Sailing: Richards and Lister revel in the fun as women rule waves

Britain's single-handed specialist orchestrates pandemonium on Pindar, but a technicality denies her determined crew a deserved victory. Stuart Alexander reports from Cowes

A quartet of them were out on the water yesterday and, in contrast to Thursday being Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot, it was hats off to all of them from enthusiastic supporters. The double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson was adding to a shelf groaning with silverware in the Irish home of Eamon Conneely as she steered his 52ft Patches to victory in the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup.

With the help of double Olympic silver medallist Ian Walker she kicked off with the Queen's Cup, picked up the Royal Yacht Squadron Cup in passing and then bagged the premier prize of the Britannia Cup - so the boat, the brains trust and crew have all earned their corn. The Irish also won classes one and two.

Then there was also the sight of Ellen MacArthur, entertaining supporters on her 75ft world record-breaking trimaran, B&Q, before its trip to New York and this autumn's assault on the single-handed transatlantic record.

Yesterday was also the turn of Emma Richards, who has 11 transatlantics and a single-handed circumnavigation of the planet, to invite the lesser-known Hilary Lister to join her aboard the Open 60 Pindar for her first taste of big-time yacht racing. Lister, a 33-year-old from Canterbury, is a quadriplegic. A special chair had been strapped to the guard rails, a cushion taped behind her head and she was soaking up knowledge while having fun in equal measure as she prepares to try and become the first quadriplegic to sail across the Channel in the second half of this month.

Richards had entered her yacht into a pro-celebrity special race that was originally scheduled to take the five Open 60s right round the Isle of Wight. There was a hasty change of plans as the south-westerly wind was too fitful to start the race on time and an hour's delay meant a shorter course to Poole Bar buoy and back.

This was also the course for a private trans-Tasman challenge between two 100-footers, the Australian Grant Wharington's Wild Thing and Maximus, campaigned by the New Zealanders Charles Crichton Brown and William Buckley. They face each other in the Fastnet Race starting on Sunday, but yesterday the Kiwis drew first blood.

The major break for Richards came just before Yarmouth, where she moved successfully from being last at one stage to leading the fleet. The Formula One driver David Coulthard was left floundering in her slipstream, Mike Golding could do nothing but curse as she pulled away, Nick Moloney began to look out of sorts and Conrad Humphreys had to pay a heavy price in search of clear water.

Richards was clearly enjoying the experience and Lister was announcing to anyone who would listen, "It's fantastic, so exhilarating," producing an extra squeal of delight when the boat heeled over even more in a gust of wind. "That's the nearest I've been to vertical in years," she said.

At the Needles, and all across Christchurch Bay, Pindar held the lead, but with Golding's Ecover pushing hard. There were just 45 seconds between them when they turned the green channel marker buoy to make the 20-mile return journey. Coming back through the Needles, that had closed to just a couple of boat lengths as, powering over 18 knots, Golding picked up some very favourable gusts.

The blood was up and the competitive juices running, especially for a couple of guests, Lee Sharp, a former Manchester United footballer, and Andy Goldstein, a Sky Sports presenter. They sweated buckets grinding the winches to earn a winner's cannon, but it was all in vain. Pindar had failed to note a course change off Poole and the winner was Conrad in Hellomoto. Not that Lister could care. "I loved it," she said. "It beats pond paddling on the lake-based West Bere Sailing Club."

Back in the Solent, there was mayhem in the X One Designs, where the series leader, Stuart Jardine, was not one of only 26 given a finish. He, like the rest, started prematurely.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee