Sir Keith Mills takes Rocking Chair Trophy while 1984 Olympic bronze medalist Jo Richards notches yet another win
All the latest from Cowes Week
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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