Cowes Week opens with dismal day in Solent

The Scottish call it dreich, others murky, damp and dismal, and the Solent was at its megadreich for the opening day of Cowes Week.

To make sure the 887 boats were given enough time to appreciate how lucky they were, those in the comfort and protection of the race organisation set long courses, over 40 miles in the case of the class 1 big boats.

That prize, the Queen’s Cup, went to Carphone Warehouse boss Charles Dunstone in the 52-foot Rio as, attracting a healthy crowd at Egypt Point, Olympic bronze medallist Chris Draper was setting the pace with Oman Sail in the iShares Cup grand prix for Extreme 40 catamarans.

Smashing through the 800-mile barrier, Franck Cammas had set a new world record of 857 miles in 24 hours in his attempt to break the 2,925-mile transatlantic record from the Ambrose Light, New York, to The Lizard headland, Cornwall. With nine crew aboard the 103-foot trimaran Groupama 3 he is expected also to complete the crossing in under four days for the first time. But the record did not last long as Pascal Bidegorry topped 900 in the 131-foot Banque Populaire on the same, rival mission.