today we have Ladies Day to look forward to, and my admittedly uneducated view is: why on earth do we need a Ladies Day? Surely the ladies sailing don’t need extra recognition. I am sure Louise Morton, who won it last year, feels it’s all a bit unnecessary – she puts together a female team, sails all the events during the year in a properly professional way and beat the boys anyway. I will try to find her and educate myself!