Sailing: Quarrie sets out plan to cope with burgeoning Cowes fleet

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The Independent Online

Some of the private battles in what has been a high-grade Skandia Cowes Week were being settled yesterday, but the long-term war over the future of the event was growing in intensity.

The hottest fleet in a near-record gathering of 1,040 boats has been the 89 Laser SB3s, and after a tough final race Russell Peters pipped Jono Shelley into second with the Australian former national and European champion Glenn Bourke third. These three were well clear.

The light, shifty winds left Mike Sanderson's ABN Amro 1, after grabbing five trophies, toppled. The Irishman Colm Barrington's Magic Glove, with Sanderson's Volvo Race-winning crewman Rob Greenhalgh joining Eddie Warden Owen calling tactics, won the Rocking Chair Trophy donated by the late Sir Edward Heath.

For a couple of years now the director of the organising Cowes Combined Clubs, Stuart Quarrie, has canvassed support for extending Cowes Week into as much as Cowes Fortnight to enable the organisers and the town to cope with the spike in demand. Doing nothing, he says, is not an option so the two main alternatives being offered are to put a cap on the number of entries or spread the load over a longer period.

He has set up a website questionnaire, but those who disagree have to answer questions that do not allow dissent; fail to answer the question and you cannot continue. There is little support for the idea.