The directors’ box at Tottenham Hotspur is unlikely to see it, much less its winner, who has a seat there, using it, but the Rocking Chair Trophy was won by Sir Keith Mills and the crew of his 52-foot Fiveᵒ West on a sunny day in AAM Cowes Week.
The majority ashore were as keen on the evening display by the Red Arrow jet formation and the ooh-aah fireworks, but, afloat, a couple of other boats from the 800-plus entries were celebrating a successful week.
Jo Richards, the 1984 Olympic bronze medallist, notched up his fifth win in six class 7 starts. In the fourth race he had jumped the gun, and Graham Bailey had a similar score in the Dragon class, spoiling the sequence, also on Wednesday, with a sixth.
Some of the big boats, having been for a workout on Wednesday and Thursday, had already retreated to their home ports around the Solent to complete preparations for the Fastnet Race, starting Sunday, and a new course which has been extended by several miles to allow the enforced avoidance of a shipping lane exclusion zone after Land’s End and returning from the south-west corner of Ireland to the finish in Plymouth.
In San Francisco, as Sweden’s Artemis Racing prepared for its third race in the best of seven semi-final of the Louis Vuitton Cup against the Prada-backed Italians on Luna Rossa, the America’s Cup international jury was hard at work.
The five-person (four men and a woman) group is considering whether to bring a case against the defender Oracle and its stable-mate Ben Ainslie Racing.
Both those teams have retrospectively retired from the last four regattas in the America’s Cup World series for the 45-foot versions of the wing-powered catamarans. The official measurers have found that there had been a deliberate and “serious” modification to the boats.
The jury is considering a ‘Rule 69’ case, which covers unsportsmanlike behaviour and bringing the sport into disrepute. The normal sanction would be a ban, which would be disastrous with less than a month to go to the America’s Cup match.
Recently knighted Ben Ainslie, with four Olympic golds and a silver, has e-mailed the jury to say: “BAR was loaned the AC45 for competition by OTUSA (Oracle Team USA) and the boat was prepared/maintained by OTUSA. As skipper of the boat I had no knowledge whatsoever that the boat was being raced out of measurement. I am deeply disappointed by this incident and will do all I can to assist relevant parties in any further investigations.”
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